Helmsdale opening 2014 very close

Ronald Sutherland

See the latest river preview here -  


The Helmsdale Fishing season 2014 will be officially opened by Ruth Dudgeon on January 11th. Ruth is a keen angler and is no stranger when it comes to landing salmon. The Opening ceremony will begin at 9.30 and will end with the first cast performed from just above the Telford Bridge in the village. There will be bacon rolls on the go from various outlets and you should sign in at the tackle shop for your free fishing permit. This year we will have 1 full week of free fishing from Opening day until Saturday 18th. The long range weather forecast is very favourable for an open and ice free river so prospects of a January springer should be good. As usual we have the Bridge Hotel trophy, Clynelish whiskey and RS flies up for grabs but as an added bonus this year Loop Tackle are sponsoring the event and a state of the art Loop Colour Concept salmon reel is also part of the prize.  If you are lucky enough to hook and land one of these superb early running fish the ASFB ( Association of Salmon Fishery Boards ) have recently recommended in a press release that all salmon in Scotland  should be safely returned to rivers up until May 15th. I have not heard anything from the Helmsdale Board yet supporting this so we still have our traditional choice here whereby you can either keep the first one or make sure someone gets a few good pictures on release for verification. Please remember that it is still Board policy that all fish over 12lbs must be returned. We look forward to seeing a great turn out.

Check out last years opening day action here -


Opening day forecast

The forecast for opening day is looking very favourable. There is no frost to speak of for the next 2 weeks and the weather will still be relatively mild with a West to South West airflow generally. Water levels will be good as there are regular bands of rain predicted to move in so I would say looking at the week leading up to Opening day we will have a generally unsettled fairly wet spell with a river height of around 2 - 3ft on Opening day.

For the best chance of some action, Full Sinking lines or heavy sink tips will be best. Large Copper, tungsten or conehead tubes with wing length 2 - 4" long will fish well, if you are fishing Monkey flies up to 6" long. We have lots of perfect flies right here to purchase on-line and will have our usual lethal grand display in the Tackle shop.

Christmas Bonus

As a Christmas bonus we have also opened up the fishing report by separating it from our new Club Helmsdale members area – please login here using your previous login & password or simply set up a new one -

If you want to see our BEST NEW FLY DESIGN FOR 2014 please check out ( if you are a mamber ) or join Club Helmsdale here –

The new fly is an absolute stunner and a very significant tube tied with tradition, modern expression and a proven pedigree.

By joining Club Helmsdale you will have full access to all the latest river Helmsdale gossip in our local Angling Forum and access to our very popular fly BOGOFs, latest hot new fly patterns designed by Ron and members tackle offers. We almost have a quarterly fly "bogof" for full members so you get your subscription fee back very quickly, its our way of saying thank you for being a loyal customer. We could issue a loyalty card etc but its more fun this way and everyone has the option of having a go on our Helmsdale river Forum and being part of all the insider information on the river. You can discuss any river Helmsdale issues and also upload your fishy photos, tell us your favourite flies, pools etc. Take a look and join in, its easy to communicate these days!

ASFB Statement on Spring Conservation 2014

It is widely recognised that mixed stock fisheries present particular difficulties for management and species conservation, and on that basis District Salmon Fishery Boards (DSFBs) must implement conservation action during any period that stock analysis indicates that management intervention to protect stocks from inappropriate levels of exploitation is necessary.

The Scottish Government has announced a major review of fisheries management in Scotland and the Minister for Environment and Climate Change specifically indicated that the management of coastal netting would be considered as part of that review. ASFB welcome this undertaking and hope that issues of salmon conservation, financial contribution to management and management of close times are fully resolved. On the issue of dormant netting stations coming back into use, we we would wish to ensure that de-commissioned sites remain de-commissioned.

Numbers of returning adults are so low that some spring stocks are close to, or below, being self-sustaining; the earliest running fish are the most vulnerable part of this stock component. It is a well-established management principle that breeding fish should not be killed where a stock is threatened or vulnerable. On that basis it is the ASFB position that no fish should be killed before the 15th May. Over recent years very high levels of catch and release have been achieved during the spring, largely through voluntary policies and we would encourage all DSFBs to ensure that their conservation policies reflect this position. ASFB would also urge all netting interests to engage with their local DSFB to work together to develop and implement local agreements continuing the significant support that has been shown by both netsmen and anglers to protect vulnerable early stock components.



Spawning fish vids & Christmas fly selection

Ronald Sutherland

We have loads of neat fishing gifts in our fishing gifts for men and ladies categories on-line and there is a fab new fly selection for a stocking filler here - Hot new flies for 2014, simply click the link to purchase. Better still just buy a new rod for your loved one and we will throw in any line of your choice and a fly selection, that's a great deal! we also have an RS Top Ten Spring Killers available right here for a great christmas gift -

We also have a great new salmon category full of cutting edge Fulling Mill salmon flies all for only £2.99 or less, we think they are great value for money, check them out here

A sample of our worldwide deadly Feeler flies showing one of the best below, the Willie Gunn.

Feeler Willie Gunn

The report on Diffuse pollution has sat here for long enough, I have had a huge amount of positive feedback on this issue from all around the UK by email and from a few quality posts on the Forum, everybody seems to get the point!  Now we need to act upon it and start to redress the balance and quality of habitat along the river. I will also embed the whole report in the relevant Forum thread.

The Helmsdale Angling Club "Helmsdale Anglers" are now on Facebook as well as on the Forum here, the more platforms the better to keep anglers in touch. Almost everyone is on Facebook these days and it is now arguably the best medium for exchanging news, views and photos for groups.

We have hundreds of members registered with Club Helmsdale now but not many use the Forum unfortunately. The reason for this is mysterious, it is an open platform where people with a common cause can chat and exchange pics about their favourite river. It should be easy to sign up for the Forum, just register a username ( any name ) and take part, then is should be simple to sign in each time you have something to say or picture to add, it all adds to the content and keeps us talking about the great river we have here. If you don't use it you will loose it and the fishing report will cease to exist. Please let me know if you are having trouble accessing the Forum and I will look into it.

We are well into spawning season now and I recently had a walk along the banks of the highest tributarty on the Helmsdale catchment, the Rimsdale burn. To arrive at this far out destination the salmon must navigate the whole length of the river then cruise through 3 lochs to reach the tiny burn at the very end of the system. I do not know how they manage to find their birthplace in this case but as you can see from the clips, remarkably they do.

Spawning salmon below the road bridge

A salmon kelt begins the long journey back to the sea.

We will start cranking up the report soon as the new season fast approaches with more videos and SuperHot new flies.

Incidentally the first two weeks in March are up for grabs on Kildonan estate w/c March 3rd & 10th