SUMMER 2021 // #29
THE KOLA A NEW KID ON THE BLOCK By Matt Harris
COLOMBIA WHAT AN EPIC FISHING DAY MEANS By Armando Giraldo
AUSTRALIA Fly Fishing for ”The Other Fish” www.intheloopmag.com
The Eternal Mystery of Salmon Flies #29
Wild Brown Trout of the Baltics Europe’s free online fly fishing magazine
Photo by Armando Giraldo
We have just returned from Northern Norway. It was supposed to be early summer – but it wasn’t. It was cold. Bitterly cold – windy, rainy and miserable. The fishing, however, just kept getting better and better. That’s fishing! You never know what you’re going to get, and – while it may sometimes feel tempting to just give in and give up – there’s always that surprise element that keeps you going. The fishing just might turn unexpectantly on and make all the futile hours spent casting- and all the uncomfortably cold nights sleeping in a tent or in the back of the car well worth the while. The best fish of the trip was an incredibly well-built 10lb+ sea-run brown trout that wanted another chance after a first hit and miss. The second time around it completely inhaled the fly with just the leader outside of the rod tip and left a big maelstrom-like whirl before taking off. This summer, we’ll be out looking for more memories for life. The pandemic still isn’t over, but there’s light at the end of the tunnel and plenty of local rivers, lakes and coastal shores to fish. And with the release of this issue, we’re all set to go. Issue 29 features articles from a few long-time contributors and a handful of new ones that, once again, underline the fact that the fly fishing community is just full of talent and vision. We’re happy to present contributions from Peter Morse, Matt Harris, Teemu Tolonen, Peter Lyngby, Vahur Mae, Jonathon Muir, Eirik Fjelldal, Walter Foster, Steve Yewchuck, Rodrigo Salles, Armando Giraldo, Magnus Forsberg, and more. Enjoy and have a wonderful summer!
Photo by Armando Giraldo
A New Kid on the Block by Matt Harris Fly Fishing for ”The Other Fish” by Peter Morse Tuning in Your Skills and Gear by Eirik Fjelldal What an Epic Fishing Day Means by Armando Giraldo The Eternal Mystery of Salmon Flies by Teemu Tolonen Wild Brown Trout of the Baltics by Vahur Mae And much much more...
Contributors MATT HARRIS
In the Loop Magazine C/O Cast Away Media Org no: 999 320 147 www.intheloopmag.com
Matt Harris has been shooting fly-fishing images since 1999 and has been commissioned to shoot images and write articles all over the world. He has shot in Argentina, Alaska, Australia, the Bahamas, Brazil, Bolivia, Canada, Chile, Cuba, England, Guatemala, Iceland, Ireland, India, Mongolia, New Zealand, Russia, the Seychelles, Scotland, the USA and Zambia. Matt loves any type of fly-fishing with a passion and is happy to fish for everything from trout to sailfish, but his favourite quarries are big Atlantic salmon and Permit. See more of Matt’s images at: http://www.mattharrisflyfishing.com/
email@example.com PETER MORSE
By Daniel Coimbra
VISIT US ON
A New South Wales-resident, Australian fly fisherman, photographer, writer, and TV host Peter Morse, targets multiple different species in both freshand saltwater. As a well-travelled fly fisherman, Peter has a ton of experience and he round-handedly shares in that experience through tuitions, instructional work, book projects, articles and blog entries. To learn more, please visit Peter’s website: https://wildfish.com.au
We choose not to print this magazine and we are happy not to use paper and harmful inks as used in a conventional printing process. No portion of this magazine may be reproduced without the written consent of the publisher.
Norwegian fly fisherman, Eirik Fjelldal, spends all of his summer in hot pursuit of Atlantic salmon. Few people are as experienced in chasing these elusive trophies as Eirik, and few people will ever catch as many salmon as he has. To learn more about Eirik, his current whereabouts and his approach to catching salmon on a fly rod, please follow him on Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/eirikfjelldal/
Born and raised in Colombia, Armando discovered fishing at the age of 6 and it quickly turned into a huge passion. Armando then began fly fishing and fly tying at the age of 14. Once an employee in the corporate world, Armando eventually decided to chase after his dreams. He is now a full-time fly fisher, fly tyer and guide. He owns Orinoco Flies, which focuses on designing flies for big predatory fish as well as Pacific Ocean species. He’s a firm believer in catch & release, in conservation through fly fishing, and in the involvement of the local communities in order to preserve our watersheds and fisheries. www.orinocoflies.com
RODRIGO M. SALLES
Jungle Fly Fishing explorer and Untamed Angling partner and CEO of Brazilian operations, his home waters are not more, not less than the Amazon jungle rivers. Working in Amazon deep into Indian reserves, allows Rodrigo to access really virgin waters every season. Having fishing his entire career in the jungle for Freshwater Dorado, Peacock Bass, and other jungle species shaped him as an angler. Even being exploring waters in other remote fresh and saltwater destinations, the jungle is his favorite place to be. His expeditions and operations in complete partnership with Amazon natives are in the cutting edge of jungle fly fishing. Exploring wild and remote waters in the Amazon with the natives and discovering new species and to catch on a fly rod is one of his favorite things in the sport. Follow Rodrigo at: https://www.instagram.com/rod_salles/
Having fly fished ever since he was a kid, Peter Lyngby has been working widely across the industry as editor, writer, photographer, film producer, host, instructor, product developer, publisher, webmaster and fundraiser. With a powerful passion for northern pike, salmon, and tropical gamefish, Peter has been traveling the globe for years and is now dedicated to making fishing dreams come true for anglers worldwide through the travel agency, Getaway Fly Fishing (www.getawayflyfishing.com).
Vahur Mäe is the owner and head-guide of Estfly, the most experienced fishing guiding company in Estonia. Vahur spends somewhere in the vicinity of 200 days on the water every year – guiding and fishing. His biggest passion is brown trout and he has explored brown trout rivers and streams all across Estonia. Vahur’s favourite places to fish are his home rivers, but he has also fished for brown trout in New Zealand - as well as saltwater destinations in the Seychelles and Oman. For more info, please refer to https://www.estfly.com and https://www.instagram. com/vahurmae/
Teemu is a passionate salmon angler who is happy to chase silver on any remote northern river. He is the author of the ”Top Salmon Flies” book series which is scheduled for a 3rd installment in a not so distant future. His passion for anadromous species has resulted in Teemu’s concept and brand Spey Brothers. www.speybrothers.com
Do you have any great fly fishing photos, videos, or stories that you would like to share with our readers? If so, please don’t hesitate to get in touch with us. We are always looking for quality material for In the Loop Magazine, and we look forward to reviewing your material.
The Kola Peninsula
A New Kid on the Block Russia’s Kola Peninsula is Europe’s last great wilderness. This vast region straddles the arctic circle to the east of Murmansk, and it is a wild, untamed land, untouched by all the man-made havoc and pollution that has desecrated so much of our modern world. Few roads encroach onto the peninsula, and apart from a handful of small, remote villages, the terrain is inhabited by only bears, reindeers, foxes, mink and wolverine.
By: MATT HARRIS
“The fish were, as the project had hoped, big, brawny and plentiful” For the salmon fisherman, the Kola’s untamed wilderness is a wonderland. Unimpeded by man-made obstacles and pollution, the salmon of the Kola still flourish as they once did across the entire North Atlantic Seaboard. They continue to come barreling into the wild, crystalline waters of the Kola in numbers reminiscent of earlier times, before man’s relentless progress had so heavily impacted on their numbers elsewhere. The salmon of the Kola have evolved to tackle their singularly rugged freshwater environment, and as a result, they are broad-shouldered, deep-set and remarkably strong. This has marked the salmon of the Kola out as perhaps the ultimate prize for the avid salmon angler. Their prowess as aggressive, hard-fighting fish is second to none, and the fish are revered above all others by those that
have been lucky enough to tangle with them. Anglers new to the Kola are often astonished by the savage way in which the Kola fish attack their flies, and the subsequent violent mayhem and spectacular acrobatic displays that they provide once hooked. Conservationism While the Kola remains pristine, it is, like every corner of the globe, coming under increasing scrutiny from those wishing to profit from the Atlantic salmon and the other potential riches that it can offer. Those that recognise the importance of sustaining this wilderness are keen to find ways to preserve it, and many believe that conservation-minded catch and release fly anglers have an important role to play.
The Kola Reserve is the brainchild of a passionate Russian fly angler and conservationist and his proposition is to create a protected sanctuary for the wild Atlantic salmon of the Lumbovka and Kachkovka rivers. The aim of the Reserve is to conserve these precious fish for generations to come, and the small number of fly anglers that will be invited to visit the Reserve can play a big part in sustaining the fisheries, and indeed the wilderness of the Kola Peninsula. The new kids on the block The Kola Reserve is situated in the wildest and most remote corner of the Kola, on the far Northeastern tip of the Peninsula. Both the Lumbovka and Kachkovka have a thriving run of large Atlantic salmon. The two rivers could not be in a better place in salmon fishing terms, in what veteran salmon anglers might call ‘tiger’ country. Just to the west of the Lumbovka, the mighty Yokanga is feted for its huge trophy salmon – the largest on the Kola Peninsula - while the impossibly prolific Ponoi, a few miles to the south of the Kachkovka, is similarly celebrated for its impossible numbers of smaller but nonetheless good-sized fish.
Each river has its own charm – while these little gems may not consistently offer the monsters of the Yokanga or the huge numbers of the Ponoi, the Lumbovka and the Kachkovka are both intimate in scale and manageable enough to be comprehensively covered with light gear by competent salmon anglers fishing from the bank. Using their skills to wade the rivers and deploy classic spey-casting techniques, anglers can tackle the water proficiently without any recourse to ultra-long casting or fishing from a boat, making the rivers particularly attractive to the discerning salmon angler. There is no need for ultra-heavy tackle, and a light, thirteen foot eight-weight rod will cover most of the water, and allow the angler to really get the best out of the fish. Exploratory Efforts I joined a small group of veteran fly anglers on an exploratory season on the Kola reserve in 2019, charged with analyzing and evaluating the fishery. Despite many years of experience, the group came back to the makeshift camp every evening enthusing about the quality and quantity of the fish in both rivers. The fish were, as the project had hoped, big, brawny and plentiful.
Many good-sized fish were landed, including an excellent number of salmon weighing over twenty pounds. The biggest salmon recorded weighed in at thirty pounds exactly, and the river guards, who know the Lumbovka and Kachkovka intimately, regaled the group with stories of monstrous fish caught in previous years. The biggest authenticated fish from the Lumbovka so far weighed in at an impressive 37.5lbs The exploratory group experimented with various techniques, and we found the salmon of the Kola Reserve to be particularly aggressive, attacking flies fished on or just below the surface with savage abandon, even in the cold water of the early season. The fish were typical Kola fish: muscular, deep-bodied and hard-fighting, often cartwheeling high into the arctic sunshine before dashing downstream with the lucky angler in hot pursuit. Despite the cold temperatures, I mainly fished a full floating line and a large Sunray Shadow and I was re-
warded with exhilarating visual takes as the fish broke through the surface to take the fly. This all added up to thrilling and exhilarating fly-fishing. The anglers agreed unanimously that the prospects for the Kola Reserve appear to be extremely bright. In 2021, the Kola Reserve will open for business for the first time. A new fly fishing destination Limited numbers of fly-fishermen, using only barbless single and double hooks and practicing a strict 100% catch and release policy, will be invited to fish the Reserve throughout the summer and autumn months. Those lucky anglers will be required to leave only footprints, and take only memories. The revenue that they generate will be used to maintain and sustain a sanctuary for the wild salmon, and along with permanently deployed river guards, the anglers and their guides will act as guardians for the Reserve, ensuring that any incursion by illegal poachers is reported and dealt with.
