Another good week

Ronald Sutherland

We still have good water on the Helmsdale and catches are reflecting this with some estates catching up to and over 30 per week recently, there were around 190 caught including 17 from the Association water. Large flies in coneheads copper and tungsten on floating, sink tip and intermediate lines are fishing well. Fresh fish are not in abundance at this late stage in the season but a few fresh grilse and salmon were caught on the Association water and throughout the river. The upper beats provided most of the action in a week which had the feeling of March fishing more than late summer. So much superb water on offer with all the big pools in good order on the lower river too. Fish were everywhere, not showing in big numbers but they were caught all over the river. Wouldn’t it be fantastic if another rod or two were permitted to fish when the river tops over 1ft on the gauge? There were some very large parties up last week all jostling for a cast…. 

And, there is no place to hide from the Ice Bucket Challenge -

Some highlights - Hugh Colville fishing Torrish rods got off to a flyer recording 11 fish on Monday & Tuesday to his own rod fishing 3 & 4 above. John (Hardy) Sutherland on a break from oil work abroad had a superb week on the Association water catching 11 fish up to 14lbs along with a number of seatrout to the 3.5lbs mark and Billy Cowie ended the week with a sea liced grilse from the Flat pool on the 1” Red Feeler copper tube. Half Johns catch was fresh and taken on one of our deadly Chartreuse Feeler tubes tied on a 1” copper tube, the black & orange version also scored. These flies are gathering a large following now. Ron has morphed the legendary properties of the Icelandic series of Frances flies with popular UK salmon patterns and they are producing some stunning results for anglers who are giving them work. They are not our latest design by any manner of means, but if you have not yet tried them, its time you did! For best results fish them on intermediate lines and get them right down in full view of the fish especially in the peaty Scottish water.

There is good availability on the Association water next week and a great chance of a hook up with superb fresh fish like the one below. weather conditions are settling down a little so more of this stretch will become fishable as water levels finally start dropping.

Stop press! - William Jappy with probably the last fish of the week from the Association water Flat pool on Saturday night which provided 6 in total for the day. An Alex Fraser Tiger Conehead did the trick.

Below are a few of the most popular Feeler tubes and an offer that we are currently running on them right here -

The Chartreuse Feeler tube which worked so well last week -

Cascade Feeler tube -

Black & Red Feeler Tube -

Willie Gunn Feeler tube -



Big water, big week!

Ronald Sutherland

A huge spate at the weekend set the tone for one of the best weeks of the season. Good catches were cropping up the length and breadth of the river. Mostly stale fish were caught but a number of sea liced fish also turned up.

Torrish rods got things going quickly catching 8 on beat 3 before the river started to rise again in an unsettled spell. Water levels remained high at around 3ft for Monday & Tuesday and were very slow to drop due to heavy showers, however, fish were still in a taking mood and even the Association water (which usually suits lower water) started to produce fish regularly. Billy Cowie got off the mark on a rare visit, John (Hardy) Sutherland had fish on most days, and Mick Butterly rounded the week off with a brace from the Flat pool on one of his home tied TDs. Around 12 fish were caught for the week and plenty tickets are available for this water. With temperatures cooling in the coming week, conditions should be good and water levels excellent.

Copper tubes and coneheads worked very well fished on full intermediate lines and floaters. We have loads available on-line so snap some up and get the rod out to enjoy all the fresh water deposited on the UK recently

These killers are starting to make their mark across the UK and it is fast approaching the part of the season when red flies start to dominate. Our red gold & black Feeler tube below is a lethal example of what you need to be fishing as soon as temps drop and rivers rise.

A blustery swirling wind made for challenging casting conditions at the Annual Highland Games but turnout was good and lots of juniors were also streaming in for a go. Jordon Marshall and Finlay Addams cleaned up in the under 16s events, Mary Anne Quail took the ladies title and I was forced to come out of retirement for a crack with all the amazing rods and lines on display. Mackenzie and Gaelforce lines were getting rave reviews but the much longer 85ft head on the Carron Jetstream and Loop cross S1 15ft combo posted the longest cast of 149ft for yours truly. Many thanks to all who helped out on the day.

Some of the prize winners, L - R Jordan Marshall (Junior salmon & trout distance), Ron Sutherland (Senior salmon & trout distance), Mick Buttery, (Senior trout distance 3rd place) Finlay Addams ( Junior trout accuracy ). Peter Quail won the senior trout accuracy competition.

