The proprietors and management of the Thurso have opted not to operate the river’s hatchery this winter as they believe that stocking next spring will be superfluous (normally between 150,000 and 300,000 fry of hatchery origin are planted out annually). This move is in response to the large number of salmon currently in the river – and now spawning. 2011 has seen an excellent run of multi sea-winter salmon.
Eddie McCarthy, Thurso River Superintendent, said: “We have decided that, because there are so many fish around, we will leave it completely to nature this year and mothball the hatchery”.
The Thurso’s decision follows the Spey Fishery Board’s recent announcement that, following genetic analysis of the efficacy of its hatchery operations and subsequently a thorough review of its stocking policy, it is reducing significantly its hatchery output for 2012 to between 250,000 and 300,000 eggs (this compares with 1.1 million in 2011 and 2.2 million five years ago), allied with a more targeted approach to stocking that can be effectively monitored.