Whether a novice or an experienced angler, you’re results will benefit greatly from using one of the local ghillies or guides.
To organise a ghillie, please contact Reuben Sweeting on 07920 571026 or email firstname.lastname@example.org
A basic guide
Access to the river
Improvements to infrastructure in recent years has enabled vehicular access to the river in many areas which are clearly marked on the beat map along with off road parking places. Anglers are reminded not to park in official Passing Places. The river banks and paths are kept in check to allow unhindered fishing and access to anglers, while trying to achieve a balance where nature can still blossom.
The river is divided into the Upper and Lower Halladale. The Lower Halladale water, which is described in the comprehensive 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 with each beat accommodating 3 rods. The Upper Halladale consists of 2 beats, Craggie and Lodge beat, both of which are wild in nature as the river flows through upland moors and rocky gorges. Fishing is let weekly on Craggie with many parties taking it along side a lower beat for additional fishing.
Season and runs of fish
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.
Without a loch at the top of the river, fish make their way slowly upstream to spawn and many fish stay in the lower pools. In autumn fish can be seen spawning down the entire length of the river. 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.
For your own safety and that of others at the river, observe the following:
• Use a wading staff when wading in water flowing above calf height and do not attempt to cross the river above this level.
• Wear a life jacket in water above calf height.
• Beware of all power and telephone lines when fishing or carrying a rod near them especially in misty or thundery weather.
• Know what to do if your waders fill with water or you fall in.
• Always wear glasses and a hat to protect your eyes when fishing or watching a person cast.
• Carry a waterproof torch when fishing in the dark.
• No person under the age of twelve years may approach the river unless accompanied by an adult.
In an emergency contact the Emergency services by dialling 999, please also contact the Fisheries Manager on 07920 571026 and the Administration Secretary on 07879 866738.
The nearest doctor at Armadale is on 01641 541212.