Background Information | The Fishing
| Other Conditions | Contacts |
The Thurso is among the best salmon rivers in the north and is
often coupled with the Helmsdale and Naver. It enjoys a long productive season,
from 11th January to 5th October, and fish can be caught during every month.
Currently the river fishes best from March to October with the larger catches
occurring from July to the end of the season.
On average the river produces around 2000 salmon per year and
fishing is by fly only. In recent years the
catch has been rising and, as can be seen from the chart overleaf, numbers of
early running fish are increasing. This is of interest in that, historically,
the Thurso offered some of the earliest and best spring fishing in Scotland.
Some heavy fish have been caught on the Thurso, with fish of 47
lbs, 44 lbs and 36 lbs being taken during the 1920s. Nowadays, the vast
majority of spring fish exceed 10 lbs and in 2008, fish of 25lbs were taken.
From mid-March to the end of May the Upper Beats tend to be most
productive. The grilse can provide tremendous sport from July onwards and sea
liced summer salmon enter the river, given the right water conditions, right
through to the end of the season
Two rods fish on each stretch moving downstream by two beats each
day allowing both Upper and Lower water to be fished in one week. The beats
provide a wonderful variety of fishing and whilst many parts of the river have
a fine running character, some beats, particularly 3, 6, 7 and 12, are long and
deep. These pools are invaluable for the conservation of fish stocks in hot,
dry weather conditions and with a good wind to ruffle the water, they can be
The beats vary in length from just under one mile to three and a
quarter miles, each having a variety of pools For more detailed
information on the beats, you can click here.
Fishing is by fair fly only and fishing with bait, prawn, worm,
spinner, spoon or any other lure is expressly forbidden. Fishing is from both
banks and breast waders are not necessary.
It is a prerequisite of fishing on the River Thurso that anglers sign and
deliver the GYRODACTYLUS SALARIS DECLARATION FORMS (supplied via
post) to the river superintendent upon arrival of their first day at the
river and before they commence fishing. Anglers who have not signed and
delivered the declaration, will not be permitted to fish.
Salmon Conservation – From 11th January until 21st June, all salmon and sea trout should be returned safely to the River. From 22nd June until 5th October, anglers fishing for a week may retain up to two fish, provided they do not exceed 8lbs in weight or 70cm in length. Any fish incapable of being safely returned must be handed in to either the River Superintendent (Eddie McCarthy) or the Head Ghillie (Dougie Reid) on the day the fish is removed from the River. Treble hooks are not to be used at any time during the season and from 1st September until the end of the season (5th October) all hooks must be barbless.
Trout fishing – complimentary trout fishing is available to salmon anglers
during poor ‘in river’ conditions, subject to availability and upon payment of
a fee for the use of the boat.
Ghillies – if the service of a ghillie is required, there is a charge of £60/day
and this can be organised through:
The River Superintendent, Braal, Halkirk, Caithness, KW12 6XE Tel. No. 01847
Contact Anthony: 01847 831 641
Tel: 01847 831 591
Or Ask Eddie!
Please see the Pricing and
Particulars document for most recent pricing (pdf, approx 400k)