Salmon Fishing

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Fly salmon fishing on the River Thurso

The River Thurso is one of the best salmon rivers in Scotland. It enjoys a long productive season, from 11th January to 5th October. Fish can be caught every month, but the main spring run starts in March and continues through to early June. Given the right conditions, the fishing in May and June can be very productive. Our grilse run usually starts in mid-May and runs through to the end of August, with a peak in the middle of July. In September we see a smaller run of larger summer salmon enter the river.


Try your hand at making a record-breaking catch

On average the river produces around 1400 salmon per year and fishing is by fly only. Since the cessation of netting in 2005, the catch has been rising, and in the last few years there have been record catches made. The Thurso is fed from a loch, but unlike many other rivers, we can control the water flowing out of the loch. In this way we are able to maintain the level of the river at a good fishing height for about three weeks, once the loch is full. There are 12 daily rotating beats, each fishing 2 rods. Since 2012 we have limited the number of spring rods fishing the river and from the middle of June, two rods are allocated to each beat.


An angler’s paradise

Thanks to our location overlooking the productive River Thurso, the Ulbster Arms has long been popular with anglers and we have dedicated areas to make their stay as enjoyable as possible. Our rod, drying and ghillie’s rooms are located in the hotel grounds.

The Ghillie’s Room

The Ghillie’s Room is the meeting point for ghillies and guests on any given morning during the season, and senior ghillie can also be found here most mornings. Along with comfortable seating and hot drinks facilities, you can also find useful snippets of information and regular updates from our team of ghillies on current conditions and tactics on the River.

The Rod Room

Having a safe rod room is essential to any fishing trip, and at the Ulbster Arms all fishing guests have exclusive access to this spacious room. The rod room is large enough to accommodate up to 48 rods.

The Drying Room

There is nothing worse than putting on damp, cold clothing to start your day. Our drying room is spacious and will comfortably dry any wet clothing overnight. While generally used by our fishing guests, all hotel guests are welcome to use our drying room - it’s proved popular with runners, cyclists and watersports enthusiasts.