News Letter


Committee for 2021

President: Tony Chalmers, Avalon, 17 Burnett Place, Thurso   01847894019 

Vice President: John Briskam,   Westfields, Manse Road, Thrumster,  01955651221

Chairman: Bill Baxter,      Stemster Brae, Gaulitqouy, Wick 01955605465

Vice Chairman:    

Secretary: Bill Robertson,   13 Calder Drive, Thurso    01847892998

Treasurer:  Toby Bracey,     Quoyfaulds, North Watten     01955661330

Committee                   R Hawken (Castletown)                       G Robertson (Watten)              Anson MacAuslan (Berredale)

Members:                     J Simpson   (Halkirk)               D Kinghorn (Dunnet)               J Campbell (Thurso)               

D Cormack (Wick)      D Alexander (Thurso)

S MacColl (Thurso)                A Donald (Thurso)

N Clyne (Bower)                     A Koziol (Thurso)

DFFA Website:

Salmon Rotation Beat

Gyrodactylus Salaris Parasite

To comply with THURSO RIVER LTD requirement, that all anglers fishing the Thurso River sign a declaration that their fishing equipment is clear of infection, DFFA has arranged that a block declaration for Members fishing the rotation beat is acceptable.

However if anyone has fished outside the UK in the three months prior to their booking on the river it is essential that they contact Geordie Doull to discuss proper sterilisation of their equipment which Thurso River staff will carry out free of charge. This arrangement only applies to members fishing the DFFA rotation beat. All salmon caught on the rotation beat must be Returned then reported to Geordie Doull and recorded on the DFFA membership card.

Please note that only ONE advance booking for the rotation beat may be made at a time and it must be used before another booking is made. From 1st March until the end of the rotation beat let, the days will be split into morning and afternoon sessions of 06:00-14:00 and 14:00 Hrs to dusk. Each session will count as a booking. Bookings are not transferable. Anyone not intending to use a booking should phone Harpers to cancel it. This will allow someone else to fish that day provided they book it.

BOOKINGS (Boat Fishing) (Evening sessions begin at 6pm)

A Computerised boat booking system is in operation for club members. Members without computers will still be able to book through Harpers as at present. Even with the introduction of the on-line booking system the rate of return for boat cancellations was yet again very poor in the 2019 season. It is a very simple procedure to cancel a boat using the computerised system. In the DFFA website home page click on “BOOKING” and if you wish to cancel a booking, click on “CONTACT” at the top right header. Complete the form and click on “SUBMIT” this should only take a few minutes and would be much appreciated by the membership. There are still instances of boats being booked but not used so PLEASE use the cancellation facility to avoid these annoying occurrences.

Please note that only TWO advance bookings may be made, one of which must be used before another booking is made. Bookings are not transferable. If a boat booking is no longer required, for whatever reason, it should be cancelled as soon as possible so that someone else may use it. Also, any boats not required for competitions will be cancelled by 10am on the day of the competition. Anyone who intends to fish only part of the session should note this in the booking log as someone may wish to fish the rest of the session. As there is a 2-rod limit at Loch Dubh nam Geodh please indicate in the log if you are fishing alone so that someone else may fish the loch. Similarly there is a 4-rod limit on Seilge/Caorach so please indicate how many rods will fish on your booking. In addition, if a boat has not been taken from the berth by 10am (day session) or 7pm (evening session) then another member may use the boat even though the user has not booked it. However, anyone taking a boat, which they had previously not booked, should stay within hailing distance of the berth at all times.


All members must submit fish returns (including blanks but not fish caught in competitions) on their completed membership cards before 30 October. Cards should be returned direct to the Secretary or Harpers. (Visitor returns should be made on the forms in Harpers). Any member wishing to register a fish for the Castle, Learmonth or Mathieson Trophies must have the fish weight witnessed by a committee member and the weight then entered on their catch return card, which must be signed by the witness. All fish over say 2lbs should be registered when they are caught. Do not leave it until “later in case someone catches a better fish” as this can lead to doubt and confusion and possibly missing out on a well deserved Trophy. Fish caught during a competition will automatically be registered for above trophies.

