Fishing Lappland summer 2011 (day 1-3)

I said as I started this new blog that I wanted to repost some posts from my old one. I think that the reports from this summers big fishing trip is in order to repost especially since I messed up the Photobucket albums on the original post. So here it is!

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So here’s finally a report from the week of fishing we had in Lappland Sweden 13-20th of july!

Prelude
For me it started by being picked up by Magnus and his girlfriend at home in the afternoon on Wednesday, we then took the one hour drive to meet up with Roger and Anders and move all stuff into Rogers car and then we were off! I love a good road trip, and this was no exception. 1090 kilometres on just over ten hours, yes we had a good speed on the Volvo 🙂 Unable to sleep at all during the night we got a little sleep when we got up there since we were about three hours early before the helicopter was to get us out.

Day 1 – take off, landing and the first trouts
Finally the small camping station opened on Thursday morning and we got to meet Kjell who was the manager there and plan the helicopter lift, pay for it and also pay for the fishing licenses. Still it was about an hour left until the helicopter were to arrive. We took the car back to the lift off position which was beside a small lake and got to start getting our packing out of the car, do a change of clothes and open a beer while we waited. Luckily we didn’t have to wait long before the helicopter came! After the weighting in of the luggage (which gave us about 60 kg over weight) it was time to start loading us and the bags in!

Seriously, when you get in that helicopter and hear how the rotors start to go faster and faster, hear the engine start accelerating and then feel how the whole thing sways as it takes the first centimetres upwards it is impossible not to feel like a little boy at christmas. We all sat there with big grins on our faces and they all got bigger and bigger the higher up we came. When the helicopter took up over the sides over the first mountains and we saw the views in front of us…. I don’t really have good words to describe it, let’s just say that if we’d smiled a little more our heads would have split in half horizontally! We past over three clear mountain ranges the first one held a real valley but the other two were more of mountain plateaus with no trees, small lakes and small streams, a fantastic scenery!

I did some extensive filming with the video cam while flying over this fantastic part of our country, I will put together a video from it later this week and it will of course be up here as soon as I am done.

When we past over the third mountain range we suddenly saw it, the river we were gonna fish for the comming six days. Beautifully set in the mountain valley it flowed mainly in a west – east direction with a section just were the river started from a handful of big lakes going north – south. The closer we got down to the river the more excited I got. I saw numerous of small rapids with calm waters in between, big rocks and small “islands” splitting the river at several places. It looked exactly like I wanted it to! The pilot landed us smoothly on the south side of the river, some 8 kilometres down stream from those big lakes that started the river. After a quick unpack we were left there standing in the low shrubbery watching the helicopter go back over the mountains until it disappeared over the mountains.

This was the moment, where all magic lay in front of us, where in theory we could still believe that there were huge trout in every pool, backwater and rapid. Excitement were high and the laughs was many as we set up camp just by the river beside a small set of trees. Normally that would be the last place to chose because in the trees like that would be where the mosquitoes would be at the most but it seemed like we had came with bad weathers which called more for shelter from the wind than from mosquitoes. It was only 8-9 degrees with very hard northern winds and gray skies, which made the smooth way our pilot had landed us it even more impressive! Before setting our tents up at the chosen spot we had to take a real look at the river thought, it was magically beautiful, a small rapid just upstream from our camp, with a bigger pool opening up just where we had our tents, could it be the perfect spot?

First fly was tied on and first cast was put out, and I’ll be dammed if the first trout wasn’t landed too! Despite the weather I felt like a king and we set off, me and Magnus upstream and Roger and Majja downstream, for a couple of hours fishing before getting back for some food and and a fire. Several trouts had been landed already, all of them small 25 cm or so. The first exploration showed that the river was quite clear and quite shallow, at least on the spots we had time to fish so far. Anders did some cast in our home pool and came back with a really nice trout at around 35-40 cm or so. We found a good spot to make a fire with shelter from the hard wind and we spent the evening sitting there sharing that trout, some drinks, cigars and laughs. Life was fair.