“On warm summer evenings, anglers will be able to enjoy an icy beer ‘al fresco’, while prime rib sizzles on the outdoor barbeque” Anglers will be ferried to the pools on foot and by helicopter, and after long and exciting days on the water, will be able to unwind in the luxurious and comfortable, timber lodge, purpose-built in Finland and situated close to the banks of the Lumbovka Home Pool. Beautifully appointed, the lodge will offer elegantly furnished private rooms, featuring big, comfortable beds, ensuite showers and excellent drying facilities. Having soothed away any lingering aches and pains in the banya, guests will be able to repair to the well-stocked bar to regale each other with tall tales of huge fish caught and lost, while sipping on a refreshing gin and tonic or a reviving shot of frosty vodka.
After aperitifs, the anglers will be well-fortified for the next day’s sport in the large, comfortable dining room, with delicious meals featuring locally sourced ingredients like reindeer steaks from the tundra, spider crab from the arctic ocean and other delicacies from further afield. These will be expertly prepared by Kristina Chernyakovskaya, the Reserve’s wonderfully talented head chef. On warm summer evenings, anglers will be able to enjoy an icy beer ‘al fresco’, while prime rib sizzles on the outdoor barbeque. In autumn, the guests may choose to wrap up warm and huddle around the fire-pit to enjoy a nip of fine single malt whisky and gaze up at the northern lights or the sparkling stars of the northern sky. The summer fishing should be dominated by the big fresh fish that run the river from early June until late July. The Lumbovka River The Lumbovka features wonderful fly water, with an excellent number of holding pools, including the stunningly beautiful Horseshoe Pool, the prolific Coliseum, and the long, boul-
der-studded tail-out of the Homepool, a short walk downstream of the camp. The glassy tail-outs are a feature of the Lumbovka, and they offer perfect water in which to fish riffle-hitched sunray shadow flies, perhaps the most exciting way to catch Atlantic salmon. Seeing these ferocious salmon burst through the surface to attack a hitched fly is a very special experience, and one of the absolute highlights of fishing the Kola Reserve. In one short session, one of the exploratory anglers caught five handsome salmon between twelve and twenty pounds using a full floating line and a large “Sunray shadow” fly, and described the day as one of the most exciting of his fly-fishing life The Kackkovka River A few miles to the Southeast, the beguiling Kachkovka weaves across the tundra before slicing through a deep but accessible canyon. It then tumbles into a series of beautiful pools before cascading into the wild waters of the Barents Sea. The Kachkovka is smaller and wilder than the Lumbovka. As well as prolific numbers of handsome salmon in the summer months, it offers an additional and very special fishery.
As summer fades, the endless carpet of sprawling tundra turns to a dazzling golden hue. In the low autumn sunshine, it is breathtakingly beautiful. Periodically, as the days shorten, this bewitching landscape lights up under the magic of the ‘aurora borealis’. It is then that the fabled Osenkas of the Kola start to run the rivers, and while it is early days to establish exactly what we can expect, the exploratory team established that both the Kachkovka and the Lumbovka see a number of these special fish return every year.
“As summer fades, the endless carpet of sprawling tundra turns to a dazzling golden hue” Osenkas are a rare strain of salmo salar. Chrome silver and chock-full of fat, these heroic fish come charging into the river a full year before spawning the following autumn. They then remain a second winter under the ice before returning to the sea, and are thus in the river for a remarkable twenty months without feeding.
On entering the river, the Osenkas are obliged to carry enough muscle and body-fat to see them through not one but two of the Kola’s savage winters, and it makes these fish, pound-for-pound, as powerful as any Atlantic salmon that swims. Despite the relatively small size of the Kachkovka, it appears to have an abundant run of these wonderful fish. Wading in a beautiful, boulder-studded pool at the bottom of the canyon, I managed to prize six hard-fighting autumn-run osenkas out of the Kachkovka in just ninety minutes fishing in late September 2019. There are few rivers on the planet that can offer such hectic and exhilarating sport for Atlantic salmon.
The Kola experience There is much more to the Kola Reserve than just enjoying unforgettable salmon fishing with good friends. A visit to the wild valleys of the Lumbovka and Kachkovka offers a rare chance to reconnect with the natural world, and to experience the beguiling beauty and solitude of the pristine tundra. If you are interested in experiencing the wild, primal magic of the Kola Peninsula, and in fishing prolific salmon rivers that have barely seen a fisherman in decades, give the Kola Reserve some serious consideration. If you are interested in fishing the Kola Reserve, contact Matt Harris at: firstname.lastname@example.org
Swiftcurrent Waders You Expect More. Our Home Waters Demand it. Our new midweight Swiftcurrent Waders deliver more than dry feet— they do everything better. They’re lighter, stronger, fit better and move more athletically in and out of the water. Using engineering that cuts waste, recycled materials that overperform and feature set designed for intuitive functionality, Swiftcurrents are built for all waters and all seasons and created with our home waters in mind.
68% of our fabrics this season are made with recycled materials. Less than 10% of fibers produced globally are made with recycled materials.
100% of the products that we make are backed by our Ironclad Guarantee. Worldwide, in the last 15 years the average number of times a garment is worn before it’s discarded decreased by 36%.
Twilight time. After five hours of casting under the midnight sun in Swedish Lapland, Nathaniel Riverhorse Nakadate calls it a day/night. TONY CZECH
Fly Fishing for “The Other Fish” By: PETER MORSE Photos by: PETER MORSE and AUSSIE FLY FISHER
Some fly fishers get a real kick out of catching creatures that they might not even have known existed up until the moment they come into view. Australian waters are richly endowed with a host of these. It’s a good idea to travel with a fish identification book in this part of the world, because unless you’re an ichthyologist its most likely at some stage you’re going to need it; and also keep a list of these new fish— who knows, chasing new things may become a fascinating pastime.
One of the things you’ll hear Australian fly fishermen “complain” about is the difficulty in selecting what tackle, which fly, and what rig to use, simply because of the diversity of species available to us. You can choose to specialize and target specific species, but in the meantime there’s often an endless string of other opportunities swimming by. For this reason, it always pays to have several rods rigged with different flies so those opportunities can be seized should they present themselves, and to have a couple of reels or spools already rigged with different lines so every situation can be capitalized on. The following are some favourites you are most likely to encounter in a variety of situations, some incidentally, and some you should take the time to target. Saratoga If you’re in pure freshwater barramundi country, the beautiful and primitive saratoga are ever present. Sharp eyed, they cruise openly on the surface, can be sight cast to, and also live in amongst the cover. Primarily an insect feeder but also highly opportunistic and aggressive, (eating lizards,
snakes, and frogs), they’re suckers for a surface fly, Dahlbergs in particular, but also larger insect imitations such as a grasshopper will work fine. They’ll also eat bigger flies intended for barramundi. They’re a great early morning and late evening fish and in northern billabongs they live in amongst the lily pads, which give them cover from sea eagles, and flies need weed guards. They have mouths as hard as an engine block and you’ll miss more than you’ll land, hit them hard and then hit them again. Jacks of All Trades In the barramundi estuaries, mangrove jacks, threadfin salmon, and fingermark (aka golden snapper) are high on the list of likely encounters as are several species of cod. Both jacks and fingermark are structure-orientated fish and will be caught from much the same places as barra. Threadfin can also be caught in similar locations, but they are more likely to be encountered along mud banks where their feeding gives them away—and around the mouths of drains that with the rise and fall of the tide run into-, and out of the mangrove swamps.
“We also get monsters up to 10 kilos and 1.5 meters long, and almost nothing on the planet matches these for speed, leaps, and difficulty” Most of the time all of these fish will eat flies intended for barramundi, but the threadfin can become particularly difficult when they’re feeding on shoals of immature shrimps, known locally as “jelly prawns”, or on the more mature prawns. The Big Five of the Flats On the flats, the big five you’re most likely to be fishing for are the permits, golden trevally, queenfish, GTs and blue bastards. These have been covered elsewhere but an awareness of the different flies and presentations used between the resident bottom feeders (permit and blue bastards), and the pelagic cruisers (GTs and queenfish), and the “in betweeners”, (Goldies) needs to be kept in mind. Having a rod rigged and ready with a streamer, and one rigged with a crustacean pattern is always a good idea.
Black Spot Tuskfish Another highly prized flats species are the black spot tuskfish, an immensely powerful species that likes to get up onto coral marl flats and graze on crustaceans. In some areas they have become a much-prized target species, and if they’re in the area you’re fishing, talk to the guide and give them a crack, you won’t be disappointed.
Mackerel There are five species of reasonably frequently encountered mackerel species in inshore Australian waters. These are of varying sizes and all of them have numbers of very sharp teeth. The Queensland school mackerel is the smallest, and although good eating, can be a pest as they snip off flies intended for other things.
Giant Herring A highly prized fish that frequently lingers on the flats, and off the edge of the flats around surrounding reefs, but in fact can turn up almost anywhere, is known locally as a giant herring. In the US these are known as ladyfish, but there they’re merely considered nuisance value as they don’t grow large.
Outside of the narrow-barred mackerel, known locally as Spanish mackerel, the smaller mackerel (school, shark, broad barred, and spotted mackerel) can usually be landed with a bite tippet of hard 40lb fluoro carbon. They eat a range of flies and can be quite particular, but surf candies will usually undo them, and will withstand their teeth for a time.
But there’s no faster, or more explosive fish found in our inshore waters. We get the small ones too, but we also get monsters up to 10 kilos and 1.5 meters long, and almost nothing on the planet matches these for speed, leaps, and difficulty.
Although they have been landed on monofilament bite tippets, the potentially MUCH larger Spanish mackerel (narrow barred) need wire; not much, and not too heavy as they do become very shy of anything obviously out of place.
Experienced Spanish mackerel fly fishers tend to use only around 15-20cms of 20kg single strand wire, just sufficient to avoid those teeth and to withstand them should the bite tippet cross their mouth. They have wickedly sharp teeth and do much of their feeding by injuring baitfish and then returning to pick up the pieces. In the eyes of most fly fishers these are a special fish that rate very highly in many ways. Sharp eyed and often elusive they also succumb to many methods from breaking on bait schools like tuna, to sinking flies deep around reef structure, to teasing with hookless lures and chumming— how they feed means they’re absolute suckers for a chum trail. The first run of a big Spanish mackerel is something special. Once you set the hook stand by to clear the line instantly, maintaining just a little pressure on the fish and not so much on the line so coils don’t leap into the air – this is when trouble arises and many mackerel (and fast running pelagics) are lost in these line clearing moments. They don’t jump (unless there’s a shark chasing them) and they won’t deliberately swim for the reef, you just don’t panic and be patient. Cobia Cobia are another frequently encountered species and these are usually found hanging around manta rays, big stingrays, large sharks, dugongs, and whale sharks. In some places they are seasonal, and in others they can turn up at almost any time, just another reason for the need to have a heavier rod rigged all the time, and with a large fly such as a deceiver.
The Coral Reef Fish Around the coral reefs and deeper reefs there’s a host of different creatures and every cast can have you wondering what you’ll encounter next. I’ve seen seven species caught from one spot on seven consecutive casts, and all of them were the sort of fish that’ll pull the kinks out of a fly line. Fish that live around reefs know every dirty fighting trick in the book and it usually involves just powering back to their rocky caves and ledges. Coral Trout, red bass (bohar snapper), and a host of emperor, wrasse, and cod species are on this list.
“This is not the place for sporting tippets, fish at least 40lb fluorocarbon” In the Depths If for some reason the fishing on the flats or in the rivers is slow, especially on the change of the high tide period, most guides will have a collection of deeper water locations, sometimes reefs and reef passages, at other times deeper flats, where sinking flies will get you into trouble.
Sinking flies deep is not for everyone but there’s a host of fish that never, (or at least very rarely) come anywhere near the surface. We have to be prepared to go down to them, and I suggest if this kind of fishing tickles your fancy, come with a fast-sinking line, or at least some well weighted flies and an intermediate sinking line. In most places a #10 is as light as you would want to fish. In these situations, #11, #12 and even #13 weight rods are not out of place as the likelihood of encountering big fish is high. The preferred technique is to drift with the wind or the current (excellent if they’re opposed and you’re hanging on one spot) and to sink flies deep, then retrieve them, sometimes slow and sometimes fast, you need to work out what’s happening down there. This is not the place for sporting tippets, fish at least 40lb fluorocarbon. The Sydney Harbour and Beyond Not all fly fishing in Australia is in the tropics. The southern waters have some outstanding saltwater fly fishing too, even Sydney Harbour in the middle of that great city can be exceptional through the summer months.
