HELMSDALE RIVER BOARD
1. COCK AND HEN SALMON,
SEA TROUT AND FINNOCK
Throughout the season all stale fish (that is cocks as well as hens) must be returned to the river unless damaged beyond recovery. To minimise injury to any fish landing nets should be of knotless mesh and where damage may occur to a fish in enforced removal of the fly the cast should be cut and the fish released with the fly in place.
2. CATCH AND RELEASE
As the Helmsdale is classified as Category 1 in the Government's Conservation Limits, the Board is allowed discretion in making its own regulations.
Owing to an analysis of the Counter figures we are in the fortunate position to have the ability on the River Helmsdale to calculate a C and R policy based on how much of the total run is actually retained.
All fish over 12 pounds
throughout the fishing season
will be returned. Larger
fish have more eggs
proportionately for their
body-weight and the eggs are
spawning stock will thereby
To make weight assessment easier ghillies will have landing-nets with weight-
balances built into the handles. This also assists safe releasing without the fish leaving the water.
The Board has decided in particular to help springers. Accordingly, all fish shall be returned up to the end of Week 15 ending June 11th. Thereafter one fish per beat per week is allowed to be killed. The Board appreciates your co-operation in their conservation policy.
As before, fish may be killed
outside these rules only if
they are fatally injured.
This normally means if they
are hooked in the tongue or
deep in the throat.
The Board is apprehensive about escaped farmed Norwegian fish interbreeding with native Scottish wild fish. Please kill all farmed salmon regardless of any restrictions. The key indicators are: worn dorsal fin, rounded-off tail, gill-
covers which do not cover the gills completely and expose a white edge, extra spottiness on the back, and general oddity of appearance. Please note that some farm escapees are big and well-disguised.
All anglers must carry long-
nosed pliers to facilitate release when not with their ghillies.
Anglers are reminded that for the purposes of catch data a fish is deemed to have been caught only after it has been released manually by the angler. It is not deemed to have been caught if it gets off just before being landed.
3. ROD RETURN FORMS
Rod Return Forms will be provided to Proprietors and Tenants on Monday each week direct from the Head Bailiff's office at The Hatchery. The previous weeks Return Form will be collected from Ghillies on Monday. This must be signed and verified as correct by the Proprietor or Tenant and handed to the Ghillie on Saturday when the Ghillie returns home. Any fish caught on a Saturday after the Ghillie has gone home must be notified to the Ghillie who will add these to the Return Form. Those fish caught after 8p.m. and before midnight on Saturday must be added to any fish caught the previous Monday since they will be fishing the same beat. Numbers of Kelts caught and returned should be noted on the reverse of the Return Form. Instead of recording as grilse any fish caught below 6 lb., it is suggested that fishers, when making their weekly return, should use their discretion in distinguishing between small salmon and grilse, regardless of weight, and if necessary, should ask for their ghillie's advice.
The weekly Return Form should include reference to the number of fish caught, which are scarred or bitten by seals.
4. FISHING HUTS
It is in everyone's interest that these are kept clean and tidy. Fishers should therefore ensure that Fishing Huts are left tidy for those who follow them and that no litter of any kind is left on the beat at the end of each fishing day.
a) No dogs shall be taken to the River downstream of the cattle grid on One Below except to the Marrel and Whinnie Pools.
b) All dogs shall be kept either on a lead or strictly ‘at heel'.
c) No dog shall be taken through or near a park during lambing.
6. VEHICLE ACCESS AND PARKING
No vehicles are to be taken across fields, tracks or private roads to the riverbank under any circumstances. The only exceptions being the Dalcharn Hut on Beat Three Above, Killearnan Bridge on Beat Five Below and the Hut on One Above. The Lay-by at the Duible Farm entrance and Duible Bridge is not to be used for parking. A parking place has been provided with access to the Jetty Streams, Craggie Burn and Short Pools at Halgarry Cottage. No Parking is to take place at either of the wrought iron gates at Kildonan Lodge. No vehicles shall be driven on 6 Above to the loch-side at Achnamoine; a road-side parking bay is provided.
7. CLOSURE OF THE RIVER
The river will be closed to all fishing from 2 a.m. - 6 a.m. throughout the season.
Week 1 commences on Monday 29th February 2016.
Week 27 commences on Monday 29th August 2016.
During weeks 27, 28, 29, 30 and 31 no fishing will take place anywhere on the river after 8 p.m.
8. TACKLE USE
Treble or quadruple hooks up to a size 8 shall be permitted. Single hook fly sizes are unrestricted.
9. SEA TROUT
All sea trout and finnock below one pound in weight must be returned to the river.
As a precaution against the lethal parasite, gyrodactylus, all angling equipment used outside the UK in the previous 3 months and brought to the Helmsdale must either be:
i) i) Put in a deep freeze for at least one day, or
ii) ii) Immersed for ten minutes, in a solution with water, in the chemicals Virkon or Wescodyne (one part chemical to 99 parts water).
The Board will disinfect any equipment needing it free of charge at the house of the water bailiff John Macleod, 01431 821010, mobile 07810 114954. John Macleod's house, River Cottage, is a right turn 2 miles out of Helmsdale up a driveway towards the Old Kilphedir Lodge entrance. His house is the second of two bungalows and the disinfection unit is close to it.