Day 2 – walking upstream and the first trout over one kilo
Day two begun and it was obvious that we had very different conditions today. The sun was shining and it was almost no winds. The river now displayed all its glory under the blue skies and the high mountains around it, and if we’d thought it was clear the day before it was nothing now when the sun had come forth, you could see every rock and stone on the bottom.

We decided to fish our way upstream a bit before lunch and it wasn’t like the river got uglier the more we saw of it. Rapids and small pools all the way and often no wider then you could reach cast just across it. Behind every stone and in every backwater, rapid, pool and.. well, everywhere there was trout! It was not like it was hard to find one to cast to, the trouble was more to find some of bigger size. Then Magnus out of the blue hooked something much bigger, unable to hold it in the pool he was fishing in and just as he was thinking of following it down stream it stepped off, so there were bigger fish there but extremly hard to sneak up upon and of course we didn’t make it easier on ourselves fising only dry flies.

As we came up above a longer flow of rapids we approached the longest stretch of slow flowing water we had come across so far. Roger positioned himself so that he could cast towards the shore line across the current to some trout who was rising. After having landed a few he quietly said to us that he had a bigger one who was up head and tail. After several futile of getting him to rise we gave up and signalled to Magnus  that who was upstream that we were about to get back to camp for lunch. He came back to us telling us that in the pool above he had caught about 30 trout, almost fish on every cast, and even though smaller once he too had seen not one but three larger trouts that had risen but had not been able to get them to strike.

I was a little concerned with the fact that we had not found any deeper spots at all in the river, and also the crystal clear water in combination with the sunny weather was gonna make it very hard to sneak up on any bigger fish. But it was no concern really, we still had tons of exploration to do and we were confident that we were to find bigger fish and deeper pools. So after lunch we decided to walk our way directly to where we had stopped for lunch and also packed down dinner and field kitchen so that we could be away upstream much longer this time.

Before that I decided to see if I could find mobile service if I were to walk up the mountain on our side of the river. I did find descent service about 20 minutes walk up the mountain side, about 50 meters above the tree line. So I could now phone home and let everyone know we had landed safely and that we had a great time. The view from up there was fantastic!

So we started out to fish as long upstream as we could, to where the fishing licenes was valid, which was just below the lakes where the river started. A quick check on the map showed it to be about 3 kilometres so how hard could it be? What we didn’t know then was that I had checked the map wrongly, it was actually the double distance and the terrain was dreadful to walk in. But we didn’t know that as we set off upstream and started where Magnus had seen those bigger trout earlier. They were no where to be seen now but there still was a lot of small trout in that pool. We walked on upstream and the scenery slowly changed to a more tree less country as we gained meter after meter in altitude and with it came the shrubbery and svamp like suroundings that often replaces the trees as you get higher.

The river was quite similar every where, rapids followed by a wider shallow pool, I think we saw no place deeper than one and a half meter any where. There was no real change in the size of the trout, we caught so many around 25 cm you lost count of them, all on dry flies.

Anders and Magnus fishing one of the stunningly beautiful pools

Before we had left for this trip we had seen a video on Youtube where some guys fished this river and in one pool a guy gets on a little trout and while taking him in a BIG trout comes and try to swim away with this small trout that is still caught on this guys fly, really cool! Now about two and a half kilometres upstream from our camp we found the most interesting pool so far, and as it would turn out the best spot for the entire trip, it was much deeper the any we’d come across so far and had a good steady flow into some rapids where the river split in two streams for about 50 metres. As I was fishing along side Roger I saw him get a take on his dry fly but it didn’t look spectacular in any way, but all of a sudden the fish took away and his rod was bend hard way down! Then after a few seconds it seems like the fish had tired already and Roger reeled him in just to find a 20 cm trout on the fly with one operculum missing! Now that was clearly a bigger trout who had gone after the smaller one, just like on that video we’d seen! This happened not only once but twice this trip as Anders had the same thing happen to him in the same pool a couple of days later.

Yes, there were mosquitoes there!

