Two superb weeks on the Helmsdale have been followed by the best yet and a record score for Kildonan rods. Kildonan Ghille Martin Grant informed me around 6 weeks ago that this week past was available on his rods, I put out a few feelers and the rods were duly snapped up by Mr Ian Muir. There is always a risk when you book fishing on any river at any time - conditions can be good, bad or otherwise, well this week the Muir party found out what is like to hit it just right.

Very stormy weather on Monday and Tuesday made fishing difficult for most but Kildonan rods picked up a remarkable 18 fish on beats 2 & 1. Conditions improved on Wednesday and all rods took advantage of the great water and lots of fish. By Friday evening Kildonan had amassed an incredible record breaking total of 42 fish. Most other rods were experiencing numbers in the teens or 20s by this time, very respectable fishing indeed. No large fish were reported and strangely many were without sea-lice. The week ended with over 150 at least.

The Association water did not completely miss out and after a hard working week there were 10 recorded - even I managed to get in on the act with 2 evening fish from the Flat pool and Alistair Jappy out manouvered his brother William this week with 2 also from the Flat pool. Saturday produced 3, one of which was a first fish of the season for local water bailiff Malcolm Bromley. Availability is still good on this water, book through the tackle shop, for details call 01431821372.

A 3" Black & yellow Monkey took my second fish of the week but the first came to a large black & yellow Monkey style feeler tube fly at 9pm on Wednesday evening. water levels were high all week so 1" - 3" tubes were working well.

Black & yellow Feeler fly firmly embedded in my 10 pounder.

Feeler tube


With the fine river conditions and good chance of a fish I had the female team out this week for a cast - Wife Karen & youngest daughter April, they won't thank me for showing pictures but as we need more ladies in the sport I thought I would publish anyway! Both are looking for that elusive first fish!! I also decided to invent a fly which took inspiration from an old chewed up double I was given by top Brora ghillie Donald Cameron who told me it was deadly...needless to say i copied and tweaked and came up with the new "Kazcade double", named after the wife. I think it looks deadly...let me know what you think of it in the comments section. ( fly below )

Rainbow krystalflash, grey squirrel, black body twice as thick as normal, jungle cock and a blue hint in the tail

Kazcade double

Daughter April enjoying a cast.

Daughter April fishing the Helmsdale

Wife Karen concentrating hard on the Helmsdale.

Wife Karen on the Helmsdale

More big news - we are starting a " Buy one get one free" BOGOF on all available flies from tomorrow. We only have 2 per season so this is another great chance to really stock up for your summer and autumn fly fishing, please put "BOGOF" in the comments section when ordering on-line. Destination selection boxes are not included.

On an other note, we have been lucky enough to take delivery of the new Alta ( by special invitation) DVD featuring Paul Young and Vanya Hackel. Set on the fabled river Alta, Paul & Vanya go fishing and give an amazing insight into life on this legendary river which produces countless 50lbs+ salmon each season. Superb viewing! be first to get one of these. Buy here on-line for £21.99







Another great week on then Helmsdale

Ronald Sutherland

The 100 mark was hit once again last week on the Helmsdale with estates averaging around 15 fish each. Super water and obviously lots of fish around resulted in some excellent sport. Nothing outstanding in weight was landed but it was good to see steady runs of fish migrating through the system. The upper beats once again produced most of the action mainly because "that's where most of the rods were fishing"!

The main news of the week however was unfolding on the Association water with 9 for the week. A quiet start began with a fish for Archie Miller on Monday and a visiting rod on Tuesday. We had to wait until Thursday before another 2 were caught by William Jappy who also had his third for the week on Friday. Unfortunately I was on the Deveron river on Saturday taking part in the Deveron Fishing Festival, low water levels produced no fish on Forglen beat that day but the Loomis rods on demo were outstanding! I will be stocking some very soon!! Saturday on the Helmsdale Association water however, produced 4 to the delight of Fred Unwin pictured below with his first Helmsdale fish. Alan Scott visiting from Inverness also managed to get in on the act fishing the first ever Inverness AC Exchange ticket by landing a fine 12 pounder from the style pool on a 12 Cascade double (pic of fish and pool also below). 2 other fish were taken by locals on the day, P Macmillan & S Macaulay all broke the duck, lots of fish were running that day. This proves that the lower river will fish well if rods are on the water - shame our lovely river is so under fished above the Association water.

