The Second Week on the Mighty Alta River, Norway
The big adventure continued. After an important meeting with Icelandic wild salmon friends, ALI and key people around the growing threat from the expanding open pen fish farming industry, discussing problems and solutions to save the unique Alta salmon for future generations, it was time to get back on the river again.
Anders and myself were again on a router to start from the top and fish down. This week starting from the top meaning from The Gilvo rapids and down. With us in the boat was Kenneth and Vegard Romsdal 7th generation boats man and sons of legendary boatsmen Sverre Romsdal. We where in good hands for sure.
We fished below the Battakoski rapids. Still quite high water gave us nothing at Snoski, Storkistanacken, Slingerplassen and Mellom Kista. After a nice midnight lunch at the fireplace I fished Kistaberget where I have had several fish before. The take came high up and the fish took us all the way below Haldorkulen before we got it in the net. A great sea liced female at 8-9 kilos, of course it was sent back to spawn. All we got more was a few grilse, there were only one more fish to be seen.
We fished Randi holla and Gønges without result. In Bollo a small trout came up just when Anders started stripping and the take came. Both me and Kenneth said Trout. Anders was told to strip it in by hand, hand over the line to Vegard. Kenneth was giving him some shit for not getting that trout in fast enough - it’s bloody strong Vegard said, when the line slipped through his fingers. Just besides the boat a nice salmon showed, big laughs and Anders back playing it on the rod and reel. The "trout" turned out to be a 7 kilo male salmon that was released back. Hmm.. it’s so easy to be fooled in this game. I had a small salmon 4-5 kilo and a couple of grilse at Vinakorva and the night was over, again no big fish seen. Grilse started running seriously made us think that the big run of big fish never will come.
Anders decided to stay in, trouble with his stomach made him stay at the lodge – a big mistake. We came up to Nedre Sierra, this classic pool, the deepest pool in the river and a place where record catches been taken. Here the fish will hold in the deep and on lower water it’s the best on the river for sure. Actually, I should do a whole blog on this fantastic nights fishing, the story is there and I will write it in detail later. To sum up this fantastic night I landed 4 great fish. Two took me down the rapids to Øvre detsika.
The most spectacular a fresh male that nailed the Lion Butterfly and shoot down the rapids like a freight train! I was fishing from the bank and when in the boat there was more than 250 m line out. A truly memorable fight where the new reel sample of the SALAR FOUR showed how bloody good it is. With 40 lbs leader and 300 m 80 lbs backing I was never scared. The reel was spinning like a cat and I was smiling, reeling, laughing – this is what salmon fishing is all about! One was played in a normal way, and then the big adventure!
The fish took high up in the fast water coming into “Banken” it turned, took 100 m line and went straight down in the deep. We followed with the boat and put max pressure on. It didn’t move. Was it stuck – no nothing there, broders called dad, nothing there – be patient it’s a really big fish! So, to make a long story short we backed down on it I pressed and lifted it a bit for just having it take the meters back down in the deep. After 45 min – yes truly 45 with maximum pressure I felt something was wrong, some slack something happened and suddenly it all came loose. The fish had been stuck around something probably taken there by the record spring flood. A minute later a nice 11 kilo salmon slided in towards me. I was so disappointed I really thought I had one of those giants that’s been taken here. I could see Håkans 25 kilo fish from last year and was thinking now its my turn…
My greatest night 4 fish over 10 kilo with 14 kilo biggest, a night and fights that will never leave my mind. On a classic pool, a great fly, great company and just as perfect as it can be!
Anders back in the boat! Good his stories and crazy comments ads to experience for sure. We fished Detsika, Rickard Holla and a few great pools with out seeing some fish, I wanted Anders to have a big one, he needed it after missing out last night’s big adventure. Anders caught a small one of 5 kilos that in the landing broke his rod – yes all on film. It was just pure madness!
Down at Övre Stengelsen I hooked a good fish and after again taking 200 m I could land and release a 10 kilo female. Anders fished through, and then Brattströmmen with only grilse as a result, and then me again. A fished showed when close to it. I had changed to a Phatakorva TTT, a big one, put the fly close to it and stripped the fly fast over it and the take was rock hard! A good battle and another wild important female of 11 kilos was released.
This last night we had what had been the most productive beat Langstilla, Jorra and Åkergärdet. All fantastic pools where Langstilla is known for many big fish. Anders started, had a take but the fish didn’t stay on. My turn, in the deep I had a long slow take, a big fish take, the fish never tightened and left me changing flies thinking that that was close, maybe the big fish I was searching for. At Åkergärdet we only caught grilse, few fish was running this night. Maybe I was closest with a careful take just in the surface. I saw the fish, 10 kilos, but it didn’t stay on, maybe my own fault… a straight line and I lifted before it had really turned. I should know better – shit!
Back at camp we could sum up a better week for us. 18 fish to my rod with 11 salmon 10 over 10 kilos. I think 6 rods had 45 salmon and more grilse. Not a great week but classic in all aspects. Great long running fish, the big adventure in Nedre Sierra, Kålbjörns fantastic food and appearance back at the Stengelsen Lodge, gin and tonics watching the sun climb, stories and great company with boatsmen and guests. Both locals, Russians and the greatest bunch of wild salmon fighters from Iceland. It was a week to treasure. A week I will never ever forget!
We will prepare films from both weeks – keep an eye on blog and YouTube. There are some great moments well documented.