Scottish Fishing Diary 1996

Needle Tubes and Tube Flies

Scottish Fishing Days and Nights 1996

by John Gray

Fishing Diary 1996

Diary Archive
1985 1996

I have made up a 12 ft fly rod using old McHardy fibre glass blanks combined with the handle from a Woolworths coarse rod, which fits perfectly. The rod should take a #8 line, I think, and should be ideal for the Allan and the Earn in low water. I also used a similar blank (9 1/2 ft fly rated 7-9?) to make a 9ft 8ins spinning rod using the handle from a Milbro Gillie rod.

I now have a selection of home made rods ...


10 ft B & W Light Line (4-6) for use with DT5F line

Sea Trout / Salmon

10 1/2 ft B&W Multitrout (6-7) with DT7 or DT8

11 1/4 ft B&W Century (7?) with DT7 or DT8

12 ft Fibre Glass (7-9?) with DT8

1996 Season

I have renewed my permits on the Earn and Allan.

We have had very cold weather reaching as low as  -20°C for a couple of days, with burst pipes all over the country. I had a flood in the shop from burst pipes in the empty flat on the top floor above. We have had some snow but we haven't had a lot of rain. I've been out for the grayling on the Clyde twice, the first time the river was too high, the second time too low and frozen!

Wednesday February 4th

River Earn  1pm - 4pm

The river was running high and clear at the playing fields, with the top of the curved stone just showing. This is just about the maximum height I reckon for fly fishing. Wading is just possible but the water is very cold.

I tried the fly using the 12 ft fibreglass rod with a DT9 Wetcel 1. A nice rod, just a bit less powerful than the 13 ft Daiwa - good for Spey casting. The rod should also be nice for the Allan. For high water on the Earn, a fifteen footer would be best with a 10 or 11 line. I put the spinning reel on the 12 ft rod with a red and silver Flying C and, in the tail of the pool, hooked and landed a kelt of about 10 lbs, which went back safely. (It was landed on 4lb nylon, as I had a trout spool on the Mitchell 300!)


I have joined Larbert & Stenhousemuir Angling Club at a cost of £40 (plus £20 joining fee). This entitles me to fish Loch Coulter from boat and bank and the River Carron for salmon and sea trout. The Carron was stocked this year with 2000 sea trout parr. So I now have a good variety of fishing:

River Earn (Crieff AC) 120 p.a
River Allan (AWAIA) 40
River Carron / Loch Coulter 40
Earlsburn Loch 20
Total yearly cost 220

The weather deteriorated just before the start of the trout season, reverting to cold weather with snow and rain. This led to a quiet start to the season in the shop. On the plus side, the rivers were in need of some rain as February had been dry.

Wednesday 20th March

I had a walk along the banks of the River Carron at the Horsemill Inn below Denny. There are two or three nice pools for sea trout, fairly deep perhaps up to six feet, especially the bridge pool.

A deep snow drift blocked the gate into Loch Coulter. There are six good boats and the bank fishing should be good. Very cold weather. The temperature is set to rise to a high of 9C on Sunday before dropping again next week.

Sunday 24th March

Loch Coulter  1pm - 3pm

A cold east wind relieved slightly by occasional warming sunshine. I fished round the north bank beyond the boathouse and caught a 10 oz trout on a small size 12 black fly with orange tail. The fish had been feeding on caddis and snails. This is the first season the club has been allowed to fish from the bank, so my trout may be the first trout caught "legally" from the bank of Loch Coulter, in recent years anyway. I then had a walk right round the loch, which took about an hour ( the loch is 189 acres in area ). I had the company of skylarks, curlews and a colony of seagulls congregating on the south side of the loch for the mating season. There was still some ice around the shoreline. I look forward to what promises to be excellent bank fishing on summer evenings.

Wednesday 27th March

A very cold westerly wind made fishing on Loch Coulter very difficult and uncomfortable. My fish from last Sunday seems to be the only fish caught so far, according to the catch record book in the fishing hut.

Wednesday 17th April

It has been very cold for the past fortnight. Persistent rain over the past 24 hours has put the Allan in high spate and unfishable. The rain was badly needed after a dry spring and will hopefully bring some early sea trout into the Allan and Earn.

Loch Coulter 4pm - 7pm

Cold and windy again but I caught one trout and lost another on a size 12 sparkle caddis. The wading along the west bank is surprisingly good and should give excellent fishing in a south wind on a summer evening. Derek was up on the Earlsburn loch this afternoon and had seven trout on small black flies.

