Best week

Ronald Sutherland

This week I will just let the pictures do the talking as all rods seemed to catch. 16 fish were landed from what I heard taking the total for the season to an encouraging 30. Pete Daniels got the week of to a good start with an early fish from the Manse pool beat 6 on one of out 1" Tungsten willie Gunn Specials. Andrew Thomas and Gavin Perry from Wales worked hard on Achentoul rods to land 4 gleaming rewards (2 each) on Monkeys and Willie Gunn tds. Borrobol Ghillie Glen Macdonald also had a good week with the highlight being a thumping 20/21 pounder from Kilphedir pool once again on a Monkey, Glen had another 2 later in the week on beats 6 & 5. Pano Constantinedes saved the blank for Badanloch rods on Saturday late on with an 8 pounder from Lower Torrish.

Robert Mackay also dusted down his gear and had a couple of fish for his week from Clay bank and Kilphedir pool. The Association water missed out but very few rods were on. The tides are good for the week ahead through the morning and with the water levels heading for the low side there is a super chance of a fish on this stretch.

There will be no report next week unfortunately as I will be abroad....but I may be able to keep you informed via the Helmsdale anglers facebook page as news filters in, ask to join on facebook if you want to catch that feed.

I attended at the Atlantic Salmon Trust roadshow in Lairg Community centre last week. Director Tony Andrews talked us through a very informative and eye opening evening which was well attended by around 60 people from all over the North. This organisation really has its finger on the pulse of every move the salmon makes. if you can support it in any way, please do as they are organising some incredible projects for further study on salmon at sea. Approx 95% of salmon smolts entering the sea are not returning to their home rivers - we really need to try and find out why!

Andrew Thomas with a little cracker late on Saturday from Kilphedir at 8lbs

A 14 pound stunner from Clay Bank, Andrews first of the week.

Gavin Perry with his second fin perfect springer at 10lbs from Woody Pool beat 3

Glen Macdonald with a nice one from Church streams beat 6


And his 20 pound clonker from Kilphedir

The deadly RS Willie Gunn TD.



8 fish off last week

Ronald Sutherland

8 fish were reported last week but surprisingly nothing has yet been caught above beat 3. A mild week in general got off to a great start for John Sweetman fishing Badanloch rods when he landed 2 springers in his first hour on the river. Starting his week half way down Kilphedir pool, he quickly had ghillie Alex Fraser scrambling for the net on tide fresh fish of 7 and 10lbs, one of our Conehead Monkeys doing the damage. Upper Torrish pool on beat 3 then produced a brace for Martin Grant and Glen MacDonald on consecutive days with Martin scoring again the following day on beat 2 tail of the Park. All the classic big spring pools were fishing beautifully at around 1ft 9 and full intermediates and sinking tips were swinging round in perfect fashion with anticipation on every cast.

John Sweetman fishing Lower Caen pool beat 1 in grand order

People will be getting fed up with me harping on about the rodding situation on the river, but I make no apologies for once again stating that whilst personally fishing one rod on beats 3, 2, & 1 last week, 2 rods hardly scratched the surface trying to cover these majestic stretches of water. At an average spring height of between 1 - 2ft these beats are quality 3 rod beats all day long. The point I keep trying to get across is that no fish will be harmed due to any extra rodding or fishing pressure under a catch & release system (which will probably soon be enforced on us all via the Scottish Government Fishery review recommendations).

One of many extensive spring pools on the lower Helmsdale. The Viaduct pool on beat 1 fully 500yds long

Upper Torrish beat 3 where 2 fish were caught last week.

The Helmsdale river Forum has exploded into action over the last 3 weeks with a surge in users and constructive debate on this exact subject and others so drop in and check out the inside track. Simply sign in automatically using an email and username of your choice, it's all done in the best possible taste...

Moving on. The next fish off was caught by yours truly on a flying run rough the Association water Flat pool whilst en route to fish beat 2. A quick scan of the area showed that the pool was vacant and in tip top condition, a new fly was trialled and 30 minutes later a sparkling sea liced 12 pounder was in the bag. A Blue Ass Willie Gunn copper tube was christened in record time and this was the first fish off the Association water! I was then off to beat 2 where Corrie Cormack had also been into his first fish of the season in the Private pool. Number 8 for the week and 14 for the season was caught by Donald Sutherland in the Kilphedir pool. Unfortunately Saturday dawned with a river rising fast and the day soon became a washout.

The deadly new fly

12 pounder securely in the net for release and Blue Ass WG tubefly showing up nicely!

Prospects for the week ahead are good and I would fully expect a fish or two from beat 6 due to the very mild weekend temperatures. Tickets are available for the Association water on a daily basis for only £25 per rod per day and as you can see, chances are very good as there are obviously some cracking springers entering ther system. You can also still take advantage of our buy 3 get 1 free on all flies so stock up and tell your friends too.

In a round up of other Northern rivers - The Brora river finally got off tha mark last week when Duncan Shelly Tain landed the first fish of the season from Rallan pool and I heard that the Thurso also produced its first fish at the end of last week. The Naver river is catching much the same as the Helmsdale.

Duncan Shelly proudly shows off his Brora first fish of the season at 11lbs



6 fish off & Auction result

Ronald Sutherland

The River eased up to 6 fish in the book last week. In an unsettled week with copious amounts of water Borrobol ghillie Glen Macdonald got the ball rolling with a super 15 pounder yet again from Salscraggie. A large Monkey tube fished deep and square on a full Carron Jetstream did the trick just below the burn. It was Friday before another fish appeared and it was a carbon copy 15 pounder, this time from George Maclean in Kilphedir pool. Achentoul rods then ended the week on a high with fine sea liced 12 pounder from the Park pool beat 2.
Heavy rain has set up the week ahead and with all rods let and a full complement of ghillies back in action we should see a few more fish off....
Don't forget we are still on a buy 3 get 1 free on all flies so stock up when you have the chance!

A gleaming 15 pounder from George Maclean

The big Auction event, race night and dance took place on Saturday night and the winning bids for the fishing lots were as follows.

Lot 1 £780,

lot 2 £200,
Lot 3 £130 1 ticket, £150 2 tickets,
Lot 4 £35
Lot 5 £60,
Lot 6 £125,
Lot 7 £150,
Lot 8 ££100

Approx £7500 was raised on the night (and still growing ) and on behalf of the Archie Foundation Dawn Cowie would like to thank everyone who bid for lots, donated prizes, and helped organise for this very worthwhile cause, Thank you very much indeed for all your kindness, a fantastic effort.