Comparing the Thurso and Tweed Part 1

Scierra

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I'm told that raising the loch level ruined it as a fishery but ..... but ..... Well, I'm game to give it a go! ;)
I often wonder when they say they control the level of the Thurso river from Loch more dam ? I totally agree when it drops below the overflow level thro the fish passage ? But don't you think in high flows spilling over the dam the sluice gate should be closed to give the fish maximin running to the sanctuary into the loch , until the flow through the fish pass is unpassable by the fish. as when the flow is through the sluice the run into the loch for the fish is halted early and the fish have no option but to drop downriver or hold up below the dam ? Its a man made barrier worse than any caul on most rivers.
 

Lewis.Chessman

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Easy tiger:

1. In September 1995 we asked permission to fish Sandwood from a float tube. It was granted. We fished the OH regularly in the late 80s and early 90s and never heard of anyone fishing for S or ST from an FT

2. We didn’t fish the Thurso River from a float tube we fished, with permission, Loch Beg from a float tube. This is what LC said he did. I can’t think why anyone would try to fish the main river from an FT.

Regards

NHP
Hi, Nigel, I think Roag Fisher's comments were directed more at me, as I've stated here there are a couple of places on the canal stretches I'd like to try the tube+ s-h rod - in certain and specific conditions when I think it would be appropriate, giving a quieter, more delicate delivery from an unusual angle, something the fish aren't used to.
I may well be wrong and I may well waste my time, but I don't think I'll disturb the pool anymore than if I threw an #8/9 Spey line from bank to bank or waded through said pools. Plus, as I mention, there are already boats available at these places .....

Scierra. There are often discussions between us about the pros and cons of the sluice gates on the dam, the merits and pitfalls of false spating, etc. and I'm not yet sufficiently informed to offer any worthwhile comment. I'm happy to leave such decisions in the hands of those much more experienced than I. What I do know is that every effort is made to balance the interests of the fish with the interests of the guests fishing the river below. If the main, central sluices were closed to prolong the usability of the pass then the entire river might loose much of its stock to the loch and above. If there's a bit of a drought and Upper 13 gets stacked with fish the side sluices can be opened to give those fish a chance to ascend.
It's something of a juggling act and one I need more knowledge about before I can proffer an educated view of my own. I hope you understand how I feel about the matter?
 

Nigel Passmore

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Apologies I missed that nuance. However, I am genuinely stumped as to where you think an FT would be a serious tactic on the Thurso outside the 2 lochs on the system?

Regards

NHP
 

Roag Fisher

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Easy tiger:

1. In September 1995 we asked permission to fish Sandwood from a float tube. It was granted. We fished the OH regularly in the late 80s and early 90s and never heard of anyone fishing for S or ST from an FT

2. We didn’t fish the Thurso River from a float tube we fished, with permission, Loch Beg from a float tube. This is what LC said he did. I can’t think why anyone would try to fish the main river from an FT.

Regards

NHP
I assumed both you and James would have permission. Some anglers believe it moves or scares fish, which has caused problems over here in the past, and if James had bagged up the next guy on the beat could have moaned if he got nothing. The easy solution to that sort of problem was just to ban float tubing.
Float tubes are still deployed for salmon/sea trout in a few lochs at times, in others they were.
The Stornoway Angling Association once had a midsummer comp tubing on the 1st loch at Grimersta. Ness Glen will probably remember when, and he would have been one of the float tube pioneers.
As a final aside. One skilled local angler had a large number of salmon/grilse off a famous island loch when out in his float tube. This led to float tubes getting banned. One local wag commented that wellies should be banned too because he knew of someone who had caught 11 in the Barvas sea pool and it was obviously the wellies to blame.
 

Lewis.Chessman

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I do understand your point, Gordon. I think an important difference is that the Thurso beats are limited to two rods per day and if I were to try on one of her wider canal pools it would be with the consent of the other rod as well as the management.
Any disturbed fish would then have at least ten hours to settle before the next guests even cast eyes on the water, surely enough time, I think, given how productive pools which get waded through daily can be.

And I don't propose this for any time, any conditions, but for those hard dog-days of summer when a more delicate approach offers the best chance of success on the 'canals'.
All the best,
James.
 