Kingfish and Australian salmon are the prime targets, and these school on the surface right through the warmer months beginning in spring and tailing off in early winter. The hard fighting kingfish are found up and down the East Coast all the way to Tasmania. Snapper are another prized species and although not commonly caught on fly on the east coast, in South Australia and especially Western Australia they can be prolific and very willing fly rods targets, especially with those skippers who know and understand them. On the west coast Samson fish, which are closely related to yellow tail kingfish, and amberjack, along with salmon, and snapper are the prime targets for saltwater fly fishers, and there are several exceptional charter boat operators in that area that know these fish and their movements very well.
Endless Possibilities Australia is a continent with a coastline of more than 25,000 kilometres stretching from 10° to 42° South. Although it’s a desert continent it has its rivers, and being so flat, the tidal rivers and estuaries cut a long way inland, and in the northern wet season, in most years, everything floods and is renewed. There are immense sections of this coastline that have never seen a fly fisher, and very few fishermen generally. It’s one of the very few civilized but empty places left on the planet and whether you want 6-star, or roughing it, there’s a fishery and a place for you. Get into it! Great Fishing Adventures of Australia is a new group of leading independently owned fishing tourism operators who have come together to collectively raise the profile of Australia as a world class fishing destination. No matter what the season, Australia offers international enthusiasts the opportunity to indulge in their passion and experience some of the very best fishing, amongst some of the most naturally spectacular and diverse environments, the world has to offer. Additional information available on: www.australia.com/fishing
DEVELOPED BY ANGLERS
Designed by Flyfish Europe
UST EXPRESS SINK The fastest sinking fish-finders on the market and the solution for swollen rivers and the deepest pools. These unsurpassed lines represent the heaviest artillery for the biggest salmon.
Advanced SA Line Shooting IdentificaTechnology tion
Tuning in Your Skills and Gear One of the things that I have always loved about fishing is that there are no hard lines that define what is right and what is wrong. It really is all about how you want your fishing experience to be. Ultimately, that determines how you fish and the tools you use.
By EIRIK FJELLDAL
Fly fishing is a lifetime sport and we are all on different personal fly fishing journeys. Your journey into fly fishing – how you were exposed to the sport for the first time – was probably different from mine. Or maybe not. It really doesn’t matter that much. What matters is that at some point in that journey, you decided that chasing anadromous fish with a fly rod was something that resonated with you and a spark was lit… We all have different reasons and motivation for doing this sport and we all have different approaches to it. Everything ranging from just wanting to be outside in nature with good friends or family fishing some nice stretch of water a few days a year – to the hard-core angler who lives and breathes fishing 24/7, 365 days a year. It’s about the adventure and being outdoors. It’s about the chase and being the hunter. It’s about doing something challenging and satisfying. It’s about acquiring skills, knowledge and experience. And no matter where you are on the learning curve on your fly fish-
ing journey, you, like the rest of us, have had your «AHA», «WOW» and «WTF» moments and still occasionally do every time you pick up a fly rod. In between fish… One of the things many might find difficult when getting into fly fishing for salmon is that there isn’t a whole lot of fish, so you can’t get feedback on your technique on a fairly regular basis. Either that or they simply won’t grab your fly for other various reasons, so you don’t get the benefit of fish giving you some positive feedback as much. We have all been there out in the river and wondering – am I fishing this water the right way? Am I using the right lines? My leader? My flies? My technique? Is this a good water to fish right now? These are the kinds of things we end up obsessing over and they can frankly make you wonder where sanity ends and something else takes over. You will learn a thing or two when you catch a fish, but you will learn and experience so much in between fish.
When I talk with beginners or even anglers who’ve been at it for a while, I sometimes hear some form of “I want to be able to feel better when I’m fishing” or “I want to be able to enjoy my time on the water more...”. Answers like that might sound kind of semi-retarded at first, but they are not. Of course, most folks enjoy being outdoors in beautiful nature with good friends fishing – I mean, what’s not to like about that? But it is not about that. It is about feeling good about what you do when you are standing waist deep in the river fishing. Some may, for example, just want to be able to cast further, but I suspect much of the answer to a statement like this is rooted in wanting to be able to have that cast go out there, exactly how they want it to, more often. Fly fishing will for me always be about a feeling and rhythm. Connecting with the right feeling where everything just flows and feels right. The rod, line and leader almost feel like an extension of your arm and everything is done with the right timing and in an unconscious state. I am “Happy Gilmore” in my happy place. I’m just doing what I
do without thinking about it and my focus is solely on how the fly is working the water. But how do you get to the point where you get connected to that feeling where everything just feels right – where you fish with confidence, where you can almost sense a tug before it’s coming and are almost elevated into your own little private yoga or Tai chi session? Consistency of presentation There is unarguably something damn sweet and insanely satisfying about anchoring up a nice big fat capitol D, then rocket a tight loop against the far away bank and landing that fly on a straight leader exactly where you want it to. Distance is always a sexy thing, but it is not as much about distance, but more about presentation and control. I have been lucky to fish together with some really good anglers close to almost three decades now. You learn a lot by hanging around and fishing with experienced anglers, so never miss out on any opportunity to do just that. It is hands down invaluable and will turbo charge your own learning curve.
In my opinion, an important part of what really differentiates top-notch salmon anglers from the rest is the consistency of their presentation. They are excellent casters. They throw a nice straight and tight line that immediately puts the fly under tension and gets it swimming. Not only that, but they also stay connected to the fly – meaning that with every swing of the fly, they know exactly where the fly is in the water column and exactly what it’s doing, and it’s doing exactly what they want it to.
ing a salmon just went down far more than you will appreciate. A fly that is swimming is by far much more effective than a fly that is not. That’s one of the key elements if you want to increase the number of encounters you have with salmon.
Many folks throw a cast that is not very straight or tight, they are not getting that fly under tension and they are not really controlling the swing with the rod tip. Either getting ahead of the line to pick up speed or staying behind the line to slow it down.
Get access to growth Sure, everything starts with learning the fundamentals on how to cast and then practice casting – that’s your ticket into the whole game, so to speak. You need to reach a certain level of proficiency in your casting to be able to have further access to growth. Fishing is not about casturbation, it’s about how well you fish the cast. So, what it boils down to is being efficient and making things easy. You should not spend years figuring out how to cast, so you then in turn can figure out how to fish.
You can fish the swing after a crap cast too – a lot of salmon have been caught on crap casts and crap presentations. I see that every summer. Nevertheless, if the fly does not turn over – by that I mean the shooting head extends, the leader comes tight and the fly actually lands tight – your chances of catch-
You evolve as a fisherman. I’ve heard somewhere that first you want to catch a fish. Then you want to catch some fish. Then you want to catch big fish. Then you just want to catch fish the way you want to fish. I think there is some truth to be found between those words.
Some fish single hand rods, others do switch rods, but the majority use double handed rods for salmon. Some prefer short rods, while others prefer long rods. Some are into the early season fishing with heavy sinking lines on big rivers, while others only fish a floating line at the back end of the season in small rivers. Some do Skagit lines and some prefer hybrid lines, some long belly lines while others only fish Scandi lines. In addition, you will find those who do everything i just mentioned and a whole lot more. A Spey rod doesn’t know it’s a Spey rod and a single handed rod doesn’t know it’s a single handed rod. They are levers that bend when we ask them to bend – it is just physics! Once you have learned the concept that a Spey cast is just a roll cast and that everything else is basically just a set up for the roll cast, you are in a place where things really starts to get interesting. You are learning about the importance of a good early pick up, anchor placement and not to use too much range of motion in your casting. From a switch cast you move on to changing direction by doing
a single Spey cast or a snake roll to make even larger directional changes. Or you can progress to other Spey casts like the double Spey, snap t or c casts - that is for you to decide. Whether you are doing overhead casting, Spey casting, single hand, double hand casting or switch rod – the better caster you are, the more up the rod you move. As people get better casters they start feeling how to control further and further up the rod. If you can get to the point where you can control the tip ring of the rod and make that tip ring move as you want to – then you have entered masterclass casting. The perfect marriage Designers of rods have a particular intention when they design a fly rod. They envision that rod in its happy place – a specific fishing application that the rod is intended for and where you will get the most out of it. The same goes for designing fly lines. Now we could discuss resins, recovery speeds, cheap and cheesy components versus high end components, fast flex profile rods versus soft flex profile rods, brand this versus brand that.
What it all boils down to is that there are very few really bad rods out there today – mostly just bad line and rod combinations. It is the pairing between rod and line that is crucial to what it is you want to do. Certain rods will respond better with certain lines. The line and rod relationship will play into how happy that rod is doing what it’s doing. All rods are designed to cast a certain weight of fly lines and each rod has a “line weight window” if you will. Most manufacturers also provide easily accessible information and recommendations on line weights to each rod they make. Rods in this day and age have a relative high tolerance to line weights, so it’s equally as much about the line profile and how you will be casting that specific line profile that’s important. Use a Skagit and a Scandi line as example. Most rods are similar in that there is going to be a sweet spot for the both of them. All rods will be able to cast both Scandi and Skagit lines, but some rods are better suited for a specific task.
Sure, a rod is a simple lever that just deflects – but within that deflection there are going to be certain characteristics that may or may not play to what you want to do and how you want to fish. The only way to find that out is for you to spend some time trying them both out on the same rod and making up a subjective opinion based on how you like the rod to behave. That’s part of the learning experience to find the perfect pairing that works for you. When your mission is to dial in the perfect pairing between a line and rod, the key factor to look for is the balance between maximum line speed and the feel of the rod load. You want that perfect marriage between maximum line speed and rod load where one doesn’t rob from the other. Important tools Every part of your fly fishing kit is important. Everything is connected in every sense of the word, and it all needs to be well balanced. Optimizing and tuning in every part of your kit will just make the end result better one way or another.
And that’s where you want to be – you want to set yourself up for success, fish with confidence and get connected to that feeling when everything just feels right, the casting is effortless, and your fly swings perfect in the current. Good flies are important and so is a good shooting line, a good rod that matches your shooting head, a good reliable fly reel and so on. But in this whole equation of connected parts if you will, I would argue that the shooting head is probably the most important tool in your fly fishing toolbox. Not only is it the means of delivering the fly out there in the river where you want it, but also the most important tool to present the fly at the right depth and speed. Presenting the fly at the right speed and depth is key and essential to being successful in salmon fishing. The fly is what the fish see and react to of course – but if you can’t present that fly under all scenarios and conditions, the way the fish prefer to induce grabs, you are likely to miss out on many opportunities.
The perfect setup? There is not one perfect shooting head that can do it all in salmon fishing – and I doubt there will ever be one. Why? Making any fly line or shooting head will always be a compromise between mass distribution/line profile, length, the technology available, density etc. Versus where I fish, under what conditions I fish and how I want to present the fly. These factors are subject to change all the time. This is how I think. I need different series of lines – or in other words, different “families of lines”. I might want a selection of short lines with different densities to deal with smaller rivers, deep wading and casting in tight positions. I might want a selection of longer lines with different densities for bigger rivers where I have good space and need a longer casting distance. Now, the reason I use the phrase “family of lines” is not coincidental.
