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First salmon of 2022 season finally caught on Helmsdale – seven weeks after river opening

By Caroline McMorran

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The first salmon of the new season have been caught on the River Helmsdale, weeks after a ceremony to mark the river opening.

Veteran angler Andy Sutherland (Torrish), Helmsdale, was first off the mark, catching an 8lb salmon on beat four yesterday.

Andy Sutherland (Torrish) with the first fish off the River Helmsdale in 2022.
Andy Sutherland (Torrish) with the first fish off the River Helmsdale in 2022.

Later, Jim Forsyth caught a 9lb fish at the Flat pool on the association stretch of the river.

Mr Sutherland’s daughter, Yvonne Grant, who runs Helmsdale fishing tackle, country and outdoors shop Glencoast, helped her father land the salmon.

She posted of the success on the business’s social media page and said Mr Sutherland had only been fishing for 15 minutes when he called “Get the net, this is it!”.

She added that she had been nervous about landing it, but had been proud to be “his ghillie for a change”.

Ms Grant’s post continues: “We’re off the mark at last! It was such a stunning day with the river starting off at 1 foot 3 inches and dropping. It really was a very surreal, emotional day, considering what is happening in this crazy world.”

The River Helmsdale was officially opened seven weeks ago, on January 11, with Ms Grant performing the ceremonial opening cast.

Fishing was free to all without charge until January 24.

The first salmon off the River Brora was caught on the river's opening day, February 1.

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