Andrew B

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"El San water" - he probably thought it was another one of these fancy foreign brands of bottled water (probably Spanish)..
Lol I know and let’s be fair here cause even without Alzheimer’s some of us with less than stellar educations could not be expected to know some of these French terms?😂
Actually I still don’t know the meaning myself as toilet in French is Latrine is it not?
It’s almost as if the British empire thought that anything to do with shite and washing bottoms we’ll just give em posh French names to avoid embarrassment.
Even pre dementia we’ve got a ton of stories re poos on holiday😂
Another classic was visiting the Eden project when it first opened in Cornwall. Idea being you park up and ride in on their coaches. With the coach packed to the brim my dad just had to go and Be the first to use the the small toilet at the back of the coach. Pants down and pebble dashing the new “Latrine” he couldn’t stand up to zip up as the gravel road was kinda bumpy. One guy even asked my mum if he could sit in the vacant space and she said I’m sorry the seats taken 😂.
I still laugh about it and picture a long brown stain along the road lol and perhaps best of all is that given how bad his Alzheimer’s is, he can still remember all the toilet related stuff of which there’s many lol🤮😂
 

heather point

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Just thought I would have my tuppence worth on this Thurso versus Tweed debate as everyone else seems to have had.
It is a pity that it had to descend into some rather nasty posts which are there to be seen. I have been lucky enough to have fished both of these magnificent rivers and have enjoyed both very much. They are very different in character, surrounding countryside but also catch statistics, some of which I have access to.
If you enjoy the gentle farmland and rolling hills of the border region, then the Tweed is your thing.
If you prefer the remote wild open landscapes of the far north, then try the Thurso.
Now to catch statistics. I have gone back to 2010 for this as the Tweed had a near record year then as many rivers did, it was a good season most places.
The total catch for the Tweed in 2010 was about 22,500 fish.
By comparison the Thurso returned 3022 fish.
Now what must be born in mind here is the comparative rod effort, the Thurso is fished by 24 rods per day and has a shorter season being fished very little until mid March and finishes early October.
The Tweed has a much longer season and is fished by probably 240 rods per day and starts on 1st February till the end of November.
I will leave you to do the maths and draw your own conclusions but I will just say they are both great rivers and if you have never fished either or one of them, please give them a try and THEN make up your own mind.
 

Scierra

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If you enjoy the gentle farmland and rolling hills of the border region, then the Tweed is your thing.
If you prefer the remote wild open landscapes of the far north, then try the Thurso.
Now to catch statistics. I have gone back to 2010 for this as the Tweed had a near record year then as many rivers did, it was a good season most places.
The total catch for the Tweed in 2010 was about 22,500 fish.
By comparison the Thurso returned 3022 fish.
Now what must be born in mind here is the comparative rod effort, the Thurso is fished by 24 rods per day and has a shorter season being fished very little until mid March and finishes early October.
The Tweed has a much longer season and is fished by probably 240 rods per day and starts on 1st February till the end of November.
I will leave you to do the maths and draw your own conclusions but I will just say they are both great rivers and if you have never fished either or one of them, please give them a try and THEN make up your own mind.
240 rods per day on the Tweed that is 10 x more rods than 24 on the Thurso. No comparison , Thurso way out catches fish per rod days and "Fly Only " at that ! No maths needed .
2010 Tweed catch would include Teviot ,Till & Ettrick , these 3 tributaries would equate way more bank fishing and extended season too at that, than the Thurso's 24 miles .
A fairer fairer comparison would be to compare the Tweed with rivers of similar size , Spey ,Dee Tay , but these rivers shut down 1st & 15th October.
 

Andrew B

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240 rods per day on the Tweed that is 10 x more rods than 24 on the Thurso. No comparison , Thurso way out catches fish per rod days and "Fly Only " at that ! No maths needed .
2010 Tweed catch would include Teviot ,Till & Ettrick , these 3 tributaries would equate way more bank fishing and extended season too at that, than the Thurso's 24 miles .
A fairer fairer comparison would be to compare the Tweed with rivers of similar size , Spey ,Dee Tay , but these rivers shut down 1st & 15th October.
There’s also the water factor? As Heather point once wrote in T&S given water the Thurso will give you fish.
Comparing a more water dependent river like the Thurso to any one of the big four that don’t rely on spates is like the proverbial chalk n cheese imo.
I have noticed a pattern now far up North where it seems to miss out on rain for long periods. Whatever happened to the term April Showers?
 