Sunday 21st April

Earlsburn Loch  12 - 3pm

6 trout

Very low cloud with variable visibility as the cloud lifted occasionally, with a nice steady breeze from the north east blowing towards the boathouse. It was cold at midday but warmed as the afternoon wore on. I had a trout first cast on a glitterbody caddis, followed by two more in the next half hour from the house bank. Nothing at all from the roadside but three more, plus about a dozen missed, from the area behind the island. All fish were returned with the biggest about half a pound. Derek had ten fish from around the north west burn and the west bank.

Wednesday 24th April

River Allan

The river is running at a perfect height, weather showery with blustery wind. I fished size 10 flies hoping for an early sea trout - a few have been reported from the glen - but no sign of them today. No sign either of stocked brown trout, although I caught a few small wild trout and parr.

Monday 29th April

Earlsburn Loch  6pm - 8pm

Quite cold with a light north wind. I fished the house bank and the point. I had two small trout and missed a couple on Black Pennell with orange/pink tail.

Wednesday 8th May

Earlsburn Loch  2.30 - 3.30pm

A strong cool north east wind was blowing in to the boathouse corner. Fishing along the west bank, I had six trout in an hour, a better class of fish with a few around the half pound mark. I kept two half pounders. Excellent fishing with not another soul to be seen.

Saturday 11th May

River Teith, Blairdrummond

1 sea trout

Larbert Angling Club annual day on the Blairdrummond beat below Doune. Heavy rain in Kilsyth in the morning was followed by a dry afternoon. It seems that there had been only one other club member on the beat until Alec and I arrived in the early evening. He had caught one sea trout of 1 1/4lb, a brown trout of 1 3/4lb and lost another.

The rules here are fly only below 2 ft on the gauge. Near the top end of the beat is the Chapel Pool. It is a good looking pool for the fly. Below the Chapel is the Horse Hole, a deep pool which should hold fish but is only fishable with the fly in the tail, below the fishing hut. Below that is the Weir Pool, a shorter pool which may be worth a few casts. Downstream we have the Beeches, which would fish best from the left bank. This is a shallow streamy pool which runs into the Island Pool, a long, deep slow holding pool but with a good looking run in at the head, again best fished from the left bank. Finally, below the lade and the Island there is a deep pool with a good flow which would be best fished from the left bank but the wading looks impossible - too deep.

Alec and I decided to concentrate on the Chapel Stream. The evening was drier and milder than of late but still a bit cool for night fishing. We had nothing, apart from one small brownie, until 11pm when, in the space of five minutes, we both caught a sea trout, mine 1 3/4lb and Alec's 2 lb, both lovely fresh hard fighting fish. This was, I think, my earliest and freshest sea trout to date, truly a bar of silver. It took a size 8 Silver Gillie (silver body, ginger hackle, guillemot wing).

Sunday 19th May

Earlsburn Loch   3pm - 5pm

A cold blustery north east wind made it quite rough on the west bank, just a wee bit cold and rough for good fishing. I caught two average sized trout of about 6 oz and missed a further four. Temperatures are set to rise slightly over the next week. A visit to the Earn may be in order.

Monday 20th May

River Earn 9pm - 10.30pm

At the playing fields the air temperature was 10°C, water temperature 7°C. The river was running at a nice night height with the bottom of the curved stone covered. However, the water was full of suspended vegetation, in particular green weed which coated the flies on every cast. There must have been a recent heavy downpour upstream causing a small spate. More rain is forecast for the latter part of the week. Hopefully this will cause a good spate to clean out the rivers.

Friday 24th May

River Carron

I fished just upstream of the motorway bridge above Larbert, fishing the streamy stretches down as far as the bridge. The river was lower than I expected, at summer low, but, as both the Carron and Earls Burn are controlled by the Water Board, a natural flow cannot be guaranteed. There seems to be a fair stock of trout in the river. I caught two nice fish about half a pound and lost a few others. The motorway pool holds a lot of trout and may also be good for sea trout, though no sign of them yet.

Monday 27th May (holiday)

River Earn

The river was running high due to generation water, with only about three inches of the curved stone showing. A good height for salmon fly but a bit high for night sea trout fishing. Six inches lower would be ideal for night fishing.

