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The Halladale - Exceptionally unspoilt and productive fishings

May 5th, 2016 by Iain Wood 0 comments


The Halladale - Exceptionally unspoilt and productive fishings


The Halladale River is a productive highland spate river with a five year average catch of 759 salmon and grilse.


The fishable river is about 15 miles in length and flows through beautiful wilderness scenery into the Pentland Firth and comprises 6 beats and over 50 named pools.



Fishing is usually let with one, or a combination, of three comfortably appointed cottages. There is excellent loch fishing for wild brown trout, a fine local 18 hole golf course and stunning sandy beaches for those who want to engage in other activities.


Access to the river is easy and cars can be parked off the road where indicated on the fishing map and in official Passing Places. There are good car parking places marked on the beat maps.



Fishing is from the banks and it is not necessary to have waders to fish the pools. It is however, helpful to have thigh waders to cross the river at will when the water is not too high. From a fishing point of view, the river is divided into the Upper Halladale and Lower Halladale. The Lower Halladale water, which is described in this guide is eight miles long and divided into four beats, fished in rotation by moving down one beat per day. Fishing is by fly only from both banks, with three rods permitted per beat.



The salmon season opens on 12th January and closes on 30th September. Salmon start to enter the river at the beginning of the season and can be caught in small numbers in the early months. From the second half of March numbers of fish build up considerably, depending on the water conditions, and there can be a good run of spring fish averaging approximately 9 -10lbs with some at the 18lb mark. Grilse averaging 5Ib start to run from late May onwards and continue to do so until the end of the season. Summer salmon enter the river from June until September. These latter are heavier than the spring fish, averaging about 11 -12 Ibs with the occasional fish of 20lbs plus.

Each beat differs greatly in character but the river is mostly relatively shallow and its upper reaches run through peat moorland. In a spate it can be heavily coloured (though not muddy) and it becomes fishable as soon as the water levels off, which it does fairly rapidly.



The four main beats have great variety as the river flows through moorland, agricultural grassland, rocky gorges with low falls and on to the ‘canal’ with flood banks in the lowest section of the river.


Weeks very seldom become available however this there are, exceptionally, a few weeks which have become free.


Further details can be found here.

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