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Ronan's report

Sunday July 24th 2011

I caught a wild brown trout last week from Loch Leven, and very nice it was too, especially as it didn't come off before the net.

It was my first brown trout from the loch. But possibly, not my first Loch Leven brownie. Let me explain.

Loch Leven has always had brownies in it, it seems there was a thriving net fishery on the loch up to the 19th century. The 20th century saw rod angling take over and very popular it was too. Leven brownies were legendary and were even given their own distinctive scientific classification: Some bloke called Yarrell took it upon himself to name them Salmo Levenensis. Alas this name didn't stick and we're now back to plain old Salmo Trutta, which seems a shame.

I think it was that extra syllable, Leven-en-sis, which did for him. Levensis would have been much more graceful and easier to say.

Name changes notwithstanding, old Levenensis has got about a bit. There was a considerable demand for Leven's brownies in the late 19th and early 20th century, and ova were exported around the globe. New Zealand, Canada, possibly Chile, and the US all received Leven ova at some time or other.

The Yellowstone National Park definitely got some. Between 1889 and 1914 over seventeen thousand Levenensis trout were stocked along with nine thousand plain vanilla brown trout.

I fished around Yellowstone a few years ago. I caught some rainbows, some cutthroat, and yes I did get some brownies. I've also caught brownies in New Zealand.

So, I've pretty much circumnavigated the globe to catch a fish that started out 40 miles up the road. Some of you may think it a fool's errand, all those air miles, all that money spent.

Me? I'm thinking I need to tick off Levenensis in Canada. Possibly Chile too.


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