If I want a system of lines where I can use the different densities in a way that actually makes sense – it’s important to get a system of lines and densities from the same manufacturer, same brand and within the same line family. A Sink 5 line from one manufacturer is not necessarily a sink 5 for the next. I want the different steps in densities to make sense and sink the way I want them to, and I want the lines to have the same length on the sink section of the line. Only then does having a system of shooting heads make sense. Only then can I actively use for example an Intermediate/sink3 line and change over to an Intermediate/ Sink5 line and know for sure that I get the properties I need in a fishing situation when going from sink 3 to a sink 5. It’s about having options within a series of lines. Then I will always have one line that is perfect for any condition or situation. Where the magic happens… When I hit the river, I always have 2-3 swing sticks rigged up with different lines. Often meaning different
densities, but also different profiles, for example if the wind is really nasty. Then I might prefer a Skagit set up over a Scandi rig. Usually those rods are 14´#9, 15´#10 or a 16´#10, my set up is determined by the conditions I meet, where I will be fishing and how I want to fish. There is a rule of thumb in Spey casting - you gain or lose about 10 feet of distance pr 1 feet of rod length. So, if you have an 11´#8 and a 14´#8 rod, you probably get a 30 foot longer cast with that 14´ #8 with a similar set up and similar casting stroke on both. Since I usually fish relatively big rivers, it makes all the sense in the world to have those bigger rods. More importantly, those longer rods also help me to easier mend and control my swing for better presentation if I’m waded out deep. If I just wanted the best fish fighting tools for big salmon, I would definitely go for shorter rods with better leverage and pulling power. But everything is a tradeoff and you have to make conscious choices all the time. You gain some features that is more important than the features you lose.
How I choose to fish a pool depends very much on the character of the pool, water temperature, water level and where I expect the fish to be holding. Under more normal conditions I often first cover the pool with a close to surface type of line to see if I can get a fish to rise. Maybe a Float/ Intermediate or Intermediate type line – visual takes will just never go out of fashion! Then I might swap rods and go for a heavier line, for example an Intermediate/sink5 to dig the fly down, presenting it closer to where the fish may be lying. Then I might even go deep down and dirty with a full black line after that. I always try to read the waters, consider the conditions, and the situation I’m in, and then come up with a plan. Always have a plan you can intentionally work around and apply your shooting heads and flies to from all angles so to speak. Don’t be afraid to use heavy density lines if the salmon don’t respond to a close to surface presentation of your fly – dare to go heavier than you
initially first thought was necessary. Give the salmon two options – move or take the fly! I guess my main point is to vary your approach and vary in a way that really makes a difference. Don’t just change a 5cm fly to an 8cm fly – go from 5cm to 15cm. The same goes for how to use your shooting heads. Don’t just go from an Intermediate head to an Intermediate/sink3 – go for an Intermediate/sink7, or why not a 750grain sink 8 line if you can?! Use all the tools you have in your fly fishing toolbox actively. If you have one line, you have one tool. If you have 3 lines with different densities, you have 3 tools as options in your toolbox. Options in salmon fishing are not only nice to have – they’re essential to hooking up with fish under all conditions and throughout the whole season. So, what is the experience you want out of your fly fishing? The river will always be your classroom, that’s where you learn and build up you’re experience.
It’s about dialing in what you want to do and how you want to do it. It isn’t necessarily about which rod, and line system will catch more fish, but rather which one will allow you to feel most confident in your presentation and enjoy your valuable time on the water the most. If that means only fishing a floating line the whole season will make you Happy Gilmore in your happy place – then that’s your journey. But fishing isn’t just casting. It’s about thinking, analyzing, adapting and being intentional in what you are doing on the water. Spend time on the water, that’s where the magic happens.
The Guide’s Choice The Guide’s Choice exceeds the needs of the most demanding anglers. Incorporating our proprietary eyewear technologies, it’s engineered for those that pursue life on the water. Experience ChromaPop™ | smithoptics.com
a i b m o l o C n i t a Aflo
What an Epic Fishing Day Means By: ARMANDO GIRALDO (Orinoco Flies // @orinocoflies)
Recently, Colombia has started to earn its rightful place in the fly fishing community. The country is finally getting over a tough past and has opened its doors wide open to tourists. Fishing tourism is no different. With a multitude of waterways and watersheds across its geographical sphere, aerial views of the country tend to look more turquoise blue than green. And there are vast amounts of interesting fish species to be found here. From saltwater to freshwater there’s so much on offer - and there is still a lot to be discovered. Colombia is home to incredible peacock bass fishing, and I have been fortunate enough to fish some of the most exciting peacock bass rivers in the Orinoco river basin. I doubt if even a lifetime is enough to fish them all. Virtually hundreds of rivers, lakes and lagoons that have never been explored remain in the area. One of the minimally explored rivers - and a favourite of mine - is the Tomo River: A wide and deep river that runs for more than 650 km and represents a basin of at least 20,000 km2. The gallery forests along its shorelines are up to 100 meters wide concentrating diverse and dense jungle fauna and flora. Savannah landscapes, that will remind you of an African safari, extend for hundreds of kilometres beyond the lush green of the river course. Seen from the sky,
the whole “map of the region” looks like a nervous system full of neurons. Tomo has hundreds of lagoons; some big enough to be fished for a week! In the season that runs from January to April, Tomo’s water masses slowly clears up all the while taking on magnificent green, grey and reddish hues. Sight-fishing for peacock bass in the many conjoined stillwaters - and especially along the numerous river flats formed by very large beaches - is something truly exciting and nerve-wracking. Getting there My trip started in Medellin, on a charter flight provided by Afloat Adventures, one of the best outfitters in Colombia – a company that offers high-end service, top-notch logistics and a fleet of very comfortable floating cabins that are comfortable and well designed.
The floating cabins allow the outfitter to fish different parts of the river where - most likely - you’ll never see another soul aside from the fellow company of your fishing group for the week. I got there in mid-February with a group of 8 fishermen. The charter landed after an hour-long flight in a town called la Primavera, on a simple air strip. Four 4x4 trucks were stand-by ready to drive us 3 and a half hours through the savannah and up to the river, where comfortable Jon boats would then take us to the lodge. A very sweet canvas cabin floating on the river - anchored to the shore, was waiting for me to claim my private domain for the week. Generally, the cabins are double occupancy but as I was alone, I had plenty of room for organizing, gearing up and preparing for the fishing. And through the paper-thin walls I could hear my neighbours do-
ing just the same – in a loud and often high-pitched tone of excitement. Once ready, I headed to the dinner bungalow section to meet everybody. The chef cooked an amazing meal, and we then had one of those fishing conversations full of anecdotes that extend for hours with the members of the Afloat crew. Anticipation was in the air! Off to the fishing grounds Next morning, my guide Jonner parked the boat right by the cabin to pick me up; a happy scene that would repeat every morning for the whole week. And I tell you! After a couple of days of productive but average fishing, the third day would become etched in my memory forever. That day, we headed upriver for an hour or so. Jonner parked the boat in the river by a small creek that turned out to be the outlet of a lagoon some 50 meters away.
We jumped in the water and carried the electric motor, the battery and our gear through the channel up to a plastic pram parked halfway towards the lagoon (Afloat leaves these prams in different lagoons for easy access). We then pulled the pram up to the lagoon, which proved to be murkier than the river itself. The lagoon was 60 to 70 meters wide and about 300 meters long: A relatively small but fishy looking spot. A strip of dead trees of what was once jungle emerged from the water along the whole right side of the lagoon. The left side had fallen trees and labyrinthic snags that covered at least 15 meters of water from a steep wall that bordered the lagoon. It was an amazing looking place! Close encounters I began fishing the deep left side full of structure using a 300-grain sink tip line that allowed me to also fish the shoreline, as long as I stripped fast. The rod, I was using, was a strong-butted faithful 8-weight, my go-to rod for continuous blind casting in hot weather. Finally, at the end
of my 40-pound leader, a 15-centimetre fly imitating a small, shiny peacock bass tied on a 5/0 hook from Orinoco Flies; a tying company from Colombia that specializes in high-quality jungle- and generic predator patterns. We kept a casting distance of about 15 to 20 meters to the structure. The first strike came 15 minutes later; very subtle, no hook up. I cast to the same spot again, stripped and this time hooked into what I, at first, thought was a small fish. The take, once again, was very subtle, but as soon as the line came tight a big peacock bass came jumping maniacally out of the water before rushing toward all the branches. I was lucky enough to react instinctively, putting maximum pressure on the fish – while screaming BACK UP, BACK UP!! The fish then turned and headed for deeper water and exposed my backing a couple of times before I could finally land him. I couldn’t believe it! My first hook up for the day, and the Boga grip announced a staggering 21 pounds, 21!
It was all I could ever have hoped for - and all my trophy-fish-ambitions for the week were laid to rest then and there. Oh, little did I know… After a few pictures, the release and a few laughs and high-fives, we continued fishing only to hook another wild and colourful fighter 10 minutes later – a “gentle taker” like the first one and a solid fish that pulled the scale to 18 pounds. The madness continues It was the first time in my life I had caught two trophy fish in such a short time span. But we didn’t rest on the laurels. Instead, we kept fishing in an attempt to make the most of it. In the process, we landed around 15 smaller fish including butterfly peacocks and smaller speckled bass that, ironically, hit the flies like they were 4 times their size. Overall, the morning had been beyond my expectations. But I was still in for another surprise. Suddenly, I felt another gentle strike, set the hook and all hell broke loose. Jonner backed up and I held on to my line as much as I could, but the fish was charging off, and the line was burning
my fingers. Along the way, I switched the rod from my left side to the right in order to increase the pressure even more, and suddenly the line began cutting through the water heading to the right side of the lagoon while Jonner was shouting “GRANDE!!! OTRO GRANDE!!” in a voice of sheer excitement - and with a huge smile on his face. I could not believe what was happening but tried to stay focused. I picked up whatever line I could, put maximum pressure on the fish and prayed the leader wouldn’t snap. The fish went for a very long run, then – after a lot of head-butting in deep water he finally gave up. WHOAH! Once in the net, we unleashed our screams of joy and elation. This one weighed 22 pounds. 22 POUNDS!! Two fish in excess of 20lbs and an 18-pounder in less than 2 hours of fishing?!! It felt like a dream. We took a few pictures, kissed the fat guy goodbye and released him. After that I sat for a while just laughing and celebrating with a cold one before eventually continuing.
We couldn’t believe how lucky we’d been with none of the fish having reached the snags and, instead, having turned for deeper water. But perhaps, by talking about it, we jinxed it… More action As we moved on, the lagoon started getting narrower and the distance between the old sunken forest and all the half-sunken branches on either side of the lagoon was now fairly minimal. I went for a 60-pound fluorocarbon leader to have some leverage, just in case - right? After a while, I cast the fly between a couple of sunken branches. I stripped and again felt a gentle take, set the hook and BOOM! Water came splashing everywhere, while I tightened everything up in order to horse the fish out of the branches. Then SNAP! I couldn’t believe it: My leader broke like it was 2-pound test. Jonner was shocked and curious why I didn’t simply let it go. Well, I guess I was just overly confident after all the fish I’d already landed.
You know that feeling when you lose the winner fly, right? Well, I was gutted but I dutifully retied everything, put on a new fly, continued casting, and – believe it or not - 20 minutes later I was fighting yet another pretty one; a very strong 15 pounder that – unlike the others - hit the fly super hard. Apparently, my mojo was still intact, and more fish kept coming for my fly as we continued to search the lagoon. I was having the time of my life! Popper action We turned around, headed back to the outlet, and changed our setup, opting for a floating line and a popper. Admitted, poppers had been rather unproductive for the past few days, but the temptation was just too big. We began working around the sunken trees, but nothing was happening – and, after a while, we were about to change tactics once again. Then, all of a sudden, a big explosion on the surface and I was hooked up once again.
