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Ronan's report

Sunday June 4th, 2006

If you ask me, if there's really a god up there watching over things, he wouldn't have allowed Loch Leven to go belly up. You remember Loch Leven, don't you? It's in Scotland. Probably the world's most famous trout water. Where most of the brown trout introduced all over the world came from, planted by enthusiastic and indefatigable fly fishers back in the 19th century. The Loch Leven trout was considered the perfect trout by aficionados of that kind of thing, the ideal variety for introduction into New Zealand, New York, California, Montana, Alberta, Argentina, Chile and many other places where brownies are now considered 'natural' and highly prized.

Well, after almost 200 years, the legendary loch that produced the perfect fly-fishing quarry is finished as a trout water. Phosphate pollution and neglect, as well as a misguided attitude toward the protection of an enormous and burgeoning inland population of cormorants have made the management of the loch as a trout fishery impossible - or so say its owners (in the UK and much of Europe, you can 'own' a natural resource like a river or loch and do pretty much what you like with it, as long as you don't upset the birdwatchers. It's a feudal thing. Don't ask). Anyway, after a cynical attempt to turn it into a commercially viable rainbow trout water by stocking it with 30,000 triploid rainbows each season failed miserably, the owners have decided that, after all, Loch Leven is maybe better suited to jet skis. The famous fleet of wooden row boats will be burnt, apparently.

Predictably, anglers suckered for the triploid rainbow scam like fish farm stockies for Powerbait. To put it in perspective, that's basically like falling in love with a porn star . You know it's going to end in tears. But, even the sterile rainbows, sturdy and willing as they are, couldn't cope with the loch's ruined ecology. The people who will spend their Sundays wind surfing and blasting around the loch at 30 mph won't give a hoot whether the place is populated by trout or sludge worms. The twitchers (bird watchers) won't even twitch - it's just fish, after all - although the food supply for the 400 local cormorants will be of concern for a while, since the birds require an estimated 80,000 pounds of trout each season. But I'm sure once the cormorants have starved, or moved on (just where to is a problem - the birds apparently moved inland due to the lack of fish at sea in the first place) - things will settle down. From now on, the whine of the jet ski will be the only thing disturbing the peace on old Loch Leven.


Pic Of Day The Magnificent

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