Wednesday 29th May

Loch Coulter 2pm - 10pm

I took a boat out with Alec. A nice day with a fairly mild south west wind but a bit blustery. I had three trout, best 1 pound, Alec had two. Disappointing! Other had better luck. One boat had about a dozen trout fishing near the Dam, while a bank angler fishing from the same area caught sixteen trout within a couple of hours.  The loch had been recently stocked and the stock fish had evidently not yet spread out over the loch. Derek had been up the Earlsburn loch the same day and had about twenty trout.

Sunday 2nd June

Earlsburn Loch  12 - 1.30pm

A bright sunny day with occasional cloud cover and a blustery south wind. I fished the west bank catching three trout and missing about ten more. The trout took a black Pennell with orange and pink fluorescent tail, when the sun was behind the cloud.

Tuesday 4th June

River Earn 9pm - 1pm

We've had some heavy rain and a couple of good spates over the last few days. The Earn is now running fairly high for night fishing (six inches of curved stone showing). A lovely evening with a good hatch of flies. Swifts active. Temperature to stay above 11C and the water not too cold. I had a good pull below the wires from a salmon or sea trout but nothing more

River Allan 11.30pm - 1.30am

The river looked a good height for night fishing. Only one other fisher above Cromlix bridge. He had taken a two pound sea trout earlier further downstream but nothing since dark. I walked up and fished down from the Red Braes to the bridge, with no sign of sea trout - disappointing!

I fished both rivers again on Thursday 6th but without success.

Sunday 9th June

Earlsburn Loch  2.30pm - 4.30pm

A strong south wind blowing diagonally into the west bank. I caught six trout, keeping three. The best fish took a Soldier Palmer Muddler, the others size 10 dark flies (Pennell with red tail and Kate McLaren. I missed another half dozen.

Monday 10th June

River Earn  10.30pm - 1.30am

I fished the Cement Dyke, above the Coup. The river is still running a bit high, with rain continuing on and off. One or two sea trout moved but I had no offers. The rune into the pool at the cement dyke looks promising. I will try it again in lower water. The Earn really hasn't settled at all with frequent rain combined with generation water. There should be a fair number of sea trout in the river by now and I am hopeful of some success when the river drops and settles.

Thursday 13th June

River Allan  11.15pm - 12.30am

1 sea trout

There is an anticyclone lying over the UK, with settled conditions set to last through the weekend. Daytime temperatures of around 20C but dropping sharply at night, e.g. temperature of 7C forecast for tonight. I fished the Narrows. At 11.15pm it was still not really dark enough but there was some fish activity, mainly trout but I hoped there were a few sea trout among them. I began with a small black Pennell on the dropper with a size 8 Ginger Pearl on the tail. I missed an offer on the first cast and on the second hooked a beauty which was all over the pool causing a great disturbance. I eventually netted it in the pool below, a beautiful, perfectly proportioned hen sea trout of 2lbs 9 oz. What a fight on the 10 ft Light Line rod and DT5F line with 5 lb leader. I wasn't sure that the sea trout would settle after all this disturbance, but I did have another take about twenty minutes later, a fish about the same size as the first but it was only on briefly before throwing the hook. The air temperature dropped sharply, as it was a clear and calm night. Things went quiet and I gave up at 12.30am.

Sunday 16th June

River Earn   11.30pm - 2am

1 sea trout

Hamish was fishing the the run above the Cement Dyke when I arrived so I went in above him. We both missed fish on that first run down. I was left on my own for the second run down, when I hooked a lovely sea trout of 2 1/2 lbs, which I netted after a lively fight, the fish coming out of the water three or four times. It had a taken a size 8 Ginger Pearl. This was at 1am. It was a lovely night, calm with some high cloud and temperatures no lower than 10C. The river had dropped over the last few days and was now running at a perfect night height. I had one or two more half-hearted offers and gave up at 2am.

to be continued ...


next page

Book - Sea Trout Nights



 Salmon Spinhead






Grays of Kilsyth

Salmon Flies

Trout Flies

Fly Fishing Knots

Sea Trout Fishing

Sea Trout Flies

Tube Flies

The Tube Fly Shop


 Slim stainless steel salmon and sea trout flies
HMH Tube Fly Tool





fishing diary 1986 ] fishing diary 1987 ] fishing diary 1988 ] fishing diary 1989 ] fishing diary 1990 ] fishing diary 1991 ] fishing diary 1992 ] fishing diary 1993 ] fishing diary 1994 ] fishing diary 1995 ] [ fishing diary 1996 ]

Trout and Salmon Fishing