This one headed straight for the trees and, this time, I let it. I didn’t want to be broken off again, so we just followed the line and navigated the small pram through the morass until the fish headed for deeper water. When it did, I applied full pressure and, in the end, we landed yet another stellar fish – this time weighing in at 19lbs. We released the fish and headed out of the lagoon for lunch. Yes, for lunch! This all happened in about 5 hours. Icing on the cake While returning, Jonner told me that he had entered the lagoon several times in the past few weeks but that the fishing had been very slow. Isn’t it amazing how unpredictable fishing is? After bragging about my morning at lunch and showing guests and staff select pictures, we went down river to sight-fish the beaches, maybe find some arowana or a shovel nose catfish. We had a couple of shots to some big peacock bass cruising in couples, but they showed no interest in our flies. Smaller fish in the 3 to
8 pound-range, however, provided tons of fun, and slowly – fish by fish – the day was coming to an end and we started heading back to camp. Just before calling it a day, I told Jonner to slow down so we could quickly fish a beach from where I could see the floating cabins. This beach was full of deep pockets, so I used my sink tip. I made long casts to work the fly from one pocket to the next and finally felt a strong tug. The last fish of the day turned out to be a 14-pound showman that ran along the beach with much of its back clear out of the water sending cascades of droplets into the air with its powerful tail. What a sight it was! It was the best imaginable way to end the most epic day I’ve had in almost 20 years of fishing for peacocks. You can find us at: https://afloatadventure.com/akuani/ www.instagram.com/afloatfishing www.facebook.com/afloatfishing Whatsapp +57 3206845071
Heart Wood Trade is the creation of Dustin Scott, an outdoor enthusiast who learned the art of fly fishing and woodwork from his late father. The craftsmanship shines with dovetail details and his signature contoured handles that ensure a true grip when landing your catch. Each net is a true one of one, handcrafted for you from fine hardwoods. We solely create custom landing nets by commission. Each net typically takes 4-5 weeks to build.
The Eternal Mystery of Salmon Flies By TEEMU TOLONEN
There are things that we know and there are things that we don’t know. (And the latter tends to be heavier in volume). This is especially true when it comes to Atlantic salmon and the flies we use to catch them. Traditions, beliefs and superstitions guide our fly choices and uncertainty is always there. I’ve had the pleasure of interviewing 20 salmon anglers in the book series, ”Top Salmon Flies” - and have talked with them in-depth about their best performing flies.
How do we define a great salmon fly? Fly patterns and techniques have developed over the years as has the whole sport itself, from classic feather-winged salmon flies to modern tube flies with cone heads and hair wings all the way to synthetic rubber-legged monsters, skaters and hitch flies. All kinds of flies produce salmon in the right conditions. In my opinion, a salmon fly therefore can be any fly that catches salmon. Salmon don’t exactly know what a salmon fly is, so the definition is one that salmon fishermen have constructed themselves. And the most important lesson is: Don’t limit yourself! The basic principles The anatomy of a successful salmon fly varies from foam backed dry flies to heavily weighted rubber legged shrimp imitations. Most successful anglers have guidelines that they follow, when they tie flies - and when they pick flies for whatever rivers and conditions they’re fishing. Some, for instance, rely on fluorescent strike points in murky water, others believe in colours that blend in with the surrounding environment. So, is there any sense to be made of it all?
The basic principle is that the fly has to be effective enough, when it enters the strike zone, to entice a take. It can be tied on a hook, tube or hitch - it doesn’t really matter all that much. It could even be a regular trout nymph, as they’re known to produce interesting results in the heat of the summer. The overarching question is: What are the water conditions like? In murky and high water, a size 16 Icelandic micro fly is hardly visible to the salmon, let alone likely to induce a strike. However, a large cone-headed tube fly in vivid colours would probably have a good chance of being seen - and thus fooling one of the early-season chromers. If your friends are killing it with a size 6 Green Butt on a mid-season run, you will probably have a good enough chance with the same fly in size 8. It all depends… Water colour and fly colour Salmon have fairly good vision, and they can separate colours from each other. Different colours are visible to them at different depths of water and different colours of water filter light in different ways.
For example: Greenish water amplifies all submersed colours and especially (fluorescent) green and blue. As a result, patterns with green or blue in them, oftentimes, work well in green water. The surroundings of the river also affect the colours visible (and attractive) to the fish. If the river bottom is covered with light stones and bright green aquatic growth, you’ll probably find that choosing a fly with similar colours will work well.
Some think that a size 8 double hook fly is small, and their jaws drop when they see the size 16 micro flies used successfully in Iceland Black is the only colour that doesn’t reflect any light – a colour that, from a salmon’s perspective, always forms a silhouette against the sky. As the popular saying goes; “It doesn’t matter what colour your fly is, as long as it’s black”.
For example, on most Icelandic rivers the guides love small and medium sized Collie Dogs. These are super simple flies with all-black wings that are very visible in the mostly gin-clear Icelandic rivers, and that produces great salmon catches every year. The eyesight of salmon gradually develops and adapts as they migrate upriver to their freshwater spawning habitats. They can see shades of green and blue better when entering the river due to a long summer spent in the blue-green ocean realm. Hence, many great early-to-mid-season patterns have green and blue shades. The cells in the salmons’ eyes adapt to freshwater in a matter of weeks or months, and the salmon start to see shades of orange and red better than other colours. Perhaps this visual adaptation explains why especially late season (resident) fish display aggressiveness towards red and orange flies. The top performing salmon flies might stay successful throughout the season. A colour combination
of orange, yellow and black, for instance, is extremely efficient on slightly coloured rivers such as the Ponoi on the Kola Peninsula. According to Max Mamaev, Ponoi’s head guide, you can fish a Ponoi Hummer (also black, yellow and orange) throughout the whole season and catch good numbers of salmon. And then there is the Red Frances. The one we both love and hate. We love it when it saves our week with the fish we so desperately needed. We hate it when our fishing buddy makes a sloppy cast into a pool, drops the heavy fly like a bomb and spooks all the fish back to the Atlantic Ocean. The truth, however, is that this little (or large) red devil seems to work on most salmon rivers across the globe. Size does matter How to pick the right size fly depends on the water levels, temperatures, and water colour. The fish, obviously, need to see the fly in order to react to it. In high- or coloured water you generally need larger flies to provoke the fish into striking. However, fly size is always a relative issue.
Some think that a size 8 double hook fly is small, and their jaws drop when they see the size 16 micro flies used successfully in Iceland. Some think that their size 2/0 classic single hook is big, but then they haven’t seen a 20cm temple hair tube, which – by the way - has been known to catch its fair share of early season salmon in recent years.
The eyesight of salmon gradually develops and adapts as they migrate upriver to their freshwater spawning habitats A salmon’s diet consists of prey items of varying sizes, starting from microscopic insects at the parr stage and extending all the way, for example, to large herring when they’re feeding in the ocean. Even though they do not eat during their stay in the river, old feeding habits might subliminally come to the surface and subsequently become one of the key factors that
trigger the salmon into taking a fly. So, make sure you stretch your fly selection in both directions – from tiny to huge, and don’t be afraid to experiment with imitations of freshand saltwater insects and prey fish. Develop your own playbook Flies, as we’ve seen, are important when fishing for salmon. But it might be even more important how we fish them. In the first Top Salmon Flies book we borrowed the term ”playbook” from American football to explain the concept of building a successful concept for catching Atlantic salmon. In salmon fishing the playbook consists of three elements: 1) overall fishing strategy; 2) fly choices and fishing techniques; and 3) reading the salmon’s reactions and learning from “the opponent”. It’s important to have an overall game plan when entering the river and to take the conditions into full account. What are the conditions like? Is it early-season and high water or late-season and super low water with finicky fish? Do you have private pools to fish (and rest) or are you spending a week on crowded public beats?
Every angler’s dream, of course, is a private river, that we have all to ourselves, flooded with salmon eager to hit the fly. The reality, however, is almost always different. If you start to see frequently jumping or splashing fish in a pool but fail to connect, it might be a good idea to stop for a moment. I like the basic principle that, for example, Antti Guttorm and Anders Neteland use when they are starting to fish a pool that they particularly like -or are fairly sure is holding salmon. Their approach works well on crowded rivers where you might occasionally find a pool or two without other anglers. Antti and Anders follow the basic rule of starting from the top and working their way down to the bottom. They go through the pool as subtly as they can with a floating line and a light fly; cast across and make the fly swim fast. The basic idea is to have that element of surprise when the fish still haven’t seen you and they hear no water splashing around the pool.
Make the first round rather quick, then let the pool rest for a few minutes. If nothing happens, switch to a weighted fly and/or line and work the pool again. The last resort, many times a successful one, is to go deep. Switch to a skagit line and a weighted fly and fish slowly close to the bottom. With this kind of approach, you’ll minimally pressure the pool and you’re more likely to get a hook up. In Iceland this approach has been refined in terms of the size of the fly. Here, they fish the pools using extremely small flies first and then – only later – size up. This delicate approach has resulted in higher catch rates and they’re now able to catch more fish in the same pool compared to previous years, when they simply started off by hammering the pools with tungsten Snaeldas and similar types of flies. Early-season high water conditions require a different approach. The number of fish in the river can be low and - due to the high water, you’re fishing is limited to a few pools. Then it’s basically a waiting game. Go through the pool every now and then and patiently wait for that fresh chromer to enter the pool and settle.
The most important strategy of the playbook is simply to have a strategy. Of course, you can catch salmon without one, but there’s little doubt that you’ll be catching more fish if you aren’t simply casting and fishing at random. There’s a saying that: “Losers let it happen, and winners make it happen”. It’s not a coincidence that some anglers catch more fish than others. Try to think two steps ahead all the time. That’s what the really good salmon fishermen do. Faith moves mountains Sometimes shit hits the fan and even the best flies - or the best playbook for that matter, will reward you with a fish. Then it’s time to get the “thinking juice” out of the trunk and try to figure out new ways of doing it. If there are salmon in the river, there’s always a chance of catching them – so keep that in mind and don’t give up. Never give up! Sometimes, beginner’s luck trumps any amount of experience ever acquired. I just got a call from one of my dear friends. He had gotten skunked for four consecutive 4 days on his favourite river in Norway.
The only angler in their group who had succeeded in catching salmon was the newbie in the group. His unorthodox flies and full intermediate line had tricked a dozen salmon while the others watched in amazement. On the fifth day, my buddy tied an exact replica of the plain, no-hackle small doubles that had been the newbie’s secret recipe. With the new flies and renewed confidence things changed for him, and he started hooking one fish after another. Fishing for Atlantic salmon is a mental sport and sometimes a mental challenge because we can only partly explain things using our common sense. Thankfully our confidence grows with experience, but confidence can easily turn into insecurity when nothing seems to work. So, we need to stay strong in our beliefs. Whether we’ll ever have definite answers to what the ultimate salmon fly looks like is an open question. I don’t really believe we will. And I guess that’s part of the reason why we love the sport so much: The ups and downs of trying to crack the code.
At Outlaw we’ve spent years perfecting our craft, exercising our passion, and stretching our lim can deliver the very best rods on the market! From our hand turned reel seats to our better ma ate everything on our rods for a reason. Everything we do at Outlaw is centered around achievi equipment! Located in Sparks, Nevada we’re at the base of the Sierra Nevada Mountain Range a of the best fishing on earth. We test our products on a regular basis so we can bring you the best prod Quality fly rods at an affordable price II Medium-fast action II Fast-Action II AAAA cork handle II Anti-glare midnight matte finish II Cordura rod tube II Lifetime Warranty
mits to ensure we ade blanks we creving more with our and home to some duct on the market! www.outlawrodco.com
The Brand Buffet
Tested by Salty Maximus: THE ARCTICSILVER FONNA FLY ROD “A brand that is unknown to many, at least outside the Nordic countries, ArcticSilver’s rods are based on a unique philosophy. Their rod design philosophy is based on the loading power being obtained from the very bottom part of the blank and, as a result, they have developed a handle in which the blank moves freely: The Free-Flex handle. Arcticsilver has now launched a new rod series called ”Fonna”, which is more budgetfriendly than their high-end ”Zense” range, without compromising any fundamental casting- or design properties. After a bit of test casting, I no longer have any doubts. The Fonna rod series is in no way inferior to the Zense series, which I’m a big fan of. Another nice thing, that I missed in the
Zense series, is ”fast action” 6 and 7-weights. These are excellent for those who want a faster rod for coastal fishing or casting big, chunky streamers. The Fonna rod has a relatively deep flex profile that quickly engages the bottom part of the blank. In my opinion, the Fonna is a fantastic rod that allows you to cast with minimal force - if you just let the rod do the work for you. It provides good control on all types of casts and at all distances and intervals. With the Fonna, ArcticSilver has succeeded in producing a rod that is also very good for speycasts. It’s due to the deep flex profile and the power derived from the bottom part. All in all, an exciting new series that you should definitely try if you get the chance”. Max Dinh: www.instagram.com/saltymaximus/
Book review: FLY FISHING RUSSIA – THE FAR EAST (Review by ITL-writer, Matt Harris) Fly Fishing Russia is a comprehensive study of the remarkable and still relatively unexplored flyfishing opportunities available in Far Eastern Russia. Misha is a scientist and he writes intelligently and engagingly about the myriad waters of Kamchatka, Sakhalin and Khabarovsk to name but a few of this region’s special places.