marty31

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240 rods per day on the Tweed that is 10 x more rods than 24 on the Thurso. No comparison , Thurso way out catches fish per rod days and "Fly Only " at that ! No maths needed .
2010 Tweed catch would include Teviot ,Till & Ettrick , these 3 tributaries would equate way more bank fishing and extended season too at that, than the Thurso's 24 miles .
A fairer fairer comparison would be to compare the Tweed with rivers of similar size , Spey ,Dee Tay , but these rivers shut down 1st & 15th October.
You sound a bit like a builder i know! He specialises in timber frame houses! So what does he try and promote? You got it! Timber frame houses!!
 

Andrew B

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You sound a bit like a builder i know! He specialises in timber frame houses! So what does he try and promote? You got it! Timber frame houses!!
Quite right too imo😉 I can stick up for some Welsh rivers in the face of declining runs and many blanks lol.
 

marty31

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Quite right too imo😉 I can stick up for some Welsh rivers in the face of declining runs and many blanks lol.

240 rods per day on the Tweed that is 10 x more rods than 24 on the Thurso. No comparison , Thurso way out catches fish per rod days and "Fly Only " at that ! No maths needed .
2010 Tweed catch would include Teviot ,Till & Ettrick , these 3 tributaries would equate way more bank fishing and extended season too at that, than the Thurso's 24 miles .
A fairer fairer comparison would be to compare the Tweed with rivers of similar size , Spey ,Dee Tay , but these rivers shut down 1st & 15th October.
To even suggest a comparison inthe first place was nothing more than a joke! Completely different systems, and completely different in every respect not comparable, in any respect! A joke thread from day one!
 

Scierra

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You sound a bit like a builder i know! He specialises in timber frame houses! So what does he try and promote? You got it! Timber frame houses!!
Aren't you in the building trade ? cowboy builder :unsure:, I've never had owt te dee with the building trade , Please explain what the hell has timber frame got to do with the Tweed or Thurso

Anyway got the class Fishing magazine today " Trout and Salmon " , 10 page write up , on " A Thurso Summer" not often any river gets 10 page 👍. Fly fishers only, SO don't all go out at once emptying the shelves off newsagents etc

There's a bit in there for you too Marti on spinning on the Tay though , as I read somewhere on here you enquiring how to fish Vision 110 's ?
This is the first Spinning article in the T & S Mag for 10yrs ?
 

Scierra

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To even suggest a comparison inthe first place was nothing more than a joke! Completely different systems, and completely different in every respect not comparable, in any respect! A joke thread from day one!
Now Marti if it was a joke from day one ? then why start no 3 off on these 2 rivers 🤔
 

marty31

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Aren't you in the building trade ? cowboy builder :unsure:, I've never had owt te dee with the building trade , Please explain what the hell has timber frame got to do with the Tweed or Thurso

Anyway got the class Fishing magazine today " Trout and Salmon " , 10 page write up , on " A Thurso Summer" not often any river gets 10 page 👍. Fly fishers only, SO don't all go out at once emptying the shelves off newsagents etc

There's a bit in there for you too Marti on spinning on the Tay though , as I read somewhere on here you enquiring how to fish Vision 110 's ?
This is the first Spinning article in the T & S Mag for 10yrs ?
Who even bothers to read the T&S these days? Have i ever denied that i spin? The trouble is with me i am a upfront kind of guy! And for a faceless troll to call me a "cowboy builder" a troll who obviously works on the river! And has to promote it at all costs! Just remember the thread started on the fact of the despicable conduct of the management! Half the problem with this forum is trolls like you!
 

