It was late June and time for my annual pilgrimage to Finnmark, the northernmost part of Norway. As I drove northwards I had the usual feeling of fear that it might be too early. The fishing can be very good in this period, but if you are unlucky you could also experience flooded and icy cold rivers. I drove through Sweden and Finland towards Alta where I would pick up my friend Monrad who flew in from Oslo in the south. I arrived a day early and set up my tent in 6 degrees Celsius, hoping that the weather would improve the following day. Unfortunately, the view that greeted me the next morning was not what I hoped for. The temperatures had dropped down to 2 degrees and a thin layer of snow covered the ground around my tent. I broke camp and drove to Alta to pick up Monrad, thinking about how to break the news to him in the best way possible. Being a married man and father of 3, his fishing days are rather constricted compared to mine and I knew he was dreaming of epic mayfly hatches and rising trout. He greeted me at the airport with a big smile and a lot of fishing gear, including a new inflatable kayak he was looking forward to trying out. As we made our way back inland we drove past flooded rivers, patches of snow and ice on the lakes. Reality started to hit him slowly, but being a full-blooded optimist, he was still rearing to go.
We checked out some of our favorite rivers, but they were practically unfishable due to the water levels and temperatures. It was becoming obvious that there would be no massive hatches and eager rising trout anytime soon. We either had to wait it out, move somewhere else or forget about dry flies and bring out the heavy guns in the form of streamers and sinking lines! We decided on the latter and headed out searching for smaller water that might have slightly higher water temperatures. There are many smaller tributaries and streams in the area that are unfishable later in the season because of low water levels, but as we would find out now was the time to fish them. We searched out many of them using streamers and sure enough the fish were there feeding in temperatures 1-2 degrees higher than in the big waters.
We hooked on to some spectacular trout during our first days, including a 2,3 kg red buck and particular curvy 2,4 kg hen. The number of fish were not high, but the quality sure was. Later in the week the water levels sunk, the temperatures increased and hatches of both caddis and mayflies began. Finally, the trout started to rise and we gradually changed from fishing with streamers to delicate mayfly imitations. After a bit of a slow start, Monrad seemed to get back into his good old trout catching groove and during the last days he was on fire catching several fish in the 1,3 – 1,5 kg range. Some of the situations were as good as they can be, quintessential dry fly magic.
Finnmark had delivered once again and it was time to head our separate ways. Monrad was heading back to his family to spend the rest of his summer holiday in Florida, while I repacked and got ready for more trout adventures in the Kola peninsula in Russia.
Expect more troutporn in a couple of weeks.