Despite the title, this blog post has almost nothing to do with drinking excessive amounts of alcohol or other beverages even though the wintery nordic atmosphere might cause some problems for some of us.
Joking apart and once again, the dark winter has brought us “kaamos” and the salmon hangover from the last season is finally wearing off. Preparing for the next season is about to begin.
I have been fly fishing for salmon just for a relatively short period of time but I have noticed that the cycle of pursuing salmon is very similar from year to year. However, all fishermen follow certain habits myself included so this is just my own personal view of the matter. I do not expect anyone to agree nor disagree with the following text. Just my 69 cents.
At the end of the season, the fly tying gear, rods, reels and flies as well will get stuck into the closet. There they will have to wait for the right moment, inspiration and spare time to get the attention they deserve.
Fishing deep ‘n dirty has taken its toll. Fly boxes are crying out for replenishment.
Due to busy working schedules and other excuses, it is difficult to find enough time for a proper fly tying session. Box-filling-spree has often slipped into late spring wherein the flies are hastily tied from bad and inadequate materials. Fly tying well in advance is much more friendly for your stress levels and mental health when you have enough time to prepare fly boxes for the next season. This certainly does not remove the fact that you wake up in the middle of an early summer night in front of your desktop, tying the finest, the most sophisticated and the best fly ever you’ll definitely need for the upcoming trip even though you should be on the road to the north early next morning.
I might be a bit lazy fly tier so my flyboxes are somewhat boring. Year after year, majority of the flies in my fly box are the same, ones with trustworthy. Of course there are some experimental samples and special editions but mainly I have found these old and familiar flies that are good enough, or at least I trust them which is the most important criteria for me. My fly box consist about a dozen of basic models in different weights and sizes to make them fit in as many situations despite of the weather, the water level or the moon's position. Keep it simple stupid or stupid simple and vice versa.
We all have our own favorites. My absolutely favorite flies are Den Vanliga, Phatagorva, Banana and Flomfluga. As you can see from the fly pattern names, my fishing is somewhat solely focused on salmon streams that fall into the Baltic Sea.
Only one-hand fingers can be counted for the licences I’ve fished for Atlantic Salmon and this did not happen until last summer when I lost my virginity for Atlantic Chrome.
Before I made the above-mentioned debut trip to Norway, I asked from a good friend of mine what flies should I tie for the Atlantic Salmon. “Green Monkey, that’s all what you’ll need” he answered.
As I googled the recipe I realized that I didn’t have any monkey or a polar bear's hair which were essential for the fly. I should be on the road in couple of days so there we no time for ordering any exotic tying materials. I took some bucktail and temple dog and tied poor man’s version replicating the notorious fly in various sizes.
Despite the material choices made with the proletarian mentality I got plenty of tugs, lost some and landed some Atlantic Chromers even though the conditions were not the most favorable. Hopefully I'll get more chances to fight with these beauties...
That's about flies, fly tying, and nihilistic material choices of mine.
When the spring comes, the fishing fever is at worst. You feel the burning desire to dip your waders into ice cold water. I’m sure everyone is familiar with the medicine called sea trout fishing. It is a good substitute for the salmon fishing just after the ice has melted from the local river. At this point of year when the actual salmon season is just behind the corner, even a moderate and calm sea trout kelt gives you temporarily satisfaction for your constantly aggravating addiction. Spring fishing is also a great time for retrieving your lost casting skills (if there ever has been any) and testing new gear. You just add finishing touches for your palette and you’re ready for the season.
When the June finally arrives almost a year long waiting eases off. It is time to pack your bags, stuff all the necessary gear into a car and head north, more specifically Haaparanta which is located on the border of Finland and Sweden. For me this is kind of a culmination point for a journey. No matter which direction you choose here, you probably end up to a proper salmon river. This is also a good place to fill your cooler with beverages and other nicotine containing products. You’re now officially ready for the challenges salmon rivers has to offer.
There is still a long journey ahead defeating “kortto” in order to land the first salmon but it is a whole different story. I might try to explain it in the next blog post.
In late August when the salmon fishing season comes to an end, the jacket feels empty. Lots of new experiences, nice memories and well spent time with good friends.
You’ll get some fish, you’ll lose some fish, its the nature of the game. There’s always plenty of excuses why you didn’t hook one; wrong fly, wrong weather, wrong water level, wrong line, dull hook etc. When you’ve been fishing for days without a single tug you ask yourself; why the fuck I’m doing this year after a year? When you finally manage to land one the feeling is something you just can’t describe. This causes similar consequences as a multi-day booze boogaloo, you’ll get hell of a hangover. Instead of regular hangover this is even worse. It’s salmon hangover and it lasts for months but you’ll have time for a recovery…
It's not often that salmon anglers are faced with high, warm water conditions in the latter part of the season.
I have experienced this twice now in Norway, and this situation is most common on rivers with a lake above their system that has a big enough catchment to collect localized rainfall, and or rivers that are fed via glacial melt water.