Opening days

Ronald Sutherland

The Helmsdale river flew into action once again with the usual good show of anglers for the free fishing, unfortunately no fresh run fish were landed on the Friday or Saturday. The river was low running at around 5" and kelts were few and far between, temperatures were also unseasonably high, it was not what you would expect in early January.

The river has risen considerably since opening day and hopes will be much higher for the week ahead. If there are any spring salmon in the area then they will be crusing into the river as we speak.

Martin Grant launched the first cast and was piped in by April Sutherland ( my daughter smiley) from the Sutherland Schools pipe band. A great day was had by all and business was brisk in the village in general from the amazing seafood platters on offer to the delights of Ice & Fire Gin tasting at Glencoast, there will be a few sore heads and tales of the one that got away but the real game starts this week as the river will be in superb condition after the heavy rain.

Get the big flies and sinking tips and lines out, don't mess around too near the surface even though it is still on the mild side, temps are set to plummet and you need to get the fly down deep to seek out that priceless January springer.

My top 3 flies for early salmon

Willie Gunn is hard to beat, these cracking 1.5" double hook Waddingtons are superb as they are a mix of the legendary Waddington weight and the gold body Willie Gunn

The RS Solar Monkey is also in my top 3 for pure success. Black & yellow is hugely popular in the spring, add the super effective Monkey profile, Jungle Cock, a conehead to balance profile and RS innovation in the form of our deadly Solar flanks and you have one "Bad Ass" salmon fly that has proved its worth many times.

Then there is the RS TigerTail Alistair, This fly has a huge folllwing now and continues to fish well all over the Northern hemisphere let alone the Helmsdale. It has caught everything from opening day springers in Scotland to Baltic salmon and 25lbs TDF Seatrout! A true heavyweitht design from Ron which just keeps catching and we now have them available in tungsten and copper down to an amazing 1/4" tube.

Tight lines, get out on the water if you can with these 3 flies and you will have totally maximised your chances.



Opening day and competition

Ronald Sutherland

We are running a competition from today (30/12/18). Last season one of our flies really stood out from the rest, if you are first to name it you will win a dozen in a selection of sizes. It's worth the guess as you will catch fish on it next season for sure. Email or answer on our latest facebook post to win. Naked Kinermony wins...Allan Marandola was first and wins 12 & Mark Elder wins 6. you can buy them here -

Photo by Alan Bithel

In less than 2 weeks (Jan 11th) the stunning river Helmsdale (above) once again opens for business and ex Ghillie Martin Grant will have the honour of casting the first fly. Tickets for the annual free fishing will be available from "Glencoast" on the Main st. Yvonne Grant (my niece) is the new business owner which she runs from a re-vamped old tackle shop location. Glencoast specialise in gifts and Gins and also have a range of fishing tackle and clothing, they are hosting a Gin tasting on the day from 3 - 5 so don't miss that either or the opening day! On a personal note, Yvonne worked in the tackle shop with me for many years and she knows the angling scene very well and her outgoing personality and knowlege will make sure the business is a great success, also, her father is the legendary salmon angler Andy Sutherland... I wish her all the best for a great river opening.

Proceedings will emanate from the Belgrave Arms hotel as usual with the Sutherland Schools pipe band marching "up the street" and entertaining the gathering, Sir Michael Wigan will say a few words and then the fishing action will begin in ernest.

The extra mild winter is sure to have enticed a few early runners so sharpen your hooks and get stuck in. Tactically if the river is on the low side at (6" - 1ft 6) then you need to get up to beat 6 and fish the waters immediately below the Kildonan falls as thats where salmon will stop until water temps roughly pass 40 degrees. If the river is high (2ft+) its still beat 6 but your best chance is the tail of the Manse (North bank) or tail of Church Streams (South bank) if no fish are caught on beat 6 on the first few days you should concentrate on the deep pools of the lower beats 1 & 2 just above the village.

At Helmsdale Co online we have all the deadly flies as you might expect, our tubeflies have caught most first fish in recent times so we all know they work. Personally I have been lucky enough to have caught a few January salmon and I would not look past our RS Willie Gunn Special. Many years ago I looked at the famous Willie Gunn pattern and decided it needed modernising slightly and I knew I could improve my favourite pattern. I did, and caught more springers than ever and once we popped it online for sale it became a huge fave for many fishing in the UK and abroad. Then The massively successful summer Alistair tube got the same treatment, I added a new TigerTail to the design and it immediately caught the first fish on the river, and on many others! We have all the gear, we are the specialists through experience.

Tight lines to all, have a fantastic prosperous healthy and big fish New Year!

Our deadly RS Black & yellow TigerTails (below) are back in stock in 4 sizes down to an incredible tiny 1/4" coppertube and you can buy them right here now -

Check out this totally new stunner also, another New Collection killer from Ron, you cannot buy these anywhere else unless you stock them! The RS Willie Gunn FireTail on a Gold Patriot double. We think these are going to be very big sellers as our Solar range are already hugely popular, read more and buy here -

Check out these great new tubefly boxes, we have plenty in stock. They have fully adjustable partitions which you can scale to any length or size of fly. Keep all your hooks and extensions in them also. Buy here -



Last minute accessories

Ronald Sutherland

The close season is flying in and we are only a matter of days before Christmas and just a few weeks before the opening of many salmon rivers.

We have loads of last minute accessories and fly selections for Christmas gifts, grab some of them and you still have plenty time for a Christmas delivery.

Our most popular accessory is the Helmsdale lanyard and retractable hook sharpener (below) and we have fabulous new collection flies in our Christmas fly selections.

You can also call us up and arrange any type of fly selection you want, we make tham up quickly and get them off in the post immediately.

Helmsdale lanyard and hook sharpener

and open

Our big Black Friday deal is on and will run until midnight Cyber Monday. Please put "BOGOF" in the comments section when taking advantage of this great offer. Start shopping for the best flies money can buy right here -

We have everything you need to make a salmon angler happy at Christmas, snap up flies or fly selections in our deals and add an accessory or two like our new Helmsdale lanyard or hook sharpner, both go perfectly together. Gaelforce and Loop lines are the dream combos for casting and if you match them up with the new Loop Q series salmon rods (starting at less than £300) you have a force to be reconed with that will not break the bank.

Of-course, you can order the ultimate salmon Loop Cross or Gaelforce rod to really spoil someone....

Below are some of our most popular new flies to whet your apetite.

RS Blue Ass Willie Gunn - this fly has everything for spring salmon fishing.

RS Spring Cascade Conehead - the best looking fly we have ever designed for salmon and in 4 size options.

One of our new concept Solar flies of which there are many, try them next season, they are deadly! Cascade Firetail



Get something new for next season

Ronald Sutherland

It may be only 10 weeks until Christmas but that means its only 12 weeks before the rivers in the North re-open!!

That famous Christmas quote " I don't know what to get him/her, they have everything" well why don't you grab something they need this christmas for theit fave hobby - fishing! Guys and girls dont have all the gear, there are superslick new salmon lines from Loop & Gaelforce which any angler will be delighted to receive instead of slippers and a selection box! We have PROPER Selection boxes for anglers right here -


and here -

Salmon lines to die for....The new Loop SDS Tactical integrated shooting head -

Gaelforce salmon lines -

Christmas Special Selection boxes packed full of our superb new collection flies -

All really easy to order and we can also make up any selection or selection of products for you, just contact Ron via email.