Finnmark 2017 – Part 5 – The monster

The trout season up north had been good to me, but it had not been easy. Endless rain had kept the rivers up at spring flood levels for much of the season. Just when they started to fall and it was beginning to get good, another deluge swept in over the tundra and put things on hold again. Under such circumstances many people would have given up. But as time would show, perseverance can sometimes lead to unexpectedly good results.

I do not consider myself a particularly good fly fisherman. I am pretty much average at most things in the sport, but I am always interested in learning new stuff & improving my technique. But one thing I have learned over the years is that being in the right place at the right time can have a major impact on your catches. And as with everything else in nature, the right time at the right place is always changing. One stretch of river can be teeming with rising fish at a certain point in time, but might appear devoid of fish only hours or days later. Therefore, available fishing time and mobility are key factors when it comes to catching fish on a fly. Thankfully, I have had plenty of both lately.

With the high water-levels the hatches were not as intense as they usually are at this time of year. So, I decided to go hatch-hiking in many places across the tundra, in search of something major enough to get the big fish interested and looking up. I hiked to many remote backcountry locations, and although I did catch some fish they were not as big as I hoped for. The hatches were just too sparse for the big fish to show themselves. And with the high water, searching them out below the surface was not an effective approach either. The fish were often not standing in the usual spots, both because the lack of food and a too fast current. So, I kept on searching and in the end, I found a promising stretch of water in a very remote location. Because it was at a higher altitude the water levels were not as high as in many of the other places I had fished. When I arrived there after an exhausting hike, a good amount of caddis had already hatched and were doing their sexy business up in the air. I wished I would have arrived some time earlier, but hoped for more hatches in the coming days.

There was this particular nice looking current in this remote stretch of river. Not much were hatching at the moment, so I decided to fish with a big Klinkhammer dry fly with a caddis larvae nymph dropper below. I started to fish the current systematically and suddenly the Klinkhammer went under. Something had just taken the caddis larvae nymph and I set the hook. There was a big fish at the other end and it raced off and then stopped. I tried to retrieve some line, but the fish set off again and the 3x flourcarbon tippet broke straight off! There had been some time since I last changed both leader and tipper. I usually check the setup every morning before fishing, but not this time. Had it not been for my laziness I would probably have landed a very nice fish. I changed both leader, tippet and flies once again and headed downstream. I caught some smaller fish and took one for dinner. After some hours, I made my way upstream again to the place where I had lost the big one. And lo and behold, a fish just rose in the exact place a fish had taken my nymph some hours before. It was impossible to see how big the fish was, but it was there and it was feeding! As I moved into position and got ready to cast I got my leader tangled in some of the heavy vegetation that we call “tjerr”. It eats away at both waders and leaders and are a great source of frustration. It made a big mess of my setup and I had to change the tippet once again. I would not lose another fish because of laziness! After a while I was ready and I got the flies out in front of the fish. It was the same setup as before, a big #10 Klinkhammer dry fly as an indicator combined with a caddis larvae nymph below. I was expecting the nymph to be taking, but suddenly the big dry fly went down with a big splash! I set the hook and the fight was on. The fish made a long run and took me right into the middle of my backing. After this run it was back and forth for a while, but after a while I could see that it was a nice fish. I was thinking, `Yeah, probably over 2 kg`. But when I tried to get it in my XL sized Mcclean net I could see that it was much larger! I almost had it in the net twice, but the fish was so big it almost did not fit. I was so scared of losing it, but on the 3rd attempt I finally netted it and screamed jubilantly as I saw the largest trout of my life. The fish was a beautiful hen and weighed in at a staggering 4,4 kg / 9,7 lbs!

My trout season had reached its climax and suddenly it did not make much sense to stay inland and fish for more trout. The north has much more to offer and I have now made my way to the coast to try my luck at salmon and other anadromous fish.

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