News and AnnouncementsThe Forss House Fishings
Opening Celebration and Climate Updates...
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.
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 :
- The long dry summer of 2018
- An accidental stemming of the flow from Shurrery Dam by Scottish Water that lasted for three days during this period of drought
- The ingress of sewage from the septic tanks of new houses at Broubster
- The leakage of distillery waste from a tank on a farm at Westfield in 2019
- 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 BoardView 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.
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:www.scotland.gov.uk
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 full report is available on: www.scotland.gov.uk
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:www.scotland.gov.uk
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: www.scotland.gov.uk
Rod owners are encouraged to make their own views known via the consultation process.