Ronald Sutherland


Another week has passed on the Helmsdale with no sign of a fish

Another week has passed on the Helmsdale with no sign of a fish. It is still early days of course and high water levels have washed out the last few but temperatures have increased and prospects are looking more favourable for the week ahead. If all rods fish and water levels continue to drop I fancy this week could provide our first fresh runner. Today ( Jan 27th ) the river is at a season high 43 degrees - air temp 50, this will certainly draw fish in.

However - There is an added incentive to get the rod out early this year, the lucky angler who captures the first salmon will receive an extra £100 tackle voucher from the Helmsdale Tackle Shop as well as all the other goodies on offer – but there is a catch! The salmon must be returned safely to pick up the extra Tackle Shop bonus.

Please handle such fish with great care and take some photos quickly for verification if you are fishing on your own (everyone has a camera nowadays right!). Cameras, weigh-nets and catch & release tools are as commonplace now with the modern angler as priests and scissors once were.

If there is another angler in the vicinity to help this may also give you the opportunity to take a quick scale sample from just below the back of the dorsal fin for valuable research. If you are lucky enough to catch a fresh run springer there is usually no doubt of the fact and sea-lice are often evident.

Successful spring salmon fishing on our great rivers is vital to the Scottish economy; it directly affects the viability of all rural businesses, accommodation, shops, bars and of course the local tackle shop at a slow time in the calendar year. This in turn has an economic knock on effect for us all whether you fish or not.

It is common knowledge that Spring salmon numbers returning to our rivers is approaching an all time low and we all need to do our bit to help bring back stocks – this is the tackle shop "bit" - for a very important stock fish!. Incidentally, I will personally be returning all springers that I may or may not be lucky enough to catch in the future; hopefully my camera will be well used!

Of all the rivers in Scotland the river Dee is the model which has shown the most significant turnaround in spring salmon numbers. The action was direct and in 1995 the unpopular “catch & release” was pioneered – they have not looked back since and expect to (and do) catch many fresh run salmon on each season opening day on February 1st and continue with good numbers throughout the spring. The river Helmsdale also provides a commendable record of “fair play” and “conservation” for its anglers and release rates are currently high and on the increase. The Tackle shop is very happy to further support in this encouragement so get those rods out, return that springer and pick up your bonus! Tight lines.

Permits for the Association water are currently available so have a day out on the water anytime. Chances are very good on this beat at this time and 3 years ago the first fish was caught in the Flat pool at the top of the beat. Tickets cost £26 per rod and you can pick them up at the tackle Shop from 10am until March when the shop opens from 9am.

Published on Monday 28 January 2008 by Ronald Sutherland
Last edited on Tuesday 29 January 2008 by Ronald Sutherland

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