Next week's report will be late unfortunately, I will be in Kenya, checking out the Fulling Mill fly tying factory and making sure all salmon flies coming out are absolute world class...

Catching up, the week ending May 18th (wk 11) saw the top score go to Henry Charteris and his team with a well earned total of 24. Henry is no stranger to May fishing on the Helmsdale and he topped off a great week with a super 21 pounder from Black bank beat 3 above. Earlier in the week Martyn Gilbert took just 5 casts in Dalharn to grass an identical 21 pounder and get the week off to a flying start, both fish were 37" and caught withing a few yards of each other, who's to say it wasn't the same fish!

Martyn shows off his thumping 21 pounder.

Martyn 21 pounder

Henry with his 21 pounder just around the corner from Martyn in Black Bank.

Henry Charteris 21 pounder

The whole UK suffered last week midweek with some very wintry conditions. Strong bone chilling Northerly gales and heavy snow lead to some high level roads being blocked again just when we thought summer was in the air. The temperature was not good for anglers or fish! The week ended with around 70 fish off which was a very good effort considering the unsettled cold conditions.

Some rods did not break into the teens but the Ian Muir party fishing Kildonan rods worked well to total 16. Ian had 10 to his own rod with the highlight being a blistering 17 pounder on a size 14 hitch tube on beat 5 above. On a typical adventure to the beat, Ian hooked the fish and could do nothing as it ran for cover into heavy weed, luckily his son Jonny was quickly deployed across the river where he managed to free the line and miraculously the fish was still attached.

A team effort resulted in the capture of this fine 17 pounder for Ian Muir with son Jonny on 5 above.

Ian 17 pounder

The Association water gave up a disappointing 3 fish for the week. Twins William & Alistair Jappy had one each on Monday & Tuesday before the weather turned insane. Visitor Norrie Wilson (Nairn) grassed a fine 13 pounder in Roaries pool on a size 8 Cascade Shrimp. 

Norrie with his sparkling tide fresh 13 pounder.

Norrie 12 pounder

Some aggressive cloud formations from last week as the snow, hail and gales rolled in.

Wild cloud formations

With fairly settled conditions forecast for the week ahead the river should fish well as it is still holding a decent height of around 8". Small coneheads will catch lots of fish on the upper and lower river and the Association water should produce a few also. 5 - 8" is a grand height for the local water so get over for a cast!

One of these should do the trick this week - Willie Dog conehead



Big week, big fish.

Ronald Sutherland

The river started to produce sport like it should last week. Based on what I have heard there were around 85 - 90 fish caught in a typical May week. Achentoul rods had a good one with 22 fish and a monster 27 pounder for David Rand on 3 above. Most other rods got into the teens and it was good to see a nice run of fish. The river rose to over 2ft midweek which spoiled things a little, Achentoul blanked on beat 2 as an example.

The Association water produced another 4, all to visiting anglers. Mr Bell on Monday 13lbs, Martyn Jones 8.5lbs Tueaday and David Allan on an exchange ticket from Inverness AC had 2 fish on Thursday/Friday at 9 & 10lbs. This water will fish well now and chances are very good for the visiting angler. At only £25 per rod per day it is well worth a day out, over 65s half price and under 16s free.

David Rand's 43" long 27lbs fish caught on the deadly Willie Dog conehead - Click here to buy now -

27 pounder

I was sent a nice photo courtesy of William Shaw. The pic is of Mrs Verdin playing another fish! She has fished the Helmsdale river on 52 consecutive visits, 83 visits in all residing at Badanloch. A very keen angler and a good one too, here we see her playing a fish in the Black Bank on beat 4 above where she landed another May fish of 13lbs.

Mrs Verdin

Another fish on the deadly Sunray

Sunray fish

Our deadly new Black & Yellow Feeler Fly which is starting to hit fish on UK rivers - Click here to buy now -

Black &n Yellow Feeler double

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Willie Gunn Feeler fly

Get the rods out as the fish are running everywhere, just check out the girth on this 36 pounder caught on the Tay last week at Murthly 2, head ghillie Tony Black can hardly lift it out of the water, it was caught by Mr John Broughton - an awesome fish for the UK!

Watch out for some hot new patterns and fishing tips and exclusive deals coming soon as we crank up the content in the fishing report.

Murthly 36 pounder



Another decent week

Ronald Sutherland

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RS SuperSnaelda set

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Good water levels boosted the fishing once again on the Helmsdale and between 45 - 50 fish were reported for the week. The best of the bunch was a fine 20 pounder caught by the experienced Lady Sarah McCorquodale in Hadwins pool beat 1 above. A Cascade Conehead did the damage and the Torrish rods went on to top a fine week with 11 fish.

The Association water finally started to fish midweek as run of fish materialised. Donald Macleod got proceedings under way with a 10 pounder from the Flat pool, next up was Sid Fraser with a super 12 pounder from Lower Allan. Ronald Sutherland got in on the act after venturing down for a look on Thursday evening taking a 10 pounder on the Sunray Shadow and the same proccess was repeated for Ron on Friday evening on the same fly after rising a 7lbs fish 4 times. There are 6 fish off this water now and things are definately looking up as fish are running daily.

The forecast for the week ahead is looking unsettled with more rain so prospects are good for another interesting week.

Ron with his 10 pounder which exploded at the Sunray Shadow tube. Now that water temperatures are on the rise, you simply must get a few Sunrays in your box. There is no sight in fishing which competes with a large salmon in full attack mode striking a Skated Sunray shadow tube. Buy some here right now - and stand by for some heartstopping action!

Ron Sunray fish

The super deadly Sunray Shadow tube

Classic Sunray Shadow tube

Sid Fraser and his first of the season

Sid Fraser



Over the 40 mark

Ronald Sutherland

We still have a great deal on these superb new RS Tiger & Feeler flies - order now to secure your selection! these are the new flies on the block and they are already proving seriously popular.  Buy now here -

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Some more of our deadly new flies below.

Black & Yellow Feeler

On the Fishing front there were over 40 salmon off the river this week, good water spreading fish throughout the system as Achentoul rods proved with fish off beats 5 and 4 above. Alistair Jappy also had his first fish off the season with a 7 pounder from the Flat pool on the Association water. There are only 2 fish off this stretch this season. 

On the whole, the season is picking up but it must arguably go down as the worst spring in living memory. In March for instance Borrobol rods blanked for the whole month and this has not occurred in 54 years. Most rivers are suffering with catches below the mark this year and I have recently experienced this first hand on the Brora and Spey. Worrying chat continues as to why but we will not really know for a few years until a trend appears. we will off course hope that grilse runs appear in numbers this season at least after 2 poor years.

The word on the street is that it is just a very late season and this may well be the case as spring numbers continue to decline. Personally I think it's time for a seal cull as there seems to be more seals on the coast than salmon these days. Until seals are controlled in my opinion we are just feeding them if we increase stocking from hatcheries. The Association of Salmon Fishery Boards needs to lobby parliament more with policies which allow Fishery Boards to protect their fish, rivers and estuaries. If there are no salmon then there are no salmon anglers and that will be a big problem for the economy of rural communities all over Scotland soon if nothing is done.

One final note - the Helmsdale River board are to hold their first open public meeting this week (Sat 11th May 2.30 Kildonan hall). This event is happening as a result of amendments to the Salmon and Freshwater Fisheries (Consolidation) (Scotland) Act 2003.

Cascade Monkey

Cascade Monkey

TigerBack Willie Gunn

Willie Gunn Tiger

Cascade Feeler fly

Cascade Feeler