August 31, 2014
It was always going to be an epic journey fishing for trout, char and salmon in Sweden. Add two Dutchmen, an accountant and a sporting photographer to the mix and epic becomes three parts legend and one part surreal.
Between departing Heathrow and arriving at a Sami camp in the Arctic Circle, we managed two planes, a minibus, a boat and helicopter. Steve Martin and John Candy are postively pedestrian by comparison. We were cramming in four venues that will become a handful of packages to appear in the pages of a sporting journal near you (don’t worry, no sane sportsman will want to replicate our feat).
The killer combination of stunning scenery and large wild brown trout makes the hassle involved in reaching the wilderness of the Arctic Circle worthwhile. We caught trout to four pounds and are positive bigger lie in wait for the stealthy and patient. Pristine glacial meltwater clean enough to drink thunders down narrow river sections into large crystal clear lakes and on again into a river in
a pattern that repeats itself for mile after mile, creating tremendous variety of crystal clear waters. From flinging streamers to flicking dry flies upstream, these wild rivers cater to a variety of styles.
After two camps in the wilderness, we moved south and dropped in at a lake to fish for Arctic char on the dry fly. An afternoon was spent happily pootling around in float tubes pulling out fish to eight pounds while our local guide cooked a supper of reindeer stew on the bank. Eventually the lure of the silver called us, and we moved further south to our final stop on the banks of one of Sweden’s best salmon rivers. Described by the accountant as not dissimilar in size to the middle stretches of the River Dee, riffles and holding pools created a riverscape to please the discerning of salmon.
Anyone who thinks that fishing with a photojournalist is a fast track to fluff flicking fame has another thing coming. Trailing someone in your wake who insists on viewing the world through a lens the size of a coffee mug, while wearing waders and carrying a pack with 12 kilos of water-sensitive kit along a slippery river bank, and asking you and your catch to pose for ‘just one more shot’ may significantly impact your catch rate.
Even the most competent and confident of fishermen can get performance anxiety. And the fish. Seldom has the advice ‘never work with children or animals’ been more apt. A calm, philosophical specimen is bound to turn into a wriggly, camera-shy escape artist the minute the lens focuses on it. Although it’s hard to argue with his results.
I’m not saying that Toby’s responsible for four of us spending an entire day fishing and only catching three salmon up to 98 centimetres. I’m just saying that before the accountant, the photojournalist and I boarded our noon flight for Stockholm the following day, the two Dutchmen had bagged five salmon between them. Trips to Sweden in 2015 for wilderness fishing, Arctic char or salmon are booking now.
Tags: arctic char, dry fly fishing, flyfishing, salmon, sweden