The River Thurso

The Thurso, famed for its fresh run salmon throughout the year, is the

most northern river in Scotland. The town of Thurso, in Caithness-shire,

is the best station, and the route, from Aberdeen to Wick.

The salmon flies for Thurso are rather of a plain and sombre cast,

varying in size through the fishing months. The river is remarkably high

and full in the spring, in consequence of the melting of the snow and
/> ice, and at that period requires large flies, like No. 12; further on in

the season they are much smaller in size, like Nos. 1, 2, 3, to No. 11,

which are capital ones for it, and the other engravings are likewise

good in low water for the fresh run grilse. Throughout the summer months

the following are also good for this river:--

No. 1. Body black floss silk, orange tag, tip of gold, small topping for

tail, black-red hackle, mallard wings mixed with peacock wing, a topping

over all, and a black head. Hook BB, B.

No. 2. Body claret silk, claret hackle, ribbed with gold, a short

topping tail, with silver tip, mallard wings mixed with tipped feathers,

macaw feelers, and a black head. Hook No. 9, or B. This is an admirable

fly for lake trout, on C hook.

No. 3. Body yellow-brown mohair, red hackle, a short topping for tail,

ribbed with gold, claret hackle round the shoulder, and mixed wings

rather grey, and inclined to be gaudy. No. 9 hook, or BB. C, for lake


No. 4. A black fly, with yellow head, tail of mohair, black hackle,

ribbed with broad silver, wings black turkey tail with white tip, varied

with brown turkey tail. A fly of each is useful. Hook No. 8 or 9.

No. 5. A green fly, both body and hackle, mixed wings rather gaudy,

ribbed with gold, orange head, topping in tail, varied with a black-red

hackle, and light green silk body ribbed with gold twist. Hook B or BB.

No. 6. A dark brown fly, brown red hackle and body, ribbed with gold

twist, and glede wings, varied with brown spotted turkey tail feather or

mallard, one of each. Hook No. 8 or 9, B for low water.

There is a good deal of guinea hen and teal feathers used in the flies

of these northern rivers, which appears to be an improvement, with

jungle-cock and wood-duck.

There is a river issues out of Loch Naver, a short way from the source

of the Thurso, which falls into the sea in the same direction west of

the town of Thurso; it has a winding course, and would be a very good

river for salmon were it well preserved.

There are numerous rivers running into the firths on the east side of

Sutherland, which produce salmon and fine trout that run up from the

sea:--the Wick and Helmsdale in Caithness, the Brora near Golspie, the

Dornoch into which the river Shin flows, Drummond and Loch Clash,

Dingwall river and lake, and the river Beauley at the head of the Murray


Lord Lovat is the owner of this river, and he is very willing to grant

permission to gentlemen to fish on sending in their cards.