Committee for 2020

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: Alan Porteous,    9 Wolfburn Road, Thurso   01847893729

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)                    

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 Tim Hawes 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 Tim Hawes 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 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 2019 were again very low, surely 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 or Maithieson Trophies.

2019 Competition Results

Boat League event Winner Heaviest Fish
All Lochs  (Ian Hanna Trophy) Toby Bracey Robbie Hawken
Watten Day (Presidents Quaich) Angus MacDonald James Simpson
Watten allnight (Hugo Ross Trophy) Ian Cannop Ian Cannop
Watten evening (KML  Trophy) Alex DonaldAlex Donald
Watten early bird (Grouse Trophy) Toby Bracey Tobey Bracey
Watten (Parry 2009 Trophy) Robbie HawkenToby Bracey
Boat League Championship Res. 1st 
    Toby Bracey
2nd     Tony Chalmers 3rd   Alex Donald
Entrants to Sanacc Champ. 1st    
Toby Bracey
Tony Chalmers
Alex Donald
Bank league event Winner Heaviest Fish
Calder Bank ( Rusty Cup) Alex Donald Alex Donald
Toftingal  (Hovig BF Trophy) Tony Chalmers Tony Chalmers
Watten Evening  ( Robertson Cup) James Simpson James Simpson
Hill Loch (Ian Hay Trophy) Tony Chalmers Neil Clyne
Loch Caluim Bank (Parry 1966 Trophy) Toby Bracey Ian Cannop
Bank League Championship Results and DFFA v SAA rep. 1st     Tony Chalmers 2nd    Toby Bracey 3rd     Neil Clyne
4th     Alex Donald 5th  James Simpson 6th    Ian Cannop
Mathieson Trophy          (Watten) Les Robertson (4lb 14oz)
Castle Trophy                  ( All Lochs) Paul Smith (15lb 9oz)
Heaviest Fish (Loch Heilan) Paul Smith (15lb 9oz)
Heaviest fish bank comp.Alex Donald (4lb 4oz)
Boat League Champ. (Rolls Royce Vulcan Cup) Toby Bracey
Bank League Champ. (Harpers Cup) Tony Chalmers
Senior Champ. (Gordon Douglas Cup) Tony Chalmers
Club Champion  (Club Cup) Toby Bracey

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.