Where are the grilse?

Ronald Sutherland

Last week showed some promise as grilse arrived in pods. Borrobol rods had the best week ending in the mid 20s however, the majority of fish caught were still not grilse. If you were lucky and in the right place at the right time sport was good but it was not the norm. It would appear that the main grilse run is destined to arrive very late or not at all this year. Latest reports from as far North as Iceland indicate that grilse are few and far between with numbers well down on the last two years at this time.

The forecast is for little rain in the next week with high pressure set to dominate, I fear the pickings will be lean for a while yet and we should really be in the absolute thick of things by now. The Association water is giving the odd fish daily but low clear water is making things difficult, early mornings and late would be the preferred taking times. Availability is very open this summer on the Association water, lots of room! the run must arrive soon so I would advise getting over for a cast in the next two weeks.

We have just taken delivery of the new Mackenzie DTX Spey lines which I tested on the river Ewe on an earlier report here. If you want to get the best out of what we have remaining of the season, I would highly recommend you treat yourself to one of these amazing lines. These are the most technically advanced lines ever made, and for £69.99 they are an absolute revelation. Overhead casting is also easy and i have never witnessed turnover on a line like it before apart from when using the world record breaking Carron Jetstream lines. Incidentally, The World Spey casting record was beaten this week at the CLA Gamefair. Irishman Gerard Downie surpassed the 70yd mark for the first time ever in competition using a Carron Jetstream line. Call us anytime to order these lines.

We have all the top lines available here at the Helmsdale Company, we pride ourselves in quality products and service. Don't scrimp on cheap nasty lines, they will do your fishing and fly casting no favours, trust me!. Don't forget you can call us anytime for expert advise on all aspects of fly fishing, we love chatting to customers to help improve their fishing. We also have the biggest selection of killer flies on the net - order anytime at your leisure or call us to discuss patterns for your next fishing trip wherever it is.

Tight lines



Still quiet on the Helmsdale

Ronald Sutherland

Apologies for the delay this week, I've been on holiday and to be blunt, there is very little happening! Last week drifted by with very few highlights. This week the river has been unsettled beginning with a very dirty spate Monday. Tuesday also provided a rising river with little sport. Basically there is a real shortage of grilse at this time (this was our top week last year). I would like to think we are back on the more recent trend of late runners, this would indicate the main run is to come very soon. Get your hooks sharpened!



Signs of a few grilse

Ronald Sutherland

Last week was anything but special on the Helmsdale but there were signs that the main summer run is about to kick off. The Association water provided a hand full of fish but good pods were running showing a mix of grilse and bigger fish. Suisgill rods had the best of it on the beats with around 17 fish and certainly proved there were good fish around by catching a number in the teens up to 16lbs. Grilse were still few and far between but their growing presence was noted.

Today, Saturday 9th, the river has risen quickly to around 2ft after a morning of thunderstorms - the same storms which ravaged Castle Stewart golf course Inverness during the night and blitzed the Scottish Open Golf. I will be there tomorrow and hopefully the guys will get round dry and we will have a winner.

Prospects for next week are excellent if the weather settles. A few more grilse should be drawn to the river if there are any numbers in the firth and water levels should hold very nicely for the week. It looks like heavy rain has lifted many rivers in the UK  for the week ahead so get some coneheads in the water FAST. One of the best proven killers in peaty water is the Ally Dog conehead in gold or silver conehead which I designed around 10 years ago. These weighted flies dive sub surface and really show up well, they are absolute killers!

Below are a couple of killers in Summer spate water

The Ally Dog Conehead - as good as it gets!

RS Yellow Flamethrower Boar Shrimp - shows up great in spate water.

There are many more so have a good look through the site, all the Black boar Shrimp patterns, Alistairs, Black & Yellow Monkeys to name a few. Don't forget we have very rare Monkey hair for sale now. This hair is absolutely superb for tying the Monkey fly. One of the best ways to tie it is to cut it with a strip of skin still on as the Skandi's do, this gives the hairwing the deadly signature hump back profile which salmon seemingly can not resist!

Good news for the Helmsdale Highland games on August 20th, Loomis rods have offered to provide a range of their new NRX salmon rods for the North of Scotland Open Fly casting competitions. Please come along if you can and try out the rods, David Burgess of Loomis will be there to give instruction and information on the day along with myself of-course. NRX rods hold some amazing technology including recoil eyes and power and lightness beyond belief, it's well worth coming along just to see and feel them in action.

Tight lines.



Tough week on the Helmsdale

Ronald Sutherland

The Helmsdale limped to a total of around 12 last week. including one fish from the Association water. The river was down to compensation level and grilse are few and far between as yet. It looks like we are heading for another late summer run which has been the norm over recent years. The second week in July was the top week for decades but apart from a reasonably early show of grilse last year the run will probably peak towards the end of the month or early August.

After a strong late spring salmon run, lets hope the grilse do appear in numbers soon, check out my selection of the proven killer flies you need for success over the summer for salmon & sea-trout. These flies work well all over the UK but dig around the web-site as we have many more killers. Don't forget we can also provide all the latest equipment to catch salmon & sea-trout from 6lbs maxima nylon to a superb 13ft summer Mackenzie DTX fly rod.

Baby Temple Dog (salmon). These tiny tubes are absolutely deadly as a tail fly if you are fishing a dropper set up.

Silver Stoats Tail (salmon & sea-trout). Arguably the most successful low water fly of all time.

Black Boar Shrimp Sunburst (salmon). The Boar Shrimp series has many colours and sizes in doubles and trebles. Deadly for running grilse.

Cascade Alistair tube (salmon). One of our greatest inventions. A mix of the super deadly local Alistair tube with the popular Cascade fly.

Silver Blue (sea-trout). A huge killer from our specialist jungle cock sea-trout series.

Silver Stoat single JC series (sea-trout/salmon). A fabulous dual purpose summer fly best fished on the point when using a dropper.

Bloody Butcher single JC series (sea-trout). This traditional fly catches so many sea-trout it is simply a must have for your flybox.

Tight lines.