James visited the Wellsfield Trout Fishery in Stirling where he landed four hard fighting Rainbow trout, but not without changing his tactics once or twice.
Wellsfield Fishery on the outskirts of Denny is as picturesque a fishery as they come, set within the confines of Wellsfield Farm Activity Park and overlooking the Ochil Hills. The hills in the distance were glinting in the morning sun when I arrived but the overcast conditions across the fishery and the mild temperatures were just what Id hoped for.
Wellsfield is very well maintained water with a reputation for churning out some large Rainbows. It held the Scottish record for several years with a Bow weighing in at just over 30lb and the catch book and photographs inside the fishery lodge showed many rainbows of the 20lb plus range. The largest rainbow I personally bagged in my time fishing was a 9½ pounder, which put up a decent fight for about 2 minutes then quickly tired and was brought to the net like a dead weight. I was pleased at the time to have a fine looking trout but was hoping that today would bring at least some good sport and good fighting fish as opposed to some big lumps like in the photo albums on display.
Firstly though I would have to get fishing and see if I could get into the action, so I set up with a cast of buzzers with a gold head buzzer on the point to keep the pattern down a few feet in the water, which at its deepest was about 20 feet. It was just before 8am and the water was abundant with ripples of rising fish and there was plenty of fly life across the water so conditions boded well for a good day.
The fishery consists of 3 lochans, one of about 3 acres which is mainly used by the bait fishers, and another 2 waters of around 5 acres each for fly fishing only. I started off fishing on the bottom lochan next to the lodge but after three or four casts I kept catching weeds on the retrieve. It was much to my annoyance that I had to keep cleaning the cast of weeds that I shifted over to a suspended buzzer on the point to keep the pattern higher in the water just below the surface.
After a while I moved up to the top lochan, which seemed much less weedy and more popular with the anglers as there was now very few left on the bottom water. After a few casts I hit into a fish, it had taken the dropper, a black and green epoxy buzzer.. I was fishing a slow retrieve and the take was quite a jolt. The fish went on a few mazy runs and kept its head well down in the water keeping me on my toes and working for the catch. This was a good a fighting fish as I’d had for a while and after a few minutes I got a nice trout of roughly 3 pounds to the net.
I changed over from the suspended buzzer soon after and wasn’t long till I was into another, this time on a size 14 Hare’s Ear hot head on the point. There were recommendations going round the water that they were taking damsel hot heads and many were catching fish as I kept an eye around the place, but with no damsels in my box I opted for the hare’s ear version..seemed the trout must be taking a fancy to the hot head beads. I managed to bag another one just before lunchtime, another nice trout of around 3 pound which was very active in the water and went aerial several times before tiring and coming to then net. My rod and forearm were certainly putting in a shift to land these trout.
It all went a bit dour and quiet as I pushed on fishing into the afternoon and the fish weren’t moving visibly as much as they were and not many were getting into fish now. I started trying out many different flies, going through my box putting on daiwl bachs, hoppers, dry’s, emergers and even fritz lures, nomads and dancers fishing at various depths and in different areas.
An hour before my 8 hour permit elapsed I finally got a tug at a Yellow Dancer gold head, and struck hard into the fish as it made tracks out into the middle of the water. This seemed a very strong fish and made me wonder if one of the big rainbows similar to the photographs had snatched onto my lure. I slowly managed to tease it back towards the bank and keeping the line tight and the rod tension working away, the fish tired after about 5 minutes and I brought it nicely to the net to claim my fourth and final fish of the day
The final fish weighed in at about 3½ pounds giving me a bag of about 13 pounds for the four rainbows all of which had gave me a feisty fight and a memorable aerial show from one of them. One day I will be back at Wellsfield and will no doubt try out some other big fish waters, and maybe I will sample what its like to strike into a monster fish and hopefully land it, but I would take a bag of hard fighters like the lot I got any day of the week.
Visit the fishery online at http://www.touristholidays.demon.co.uk/troutfishery.html