Strengthened by this we kept going upstream to the bigger pools just below the lake, stopping for some occasional fishing now and then and also a longer stop for dinner a couple of kilometres downstream from our final goal. As we got there we had became rather tired from the long walking in rough terrain but the big deep pool who had fish rising as we approached it made it easy to regain strength. Supposedly there was going to be a bridge that marked the end of where we could fish but so far we were yet to see one, so we fished away. Anders and Roger fished the bigger pool and me and Magnus fished the slow flowing stretch above it. Things were different here, the rising fish looked much bigger the river flowed much slower over sand bottom instead of rocks, it was like we stumbled in on another river completely. Magnus and I approached two rising fish slowly, I had a big Blasphemy hopper on and he had a big Streaking caddis on, the strikes came just after each other. First it was like someone had shot a bazooka on my big fly as it disappeared on a big splash of water, I stroke back but there was nothing on the other end, dammed! Just a second afterwards the same destiny betook Magnus fly, but he too missed out on striking back and we both stood there with silly grins on our faces as we kept fishing.

Magnus showing off his William Joseph Exdous back/pack combo. They worked so good on our long walks.

After a while I decided to get up to the rapids above this slow flowing stretch and Magnus stayed about 100 metres downstream from me slowly fishing his way up to the point where a smaller stream came out into our river. I could see from a range how he got a fish on, and it did look different from any others we’d caught so far. After a good fight with a good bent rod and a couple of minutes fighting it the first trout over one kilo came up, a good 1,2 kilo trout which unfortunately didn’t get caught on photo since I was too far upstream and Anders was still down in the deep pool.

Myself I hooked into my two biggest trout so far, but landed only only, not quite up to the kilo mark but still a very nice fish at about 0,6-0,7 kilo. It was past midnight as we decided to give up and start the rough walk home again, and as we past the slow flowing stretch that Magnus had caught his nice fish on we found the foundation to the bridge, but no bridge, so now we knew where the end of the permitted fishing zone was. All that was left now was for an hour or an hour and a half walk back in the calm rain that had started to fall back to camp. Needless to say I fell asleep directly when I zipped up my sleeping bag and closed my eyes. Again life was fair.

Day 3 – much more walking
After a long nights sleep we awoke again to fantastic sunny weather. When we had arranged with the helicopter and payed for the licenses the manager at the small camp had suggested us to stay down at a bridge that was downstream from where we were, according to the map some 6-7 kilometres to walk. The plan this time was to walk first and then fish ourselves upstream all the way back. The walk was probably even harder than the day before, but the river kept dazzle us with its beauty and now as we walked down stream we also kept going lower and lower which made the landscape around the river change, more trees the further we got. But still shrubbery and swamp so it was not a very easy walk this time either.

Sneaking up on trout from above

Apart from mosquitoes there was another life form that kept showing up all the time sometimes in ridiculous amounts, the lemmings! Every where we went they ran around our feet, often screaming at us at high pitch while showing their teeth. It is so hard to find such a cuddly cute little critter scary, but hopefully it works for them on other predators. At several occasions we saw them swim across the slower parts of the river and just held our breaths waiting for a big trout to come up and take them, but regretfully we never saw it!

Eventually we reached the bridge, a much harder walk than the day before and realized that from the bridge and downwards it was a long shallow rapid area as far as we could see. I walked downstream fishing from there and it was like this for at least a kilometre. So we had our lunch there and started to fish our way back to the camp. To make a long story (or walk rather) short we fished most of the bigger pools but apart from a couple of 0.5 kg trout that I caught there was nothing interesting caught really. I actually felt like there was fewer trout down hear than upstream so it didn’t at that point feel like we were gonna fish a whole lot more downstream at this trip.

Anders “Majja” Maijgren fishing the downstream area.

A dinner by the river when we got back and a couple of sips of single malt together was all that was left after another day filled with walking, almost 40 kilometres over the past two days, was to again zip up the sleeping bag and fall into a nice warm sleep with the sound of the river following my down into never never land. Again life was fair to me.

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About Ulf Hagström

Fly fishing, fly tying, family and going your own way; the way of the fly. View all posts by Ulf Hagström

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