Bowden Springs was first built in 1910. Known then as "Carribber Reservoir", it supplied domestic water to Bo'ness and the surrounding district.The upper and lower reservoirs were separated by an earth dam, and, as was common practice at the time, both basins were lined with stone. Maximum depth of both basins is about 9 feet, although the lower basin, Carribber Spring, now has a much lower mean water level than when it was first filled.
Both basins are spring fed, draining from the hills around Torphichen to the south.
Changes in water usage and abstraction patterns led to the reservoir becoming redundant in 1965, from which time it has been operated as a popular trout fishery, notable for the fact that it is one of the few local fisheries that allow the fishing for trout with bait as well as fly.
The prevailing wind at the fishery is from the West, so although both waters fish well in all areas, on windier days.
Bowden Loch is about 2 acres in area, and can see the approximate depths of each part of the loch by moving your mouse pointer over the aerial view.
This loch is fly only, and can be fished with both imitative and lure patterns.
There is an excellent range of invertebrates in the loch, including Caddis, Damsels and buzzers, as well a a healthy population of Sticklebacks!
At the South end of the loch there are two spring fed streams entering at each corner - these often prove to be popular spots for fish to feed on items being washed into the loch from the streams, although fish also regularly patrol the perimeter of the loch, often seen rising in the margins on warmer days when there are plenty of hatching nymphs or buzzers about.
The loch has a total area of about 5 acres, and you can see the approximate depths, in feet, by rolling the mouse pointer over the aerial view above.
A paved path surrounds part of the loch, and there are a number of casting platforms arranged at strategic points along the lochside, affording improved access to the deeper water in the centre of the loch, and creating better space for back-casting for those using a fly rod. A limited number of boats are also available to fly fishers.
Carriber Loch is unusual in that it is also possible to use bait methods to fish for trout here. Popular methods include free-lining and float fishing with traditional freshwater baits such as worm or maggot, although synthetic baits are now becoming more popular among bait fishers.
The loch carries a head of native Brown Trout, which breed in the feeder streams, but this population is supplemented by regular stocking with Brown, Blue and Rainbow trout. There is no Catch and Release available on Carribber Loch.