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by Thurso, Caithness, Scotland

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River Superintendent's Annual Report 2017 - Forss House Fishing Timeshare 

Outflow taking shape-July 2017


 River Opening


The river opened for business on Saturday 11th February 2017.


Text Box:


Around 25 anglers and guests attended and were piped to the Falls by Piper John

Macrae. The first cast of the season was made by  our Ex Administrator, Morven Coghill. Coffee and bacon rolls were very generously provided by Forss House Hotel and once again the Old Pulteney Distillery in Wick sponsored the drams to toast the river which was delivered by Gavin Anderson.


Fishing 2017


Our first clean fish was taken by Alastair Jappy on the 7th March weighing in at 10lb. Alastair went on to record our second of the season two days later which weighed 8lb. Both these fish were returned to the water safely.


Decent water levels meant that by the end of week 11we had recorded 20 fish in the catch return book.


Weeks 12 to 19 were dominated by lowish water conditions but a further 37 were landed during this period. Week 20 provided us with a blank, but fishing was steady enough for the next 5 weeks and our total had reached 117. Weeks 26 through to 29 were very hard going with a lot of bright days and low water conditions to contend with. The next 2 weeks provided our week 30 & 31 anglers with great sport in terrific water and a further 73 were grassed during these two weeks. The last 3 weeks of the 2017 season made for hard fishing as by now most of the fish had relocated well above our water, despite this 35 more were added to our tally giving us a very respectable 228 total. Our largest fish at 17lb was taken by Dick Longfield from the Falls Pool on Monday 8th May. Dick wins a bottle of Old Pulteney Whisky for this catch.



Chris Ramus receiving the Superintendent's dram

for the 200th fish of the season

Julian Brindle receiving the prize for the heaviest fish caught in 2016. 18.5lbs Falls Pool



A breakdown of Beats/fish is as follows with numbers and percentages returned.


Beat 1-39      25 returned 4.1%

Beat 2-99      44 returned  40.4%

Beat 3-43      38 returned 86.4%

Beat 4-47      38 returned  81%   


Of our 228 fish landed, (down 7% on last years total) 63.59% were returned.




No fish were recorded in the catch return book as seal damaged.  


River Improvements 2017


These include:


1. New walkways installed on Beat 3.      

2. New walkways installed on Beat 1.

3. New handrail installed on Beat 2.

4. Overhanging trees cut back below road bridge.

5. New wire over Beat 2 walkway.

6. New planks on Beat 2 walkway.

7. New Bridge at Brogie.

8. Works to improve outflow.

9. Boat shed preservative applied.


New Bridge at Brogie being handed over to Board Member Mike Wycherley July 2017

New boards being fitted January 2017



 Poaching Activity


There were no instances or reports of poaching activity recorded or reported to me in 2017.


Electro Fishing Survey


This survey was undertaken in the latter half of September just below Stemster and although the official results have yet to be published, I am informed by Alan Youngson, Scientific Advisor to the CDSFB, that once again our Parr and Fry count are excellent.



A pretty good season. The majority of our fish were already in the system by the end of July and there were very few newcomers after that. Most of these fish were hiding away in the depths of Beat 1 until we had water and then encouraged by this, a huge number ran the river, relocating above Stemster. Whether, the work done on the outflow to improve access to the river has had any real impact on the numbers entering it remains to be seen, though it appears they have little hesitation in running in despite low water.


Note of Thanks


May I give my thanks to our outgoing Chairman, Robin MacKinlay, and Board Member, Chris Ramus. It can't be emphasised enough how much unseen and unpaid work goes on in the background to support the efficient running and development of the Fishery, for example the grant secured from Baillie Windfarm Fund. Also of significant note is the positive turnaround in our financial status over the past few years, which continues to benefit all rod owners on the Forss.



David Findlay Holmes

Forss River Superintendent

October 2017