Nigel Passmore

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Just thought I would have my tuppence worth on this Thurso versus Tweed debate as everyone else seems to have had.
It is a pity that it had to descend into some rather nasty posts which are there to be seen. I have been lucky enough to have fished both of these magnificent rivers and have enjoyed both very much. They are very different in character, surrounding countryside but also catch statistics, some of which I have access to.
If you enjoy the gentle farmland and rolling hills of the border region, then the Tweed is your thing.
If you prefer the remote wild open landscapes of the far north, then try the Thurso.
Now to catch statistics. I have gone back to 2010 for this as the Tweed had a near record year then as many rivers did, it was a good season most places.
The total catch for the Tweed in 2010 was about 22,500 fish.
By comparison the Thurso returned 3022 fish.
Now what must be born in mind here is the comparative rod effort, the Thurso is fished by 24 rods per day and has a shorter season being fished very little until mid March and finishes early October.
The Tweed has a much longer season and is fished by probably 240 rods per day and starts on 1st February till the end of November.
I will leave you to do the maths and draw your own conclusions but I will just say they are both great rivers and if you have never fished either or one of them, please give them a try and THEN make up your own mind.
Firstly, I did specifically title this thread 'Tweed and Thurso' not 'Tweed v Thurso' precisely becasue it is not a competion, nor should it be a competition which is completely different from someone having a preference for any number of reasons. Otherwise, I broadly agree with your post and certainly the sentiment. For the sake of the record, and at the risk of pedantry, I should like to qualify a couple of points:

The 24 Thurso rods are for the private beats 2 - 13. Is your figure of 3022 for the whole river or the private beats only? If the whole river you'd need to add in the AA water on Beat 1, rods fishing the private beat and any activity on Loch More and above - agreed it doesn't change the maths that much!

On the Tweed - in 2010 it would only have been between late September and mid November the Tweed would have been fishing anything like 240 rods. As a serious let proposition, the Upper Tweed only fishes for 6-7 weeks from end of September - mid November. Spring fishing in February - March is really only specifically undertaken from Coldstream - Floors just above Kelso. April - early June will fish from the Bottom Tweed - Boleside (top of middle) including Teviot and Ettrick. July -early September will be ad-hoc but above Junction (top of Lower River) the serious fishing will be on the syndicated beats such as Rutherford, Maxton, Gledswood, Blankersyde and Santa's Groto. There is some syndicated water on the Upper Tweed that would be fished from May- August if water but generally it's still trout up there.

Regards

NHP
 

Scierra

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NHP
Blankersyde ? Take it you have only blanked on Bemersyde ? Nice beat, but a bit of a haul humping salmon back up the hill, Santa's Grotto ? never heard of that beat on the Tweed ?
 

marty31

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Firstly, I did specifically title this thread 'Tweed and Thurso' not 'Tweed v Thurso' precisely becasue it is not a competion, nor should it be a competition which is completely different from someone having a preference for any number of reasons. Otherwise, I broadly agree with your post and certainly the sentiment. For the sake of the record, and at the risk of pedantry, I should like to qualify a couple of points:

The 24 Thurso rods are for the private beats 2 - 13. Is your figure of 3022 for the whole river or the private beats only? If the whole river you'd need to add in the AA water on Beat 1, rods fishing the private beat and any activity on Loch More and above - agreed it doesn't change the maths that much!

On the Tweed - in 2010 it would only have been between late September and mid November the Tweed would have been fishing anything like 240 rods. As a serious let proposition, the Upper Tweed only fishes for 6-7 weeks from end of September - mid November. Spring fishing in February - March is really only specifically undertaken from Coldstream - Floors just above Kelso. April - early June will fish from the Bottom Tweed - Boleside (top of middle) including Teviot and Ettrick. July -early September will be ad-hoc but above Junction (top of Lower River) the serious fishing will be on the syndicated beats such as Rutherford, Maxton, Gledswood, Blankersyde and Santa's Groto. There is some syndicated water on the Upper Tweed that would be fished from May- August if water but generally it's still trout up there.

Regards

NHP
yes a lot more relaxed than the hard sell, hard fished well oiled machine called the thurso! then average size? another important factor? as you rightly point out, the majority of the effort would have been in oct &nov but we at bottom river and our opposite side would have our boats pulled up, and little or no fishing would even be exercised! really it could only be in comparison with others in the big four! not a north coast spate little grilse stream!
 

