The Hutton Mills Estate on the River Whiteadder is situated to the north of the village of Hutton in the beautiful and spectacular Whiteadder valley.
The River Whiteadder rises in the Lammermuir Hills and is fed from this high ground by its main tributaries the Bothwell, Moneynut and Dye Waters. The Whiteadder Reservoir acts as a large catchment and has eliminated the major variations in flow after heavy rain. At Allanton The Blackadder joins the river just before it runs into its more dramatic and picturesque section through the high-sided valley in its final run to join the Tweed. The Hutton Mills Estate is situated roughly in the middle of this section of the river with its spectacular cliffs and a mix of deep holding pools and faster runs, before it crosses the Newmills Cauld at Canty's Brig to join the Tweed itself just above the new by-pass bridge about 1 mile upstream of Berwick upon Tweed.
Old Tweed Almanacs clearly indicate that the Whiteadder was previously the foremost tributary of the Tweed, well ahead of the Teviot. There is every reason to expect that the Whiteadder will revert to its previous standing and tremendous progress has been made over the last 2 or 3 years. The first major breakthrough was the installation of a fish pass which has opened up an additional 16 miles of spawning and feed to migratory salmon and sea trout. The North Atlantic Salmon Trust and the Tweed Commissioners have done an enormous amount of work in buying out the netting stations on the lower Tweed and this, together with work that is being done on an international basis with regard to the Faroe sea fisheries and North Sea drift nets is greatly enhancing the salmon stocks entering the estuary.
At present there is a run of salmon during February through April and this historically used to be the cream of the whole fishing on the river but has suffered more heavily than the autumn run. The main run of sea trout comes in may and June with the occasional salmon running throughout the summer. The autumn run starts in September and then increases to the end of the season in late November.
An improvement scheme to the beat has been carried out with the approval of the Tweed Commissioners, the Tweed Purification Board and the Scottish Natural Heritage. The results of the improvement scheme were dramatic and indicated the potential to greatly increase the number of holding lies for salmon in the stretch of river.
The river flows through dramatic Estate topography which provides a very attractive back drop for the salmon and sea trout fishing. The Hutton mills Estate has had considerable improvements made to the fishing by installing groynes. These have greatly increased the amount and attractiveness of the fishing on the Hutton Mills Beat but there are still further works to continue on river banks and groynes.
In addition to the runs of salmon and sea trout the beat produces some good numbers of wild brown trout in a lovely natural setting. There are plans to improve the numbers even more with a re-stocking programme in future years.
There are 2 huts on the beat; both have facilities and are accessible by vehicles. The beat has been fished on a very low-key basis since 1992. Catch returns and accurate figures have been hard to find during this period as local syndicates have fished the water on an intermittent basis. It is hoped that regular tenants on the Estate Water will see catch returns improve by considerable numbers.
The fishing employs a full time ghillie, Carl Hudson. He will be on hand to offer advice and show clients the beat. Carl has a wide experience in game fishing and casting techniques. Casting tuition can be arranged with prior notice.
Most of the water is a medium width and chest waders are advisable but under normal water conditions thigh waders will be sufficient. Rods up to 14ft long are recommended. Single-handed rods will cover the water when low. Floating lines through to intermediate cover most circumstances together with small to medium size flies. Heavy flies fish best when the water is in spate. A life vest is advisable when the water is high; please ask the ghillie if in doubt.