The % returns for 2020 were understandably low but hopefully 2021 will be better. It isn’t too difficult to note catches on the day or evening and return the card by the end of October! With the Scottish Government showing a definite interest in recreational fishing, clubs may well be forced into providing comprehensive returns in future so why not get into the habit now? Of the cards that were returned some were too late for inclusion in the totals- Please get your returns in on time especially if you have a fish registered for the Castle, Learmonth or Mathieson Trophies.

20– Competition Results (No competitions held due to Covid 19 virus)

Boat League event Winner Heaviest Fish
All Lochs  (Ian Hanna Trophy)
Watten Day (Presidents Quaich)
Watten allnight (Hugo Ross Trophy)
Watten evening (KML  Trophy)
Watten early bird (Grouse Trophy)
Watten (Parry 2009 Trophy)
Boat League Championship Res. 1st 
2nd     3rd  
Entrants to Sanacc Champ. 1st    
Bank league event Winner Heaviest Fish
Calder Bank ( Rusty Cup)
Toftingal  (Hovig BF Trophy)
Watten Evening  ( Robertson Cup)
Hill Loch (Ian Hay Trophy)
Loch Caluim Bank (Parry 1966 Trophy)
Bank League Championship Results and DFFA v SAA rep. 1st      2nd     3rd     
4th      5th   6th  
Mathieson Trophy (Watten)
Castle Trophy (All Lochs)
Heaviest Fish (Loch Heilan)
Heaviest fish bank comp. (Hoskins Cup)
Boat League Champ. (Rolls Royce Vulcan Cup)
Bank League Champ. (Harpers Cup)
Senior Champ. (Gordon Douglas Cup)
Club Champion (DFFA Cup)
Learmonth Trophy (Heilen)

Rules applied to Lets must be obeyed.

 Access to boat berths is at the discretion of the riparian landowners and could be lost if gates are left open or livestock disturbed.

Boat lets only two advance bookings per Member.

