This past week took us to the end of the meteorological summer, and during the first part of the week summer certainly had no intentions of giving up, with Monday seeing temperatures back into the low 20' Celsius, which in turn pushed water temperatures back into the mid 60's Fahrenheit.
This 72 hour heatwave with clear blue skies and little or no wind didn't help our efforts, thankfully by midweek it began to cool down and with more cloud and rain showers around catches picked up with 30 caught in the second half of the week.
There are no shortage of fish in the river after a reasonably wet summer, and while many are starting to show their Autumn colours we are still seeing fresh fish, and with 12 hours of steady rain on Saturday loch More is pouring over the top so we have excellent water levels for next week.
The biggest talking point of the week was the 1000 fish for the season on Friday, caught by Craig Sommerville on his first ever visit to the Thurso, and along with his brother and father the managed to catch over a dozen for their 3 days.
And young Maisie Blackburn fishing with her father Chris had a fish on friday from beat 3.
This week we take a look at the electro fishing the Caithness District salmon fishery board undertakes on behalf of all the caithness rivers including the Thurso.
Under the expert eye and guidance of Alan Youngson his team sample's multiple sites throughout August and September within the river system including some far flung sites in the headwaters above loch more.
This work is essential to give everyone an understanding about the juvenile salmon population.
Electro-fishing is the process of catching fish by creating an electrical-field through water, around an anode (on a hand held pole) and cathode (trailing in the water behind the operator). This electric field develops a voltage along the length of fish exposed to it, such that 'galvanotaxis' stimulates their nervous system, and they are forced to swim towards anode (the source of the field). At a point approaching the source of the field, the fish enters the hold-zone, where the field is then of sufficient strength to temporarily immobilise them and
The team make 3 passes on each site, both fry (salmon less than a year old) and parr (1 year or older) are counted and measured, then a few scales are taken from each parr to assess the age.
Doing the same sites year after year gives us the data required to know if juvenile numbers are rising or falling, and if there is one thing we have learnt over the past few years is that the Thurso juvenile salmon population is very healthy.
For a more in depth look at the data collected have a look at the publications on the caithness board website
Tight lines to all next week.