Still going strong

Ronald Sutherland

The Helmsdale is still fishing quite well although as the season progresses a wider range of tactics are required to be successful. There is a good stock of fish in the river now but tempting them onto the hook a challenge. Sporadic pods of fresh fish are still showing up, mainly grilse. The river scored around 70 - 80 fish off for the week including about 10 from the Association water.

Mick Buttery got off to a fast start Monday in Roaries & Sewerage pools landing 3 fresh grilse on a home tied Frances conehead and Werner Steiner had a fine 10lbs fresh run fish from the Style pool on a Cascade gold double. Visitors caught most of the fish over the week and all were pretty fresh. Check out the website for loads of great new flies too...

Prospects are still good as there are plenty fish in the river and more to come. As we aproach the last 5 weeks of the season most estates are already up on last years totals. Be prepared to mix things a little from now on, fish hitch flies, frances coneheads and tungstens, sunrays and small SuperSnaelda as well as the usual killers. Standard practice will always bag a few fish but try a dropper, its classic Helmsdale form and should not be overlooked as a deadly way of picking up more fish. The dropper is very often taken after the point fly is ignored as you fish down a pool. Dibble in the fast runs, Red Brae and New stream are classic examples, and there are none areas finer to dibble than the water on beats one & two above. Atlantic salmon have always been keen to rise to flies skated on the surface so don't miss out on this opportunity. On the other hand Frances style flies fished deep get lots of interest in skilled hands. if you can get to grips with swinging these unusual looking flies at the right depth and speed you will also score.

Werners plump bar of silver from Style pool which is pictured below.

The tail of the Style pool at the top end of the Association water which has provided regular sport for anglers this season.

Red Frances conehead which really starts to fish well as the season heads into the autumn, you can buy them right here now -

Alistair Hitch tube, buy here now -



Borrobol 26.5 pounder

Ronald Sutherland

The Helmsdale had another consistent week with around 100 fish off. Sport was patchy with a mix of fresh and stale fish, fresh grilse are still entering the system. The highlight was a clonking 26.5 pounder caught by Mr John Pette (pic below). Frances and Temple Dogs are catching well along with Alistair tubes and coneheads. I am also getting lots of UK feedback regarding our SuperSnaelda tubes which seem to be fishing great everywhere. As the autumn approaches there are no better tubes fished on sinking tips, when these aggressive looking flies are presented right down in front of fish they can barely resist having a snap at them!

RS SuperSnaelda red & gold is as good as it gets for fishing deep late in the season -


The Association water was pretty quiet. Alistair Jappy had 2 grilse on Monday and 2 came off Tuesday on the back of another spate. Apart from that I did not hear of much more.

The Highland Games Fly casting pulled in a good crowd once again and we had lots of under 16 entrants this year, good to see so much interest from that age group. Jordan Marshall dominated the 16 and under salmon and trout distance competitions while Peter Quail won the Senior salmon distance with 160 feet, Daniel Logie was second on 155ft, Martin Grant 3rd 140ft. Trout distance was won by Robert Flett on 105ft. Maryanne Quail was ladies champion with Connie Denoon 2nd and April Sutherland 3rd. Peter Quail was the overall champion and he kindly donated all his winnings to the "PARKINride" charity organisation who are raising funds for the Raigmore Hospital Macmillan Suite.

I would like to thank Mick Buttery for stewarding and donating the stewards tent this year and Jordan Marshall for stewarding also. Loop Cross S1 rods were used and stood up to all that was competitively thrown at them once again no problem. These rods are the real deal and cast very long with absolute ease wherever they are deployed.

April Sutherland on the trout accuracy

The weather was superb in the afternoon after a dismal morning.

One more item of interest was passed on to me by Otis Ferry on behalf of Tony Andrews, the Atlantic Salmon Trust "Lost at Sea" project. anyone who would like to donate to this worthy cause can do so. details below.

Atlantic Salmon - Lost at Sea

I want introduce you to an exciting project supported by the Atlantic Salmon Trust: the film, 'Atlantic Salmon - Lost at Sea!'

The producer is Deirdre Brennan who has been making this film for 6 years in the rivers of North America, Europe, Iceland, Greenland, and at sea in the Atlantic Ocean. It tells the story of the collapse in abundance of wild Atlantic salmon over the last thirty years.

The film records the urgent quest to try to solve the mystery of the salmon's life at sea and to answer the question: 'why are salmon dying in greater numbers than ever before in their ocean environment and not returning to their native rivers?'

The film, takes the viewer on a journey through the mysterious world of the King of Fish, and highlights some of the important research, conservation and restoration work of AST and others in all the wild Atlantic salmon countries. It describers the groundbreaking research programme to track salmon on their epic migration to try to find out why and where they are dying at sea.

