SundayThe defeat at Surna was history, and we were really looking forward to some real fly fishing. Each to his own, but fishing the dryfly for raising trout and greyling, really beats the hell out of backbreaking boring power fishing with 15' rods for non-existent salmon.
Anyway, our destination was just within the Trysil county border, and the road went alongside the river the last hours. Occasionally, we stopped for a closer look, and we had to admit, that, even with our luck, this was looking pretty damn promising. The river was beautiful, and fish were rising. In this river, there's actually fish! We didn't arrive until about 8pm, which btw. wasn't Julern's, the driver, fault. I made a mental note bringing some easing drugs, or even my own car, for the next trip..
We finally locate the cabin, or rather, a cabin, which was empty. Is it the right one? Amund's directions were reasonably detailed, but we weren't 100% sure. When we discovered heaps of beer cooling in the river, combined with a bunch of Scott fly rods behind the cabin, there was no doubt. This is it!
Ok, putting on waders, mounting the #4-rod and opening a beer (not necessarily in that order). Here we come! We go upstream, and I catch a small greyling on my third cast. Oh man! I needed that!
Not long thereafter, we spot Amund, Morten and Eirik on the other side. They paddle over, and greets ut welcome. Caught any fish?, we ask. Oh yeah!. Just today, they had caught trout over 2 pounds, and there's a lot of hatches. Just last night there were massive caddies-hatches, and with any luck, the mayfly Ephemera Danica would hatch any day now.. Didn't we see the grill at the cabin? (where tomorrow's dinner were, with trout and greyling close pushing the 2 pound limit).
Amund, Morten and Eirik sets course for the cabin, tired after a long day, while I and Julern fish our way down slowly, as the sun settles over the mountaintops. On the short way down, I catch three more fish, all very small, but I did not care at all.. Eventually Dariusz and Pål join in from downstream, and we all head for the cabin for some beer, scotch and to talk about the fish we could easily have caught night fishing, if we didn't er.. sit so damn comfortably.. heh
MondayOk, new day, and we all head downstream in the canoes at around 1pm. A bit early, I and Julern offered, but the others seemed to disagree.. As we're paddling downstream, we spot some newly hatched Ephemera Danica in the slow moving water. As we move along, we see more and more. There's something going down today.. We eventually stop at a big island in the river, getting ready to fish. There's a lot of mayflies on the river, often four or five of them pr. square meter, more then I've ever seen before. The fish is having a feeding frenzy today. Except for a rather annoying wind, from the north of course, things were pretty close to perfect. Thought the skunked idiot from Surna, anyway.. :-)
We had been tying dry flies all winter long, mostly in sizes 12 to 16. Only problem was, the hoards of Danicas out there today, was size 8. That's pretty big.
Morten starts the party
Being naturally lazy, Julern and I had positioned ourselves just where we paddled ashore, while Dariusz and Pål went upstream and Morten, Eirik and Amund went downstream. Pretty soon, something's happening a few hundred yards down with Amund and Morten. Morten is playing a fish, and Amund assists with the net. A 1,5 pound greyling, which left Morten standing with a big smile on his face, but Amund smiled even more as he soon thereafter caught a 2,5 pound greyling himself. And all on dry flies! Julern and me had so far combined for three wind knots and a bush.
The fish is getting more picky about it's selections now. The river is slow moving on this stretch, and the fish has all the time in world to study whatever comes sailing downstream on the surface. Neither Julern, Dariusz, Pål or myself have caught anything worth mentioning so far.
Time to search my fly boxes for something special. I eventually find some ugly, but big could-pass-as-mayflies-if-it's-really-dark pathetic attempts of spent spinner imitation. It has large, but unaligned, white wings, and with the floatant properties of a gold head nymph. Oh well, I rub it between my fingers, making it look even more goofy, but less of a spent spinner, and add some floatant. Yeah, that could pass as a somewhat mutated adult Danica..
And it works! Fish actually rise to it, but I fail to hook em. Still, definitely a step in in the right direction. I'm actually matching the hatch, well sort of anyway. Wow! On the next cast, the fly is dragging, and I'm retrieving line for a new cast, then all of sudden, I get a real take. Oh well, so much for the delicate technical expert fisherman. <g>
Nevertheless, a few seconds later, I'm holding a beautiful 1 pound trout in my hand. Dinner has already been taken care of, so I release it, feeling pretty damn good.
Meanwhile, Pål has been watching a fish rising regularly on deep water, unwadable of course. He sneak up on it with the canoe, he's almost there. We're all watching from shore.. Then, of course, the anchor lets go, and Pål is grinning as he helplessly floats just over fish's position. Never saw that fish again, that's for sure. Worth a good laugh as well, everyone except Pål agreed..
Other side is always best
Of course, there seem to be more rises and bigger fish on the other side of the river. So what else is new?!? It usually isn't true, it's just appears so be, to the restless fisherman. Julern wants a go at it and Amund gave him a real Danica imitation. Amund's not a first timer here, he'd done his homework. With careful wading, with only an inch or two of margin to the top of his waders, Julern actually got over there, within casting distance of a rising fish..
Bam! There it is! We're all sitting on the shore, a hundred yards away, but we somehow see the frustrated expression on his face as he's reeling in, only to remember, "Hey, I don't have a net".. :-)
Julern really want this fish, so Pål comes to the rescue in one of the canoes. The outcome is predictable: as soon as Pål is ready to net it, the 1.5 lbs greyling let go..
Julern still returned with a smile on his face..
Let's not do the numbers
All in all, perhaps we didn't catch as much fish to secure a place in the history books, but still, we had a really good time. You can't measure memories and emotions in kilos, pounds or inches. (in that case, these pages would be shut down in a hurry.. :-).
