River Helmsdale

keirstream

Well-known member
Messages
6,814
Reaction score
68
Location
Stirling
The Helmsdale is a river that has been on my bucket list for some time. It just epitomises the dream Scottish highland spring venue for me. What do you know? I've been invited up to fish the river by a good friend who has clearly taken pity on my plight and if this bl**dy plague doesn't confine me to barracks, I'll be up there on 2nd, 3rd and 4th of April. Not only that, our rotation is Beat 2, 1 and 6.:D:D
I'm not usually one of those people who count the days but-------only 19 sleeps to go.:eek:
Please let everyone on the trip and in the lodge keep clear of this virus. Please.
I just want to go fishing.:thumb::thumb:
 

paulferris1964

New member
Messages
14
Reaction score
0
The Helmsdale is a river that has been on my bucket list for some time. It just epitomises the dream Scottish highland spring venue for me. What do you know? I've been invited up to fish the river by a good friend who has clearly taken pity on my plight and if this bl**dy plague doesn't confine me to barracks, I'll be up there on 2nd, 3rd and 4th of April. Not only that, our rotation is Beat 2, 1 and 6.:D:D
I'm not usually one of those people who count the days but-------only 19 sleeps to go.:eek:
Please let everyone on the trip and in the lodge keep clear of this virus. Please.
I just want to go fishing.:thumb::thumb:
Yes, fingers crossed!

I've fished it a few times, and I'm there again in June - a beautiful river!

.... and so remote that it might be considered 'self-isolation'.... :)
 

ArchieL

Active member
Messages
466
Reaction score
32
Jeez when i seen your post i thought you had "Nipped" up for a cast and got a springer. Yes on my bucket list too. Go get them Tom.
 

Loxie

Well-known member
Messages
10,166
Reaction score
126
Go and buy a lottery ticket! It's all going nicely for you this year!
 

keirstream

Well-known member
Messages
6,814
Reaction score
68
Location
Stirling
Some words and pictures to whet your appetite.

Tight lines you lucky chap.
A good read there Michael, thanks.:thumb:
I'm not sure when the rotation includes the beats above though.
I know this is always a hard enough week to get in among fish, the early spring run is somewhat diminished nowadays. I have a friend who fishes the following week out of Kildonan and over the years their return has dropped from around 30 to 2 in 2018. Last year picked up for them and they managed 6 so heres hoping the graph is heading upwards.:)
A challenge though and I see it very much a hunters river that I love doing, having cut my teeth around the North and West coast.
B.T.W. I only ever use minimum 23lbs B/S when fishing for salmon, apart from the obvious difficulties with abrasion you speak off, I always think it is prone to cracking in colder water. Just now I am using 30lbs fluro leader, I don't see the point of fining down, the fish are not line shy and it helps give you confidence to bully fish. Late spring through to early autumn, back to Maxima from 8lbs to 15lbs B/S attached by O ring to an appropriate tapered leader, coming up in the water with dressed doubles and wee tubes.
**30lb fluro is great, it also gives you supreme confidence to haul submerged oak trees off the bottom of a deep pool.:lol::lol:**

**Caveat; as long as you are using Ken Sawada XS doubles or trebles.:thumb:
 
Last edited:

orchy1999

Member
Messages
673
Reaction score
0
Hi Tom
Enjoy:) its a bonny river I've been lucky enough to fish the burn a few times I had a spring week for my 50th and Fished with Ron through the beast from the east hard going but we still managed 4 for the week.

I've also been fortunate enough to catch fish in the months of Jan,Feb,March ,April,May & Aug so as you can imagine its one of my favourite streams to fish lovely place to be anytime of the season.

I may retire there yet:)
 

MCXFisher

Well-known member
Messages
4,211
Reaction score
135
Location
North Yorks
Tom,
Donnie the Ghillie insisted that fished with nothing but an Alastair in various forms. Despite the low air and water temperature this often was a lightweight plastic or aluminium tube fished quite close to the surface. I did, however, hook 3 on a conehead variant. His tubes were very basic and sparse.
 

keirstream

Well-known member
Messages
6,814
Reaction score
68
Location
Stirling
Tom,
Donnie the Ghillie insisted that fished with nothing but an Alastair in various forms. Despite the low air and water temperature this often was a lightweight plastic or aluminium tube fished quite close to the surface. I did, however, hook 3 on a conehead variant. His tubes were very basic and sparse.
I have to say Michael, that if I were a salmon, I would find it very difficult to discern whether the silhouette that was annoying me was an Alastair or a Willie Gunn and if I were presented with a choice I probably would not push one out of the way to nail the other.:)
Donnie the Ghillie I suspect, is very much old school and knows that if the fish is there, his tried and tested Alastair will work, but I find it hard to believe that if you had presented these fish with a W. G. the results would not have been the same.
I guess that the new breed of ghillies like my pal formerly of the Earn, John Young, will have introduced the more modern scandi type flies to the river.
It's an old adage, but if you had to fish one fly throughout the season for most folk it would be the Willie Gunn. I believe, though, it doesn't pay to be too blinkered so Mr. Monkey and his favourite food will be getting a swim.
But----------so will the Alastair.:thumb:

And----------the G.B.W.G.:)
 

MCXFisher

Well-known member
Messages
4,211
Reaction score
135
Location
North Yorks
Tom,
of course you are right. If the ghillie insists on an Alastair,then behold it automatically becomes the most successful fly. TBH I was itching to use an MCX, but was terrified that Donnie might order me off the river!
 

The flying Scotsman

Active member
Messages
419
Reaction score
97
Location
Dundee
Love the Helmsdale. Lovely river and wee village. I’m back in July for the grilse with my young lad. Although doubt I will ever be flush enough to fish anywhere other than the town water. You can be up to £30000 for a week’s fishing the upper beats.
 

keirstream

Well-known member
Messages
6,814
Reaction score
68
Location
Stirling
Tom,
of course you are right. If the ghillie insists on an Alastair,then behold it automatically becomes the most successful fly. TBH I was itching to use an MCX, but was terrified that Donnie might order me off the river!
Send me a couple and I'll have the courage to upset the ghillie.:lol:
 

keirstream

Well-known member
Messages
6,814
Reaction score
68
Location
Stirling
Love the Helmsdale. Lovely river and wee village. I’m back in July for the grilse with my young lad. Although doubt I will ever be flush enough to fish anywhere other than the town water. You can be up to £30000 for a week’s fishing the upper beats.
Never fished the town water either F.S.
I take it you do O.K. there?:)
 

The flying Scotsman

Active member
Messages
419
Reaction score
97
Location
Dundee
Never fished the town water either F.S.
I take it you do O.K. there?:)
I’ve been up a couple times in the summer for the grilse and it can be great. It’s good for fishing the hitch which is exciting. Timing is of course essential but we’ve never blanked. Last year I had 3 in the first day then a heat wave arrived and ruined the rest of the week. Only thing about the town water is it’s not very big and can become monotonous fishing the same pools day after day if your there for a week. I’m taking my young lad again this year but will probably split our week between the Helmsdale and the Findhorn. The Findhorn in my opinion is the best association water in Scotland over a dozen lovely fly pools easily accessible by car.
 

HMarquis

Member
Messages
77
Reaction score
1
Wow lucky you, I have ventured up for the opening days where they open up the river and always say I'd love to go up later in the year, even if it's just for the association water. Lovely little village and the river and scenery is stunning!
 
Messages
633
Reaction score
0
Not surprised you got the invite as top rod in Scotland Keirstream. Jealous of course but hope you will continue sharing your wonderful photos of fish that may sustain the rest of us through this nonsense. It's a river I have dreamed of for a long time so a few river pictures as well as the inevitable fish ones would be very much appreciated. Keep fishing and keep healthy. The very best of luck.
 

happy days

Well-known member
Messages
4,099
Reaction score
58
Location
Liverpool
Good luck up there comrad, our return to the kola in june is looking a bit grim as the land border with Norway is to close this week :eek:hwell:
 

keirstream

Well-known member
Messages
6,814
Reaction score
68
Location
Stirling
Good luck up there comrad, our return to the kola in june is looking a bit grim as the land border with Norway is to close this week :eek:hwell:
Still a good chance G.:thumb:
I was talking to a lad who is booked for opening week on the Orkla. Travel is suspended until 31st May so he is expecting to change flights to 1st June and only miss opening day. By that time hopefully the world will be back to some sort of sanity.
At least, that's the plan.:eek:hwell::eek:hwell:
 

ArchieL

Active member
Messages
466
Reaction score
32
Some words and pictures to whet your appetite.

Tight lines you lucky chap.
Another excellent read MCX and i am sure most of us will admit to being a bit lazy when fishing rivers where we should change from fluro to mono ect and i know i am bad for it especially at the end of the day when there is hardly any fish about. I bought myself a fishing waistcoat during the winter and this year i plan to have all the fluro and mono safely with me on every time out. Another thing i am bad for is not bothering to change my tips as i approach faster/deeper sections of the river. I will change tips regularly if i am going to fish a section for say over half an hour but if it just a little section that takes 10-15 minutes to fish through then i am guilty of just changing to a heavier fly.
 
Top