Calder Season   15 Mar To 6 Oct Day   06:00-18:00 Evening   18:00- dusk or 23:00 Sunday Fishing permitted   Boats are berthed at the South end on both sides. Please use the special car parks provided. No cars may be taken into the fields. Use styles or gates for access. No dogs allowed, livestock and wildlife must not be disturbed. No camping or picnics. 10 inch minimum.
St Johns 1 Apr To 30 Sep 06:00-18:00 18:00- dusk or 23:00 Sunday Fishing permitted No visitor bookings. Two boats are available in the assoc. harbour with easy access for cars. Please be careful entering and leaving the harbour as there may still be submerged rocks. No bank fishing from the North bank. 12 inch minimum.
Watten 1 May To 30 Sep 08:00-18:00 18:00- dusk or 23:30 Sunday Fishing permitted Seven boats are berthed at Oldhall with access from the A882 to Loch side. Please ensure all gates are closed and keep strictly to the roads. 10 inch minimum.
Heilan 1 May To 30 Sep 1 Hour before sunrise to 18:00 18:00 to 1 hour after sunset Sunday Fishing permitted No visitor bookings. No bank fishing on DFFA Memb. Card. Permit required for Sunday fishing. The boat is berthed at the South side beside the car park with access from the Greenland Farm Road. No Dogs allowed. 15 inch minimum. 4 Fish bag limit. Members must display membership card in car.
Stemster 17 Apr To 30 Sep 06:00-18:00 18:00- dusk or 23:00 Sunday Fishing permitted Two boats berthed at the West side and access is down the farm road and across the railway line. Cars may be taken to the loch side at owner’s risk. All gates must be closed. This loch is not safe for wading as there are many deep mud filled holes close to the bank. Please use the phone at level crossing to contact Railtrack. 10 inch minimum.
Shurrery 1 May To 6 Oct 08:00-18:00 18:00- dusk or 23:00   No visitor bookings. The boat is berthed at the North end near the parking area to the left of the dam. Fishing is only allowed on the main loch. Bank fishing is allowed if weather conditions prevent boat fishing. No dogs, picnics or camping allowed. 9 inch minimum.
Olginey 1 Apr To 30 Sep 08:00-18:00 18:00- dusk or 23:00   No visitor bookings. The boat is berthed at the South East corner and can be approached through the farmyard. Park outside the first gate so that the farmyard is not obstructed. Beware of submerged rocks. No dogs, fires or picnics. 10 inch minimum.
Dub Nam Geodh 1 Apr To 30 Sep 06:00-18:00 18:00- dusk or 23:00 Sunday Fishing permitted No visitor bookings. Max 2 rods. The boat is berthed on the West Side-approach through firebreak from Loch More to Altnabreac Forest road. Vehicle access for Fishing only. Beware submerged rocks and deep areas close to bank. Gate key in box attached to back of sign post. Boat key fits padlock. 12 inch minimum. 4 Fish bag limit.
Seilge/ Caorach 1 Apr To 30 Sep 08:00-18:00 18:00- dusk or 23:00 Sunday Fishing permitted The boat is berthed at the West side of Seilge. See booking log map. No dogs, fires or camping. Beware submerged rocks in Seilge. Display DFFA Memb. Card in parked car. To book transport to and from Lochs phone Malcolm (Head Keeper) 07724876376 at least 24hrs in advance. Return fee £25.All anglers wishing to access these lochs after the start of July should contact the head keeper (a text message will suffice). This is in regards to fire arms safety.  10 inch minimum.
Calium 1 Apr To 6th Oct 08:00- dusk or 23:00 Sunday Fishing permitted No visitor bookings. Max 2 rods per day. Bank fishing only. Minimum of Three days between visits due to RSPB restrictions. 4WD vehicles recommended for drive to loch as track is very rough. During period 1 May to 31 July ensure all equipment is free of mud or vegetation.


In the interest of personal safety, life support flotation devices must be worn when fishing aboard a DFFA boat or one borrowed for competition.

Please check out the following website for advice on tick awareness.

All members and guests (hereinafter referred to as members) are bound to fish in a fair and sportsmanlike manner, and shall use every endeavour to suppress the illegal capture of fish.  Any cases of poaching or illegal fishing shall immediately be reported to a member of the committee. Orthodox fly-fishing equipment only will be allowed on associate boats. No trolling.

Members shall immediately return to the water all salmon fry and other fry, all unclean or unseasonable fish, and all undersized fish (see boat let columns for minimum size).

Members must not damage gates, fences or crops, or interfere with game. Dogs are only allowed to accompany members to lochs specified in this newsletter.

Each member must have his membership card in his/her possession while fishing club lochs or the rotating beat and shall exhibit it when requested to do so by any Water Bailiff,  Estate Keeper,  Riparian Land Owner or member of the committee. Membership cards are not transferable.

Members and guests are bound to comply with any rules imposed by individual riparian owners as a condition of the lease. The committee will make these rules known to the members, by newsletter or by notes in the Boat Booking Book.

In the interest of DFFA, boats should be treated with due care and any defect should be reported.

DFFA will maintain a Child Protection Policy as required by Highland Council.


Members are requested that all times they must observe the “Country Code” and in particular they must not leave nylon, hooks, cans, bottles or polythene bags in areas where it can lead to injury or death of farm animals or wildlife.

All litter must be taken home.


Do not use oars to push boats away from banks. Blades are easily damaged and replacement oars are very expensive.

When using an outboard engine always lift the oars onto the boat.

If weather conditions deteriorate whilst on the loch, turn the boat into the direction, which is easiest to maintain and berth the boat securely at a safe and convenient spot. This may mean a long walk but you and the boat will be safe. At the earliest opportunity you must return the boat to its proper berth or inform Harpers.