The wind is picking up and we're hungry. We head back for the cabin, to tie some big danicas and to eat today's catch!
We go at the night fishing a bit more seriously tonight. Just before dusk, I casted for a rising fish for almost two hours, but it didn't seem to care at all, and as dusk turned into night, it was gone.. So, I tried some muddlers, dragging on the surface, bomber-style. I had 4-5 fish rise to it, but setting the hook was impossible. Perhaps the fish simply missed?
We all saw nice fish, but no one really caught anything, even though Morten came pretty damn close to netting a 2 pound trout..
We gave in at about 2 am, as it got pretty cold. The temperature was 6 degrees celcius! Some summer we have over here..
TuesdaySame time, same place. Still plenty of Danicas sailing downstream, and today, we have better imitations for it. Which of course, doesn't guarantee anything, except for our relentless optimism. Pål and Dariusz continue working on the fish they spooked yesterday, while Amund, Eirik and Morten head further downstream. Julern and I decide to wade to the other side, looking to revenge his lost fish of yesterday. The water is deep, and we have to get on our toes sometimes, but we get there. Reasonably dry..
Just like yesterday, the river offers generous amounts of rising fish. Despite our new flies, we can't seem to hook any of them. Well, Julern does actually catch a small greyling, well below a pound, but he had been fishing for that fish in particular, and he's feeling pretty good about it.. The wind is picking up again, and as I reach for my cigarettes, I learn that when wading deep waters, the front pocket of the waders is not a smart place to put anything. They're soaking wet, and I don't exactly feel very clever.
The casting is going lousy as well. Tailing loops all over the place, my flies lands with the elegance and subtleness of a scud missile, and as a bonus they don't even float. I'm not enjoying myself. 30 yards upstream, Julern hooks another fish. After a few minutes he's got a 1.5 pound greyling in his hands, lifting it proudly, making sure I get a good look at it.. Suddenly, there's not a fish in this river he can't catch, and he's letting me know all about it. Bah! What an idiot! Standing there like some gloating fool! Hope he looses his foot hold, and falls on his ass!
The turning point
I wade slowly upstream, having my mind set on a rising fish just outside casting distance, as the Rodkiller from Surna wades downstream toward me. Undoubtedly to let me have a real good look at his catch, as he will be gloatingly asking where I've hid mine.. But then, my rod tip bends down, pointing at a tight line moving somewhere in the river. Just like yesterday, the fly was dragging, and then, bam!
A minute later, just as Julern arrives, I'm holding a 1 pound trout in my hands. "Greyling is Greyling", I arrogantly explain, "Trout is fish!". Julern, who no longer is a idiot, but a good friend loaded with dry cigarettes, cigars and a big smile on his face.
Heh. The momentum changes rapidly in fly fishing.. :-)
We light up a cigar each, while comparing flies and observations. We agree on the fact that the fish is mostly going after emergers/nymphs (confirmed later when preparing the fish), but there's no way we're gonna change the dry flies. After all, we're doing this for our own enjoyment, not necessarily to empty the river of all it's fish.. :-)
We fish together now, casting for the same fish, cracking jokes and generally having a very very good time. Then, a nice fish rises about 60 feet away. This is a pretty nice fish! Julern's up. He casts 2-3 times, but can't quite seem to get a good presentation at the right place.. The next cast also appear to be a bit short.... or is it?
Figen: You're in trouble if it takes your fly now.
Julern: yeah, right! Shut up!
Figen: Listen dumbass, you got a big knot on your fly line!
[Julern looks down, trying to untie the knot]
Julern: Don't take my fly now, ple..
[SPLASH!] (<-- big fish takes his fly)
Julern just gives me a dumb look, while I'm laughing so hard I almost fall in the river.. Oh, the fish? Yap, it's gone..
Figen steps up
Then we spot a really nice rise about 40 feet downstream, 60 feet to the shore. I see my name written in its rings.. I wade closer, and fires up a big Danica size 8. I get a nice presentation, a good float, but still, no take. Maybe I missed it? A short pause, and a new go. Yes!! There you go! Pretty nice fish, I feel it's vibrations right down in the backbone of the #4 rod. Ok, greyling aren't bonefish, but still!! Pushing the 2 pound limit, it was my biggest fish so far. Equally importantly, it was bigger then Julern's as well.. :-) Time for another one of his cigars, btw..
Life doesn't get much better than this..
The fish we never caught
We eventually wade back to shore - a quick look at the clock reveals we've been out there for over 4 hours.. Amund, Eirik and Morten joins us from downstream, and not surprisingly, they're carrying some nice fish. Morten tells us how he repeatedly snapped the fly out of big fishes' mouths, before it had a chance to eat it. And Pål tells us about the giant fish he'd lost. The look in his eyes made it evident that he wasn't kidding..
Just like it's supposed to be.
Time to go..
Ok, we all paddle upstream toward the cabin again. The other guys made the mistake of letting me sit in the back, trying to control the damn canoe. They won't do that again. hehe
Julern and I have to head home now, so on our part, the trip is over. The rest of the guys were up there for almost a week, and in total, more than 50 fish over 1 pound were caught. Wow!
As Julern and I drive home, we're already thinking of next year.. We'll definitely be back in Trysil, that's for sure..
Trysilelva: We're fishing our way down in the sunset..
Trysilelva: The Danica imitations tied Monday night.. .. Close enough, according to several trout and greyling we encountered.
Trysilelva: Handsome young fellow on the left, but Redeyed Julern and Crazy Pål completely destroys the harmony of this could-have-been-magnificent picture.. (Photo: Amund Foss.)
Trysilelva: Pål enjoying a cold beer.. (Photo: Amund Foss.)