tenet

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It's fairly obvious that you are not a fan of the Thurso but many many folk are with some rods returning year after year, some of whom travel from America and even Australia. The cost of the fishing is purely down to supply and demand and as sure as God made little green apples the demand will fall along with the rent (just like the Autumn on Tweed) if they get a succession of poor returns.
To paraphrase " you can say what you like about my wife but don't you dare criticize my river"🤗
 

marty31

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It's fairly obvious that you are not a fan of the Thurso but many many folk are with some rods returning year after year, some of whom travel from America and even Australia. The cost of the fishing is purely down to supply and demand and as sure as God made little green apples the demand will fall along with the rent (just like the Autumn on Tweed) if they get a succession of poor returns.
To paraphrase " you can say what you like about my wife but don't you dare criticize my river"🤗
Fair comment! But no getting away from the fact! It treats its customers disgracefully! Did "Gerald rattner" not try that? And look what happened to his business 😥😥
 

Lewis.Chessman

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Hello, marty31. You've made a few factual inaccuracies in the recent threads about the Thurso which I'd like to address purely in the interests of clarifying things.
I fully respect that you find Caithness and the Flow Country unappealing and can understand exactly why, but beauty is in the eye of the beholder and to many the place has its own charms. Aesthetic preference is subjective and its importance to the salmon fisherman varies, doesn't it? So, while it may not appeal to you personally one cannot really blame the river for being where it is and many visitors to all of Scotland's northerly waters relish the austerity of the windswept, weather-beaten landscape, the dynamic play of light upon the moor and the sheer visceral physicality of the experience. But it's not for you, that's fine.

In response to Scierra you wrote (post #94):
The trouble is with me i am a upfront kind of guy! And for a faceless troll to call me a "cowboy builder" a troll who obviously works on the river! And has to promote it at all costs!
I can tell you with all certainty that Scierra does not work on the Thurso. I know this because I have worked there for the past two seasons. I do not know the gentleman personally but I know he is not a collegue.
Just prior to that (post #88), rather than address the facts posted by Nigel Passmore and Scierra you directed the following at the latter:
You sound a bit like a builder i know! He specialises in timber frame houses! So what does he try and promote? You got it! Timber frame houses!!
I guess one could take this in one of two ways:
1) The man is a specialist in his field and therefore it is unsurprising that he advocates the method he excels in.
2) You were attempting to belittle and malign him.

I would like to think the first but suspect the second. You then proceed to call Scierra "a faceless troll" but, if I'm correct about 2), didn't you initiate the insulting yourself? If so, perhaps an upfront kind of guy might acknowledge his error and extend a hand.

You have said that the Thurso is "overgillied". I think this is inaccurate and addressed the point on post #46. If you think me mistaken I'd be pleased to read why.

You have posted several times about the Thurso's Senior Gillie's personal best being 16 lbs. I'm sure you'll be delighted to know your information is rather out of date and he is now very much more experienced, having improved his P.B. several times in the past few years.
Personally I've never been asked my P.B. by a prospective employer, after all we don't choose which fish take our flies - would that we could, but we can't. However, I believe that most would consider 20 lb+ to be respectable on an ''overrated grilse stream''.

Having spent the earlier years of my gillieing on the grilse lochs and rivers of Lewis I'd like to assure you that the Thurso, whilst having a cracking grilse run, isn't purely a grilse river - as the 30 lb+ salmon caught last year surely proves? Sure, the Thurso does not compete with the Tweed in terms of the number of 20 lb+ fish which run it each year but it can produce 'fish of a lifetime' for a few lucky visitors and 15 lb+ fish are not that uncommon. If they are grilse then they're very, very healthy grilse! ;)
I do think it interesting that the Thurso's largest recorded rod-caught fish was 47 lbs, taken on the fly from Cruives Eye in 1923, demonstrating the potential the river has for producing specimen salmon. It's wonderful to read that the Tweed has produced two fish of near-equal or slightly greater stature in the past decade (2013 link and 2019 link). Lord knows what they weighed when fresh! In 2017 the average weight of the Thurso's six largest fish was 24 lbs but we live in hope of better years to come - which salmon fisherman doesn't?!

Finally, you have said that comparing the two rivers is a joke. I have already said I think it risible as their natures are so different, so we are in agreement there at least. Both, I am sure have their joys, and we are each entitled to love one or the other. Or both. Or neither. It might have been helpful to others to have made it clear in the o.p. of the third 'Comparing' thread that it was a joke as, at present, there is no such suggestion in your ''conclusion''. I'm sure I'll never convince you of the virtues of the Thurso. It can be hard work, testing and physically exhausting but it can also provide immensely rewarding sport because of those very challenges. However, each to his own.



All the best,
James.
 
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