These freshwater monsters can exceed a hundred pounds in weight and they prey on the salmon as they spawn, devouring them whole. Misha’s writing takes me straight to this impossibly remote wilderness, and makes me want to go there more than ever. Misha is a true pioneer and I cannot recommend his book highly enough. It is a genuine treat for the passionate fly fishers imagination, and also an inspiration for some truly wild adventures once this wretched virus allows us out of our cages once again. You can buy the book here: www.facebook.com/FlyFishingRussiaFarEast/
Author with 29 kg (64 pounds) Siberian taimen landed in the Tugur River, Far East, in June 2010
I am a Russian Fishery Biologist who has spent the last 40 years exploring the Russian Far East, a region along the Pacific coast of Northeast Asia far to the east of Siberia that is as big as the US Pacific Coast from California to Alaska. The gigantic Far East has tundra, forests, remote ocean coasts, and multitudes of lakes and rivers. It is one of the last and least accessible wild regions on the planet, and few people have explored it as I have. In the course of my job to determine which fish live here, I have discovered four species previously unknown to science. I am an avid fly-fisherman, one of the few in our region. Many of the places I have visited and fished have never been fished with a fly rod before. This book is the condensed experience of scientific expeditions, wilderness trips, and my work as a fishing guide and tour outfitter. It details the main regions of the Russian Far East and its most interesting lakes and rivers for fly fishing. It is part travelogue, part conservation story, and part fly fishing guide. Whether you are an armchair traveler, or if you want to successfully experience these places and catch taimen, steelhead, six species of salmon, trout, lenok, char, mandarin bass, pike or any of the other species that abound here, this is the guidebook to do it.
There’s plenty more besides the species mentioned above.
Travel/Russia/Far East Sports & Outdoors/Hunting & Fishing/Fishing USA $49.95 www.flyfishingrussia.com Cover design by Amber Mullen
Mikhail Skopets Skopets Fly Fishing Fishing Russia: Fly RUSSIA:TheTheFarFarEastEast Mikhail
I have had the good fortune to fish just four of Kamchatka’s countless streams and they left a powerful impression. Having caught huge rainbow trout, intriguingly powerful “Super Khundza” ( sea-run East Siberian white-spotted char), exquisitely painted trophy Dolly Varden char, hard-fighting coho salmon and some magnificent fresh-run steelhead, I have had just a glimpse of what this vast pristine wilderness is capable of. I can at least in part corroborate Misha’s vivid picture of a fish-filled wonderland that has seen very few western anglers. Fishing in Kamchatka to me at least felt like fishing way back in the past, with big, primal fish that attacked mice patterns and preposterously large streamers with a lusty abandon that made them almost embarrassingly easy to catch.
Stargazers, Yellow cheeked carp and mandarin perch are a few of the more exotic creatures Misha has tackled. Perhaps the most intriguing of all Eastern Russia’s species is Hucho Taimen. Catching one of Khabarovsk’s worldrecord Taimen on fly is a long cherished dream of mine.
Fly Fishing Mikhail Skopets
Fly Fishing Russia:
The East TheFar Far East Dr. Mikhail Skopets
The Brand Buffet The Ocean: THE ULTIMATE HANDBOOK OF NAUTICAL KNOWLEDGE If you’re into fly fishing the ocean, here’s a book for you. It isn’t about fly fishing at all, but it offers all the knowledge and knowhow needed to enjoying the sea – safely and in an informed manner. It’s a handsome book, and at 360 pages, and an engaging reference book that your will want to keep on you coffee tables and near your desks for easy access. The book can be ordered online. UK made Wading Jacket: SCHÖFFEL MAY FLY JACKET The Mayfly Fly Fishing Jacket is a super-lightweight jacket for the active fly fisher, or for fishing in warmer climes. The Toray Dermizax NX 3-layer ripstop fabric with a hard-wearing nylon face offers exceptional performance. Highly breathable, 100% waterproof and windproof, as well as being soft and quiet to the touch. Packable and lightweight, this is the ideal jacket for the travelling fisherman. A three-point adjustable packaway storm hood with peak offers protection from wind and rain, and the elasticated drawcord at the bottom hem, along with adjustable cuffs, prevents water gaining access inside the jacket. For more specs and info, please refer to: https://www.schoffelcountry.com
Book review: 117 FINE FISHING SPOTS By many, the Island of Fynen in Denmark is considered the seatrout epicenter of Europe, and lots of fly fishermen migrate there every year to fish it’s many beautiful coastal stretches. The book 117 Fine Fishing Spots is a guide to fly fishing for seatrout on Fynen, and – as the title suggests - it contains 117 thoroughly described fishing spots on Fynen with driving directions, tips on how – and what to fish with, in addition to general chapters on what to bring and how to get the timing right. You can order the book on Seatrout Fyn’s website: https://seatrout.dk/kort/bog/
Book review: BLANE CHOCKLETT’S GAMECHANGER We’ve been into fly fishing with big streamers for years, and we’re firm believers in that big flies produce big fish – as long as they’re lively and fishy looking when retrieved. Blane Chocklett’s flies, and especially his signature Gamechanger flies, are just that - but tying them can seem daunting. His new book delves into the practicalities of tying his inno-
Book review: NORDISK FLUEFISKE ETTER LAKS We’re hoping for an English version, but for now this book is for the fortunate salmon fishermen in Scandinavia. “Nordisk fluefiske etter laks” is a book by salmon guru, Øistein Aas, and it’s superbly written and with an eye for the important details and small practicalities that make a big difference when fly fishing for salmon. Whether you’re a seasoned salmon fisherman or new to the sport, this book will provide a ton of in-depth information, tips and tricks – all presented in a flawless way with inspiring and illustrative anecdotes. For more info, please visit: https://www.cappelendamm.no/_nordisk-fluefiske-etter-laksoystein-aas-9788202622480
vative predator flies and it does so with great attention to detail, and in a pedagogical and amply illustrated manner. “Gamechanger” is highly recommended as a fly tying book, but – ultimately – what is does is advocate a fishing technique that will result in better fishing – and bigger fish. And for that, we thank you, Blane! If you want a copy of this expertly written and highly informative book, please refer to the European distributor, FlyCompany: www.flyco.dk
The Brand Buffet Fly Tying: FLYCO SEAN STANTON SIGNATURE BRASS TUBES If you’re into early season Atlantic salmon and you tie your own flies, you should check out Sean Stanton’s Signature Brass Tubes. They’re cleverly designed and perfect for Franc N Snaelda, Frances and similar weighted flies, and they come in several different lengths and weights to perfectly match any fishing situation. Feed them with 1,8mm clear tubes and tie your favourite salmon fly on them and you have a whole new weapon in your arsenal – one that really works the deep end of the pool. For more info, please refer to the European distributor, Fly Company: www.flyco.dk
New Rod Range: OUTLAW ROD CO WANTED EDITION The Wanted edition fly rod from Outlaw Rod Co is a high-performance mediumfast action fly rod featuring hand-turned real burlwood reel seat inserts and custom designed cork grips with custom inserts. These are really pretty rods using next level Graphinex Technology that gives the rod better weight, better sensitivity, and better rebound so you can get pin-point accuracy. The rods come at an extremely competitive price point and they come with a lifetime warranty and a custom corduroy rod tube. More information can be found at https://outlawrodco.com
Fly Tying: STONFO DEER HAIR CUTTER Well designed and highly durable, the new Deer Hair Cutter from Stonfo is an indispensable tool for cutting deer hair flies such as muddlers, caddis, and bass bugs. Using razor blades, which are bent into shape using the Cutter Tool’s inbuilt adjustment screw, you can easily – and with great precision – cut deer hair into perfect shape. We’ve used this tool on caddis flies with great results and highly recommend it. For more info, please refer to Stonfo’s website: https://stonfo.com/en/ Fly Tying: FULLING MILL TUNGSTEN JIG BACKS Euro-nymphing with weighted jig nymphs has taken trout and grayling fishing to the next level. Now, Fulling Mill has launched a new range of Tungsten Jig Backs that are perfect for making depth-charge nymphs for fast currents and fish holding in deep pockets. They come in three different sizes/weights and in four different colours: Silver, Copper, Black and Pink – in ten packs. Use them with Fulling Mill’s FM50 45 Jig Force hooks – and here’s a tip: Use superglue as a foundation when tying your tungsten jigs. For more info, please refer to: www.fullingmill.co.uk Fly Tying: FULLING MILL ORIGINAL SQUIRMY Every fly fisherman has one or more dark secrets. One of ours is that we sometimes – when we’re in dire need of a strike, resort to fishing with worms – the Squirmy kind. (They’re just so darn effective!). Fulling Mill’s Original Squirmy rubber worm materials are durable, easy to use and come in three really cool colours: A subtle Tan, an earthworm-like Red, and a fiery Pink. And every package contains enough materials to fill a sizeable “worm bucket”. For more info: www.fullingmill.co.uk
The Brand Buffet
Fly Tying: FLY SUPPLY WORK LAMP Tired eyes aren’t good for fly tying, and if the lighting isn’t good, your eyes will eventually tire. Danish company, Fly Supply, have launched a series of LED-lamps that can be mounted on your fly tying vise. They provide great working light, and because they’re on an arm that can be manipulated into shape to acquire just the right angle, you can get your spotlight just right. The Lamps come with a USB cord and plug, and a mounting rack that doubles as a tool rack - and it is all very easy to setup and use. For more information, please refer to: www.mpflysupply.dk and the European distributor www.flyco.dk
Custom Flies: MASTERFULLY TIED SERBIAN FLIES We’ve had a chance to test some of Djordje Andjelkovic’s beautiful flies for trout and grayling – and we’re not surprised. These ultra-realistic flies work like a charm! Djordje ties custom flies and takes order for everything from nymphs and dry flies to streamers and jig flies. You can get in touch with him via Instagram. The address is: https://www.instagram.com/buy_the_fly/
Book review: THE OPTIMIST We’re big fans of John Gierach; one of the most witty, intelligent and honest US fly fishing writers of our time. But it seems he now has a rival. David Coggins is mostly known as an artful living icon and the author of “Men and Style” and “Men and Manners”, but – as it turns out – he’s not just some sleek New York cultural elitist, he’s also an avid and reflective fly fisherman capable of capturing the true essence of fly fishing in a starkly vivid, bright and, most importantly, unpretentious way. His new book “The Optimist” is an expertly written collection of tongue-in-cheek essays revolving around the more philosophical aspects of fly fishing – and just like good fly fishing, “The Optimst” flows effortlessly, unwaveringly capturing all your attention. Truly a phenomenal debut, “The Optimist” is bound to become a neo-classic and we’ve got our fingers crossed that it won’t be last book fly fishing from Coggins’ hands. For more info, please refer to: https://www.simonandschuster.com/books/The-Optimist/David-Coggins/9781982152505
Scientific Anglers: UST SHORT (ULTIMATE SCANDI TAPER) If you’re out looking for early-season salmon in the weeks to come, here’s the line that gets the job done. Much like the extremely popular Express Sink Series, the UST Short 46g line is based on the same taper and is only 2,5 grams shy of the Express Sink 750 grain line – but 40cm longer. Perfectly suited for swollen and cold rivers and 15 – 16´double handers this line is a great option if you’re looking to dig out salmon of their holding spots. Especially the S3/S5, S3/S7 and S5/S8 will get the job done. For more information, check out Flyfish Europe’s website. They’ve helped design and develop the lines to perfectly match them up against the Scandinavian salmon scene: www.flyfisheurope.com/sa/
The Brand Buffet Fly Box: WYND TACKLE BYNDER RIG & FLY BOX The Bynder Rig & Fly Box from UK-based Wynd Tackle solves a problem that has existed for quite sometime now, that is the storage and securing of multiple fly rigs in a protective manner. The modular center foam page allows for easy wynding and securing of flies that are rigged with tippet. Now a fly angler has a box to pack full of flies along with dry-droppers and nymph rigs that will be protected and secured. The box stores up to 176 flies and 9 ready-tofish rigs. For additional information, please check out www.upavonflyfishing.co.uk
Superflies: THE SURFFILAUTA Innovative flies come along relatively often, but not all of them catch fish. The Surffilauta, a Finnish pattern for trout and salmon is both innovative and catchy. The fly imitates a fleeting baitfish stuck in the surface film – looking down into the gloomy abyss below, and it has proven to outperform classic bombers and hitch flies on numerous occasions. Superflies have a vast assortment of quality seatrout and salmonflies and they’re constantly upgrading their assortment, so go check them out: www.superflies.com
Heartwood Trade: HANDMADE CUSTOM NETS WITH DAZZLING DETAILS Heartwood Trade isn’t your average net brand. The Texas-based company only makes pre-ordered custom nets and they do so with a keen eye for details and impeccable craftsmanship. We’ve ordered one of their smaller catch and release nets (the Original) with black rubbermesh netting and we’re in love! If, like us, you’re into aesthetically pleasing fly fishing products – and not least photography, you should check out Heartwood Trade’s website: https://heartwoodtrade.com
Clothing: SIMMS CX JACKET AND BIB Simms’ new CX Jacket and Bib are built for the grind but revels in the shine. Crafted out of a proprietary C-FLEX3 stretch fabric, this kit helps you move through your day with purpose. Designed with fully integrated, waterproof TRU® Zip pockets to keep your cash and stash bone dry, this weatherproof, windproof, drool-proof suit will be your new best friend. Perfect for fly fishing from a boat, this suit should become a favourite among pike, perch, and zander fly fishermen across Europe. Available in black and woodland camo. For more info, please refer to the European distributor: www.flyfisheurope.com
Secure the Trophy
Release the Fish
Advanced Taxidermy’s replicas are based on photographs and measurements of your trophy catch.