When berthing the boat make sure that it is not resting on large stones. With the interest of the association in mind, members are requested to clear the berth of any large stones they may find.

Ensure that all boats are pulled well clear of the water and secured with padlock and chain (NB- this is a requirement for insurance purposes). Chain should be passed round a seat as well as through bow ring and rowlocks. Some boats have stern ropes, which should always be secured. Keep padlocks away from sand and gravel. Do not push tips of oars under seats as they can then be immersed in water for long periods.

Remove all litter from boats and berths.

Never stand up in a boat, especially if you are alone.

It is dangerous to wade in Loch Stemster. This loch is an old marl quarry and is full of deep mud filled holes close to the bank.

In no way does any omission in these notes constitute grounds for a claim against the association and all members. Attention is drawn to the fact that any member using an Association boat is entirely responsible for their own and the boat’s safety.

DFFA Competitions Programme 20 — (Provisional)

Please come and take part in our competition programmes- ALL members welcome

Boat League VenueDayDateTimes
Watten  (Presidents Quaich)Saturday09.30-16.00
All Lochs evening (I Hanna Trophy)Friday18.00-22.00
Watten allnight (Hugo Ross Trophy)Fri/Sat22.00-07.00
Calder (Parry 1966 cup)Saturday09.30-16.00
Watten early birdSaturday06.00-11.00
Watten evening (KML  Trophy)Wednesday18.00-22.00
Watten (Parry Trophy)Saturday09.30-16.00
Boat league championship, count points for five out of six comps. Top four anglers in the championship will have the opportunity to represent DFFA at the RBL Charity angling match on Watten.  Top three anglers in the Watten Competitions counting four out of five will have the opportunity to represent DFFA in SANACC competitions.

Boat League VenueDayDateTimes
Calder Bank ( Rusty Cup)Saturday09.30-16.00
Toftingal  (Hovig BF Trophy)Saturday09.30-16.00
Watten Evening  ( Robertson Cup)Friday18.00-22.00
Hill Loch (Ian Hay Trophy)Saturday09.30-16.00
Loch CaluimSaturday09.30-16.00
Bank league championship, count points for four out of five comps. Top six anglers have the opportunity to represent DFFA against SAA.

Competition dates will be arranged if and when competitions are allowed again.

The 2021 Annual general meeting of the DFFA will hopefully be held in November.

Tight Lines to All Members!

2020  Fish Returns
(Short season due to covid19)

LochNo. of
No. of
Total no. of
No. of fishTotal
Calder42186831.24435248lb 4oz9.1oz3lb 3oz
201942998227.410569305lb 13oz8.7oz4lb 4oz
D’N’Geodh015853.331920lb 0oz1lb 0.8oz1lb 4oz
2019055100.001211lb 9oz15.4oz1lb 4oz
20191682232.316776lb 5oz10lb 14.4oz15lb 9oz
Olginey116850.0464lb 4oz11.3oz1lb 2oz
2019113861.5543lb 10oz14.5oz1lb 6oz
Shurrery13266.601911lb 8oz9.7oz1lb 0oz
ST. Johns2741418.951017lb 14oz1lb 12.6oz2lb 12oz
20192771620.852323lb 8oz1lb 0.3oz2lb 0oz
Stemster2953031.686685lb 4oz1lb 4.6oz4lb 0.5oz
20192331648.571416lb 7oz1lb 2.8oz2lb 1oz
Watten72527429.424112168lb 2oz1lb 8oz4lb 8oz
2019740718946.470249425lb 15oz1lb 11.4oz4lb 14oz
S’lge/C’08675.014932lb 8oz10.6oz14oz
20190.3171058.517450lb 6oz10.9oz1lb 2oz
Caluim04125.004030lb 0oz12oz1lb 2oz
20190262180.80298179lb 9oz9.6oz1lb 4oz