It was early summer in the south of Norway and many of the rivers were flooded from the melting snow. This was the situation when I returned from 4+ months of trout fishing in New Zealand. I could have done some lake fishing, but I resigned to waiting for the rivers to clear. Anyway, I had to replenish my fly boxes and get the rest of my gear ready for another full season of fly-fishing in Norway. I also had to try and process all that had happened while in New Zealand. So much had occurred, almost too much to take in. I might have suffered from PTSD, or “Post Troutistic Stress Disorder”.
I had learned a lot, that was for sure. Most importantly I had become better at fishing below the surface. That is where most of the magic happens anyway. Its where the trout live and eat most of their food. But back home in Norway the bottom of rivers is often dark, making spotting difficult. But I had not really tried before. As the rivers were clearing I decided to pretend I was still in New Zealand. The water was still cold and not much were hatching. A scenario I had encountered in New Zealand also. Then it made sense that the fish would be waiting it out in the slightly slower water, were they didn’t have to spend too much energy. As the river flow was still a bit high, the trout would probably be up against the banks. So, I started my walk, moving very slowly, eyes set very close to the bank. It didn’t take long before I spotted the first fish. It was maybe 5 meters upstream and darted out from the bank. It had not seen me, but it must have felt the vibrations as I walked on the bank. I scenario often encountered in New Zealand, where I more than once attributed the trout super sensory abilities. I had to move more carefully in order not to spook the fish. I continued further upstream and spotted several more fish, stacked right up against the bank. I could not believe it, this was just like in New Zealand!
I fired up the drone to get a birds-eye view of the situation and saw several more fish that I couldn’t see from where I was standing. They were not rising, but could be seen move slightly to the left or right, probably eating nymphs. I had seen some very small caddis and rigged a classic NZ dry-dropper combo. The dry fly would serve both as an indicator, but also to control the nymph better. I tried some casts, but there was no reaction from the fish. Instead of changing the nymph, I had to make sure it was drifting by at the right depth. The fish were a bit lazy in this cold water and didn’t move much. I had to get that nymph right in front of the fish. I extended the distance between the dry and the nymph and tried again. A bit to the left, no reaction. A bit to the right, no reaction. Right in front of the trout, at the same depth, a small movement and the dry went under. Fish on!
I continued like this, spotting up to 30 fish per day. I spooked most of them, but managed to catch a few as well. It was great fun, a kind of fishing I had never experienced in Norway before. I thought about how many fish I had spooked in the past, not even knowing it. Although it might not be possible to spot fish like this in all rivers, fishing with a nymph below a dry fly is probably a good idea in many scenarios.
It was now early June and I was just about ready to embark on my epic journey further north in Norway. My broken gear had been repaired or replaced, and my fly boxes was starting to look good again. As I got in my car and headed north, I was looking forward to meet friends along the way and hopefully get into some great fishing.