The river has the second largest catchment area in Caithness. Two small streams, the Kensary and the Camster meet and become the Strath Burn. The burn flows north and is joined by the Burn of Acharole south of the village of Watten. It continues to flow north for a short distance before turning to the east where it is joined by a small stream running from Loch Watten. At this point the burn/stream becomes the River Wick which then flows for 10 miles through arable farmland to the town of Wick and the tidal waters of Wick Bay.
When to fish
The river only falls 10 feet from source to the sea and it is mostly slow flowing. During the summer months sport often depends on rainfall in the catchment to raise the river levels. Small numbers of fish enter the river in late April/early May but the main runs are in July, August and September. The 10 year average catch is in the region of 400 salmon. Average weight of fish -salmon 12lb, grilse 6/7lb. (provisional catch returns for 2007 - 772 salmon/grilse) The season is from 11th February to 5th October.
Where to fish
There are 40 named pools some of which are best suited to bait fishing (worm/spinning when allowed) however between Bilbster and Watten there are a number of pools best fished with a fly - try Shepherd's, the Wash, Taroull, Katie Gow and the Pot. Upstream of Watten in the Badlipster area there are some excellent fly pools, but high water is essential. Spinning is permitted from the opening day to the 15th May, and worm fishing is from 1st April to 30th September. Anglers are allowed 3 salmon per day and they are encouraged to return all coloured fish.
Where to stay
Many fishers stay in lodges or cottages provided with the fishing, but for other alternatives, some of whom can offer fishing packages, please see our list of Far North accommodation providers.
Where to stay
Many fishers stay in lodges or cottages provided with the fishing, but for other alternatives, some of whom can offer fishing packages, please see our list of accommodation providers.