The Thurso runs for approximately 26 miles from Loch More, the
river's source to the sea at Thurso east. This 26 miles is split into 13
beats, 12 of which are available to let. The other being held for local
anglers and members of the Thurso Angling Assocation (Beat 1). A brief
description of the remaining beats (2-13) are described below. More
detail and information on "hot spots" can be obtained from the river
Superintendent, Eddie McCarthy, or one of a number
of able ghillies who are available for hire during your stay.
Beat two starts with the slow moving water and comes to an end some two miles
later and tumbles it`s way through some classic water like the Mill Stream,
Finlaysons, Buckies, the Fence pools before ending in the stone Pool.
Beat three starts off with two very good streams, the Suilags. Thereafter the
beat has typical pools with a stream at the beginning, and ending approx
100yards later with a lovely smooth glide. The river slackens off after the
Carsgoe burn and the remaining 500 yards becomes canal like.
Beat four is the "Home Beat" which flows through the village of Halkirk. On
this beat each pool is a potential winner. Gerston is a long pool with a narrow
rushing stream at the head and a slow glide in to the tail. The Bush pool is a
small, fast flowing pool which the grilse seem to particularly like. The Quarry
Pool is one of those pools where every cast is a possible winner. The Comlifoot
Pool runs tightly under a cliff and gives up a lot of salmon every year. The
Manse and Braal Pools fish very well when the river is a little bit on the high
side. The final pool on the beat is the Hoy Pool which is a long, slow moving,
but very productive pool.
The dividing line between beats six and five is another Suspension bridge.
Again this beat has a couple of streams at the top and one at the bottom whilst
the mid-section is canal like. On the top end the island Pool and Island stream
are very pleasant to fish while on the mid section Linn More, Blackpark and the
Kettle pool fish well with an upstream breeze. On the bottom end we have the
Trawl Pool which always hold fish and very big salmon have been observed
spawning there down the years.
Beat six begins at the outfall of the Braehour Burn and , in it's early part,
has some attractive streams which the Grilse in particular seem to like. The
mid section of this beat is very slow moving but, given the right conditions,
will produce good sport from Corrag fence, Dempster Corner and Morgan`s canal.
The lower part of the beat has streamier water again but not quite as fast
moving as the upper beat.
Beat seven introduces the beginnings of almost six miles of mainly very slow
moving, canal type water. However, given a good breeze, areas like Tail of
Rebeg, The Throats and Broken Brae will always provide fine sport. Beat seven
holds the main body of fish which will spawn on the Mire Pool on beat eight and
as such, always holds good numbers of fish. There is a suspension bridge on the
bottom end of beat seven.
Beat eight begins with the Mill streams at Westerdale bridge which is always
favourite to pick up a resting fish. The cupboard pool lies about 150 yards
below the Luncheon Hut and always is home to a few salmon as is the Mire pool
below. For the final half mile, beat eight almost becomes snake like as it
wriggles it`s way through the grassy riverbank.
Beat nine (known locally as the marathon) extends for some three miles. This
beat conjures up every kind of water imaginable, from the fast flowing upper
Mill stream to the lazy, slow moving Broad Pool to the dark deep Rock Pool.
Like beat eleven, this beat excels in high water and very often produces some
of the best catches of the year.
Beat ten is a very interesting beat with a very attractive gorge in the upper
reaches which contains several challenging short pools. As the river emerges
from the gorge it slows down and the bottom half of the beat has some very
pleasant fishing water.
Beat eleven begins just below Strathmore Lodge and offers two miles of varied
fishing water from fast flowing streams to much slower stretches. This beat
tends to fish better in higher water condition and is very good when fish are
Beat twelve and Loch Beg go together. Loch Beg basically is a large pool which
is mainly fished from the boat. It is recommended that the services of a
Ghillie be enlisted to gain maximum benefit through use of the boat. Beat
twelve, apart from a stream at the top, is canal water. The method of "backing
up" is best employed here, and again, a Ghillie can offer invaluable advice.
About a couple of pools on Beat thirteen begins where the river emerges from
Loch more. Upper thirteen consists of the Bridge pool, Weedy Pool and Lady
Wightmans. Up until the end of May, beat thirteen along with beat twelve are
the most prolific areas on the entire river. Lower thirteen starts below Loch
beg and continues for a mile and a half before meeting up with the marker for
beat twelve. This area tends not to hold great numbers of fish in the early
part of the year but can produce good results from August onward.