Filming is now complete and it is ready to edit. In order to raise the last 10% of the budget needed, Deirdre has embarked on a Kickstarter campaign to bring in funds to finish the project. Kickstarter is a crowd-funding platform and in its 10 years has raised over $1.6 billion for creative projects, including many documentary films. All projects are vetted in advance. It is an all or nothing principle - if the goal is not reached, then no money changes hands. The campaign is for 30 days and will run from August 6th - September 5th. The goal is £30,000.

Please support this most worthwhile venture. Its aim is to raise public awareness about the plight of our salmon. The film will be used widely at national, regional and local levels to raise money for salmon conservation. By contributing money - as much as you can afford, no matter how small an amount - to the film you are therefore directly supporting our international campaign to save the salmon.

Please see the link below for more details:

AST, supported by the Spey, Dee and Esks District Fishery Boards, has already contributed £12,000 to the project. Please help us to finish the job, by donating through Kickstarter - even £5 would help. This is a story of hope, and a dynamic way with real urgency to increase public commitment to saving the iconic Atlantic salmon.

We need to act now to save wild Atlantic salmon. I trust we have your support.

With best wishes,

Tony Andrews
Director Atlantic Salmon Trust



Steady as she goes...

Ronald Sutherland

Fishing was steady on the river last week with nothing spectacular to report. Fresh fish were still entering the system but seemed in a real hurry through the lower river for some reason. The beats picked away with around 60. John (Hardy) Sutherland had 6 up to 16lbs with 3 in an hour on Red Brae 3 above but generally you had to really work for your fish.

The Association water gave up around 12 - 15 fish or so after a fast start on Monday morning for William Jappy who nailed 3 grilse and lost 2 before breakfast and a rapid 2ft rise. The spate did nothing to boost catches really and by midweek the water was back down to around 8". Experienced Welsh internationalist Gavin Perry and Neil Thomas had all the conditions to deal with and by the end of the week they were on to classic Helmsdale dibbling as the river dropped away to almost summer level. They shared 4 grilse up until Saturday when Gavin ended on a high dibbling out another 2 better quality fish. Sonny Jappy got off the mark too with a fish from the Sewrage pool. Visitor Alan Shearer also had a nice fish midweek but they were not exactly giving themselves up easily.

Baby TDs were still catching and droppers were working well. Its always a risk fishing a dropper but time and time again it picks up fish so well worth a go, Cascades, Allys, Alistairs and Helmsdale shrimps in sizes 10 - 12 are ideal.

Our Solar Monkey coneheads are back in stock now and will fish great in high water later in the season and in spring (pics below). The UV flanks on these tubes really show up superbly and definitely catch the eye of the salmon, get some in your box fast as stocks disappear very quickly on these very innovative flies.

Gavin Perry with one of 4 mint grilse released last week.

Neil Thomas with a superbly conditioned grilse.

The amazing Solar Monkey effect with our range of patterns below.

RS Global Solar Monkey. Click here to buy now -

RS Solar Monkey black & yellow. Click here to buy now -

RS Solar Monkey hot orange. Click here to buy now -

There is lots of availability on the Association water and for £25 per rod per day it is definitely well worth a cast! OAPs get on for £12.50 and under 16s are free. Pop into the Tackle shop anytime after 9am to get instant access to the river and a great chance of a hook up.



Nothing special!

Ronald Sutherland

The beats produced a rather hard fought 55 fish for the week although a good head of fish is scattered through the system. Reasonably numbers of fish are still arriving and the Association water gave up around 15, 6 of which fell to the charms of Adam Macdonald fishing our Baby tds (4) and 2 on an Alistair on the dropper. The fish are good quality and one of Adams solid fish is displayed below with Baby TD firmly attached. Regular visitor Ian Stoddart also had a couple of grilse one evaning on an Alistair Special tube.

Well done to Evan Orr (13) who had a pristine grilse to keep up with his dad Robert, great to see the young guns getting in on the act.

Baby Temple Dogs just keep catching, and you can buy them here right now -

The river lower Brora is also fishing pretty well especially for regular visitor Jason Chick who has discovered the deadly hooking ability of fishing with a dropper. He had numerous fish on our Helmsdale Shrimp last week pictured below. We have tied them on Loop doubles which have a wide gape to maximise hook ups and these sit great for dibbling in the fast water. They are available in 3 sizes and if I were you I would get one involved in your salmon set up fast! you can buy them here -

Prospects are still good for next week. Low pressure is never going to be far away so we can expect more rain moving in and the good news is that it will be from the South and therefore much warmer than last week. There is good availability on the Association water so its well worth a chuck! Tickets are available daily at the Helmsdale Co tackle shop from 9am.