I suppose its human nature to assume that the best is yet to come. After almost 40 years of fishing some of the country's finest wild trout fisheries, I've had some phenomenal fishing, and I must admit I wouldn't mind another 40. But the small chironomid in the ointment is that I may have already had my perfect dream day. Twenty-odd years ago my father and I set out from Kirkwall to fish the Swannay loch one foggy morning in May. We had our doubts about the fitness of the weather as the visibility was poor and there was little if any wind. Our expectation of sport was even lower than the air temperature.
As we pushed the boat off the shore I remember thinking, with a tinge of the undying optimism that afflicts all anglers, that the cloud base was lifting and the chill wasn't quite as penetrating as it had been when we left home. In difficult conditions fishermen hold onto and nurture these small silver linings which drop from passing clouds. It was still glassy calm with not a single sign of trout activity disturbing the small amount of water we could see, but that wouldn't stop us betting against the odds.
The following article has been very kindly written for us by the late Graham Priestley. Graham for anyone who did not know him, worked in conjunction with the Water of Leith Conservation Trust who do sterling work on the river. He was the high Bailiff for the last 14 years and knew every inch of the river.
An author on the subject his books "Angling in the Lothians" have been very popular over the years going to 5 editions. He informs me that they are no longer in print which is a shame as it was a very informative source of information on a wide variety of fishing in the area,so if you have a copy all the better!
A keen fly tying enthusiast who likes to pass on his knowledge through evening classes details of which are at the end of the article. I know several people who have learned to "Roll their own" as Graham likes to put it and all said they enjoyed the evenings very much. My thanks to Graham for taking the time to provide us with some fantastic information on our little river. He will be sorely missed. I hope you all enjoy it.
Few British cities offer citizens and visitors stream fishing for brown trout, but Edinburgh's Water of Leith passes just half a mile north of the shoppers on Princes Street. Small boys armed with a few worms from the garden or a tin of sweetcorn from the corner shop can be as happy, and sometimes as successful, as grey bearded veterans delicately whisking a size 20 dry fly over a dimpling rise.