All the usual flies worked well, Alistairs, Coneheads, Cascades and TDs

The tail of the Style pool at the top of the Association water where Alan Scott had his first fish of the season.

Alan Scott fish Style Pool

Fred Unwin with his first of the season, a fine 10 pounder

Fred Unwin first fish

Day tickets are readily available on the Association water for just £26 per rod and chances are obviously very good at the moment. Call the tackle Shop to book or simply turn up on the day. We will advise you on the best size/pattern of fly for the water levels on the day and supply a map of the water. Access to this beat is very easy and an enjoyable day's fishing should be had!



Helmsdale tops 100 for the week.

Ronald Sutherland

The Helmsdale scored heavily last week and way above prediction! Water levels were good from 1ft 3 early in the week, another top up on Thursday kept things moving and the anglers were loving it! The upper Helmsdale fished it's socks off with all beats providing great action right up to the loch although no fish were caught on the loch.

A snippet from Achentoul rods "we had 7 this morning on beat 2 above and lost as many" Most estates caught in the high teens but Suisgill rods led by ghillie Donald Sutherland had 27 for the week, Super fishing. The the Association water did not take advantage as fish were obviously running hard and not hanging around. Only 2 were caught by usual suspect William Jappy and visiting angler Gordon Stewart. The total for the week was over 100 fish. The river is way up again today at around 2ft , this will spoil things a little initially but I have no doubt the fishing will be excellent when the water settles once again.

Coneheads were the big killers - the Willie Dog was "top dog" Alistair's tied on copper tubes/coneheads also caught their fair share. Most of the other Highland rivers should pick up some water now to kick start their seasons - a very good time to get out on the water so get those flies ordered!!

The deadly Willie Dog Conehead Temple Dog

Willie Dog Comehead TD



Best week of the season so far.

Ronald Sutherland

High pressure and Easterly winds finally eased midweek, clouds rolled in and the fish came out to play! The river has been running at a steady 5" on the guage so fish have been running the river without obstruction in very encouraging numbers.

To cut a long story short there were over 40 fish off last week with Badanloch and Suisgill rods catching the lions share of around a dozen each. Floating lines combined with Alistairs, Ally's & TDs fished very well in a variety of sizes to prove there is no exact science in fly size when it comes to low water salmon fishing.

Today, as I report on Sunday May 8th, the river has risen for the first time in many weeks to approx 1ft. I predict superb fishing for the week ahead throughout the river as good numbers of fish have been seen flying through the Association water. Surprisingly the Association water only gave up 2 fish last week to the dedicated rod of local angler William Jappy. Fish were not hanging around even with the low water, maybe they know something we don't!

I've been designing many new flies this year to keep us ahead of the game (all of which are for sale right here of-course!) check out another two (below) which I think will work well this Summer. They are based on the super popular Helmsdale Alistair and the deadly Dee Crathie fly.

New Black Alistair red butt - tied with course black bucktail instead of the usual classic yellow/brown mix.

New RS Black Alistair red butt

New RS wee Crathie Monkey conehead. Body 0.5" wing 2.5"

New RS wee Crathie Monkey conehead

Inside track - Carron jetstream floating lines are flying out the door right now in 9/10 & 10/11. These great new twin colour lines turn over poly-tips with ease and are effortless to cast. If you want to really enjoy your casting, do yourself a favour and get a decent line!! many anglers will be out on the water this week with river levels up again and in perfect condition but they will struggle casting badly as usual with cheap nasty lines - don't get caught in this trap! Wink

Tight lines.