Skip to main content

Cabin Fever

The coldest winter for thirty years has me dreaming of balmy summer nights at Hillend Loch when the hatches of flies and free rising fish will be in great abundance. Feeling that soft warm breeze on my back as I cast my flies from the big moss into a hatch of the great red sedge seems like an age away. If you are anything like me I think you too might be feeling a bit of cabin fever coming on. It’s at times like this that get me looking forward to spring and summer and start planning trips for the forthcoming season. I love nothing better than pouring over my vast collection of OS Maps, angling books and magazines for inspiration.
I could spend all evening with the OS sheet number 15 spread over the floor. There are enough lochs and mountains to last one a lifetime of fishing and hill walking on that particular map.
There is a saying that “The journey is as exciting and important as the destination” I can empathize with that.I feel that is true in tying flies too.I find tying flies every bit as exciting as fishing. Tying flies sets the imagination on fire. It gets you thinking about various situations at any given time in the angling season and making adjustments to patterns and expressing your thoughts and ideas on what the fish will be looking for and tying accordingly.
I digress. I received a very interesting phone call just last week from my friend Tam. He informed me that this year our Big Fishing Adventure in the Highlands would be a visit to Caithness. First thing in the morning I was off through the snow into town to purchase the relevant OS Map. I have been enjoying virtual fishing excursions since acquiring this map with visits to Loch Watten, Loch Calder and Loch Toftingall.After reading all the relevant literature about fishing this wondrous area of the Highlands the one fly pattern that seems to keep cropping up is the Watten warrior. I guess I am going to be busy tying this fly which up until now I was not aware of. The most pleasing aspect about the flies that appear to be popular in the Caithness area is that they appear to be tied in my favourite style…Slightly overdressed and bushy. I’m going to have fun preparing for this trip.


Popular posts from this blog

The Clan Chief

I have been at the tying bench tonight tying up a few Clan Chiefs. This fly is a favourite of mine. It is a modern day traditional fly created by an Orcadian man,John Kennedy. it was originally designed by him for migratory fish. It also has a good reputation on the mainland for brown trout. Its creator was clearly inspired by the Kingsmill - Moore bumble patterns. This version I have tied tonight is a little bit over dressed as it was originally intended to be tied sparsely. I will let the trout decide.

Hillend Loch

Hillend Loch is a 350-acre loch lying halfway between Airdrie and Armadale. It was constructed in 1799 to supplement the Forth and Clyde canal system. The average depth of the loch is 8 feet, but the depth does drop to around 14 feet in the narrows between the Whitehill wood and the Braco wood. Feeding is rich in the loch and apart from the shoals of fry which abound here the underwater fodder includes snails, shrimps, nymphs of varying species, corixae and caddis. Above the surface the angling season will see hatches of hawthorn flies, chironomids, buzzers, daddies and sedges. There is plenty of space to fish around the loch no matter whether your preference is to wade and explore the little bays and weed beds along the shoreline or take a boat and float along some of the favoured drifts. The loch fishes well all over its expanse though I would recommend the bank angling at the following areas, The big moss, the wee moss, the braco burn area, the boathouse bay, the point of the woods,

Loch Ericht

After visiting wintery Hillend today it reminded me of a fishing trip to Loch Ericht early last year. Here is an account of the trip I wrote once I had thawed out. My first serious fishing trip of the season got underway at 4am last Sunday morning. Our destination was to be the north end of Loch Ericht near Dalwhinnie. We wanted to be there for first light so hence the very early rise and journey up the A9. The trip up was uneventful until we got to the roadworks at Balinluig as by the time we reached there the countryside had taken on a rather winery feel as the hills and fields had a light dusting of snow. Onward we drove but as we got further north the weather was really starting to get serious. The snow was falling and it was lying really deep, the road ahead just got treacherous and at times very dangerous. By the time we reached the Drummochter pass we were right in the middle of a blizzard. It got to the stage where we couldn’t see four feet in front of us and it was becoming