April Sutherland impressively cranking up the trout rod.

The casting arena in full swing.



Some sport at last!

Ronald Sutherland

Nice water finally offered some welcome sport on the Helmsdale especially on Monday & Tuesday. 5 fish were reported on the Association water 4 of which were fresh. It was early bird Adam Macdonald who struck the first blow with 2 fresh fish from the tail of the Flat pool on an Allys tube but the rest of the day surprisingly only produced 3 more. The beats fared better with 3 off beat 1 and 7 off beat 2 Monday but there were no major happenings although fishing was fairly steady for the rest of the week. The count was probably 50/50 fresh to stale fish and no great fresh run materialised but some better quality salmon were caught in the 6 - 8lbs category.

More rain is forecast and a proper big spate would be grand to keep things in fine fettle, there are surely some more fresh fish to come and there are still 7 weeks to go yet! Day and weekly tickets are available on the Association water from the tackle shop for only £25 per rod per day. There is rod and wader hire also.

We have received some very good Testimonials this week (below) from anglers returning from fishing trips abroad. Our Alistairs are really making their mark in Russia and Norway now. Success came quickly a few years ago with the Cascade Alistair copper tube in Norway soon after we invented it and the following has been growing all over the Northern hemisphere, I feel a few new colour combinations coming on!

Hi Ron,
I wanted to let you know that I have had some remarkable success with the Alistair Conehead in Russia....... it was totally deadly. We had an absolute bonanza on the Pana due to the very late spring and I managed to take 86 fish in a week on the Alistair Conehead...... on one actual fly..... it was threadbare by the end! I then went to Yokanaga not long afterwards and got it to 92 not out including grassing 3 over 20lbs to 28lb ...... but I somehow lost the fly at Lyliok when releasing a fish which was gutting! From a flies perspective not a bad place to be lost in action! I can’t imagine you expected one tube to take 92 Salmon when you tied it!
Ron, just a quick message of thanks. I was on Rynda at the start of July this year. Whist everyone was keen to get on the surface flies I felt the water was still a little high and cool at the beginning of the week. I turned to the trusty cascade alistair cone head that you had tied me up for a previous trip.( water was so low last time they didn't get used.)
I had a top week and over the first 3 days the alistair accounted for nearly 20 fish to 20lb.. It was lethal, every pool and pocket the fish nailed it!!!
I ended up with 36 for the week and 26 on the same fly!!
Many thanks!!!!
I Robertson

The Cascade Alistair

The gorgeous Cascade Alistair JC - call us if you want any of these flies tied up by Ron personally.

Classic Alistair Conehead

Adam Macdonald in his double hotspot - Tail of the Flat pool on the Association water.

As the Freshwater Fishery Review comes to its final conclusions with a report due for ministers in September it would be intetesting to hear your views on the subject. Have a go on our Helmsdale river Forum, simply create a username and password and sign in to have your say! Read the the latest Review update on the Forum.

Its the Highland Games next week and we will have the best of gear in action for the fly casting competitions as usual, this year the salmon anglers will have the luxury of casting with the new CLA Gamefair winning line from GaelForce. Designed by James Chalmers (who worked with Carron Jetstream) these new lines are super slick and cast out of site and we are now stockists. Made in America, they display all the best design qualities of Carron Lines with added durability and phenominal long distance turnover. This line on a Loop Cross 15ft S1 should be a pretty amazing unit to cast, I hope you get along to enjoy! all the other casting comps will be on with troutdistance and accuraccy. This year 2 attempts only per discipline are permitted so get sharpened up.



Better week

Ronald Sutherland

The previous Monday provided 3 fish on the Association water. Annual Helmsdale visitor Adam Macdonald was amongst them as was William Jappy and Peter Macmillan. The rest of the week was dour and the fresh run expected did not materialise. The beats did better with a Westerly wind cooling things down a little, rods are however still well down on last year. The fish are simply not there in any quantity this year and no stats from fish counters or anything else can dress things up otherwise. I was lucky enough to encounter a fish on Friday after an evening 1.5" rise, one of our Cascade Feeler doubles did the damage fished on the dropper.

The water is up for the week ahead and the river looks stunning, expect some good fishing this week!

I also visited the Kyle of Sutherland the next day with good friend and fellow angling addict Adam Macdonald and managed to land a lovely fat 6 pounder on one of our 0.25 Frances tubes ( in Rome do as the Romans do! ) I am constantly selling out of these deadly tubes to Kyle anglers. Check it out here -