“Venues like Lochnaw Castle don’t emerge on to the fishing scene very often. They are the (angling) equivalent of rooting through the loft and blowing the dust off a long lost Van Gogh masterpiece. But what this marvellous Fishery does prove is that, in this great, if crowded land, there are a few nuggets of angling gold waiting to be discovered. And, it has to be said, there probably aren’t many venues that will be any better than Lochnaw Castle Loch – the new and undisputed champion of British roach fishing”.
Editor, IYCF Magazine 2012
Lochnaw Loch is an extremely healthy 48 acre spring fed water that hosts an abundance of rich aquatic life. Fringed by beds of lily pads, bistort, flag iris and bog bean amid thick woodland and rhododendron, there are few more spectacular spots to cast a line. Being of originally artificial construction the loch is relatively shallow and the bottom varies from solid rock and sand, as befits the winstone and sandstone seams on which it sits, to thick silt and fine gravel. The ‘whiskey tinged’ water holds a huge variety of diptera, caddis, chironomids, bloodworm, shrimp and mussels providing a rich larder for its’ residents.
Lochnaw was renowned from Georgian through to Edwardian times for having a fine trout fishery, principally because of the quality of it’s hard fighting Loch Leven strain brown trout. In latter years, the Leven strain was supplemented and then dominated by native Galloway brownies but a small breeding population of ‘originals’ remain. Because of the plethora of hatches and relatively low trout stock density fly fishing can be quite exacting but the loch holds specimens to almost double figures, the biggest of which seem to be principally ‘ferox’ in nature, predating on the shoals of fry and small silver fish that reside in the loch. However, in the last decade the loch has come to national prominence for the size and quality of its’ population of roach. Roach aren’t a native species to this area of Scotland but may have been introduced accidentally by travelling pike anglers fishing neighbouring waters using small silvers as live baits. With no pike in Lochnaw Loch and being so food rich, the roach prospered. When the modern Fishery first opened in 2012 many of the nation’s finest anglers flocked to its’ shores to target the big roach. Having flourished through years of neglect from anglers, hundreds of specimen roach were caught over the next few year’s tripped up, undoubtedly, by their naïveté to modern coarse fishing tactics. However, as the wily old fish seemed to learn from their mistakes and adjust their feeding bahaviour accordingly, specimen roach captures are now much more difficult to come by but, with determination, skill and good fortune, still eminently achievable. The loch has been largely rested since spring 2018 whilst major woodland and garden works have been undertaken around the loch so it will be interesting what the fishing gods throw up in the near future when fishing recommences on the loch.
Prospective anglers have the use of a dedicated fishing lodge barely a 100 yard stroll from the lochside. Angling bookings are made on a week by week basis for a maximum of four anglers at a time. Day ticket fishing is not available.