No two stories are the same. You remember it vividly. When you tell your friends and family the tale of your fishing adventure you spare no detail. It is a moment in time that is uniquely yours. At Advanced Taxidermy our passion is helping you bring your glorious moment back to life. We want to capture it in great detail. Over 35 years of experience of creating museum quality wildlife art will ensure that your memory will last forever. We’re not just in the business of selling replicas. We are a fully licensed and operating taxidermy studio with artists who are inspired by you and your story. That’s why no two creations are ever the same.
PROFILE OF A FLY FISHERMAN
Rodrigo Salles The Untamed Angler
If you’ve kept an eye out for the blooming jungle fly fishing scene in South America over the last decade, you can’t help but have noticed Brazilian fly fisherman and entrepreneur, Rodrigo Salles. He has done more exploring than most, and - in the process - he has come up with a concept for developing sustainable fly fishing tourism; a model that engages the local communities and helps generate local revenue while at the same time preserving the local fisheries and surrounding habitats. We’ve hooked up with Rodrigo to talk about his fly fishing career, what it is that he finds so fascinating about fly fishing in the jungle and what’s going on with his business, Untamed Angling.
Full Name: Rodrigo Moreira Salles, born Oct, 1st 1976 Country of origin: Brazil Occupation: Untamed Angling Co-Owner and CEO of Brazil operations Social Media: www.instagram.com/Rod_salles / www.instagram.com/UntamedAngling Website: www.untamedangling.com
How did you get started fly fishing and why? Growing up in Brazil, I started out fishing the headwaters of the Parana Basin. My interest at the time was primarily the dorado fishing, although the water provided great pacu and matrincha fishing, as well as possibilities for the rare tabarana (silver dorado). My grandfather was a tremendous outdoorsman who first introduced me to the outdoors through ranching, and although he did not fly fish, it opened me up to the wilderness.
What is it that fascinates you about fly fishing? I am fascinated with the deep connection to the wilderness. And I just love being on the water and completely off the grid in my personal favorite place; the jungle. Fly fishing allows me to push the limits of the sport by pursuing and catching new species on a fly rod. In addition to that, after being in the fly fishing lodge business for almost sixteen years, I have made so many friends and I appreciate having a group of amazing people, regardless of location or language, who all share the same passion for the great outdoors.
My first contact with fly fishing was a trip to Coihayque, Chile with just a backpack. Alex Prior was instrumental in getting me into the fly fishing world as well, as I left that trip with a 6-wt and an intense desire to fly fish for dorado, peacock Bass, wolfish, and anything else I could find!
How would you describe the fly fishing scene in your home country? Fly fishing in Brazil has grown quite a bit in recent years, but there is still so much to be discovered as far as fishing goes. The majority of sport fishermen in Brazil use spin and bait casting tackle, but more and more are trying out fly fishing. Popularizing fly fishing in Brazil presents its own challenges as well, with no more than three or four fly shops in a country with more than 200 million people and endless water. With such a range of diversity in species and habitat, fly fishing in Brazil is truly dynamic.
My mentor Nelson Borges, arguably Brazil’s first fly fishing guide, taught me what I know about fly fishing for Dorado. He guided famous angler in the 80’s, like the prince of Denmark in the Pantanal Marsh for Dorado, and everything I know about Dorado fishing I learned from him.
From Rainbow trout in Southern Brazil’s mountain streams, originally introduced by immigrants from Denmark in the late 40’s, to snook, bluewater species, and tarpon on the northern coast. Two different species of freshwater dorado satisfy any angler’s itch, the famous salminus brasiliensis in the Parana River Basin and Pantanal Marsh, and the rare Salminus Franciscanus in Sao Francisco River in central Brazil. As far as Amazon jungle fishing goes, there are fourteen species of peacock bass, including the Chicla Temensis (the largest one) alongside the giant arapaima, a wide variety of pacu species, matrincha, arowana, and more! I would estimate that Brazilians can catch around 100 different freshwater species on a fly rod, and very few countries or fisheries can say the same. There is so much potential for fly fishing here, and we are just seeing the tip of the iceberg. You’re the CEO of Untamed Angling in Brazil – a jungle fly fishing operation. Can you tell us a little bit about how Untamed Angling came into existence? Untamed Angling was founded in 2002, by Marcelo Perez, my business partner and general CEO of the company. The very first project was La Zona in Argentina – Uruguay river where we showed the world the possibilities of catching giant Dorado (over 40lbs) with a fly rod. I met Marcelo in 2004 when he was running the first exploratory
season of La Zona, and immediately we became friends and soon business partners. I joined Untamed Angling to develop the marketing and sales aspects of the company and introduce Untamed Angling into the most demanding markets in the world. Untamed Angling developed two destinations in Patagonia (Far End Rivers in Rio Irigoyen for searun brown trout, Kooi Noom in Capitan River in Argentina), as well as Desroches Island in the Seychelles, and the Tsimane Lodges in Bolivia which pitched the Amazonia Dorado onto the fly fishing scene. Nowadays, I’m the CEO of Untamed Angling’s Brazilian venues, with 4 different destinations: Rio Marié – Giant Peacock Bass, Kendjam – crystal clear water, sight fishing, for multi variety species, Pirarucu – the largest wild arapaima population in the Amazon, and our new venue, Xingu Lodge, for the amazing payara. What ’s the concept behind Untamed Angling and what core values do you try to incorporate into your work in the jungle? Basically, our mission is to engage in partnerships with indigenous people in the areas where we work. Our values are founded in the importance of the native people to protect the last virgin and unspoiled areas in the Amazon Jungle. By providing fair work to more than 300 native and 100 non-indigenous locals, our honest partnership allows preservation of century-old cultures and traditions.
Because of this close collaboration, our destinations now provide more economic benefits for indigenous people than any other tourist attraction in Latin America, thus improving quality of life and fostering a sustainable future for their communities. Not only do we work closely with the native people, but we are the very first company to achieve the official license of Indigenous Institution of Brazil to build a solid, long-lasting legal framework that guarantees protection of our projects through the sustainable use of resources. Untamed Angling contributes to the preservation of over 12 million hectares of rainforest, roughly 30 million acres. We produce thorough environmental reports every season, and dedicate our efforts to studying the fish populations and their life cycle. We are in continuous search of fresh, innovative ideas that can help us reduce our ecological footprint, whether through the use of renewable energy, proper waste management, or recycling. We provide the best experience for our guests, because we are a company created by fly anglers who are dedicated to the concept of world class fly fishing experiences in the remote Amazon wilderness. Untamed Angling is a team of professional fly fishing guides, who have specific technical recommendations one moment, and profound knowledge of the rainforest the next. High class settings are a given,
from five-star rated rooms and amenities, our glamping tents, or about the “Untamed Amazon”; our specifically designed jungle mothership. What have been the biggest challenges in setting up a fly fishing business in the jungle? The logistics of running remote lodges inside indigenous lands in faraway places has proved to be a real challenge. Getting fuel, food, and any other resource requires heavy planning far in advance. Our partnership with the indigenous people was also challenging, understandably, due to the culture shock of our worlds colliding. Their respect for the forest and its intricacies, the rivers, and culture give us great perspective and make the challenging aspects worth the extra effort. The rewarding aspect of this partnership is the mutual respect and protection of culture, as well as the total participatory independence in each project. So much of what we learn through this partnership has been lost to modern civilization. Can you tell us a little bit about what makes your fly fishing destinations special compared to other destinations across the globe? The Amazon jungle is the new frontier in fly fishing. Unlike traditional fly fishing for trout, salmon, and other coldwater species, there is unexplored territory in the Amazon, which leads to different species, diverse environments, and a world of possibilities.
Imagine fishing for a 20lbs peacock bass in the Brazilian Amazon that has never seen a fly before! Wading in clear water, dry fly fishing for pacus and matrinchas, or sight-casting to several different species, like peacock bass, bicudas, wolfish, payara, and more in the same river system. Our destinations are special because we break all boundaries: From the unique Amazonian dorado fishing in Bolivia’s mountain streams, to the leviathan of the jungle, the arapaima, found over 200lbs in Mamirauá Reserve in enormous numbers. Do you have any special moments from fishing the jungle that you’d like to share with our readers? So many! I would need the entire magazine…hehehe! What’s your personal favourite jungle species to target on a fly rod and why? Half dorado and half peacock Bass, if I need to make that choice! I grew up fishing for dorado and spent so many years fishing for them in South America. It’s part of my angling DNA. They are the most complete fish to catch on a fly rod in moving waters, but I really enjoy fishing for them wading in clear rivers. If I jump on a skiff in the jungle, my favorite species to chase is the giant peacock bass (chicla temensis). My interest in them came years later, and the challenge of catching big peacock bass in the Amazon jungle is similar to other desired trophies like big tarpon, permit, and the Atlantic salmon.
What’s your favourite fishery in South America and why? My personal favorites are Tsimane, in Bolivia for dorado, Rio Marié for the giant peacock bass, and Kendjam for the jungle sight-fishing opportunities. I also have a deep connection with the payara, and the Xingu river is the perfect place to catch them. Is there a species or destination outside of South America that you’re itching to fish for? Yes, I would love to try the Atlantic salmon, the Australian permit and giant trevally in the outer atolls of the Seychelles and Indonesia. Do you have any exciting new projects or trips coming up? Yes! We have our new Xingu Lodge opening this season (2021), after an exploratory season in 2019 with tents. We were scheduled to build the lodge in 2020, but due to the pandemic, we were forced to
postpone the full inaugural season and lodge building for 2021. We are working hard this year to open this amazing new jungle fishery to the angling community with focus on giant payara on the fly and other species. The Xingu river is a crystal-clear river with large rapids and runs; one of the best places on the planet to catch big payara consistently on the fly. We are also developing some exciting projects in Bolivia, like the Yuracare Lodge and camps, which will be opening this season. That lodge is in the TIPNIS area, the same national park and indigenous land as our Tsimane lodges, but in another river system. We are exploring some exciting new heli fishing trips in Bolivia, with an exploratory season scheduled for 2021, into the headwaters of magnificent rivers of Tsimane.
