As 2017 is coming to a close I can look back at what has been an absolutely incredible year of fly fishing adventures. I have probably fished more this year than in all my previous years combined. There have been many memorable moments from different parts of the world and some spectacular fish caught & released. Although I feel privileged to have experienced it all, some catches stand out from the rest. My fishing has primarily been focused on my favorite fish, the trout. Without further ado, here is my top 10 trout of 2017!
10. Rainbow trout – 3 kg – North Island, New Zealand
The North Island of New Zealand has some great fishing, both in lakes and rivers. After much trial & error I finally figured things out in one of the central highland volcanic lakes and caught a bunch of super strong rainbow trout between 2-3 kg. This one took a streaking caddis at dusk and jumped several times before ending up in the net. Great fun!
9. Brown trout – 2 kg – Finnmark. Norway
Some of the best fishing I experienced this year was in the north of Norway, where I hiked all over the tundra in search of the massive hatches I have experienced in previous years. On this day I got very lucky. As I arrived at this stretch of river I could see that all the big fish were lined up one after the other, gorging themselves on both mayflies and caddis hatching in insane numbers. I observed for a while trying to identify the largest fish, then proceeded to catch several fish over 2 kg and many more just below.
8. Brown trout – 2,2 kg – Finnmark. Norway
This has to be one of the most beautiful trout I caught this summer. I was casting to a smaller fish when this one emerged from the deepest port of the pool and darted downstream to grab my fly.
7. Brown trout – 2,4 kg – Finnmark, Norway
Before this day I had never seen such a big fish in this stretch of river. But the hatch was going strong and as I approached the pool I could see several fish rise out in the current. Most of them were whitefish with their gentle sips, but there was a rather large trout there as well rising aggressively to mayflies. A couple of casts later and it was on!
6. Brown trout – 2,3 kg – South Island, New Zealand
After a long spell of bad weather and not much fish, a good Samaritan provided some valuable intel on spring creeks worth checking out. The trout were feeding below the surface in crystal-clear water, but to figure things out we had to find out what was on the menu using a nylon mesh net. Tiny green mayfly nymphs were coming off the weed beds and to match the hatch I had to cut the wings off a tiny mayfly dun. My friend Anders had lost a nice fish just moments earlier because it got entangled in the weeds, so I fought this one very decisively netting it in seconds.
5. Brown trout – 2,3 kg – Finnmark, Norway
Early fishing up north can be very good, even when nothing is hatching. On this day I woke up to snow outside my tent and hopes were not particularly high. Water levels were high and temps low in the big rivers, so we decided to explore some random smaller creeks with slightly higher temps using big streamers. It proved to be a good decision.
4. Brown trout – 2,4 kg – Finnmark, Norway
This fish was caught the day after the one above, also using a streamer. My friend Monrad was fishing this pool from the other side of the river. I asked if I could make one blind cast from my side of the river and he agreed. Not much were happening anyway… Seconds later a big fish rose to a mayfly just in front of me. I had a big rabbit strip streamer on and decided to get it out there while the fish was on fire. She was not picky and gobbled down the piece of rabbit fur on the first cast. What a start to the season up north!
3. Brown trout – 2,6 kg – Kola peninsula, Russia
Our week on the Russian tundra can best be described as a winter holiday. The spring flood had not even reached its peak when we arrived, and we did not see a single mosquito. Most of the fish were waiting it out in the lakes, but when exploring a backwater eddy I spotted a small disturbance on the surface. As my Kola Killer streamer came under attack I prayed it was not another pike. After an epic run downstream, it became clear that it was no pike and it ended up as my highlight of a very challenging week on the tundra.
2. Brown trout – 3 kg – North Island, New Zealand
Large brown trout were cruising in the shallow water of a lake hunting for damsel fly nymphs, but they were not easy to hook. After many unsuccessful attempts I could not understand why the trout were not hitting my flies. I decided to place a GoPro camera underwater to see what was happening and then I saw how the damsel nymphs moved. The trout were looking down searching the bottom and did not see my flies as I fished them too high in the water. Once I figured things out I finally hooked on to this super strong brute.
# 1 – Brown trout – 4,4 kg – Finnmark, Norway
The most memorable and largest trout of my life (so far) has to be this 4,4 kg leopard-skinned beauty! It gobbled down a klinkhammer dry fly and put up a memorable fight. I was alone and very afraid I would lose it. I had it on the edge of my net several times, but the fish was so big it almost did not fit. Thankfully I managed to land it and take this picture before quickly releasing it back into the river. Such a majestic and beautiful creature!
2017 has been fantastic, but new adventures await in the year to come. To be continued shortly.
Happy holiday and new year folks!