Three challenging days on Laerdal, the Queen of Rivers

We drove from Bolstad over Aurland thru the longest tunnel ever made. It’s hard to go from Bolstad ruin by fish farming and dams over Aurland also ruined by a power station to Laerdal also with a power station and now badly hurt by first Gyrtodactuls Salaris and now just as bad by the fish farming industry. Laerdal and Sognefjord have seen some really bad years were Norwegian scientist tells us that up to 70% of all smolt leaving the river has been killed by the exploding sea lice situation.

Back in the eighties I used to guide Laerdal first with Ray Brooks, founder of the Sunray Shadow and then with Alf Olsen on Erie beat for the Coca Cola company. Now I the last few years fished on Öje, in the old days by far the most productive beat on the river. We were met by a river at good levels, for Öje maybe a bit low but quite OK. Öje needs water then the fish like to rest in the famous Bridge pool.

Marianne at Öje Gård took good care of us as us all. Warm weather made the river drop back with few fish running. When we came in there had only been 60+ fish caught for the whole river and on Öje not a salmon since 9th of June – a scary scenario. We fished thru and first night only one salmon was seen. Second day there was a bit more activity. A good run of sea trout entered the river and we changed tactics and fished for them with quite good result. I think the four rods landed at least a dozen fish, 5 to my rod. Andreas lost a good fish of maybe seven kilos, a fantastic fight that ended with him defeated. I lost a 3-4 kilo fish but had a good night.

The day after I fished “Terskel 2” and hooked a great 10 kilo fish that came off after being clean out in the air a couple of times. It took a Zebra Samurai. Also, second salmon hooked took the same fly but also came off – shit! I lost five good fish in a row. Day after I hooked a great fish in Bridge pool and could after some spectacular jumps land a nice 7 kilo (15 lbs) female. The take was long and slow and this time the hook stayed. Nanook on a medium TTT produced the take. It’s fantastic how effective those flies that really blend in are on clear rivers like Laerdal.

Magnus had a grilse and a couple of more sea trout for the other boys. To sum it up we were lucky to catch some fish even the run is just not there. If the fish farming industry won’t be forced to be under control even the fish in the Queen will go extinct – a really, really sad truth and something we need to fight with all effort, we have to!