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.