The Forss House Fishings
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by Thurso, Caithness, Scotland

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 Opening day is upon us and the temperature has rarely been above freezing for over a month, with it dipping down to -14 overnight. It was difficult to find a bit of the river not frozen over. As a result the traditional Falls Pool was abandoned for our very restricted opening celebration. The ceremony took place at the Sea Pool where an ice bound stream was found. Victoria gave a toast to the river, wishing everything to return to as near normal as it can be, the salmon to return fit and health and to a successful season with good water. Then the traditional dram was poured into the river and onto the ice. The first cast was then carried out by 8 year old Robyn Speirs, hopefully a new generation of angler. It was then back to the Bothy for bacon sandwiches and hot chocolate with marshmallows.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Not much space to cast a fly, Falls Pool nearly frozen over, just a bit below the falls free of ice.

MERRY CHRISTMAS AND A HAPPY NEW YEAR

 The first fish of 2020 fell to the rod of Mr. Peter MacGregor​​, at the rock pool. It was a sea liced (no long tails) of 3lbs. It took an inch and a half cone head cascade in bright conditions with light winds D's and about two feet on the gauge. 

 

 Mr. Peter MacGregor​​ with the first fish of the season

 

 

Catch & Release Recommendation Revised

Electrofishing surveys in 2019 and 2020 reveal that the river's stock of juvelines has declined alarmingly

The following factors may have contributed to this precipitous decline :

(a) the long dry summer of 2018

(b) an accidental stemming of the flow from Shurrery Dam by Scottish Water    that lasted for three days during this period of drought      

(c) the ingress of sewage from the septic tanks of new houses at Broubster

(d) the leakage of distillery waste from a tank on a farm at Westfield in 2019  

(e) the death of fish due to the outbreak of disease (gill pox virus?) last summer.

These findings compel the Board of Management to recommend strongly that all fish landed at FHF in season 2021 should be returned safely to the river.

The results of the 2019 Electrofishing Survey of Juvenile Salmonids can be found on the website of the Caithness & District Salmon Fishery Board

[www.caithness.dsfb.org.uk  (at publications)].

 

 


Wolfburn Best Fish Prize 2019

The heaviest fish prize was awarded to Chris Ramus for his 18-pounder (returned) from Byre Pool on 28 September.
 

 

Wolfburn First Fish Prize 2019

The prize for the first clean fish to be landed and returned was awarded to Mike Shepley for his 7-pounder from Falls Pool on 7 April.
 

 

 

 

 FlysFlys for Sale

We now have flys of various patterns/sizes available to buy at the bothy.

The flys were tied by Pat Nicol (Thurso River Ghillie expert and fly tyer). They vary in price from £2 to £2.70 each.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


 Important New Legislation 

All rods should be aware that it is now illegal, under the Conservation of Salmon (Annual Close Times and Catch and Release) (Scotland) Regulations, which came into force on 9th January, to kill any salmon, by rod and line or nets, before 1st April.  

Further information is available at: http://www.scotland.gov.uk/Topics/marine/Salmon-Trout-Coarse/game/conservationreg 

If there is an accidental killing of a fish, the act stipulates that it must be “returned to the river”.


The Wild Fisheries Review (WFR) Proposed New Legislation 

The report of the independent Wild Fisheries Review (WFR), was published in October 2014. It makes 53 wide ranging, and some would say draconian, recommendations for change to the management system for wild fisheries in Scotland.  

The full report is available on:

http://www.scotland.gov.uk/Topics/marine/Salmon-Trout-Coarse/fishreview/WFRFinal

The most important of the recommended changes are the introduction of a new central, and clearly expensive, bureaucratic system of management boards, a ban on the killing of wild salmon except under licence, the introduction of an advance licensing system for the catching and killing of salmon and the tagging of killed fish. There are many others.

They are set out in detail on: http://www.scotland.gov.uk/Resource/0046/00460196.pdf

Consultation on the Proposed New Legislation

The Scottish Government has committed to consult in Spring 2015 on broad policy options for a new fisheries management system followed by further consultation on a draft wild fisheries bill before the end of the Parliamentary session.

 Details of this consultation process are set out in a document entitled “Consultation on proposed conservation measures to introduce a licensing system for killing wild salmon in Scotland”. It isavailable on: http://www.scotland.gov.uk/Resource/0046/00469573.pdf

Rod owners are encouraged to make their own views known via the consultation process.