FLY TYER SPOTLIGHT
Magnus Forsberg The UV Glue Wizard
Fly tying is a wonderful pastime and in our “Fly Tyer Spotlight” column, we present some of the most talented and innovative fly tyers across Europe and beyond. They are fly tyers worthy of acclaim and attention – and they represent a great source of creative inspiration.
Full name: Magnus Forsberg Age: 42 Home country: Sweden Instagram profile: www.instagram/foppazonker
Magnus Forsberg is an innovative Swedish fly tyer, who excels in nymphs and baitfish patterns. His tying style is very contemporary and creative, and he mostly just fishes his own patterns, which – to a large extent – mix both natural and synthetic materials. Magnus fishes a lot for trout, and he has perfected the art of nymphing for these fish in fast and relatively deep water using weighted nymphs and jig-fry nymphs. The latter have proven super effective for especially resident brown trout during summer and fall.
What is it about fly tying that you like so much? I love the versatility and the endless possibilities you have. Only the imagination puts an end to what you can create.
What’s your favourite fish species to catch and why? Trout, without a doubt! Because you can fish them in so many different ways, and because they are so amazingly beautiful.
What kind of flies do you most enjoy to tie? I most enjoy tying nymphs and baitfish patterns; the flies that I use the most when I’m out fishing my local waters. My specialty is to tie flies with all kinds of UV resins in order to build profiles and body textures.
How to you target trout with nymphs? Do you have any special techniques or tricks? I fish for trout almost exclusively in rivers. My favourite method is Euronymphing with a big baitfish nymph as a “point fly” and a caddis larvae imitation as a dropper. My advice is: Don’t be afraid to look for trout where the current is strongest. Just use heavy flies to break the surface current and reach the bottom. You will be surprised!!!
What are the most important/determining factors when you design a new fly pattern? I think it’s important to have a good idea or pre-existing concept about how the fly needs to look in order to fish well. I’m particularly preoccupied with realistic designs, balance and hydrodynamics.
Are there any specific fly tyers that have influenced and inspired you over the years? Lennart Bergqvist, Bob Clouser and Jeff Rowley.
”FLOATING FLIES - FULL FILM” By ROLF NYLINDER
This is a dry fly fishing documentary filmed the summer of 2019 heavily inspired by Floating Flies (and how to dress them) and Bård og Lars på fisketur, a fly fishing series from Norway. England. The River Test. Split cane. Finnmark, Håvard Stubö, Peter Christensen, Podsol Fly Fishing, Mosquitoes. Mayflies. Something by Rolf Nylinder. Featuring: Håvard Stubö, Peter A Christensen, Jack F Hogan, Guhuru Milta, Frederic M Halford and more.
Premium flies, hooks, beads and other fly fishing accessories.
Order Your Free Catalogue Online Today!
International shipping available at
Regal THE BULLDOG BITE Building a high quality product is both easy and hard. The easy part is a mental decision to be the best you can be and to transition it through to build the best products possible. The hard part is execution. At Regal Engineering we approach every day and every project with a standard of excellence we have set for ourselves, to be the best, and to build the best! Standards produce quality, quality produces performance, and this is our company tradition. This is a way of life for us and the reason we produce“the best fly tying vise in the world.
Full Product Range Now Available Across Europe! www.flyfisheurope.com
The Totally Tubular Baitfish Fly tyer, Steve Yewchuck, has amazed many with his innovative fly tying techniques and catchy flies. Here, he presents one of his latest baitfish patterns; The Totally Tubular Baitfish.
By STEVE YEWCHUCK
Step 1. Run a nice thread base from the eye of the hook to just past the barb . Tie in the butt section of Marabou and trim creating the tail.
Step 2. Tie in the chenille leaving a spot in front of the tail for the body tubing to be tied in. Palmer the chenille towards the eye leaving room for the head.
Step 3. Tie off the thread and reconnect it between the tail and chenille. Slide the body tubing over the chenille and tie in the butt section of tubing. I always use a lighter to slightly melt the ends of tubing to keep it neat and from unraveling.
Step 4. Take the pine squirrel zonker strip and trim off about 1/3 of fur creating the dorsal fin. Tie and glue in the end of the zonker strip. Using your fingers tie the thread off using a half hitch knot.
Step 5. Push the body tubing back toward the hook point and reattach the thread at the eye. Hold the tube back creating the body shape and tie in. When I tie down the tubing I always add a drop of glue to make sure it stays in place . At this point, I use the Caramel colored marker and color the top half of the tubing.
Step 6. Add some glue to the bottom of the zonker strip and pull the zonker strip forward over the back of the tubing and tie in creating the dorsal fin. On each side of the fly, tie in the tip section of the bugger hackle making the baitfish’s lateral line.
Step 7. Take two clumps of coastal deer hair. Tie one clump on top and the other on the bottom with the butts facing out over the eye of the hook using tight wraps of thread.
Step 8. The tight wraps of thread will At this point you need to make the pecpartially flare the deer hair. Fold the toral fins. The fins are made out of swiss flared butt sections of hair back evenly straw which is cut to shape. and place a bunch of thread wraps in front of the hair creating a thread dam that will hold the hair in place.
I coat the fins with Raidzap flex uv resin Then cure with the uv torch. on both sides.
Step 9. Tie in a pectoral fin on each side of the baitfish’s body.
Step 10. Add a pencil thick clump of Creamers Floor-colored Magnum dubbing to the top of the hook with the tapered ends face out over the hooks eye. On the bottom, add the white facing the same way.
Step 12. Fold the Magnum dubbing back keeping the Creamers Floor color on the top section of the fly and the white on the bottom . Make a few wraps of thread in front of the dubbing holding it in place and tie off with a whip finish knot. Add a drop of glue or head cement to the knot. Then use a bodkin to tease the dubbing out and create a nice head.
Step 13. I use the Caramel colored marker to add a nice fade to the top of the head and you can add more orange to the bottom of leave vailed by the folded over white that adds a translucent effect. Add the eyes to finish off the fly. I like to add a drop of super glue gel to the back of each eye before placing.
Step 11. Take the orange marker and color a small area of the white dubbing near the thread wraps that will create a vailed hot spot.
Material List// Hook: Thread: Tail: Innard: Body: Dorsal fin: Pectoral fins: Lateral line: Head: Eyes: Markers:
Partridge 1/0 to 4/0 Sea Streamer Black UTC 70 MFC tan black barred marabou Hareline brown holographic Cactus Chenille Clear 1/8 to 1/4 body tubing Brown pine squirrel Brown swiss straw coated in Raidzap flex uv resin Whiting barred ginger bugger hackle Coastal natural deer hair and Letera’s magnum dubbing in Creamers Floor and white colors Hareline holographic 7/32 eyes Premiere caramel and Sharpie Neon orange
I wanted to design a translucent baitfish pattern where the innards were visible making the pattern more realistic looking. I have used body tubing to create many flies. Body tubing allows you to make many different shaped bodies and can give a translucent effect. Body tubing is a great material to use on flies you want to descend quickly. I’ve tied this pattern in multiple sizes, colors and innard materials. By changing the innard material you can give the fly different looks under water. I’ve used just thread and chenille - or colored uv resins. I’ve had success catching multiple species from trout, bass, pickeral up to larger predators like pike. I usually fish the pattern on an intermediate line getting it down in the zone.
THE ALL-NEW LITESPEED MARINE The Marine version of Litespeed is equipped with a hybrid drag system, sharing some elements of the Cobalt drag; fixed spindle, large heat wicking conical surfaces, click stop drag knob. The LS M incorporates close tolerance composite bearings, and comes equipped with the same linear spring set found on LS F, optimized for each reel size. Like our Cobalt reel, it holds an IPX8 waterproof rating to 100 ft. LS M frame and spool share the same open structure as LS F, with emphasis on greater stiffness and stability. The art of the fly reel derives from the science of the fly reel, but at the end of the day both art and science, when held in balance, serve to make us smile. Manufactured in the U.S.A. and assembled in Boise, Idaho.
US MADE IDAHO BUILT MORE INFO
Weedless Pike Flies By PETER LYNGBY
Material List// Hook: Ahrex PR 378 GB Swimbait 4/0. Thread: White GPS 150D. Tail: White bucktail and white Kanekalon (alternative EP-fibre or SF Blend), white Magnum Flashabou and silver Polar Flash (or holographic flash). Body: White bucktail and white Kanekalon (alternative EP-fibre or SF Blend), white standard Flashabou and silver Polar Flash (or holographic flash). Head: Yellow bucktail, gold Ripple Ice Fiber and two slim grizzle hackles. Orange Nayat and Hedron Strung Fuzzy Fiber spun in a dubbing loop.
International fly tiers have contributed to a Danish solution of an old problem: How to make sure you don’t catch weed, but still catch pike. Here’s the answer together with an effective pike fly.
Most fly fishers dream of retrieving their pike flies enticingly across the surface. Briefly, of course, because the monster pike is tuned in on the fly. Before you know it, the beast inhales your fly in a big splash. Pike fishing can be like that, but – in all honesty rarely is.
Materials for pike flies are often quite expensive and they require a good deal of time spent at the vice, so preventing solid snags is a high priority. (Also, a pike fly with a Lilypad or rushes attached to it tends to catch fewer pike than one without a snag attached to it).
Pike can be fished almost year-round, but this means that you need to adapt your strategy on a running basis. Sometimes, you’ll need to fish near the bottom, sometimes you’ll have to cast straight into the weeds, in among the water lilies or right along the rushes. In other words, fly fishing for pike means close contact between hook and snags.
Weedless or “pikeless” Fly tiers have spent decades trying to resolve the conflict between hook and weed. A common solution is a loop of heavy monofilament from hook eye to hook bend, covering the hook point. A “V” of heavy monofilament from the hook eye to the hook point is another solution.
Unfortunately, the more effective these weed guards are at reducing snags, the more they reduce your chances of hooking up. Even when aggressively struck, the weed protector can cause the fly to bounce off the pike’s rows of teeth and other hard parts of the mouth. Sometimes the pike’s teeth simply retain the materials (and not the hook) and if you’re lucky, the hook will get a hold during the fight. In these situations, an exposed hook point is also preferable. Pike fly fishers who have seen a big pike strike a weed-protected fly and not hook up, often end up turning their backs to weed protecting solutions. It seems to them a choice between two evils. Upside down Recently, creative fly tiers have taken a closer look at their conventional predator fishing colleagues. It’s common knowledge that a jig head will turn the hook point up to reduce snags on the bottom. For the same reason, bent-back flies are often used when fishing deep, near the bottom. The hook can be weighted to encourage the hook to turn upside down and many fly tiers will bend the hook shank, so the wing helps steer the hook point up. Both methods work well on smaller flies, but they are less ideal on big pike flies. Specific hooks for pike flies that help negotiate this problem have missing on the market, despite the growing popularity of pike- and musky fly fishing in North America.
Texas The best suited hooks so far have been different versions of hooks, intended for Texas rigs, where a silicone lure is fished with a weight and the point of the hook secured inside the silicone lure. These hooks are available in large sizes and are strong, but they come with disadvantages for the fly tier. The characteristic Z-shape near the hook eye is designed to hold the rubber lures in place, but they leave little space for the fly tier. But what’s worse is that the Texas style hooks have the hook point in line with the short shank at the hook eye, which reduces the chance of a hook up when fishing for pike.
Once again, there’s a dilemma to tackle, because it’s also this very design that can make a fly weedless. For years, creative fly tiers have been experimenting with fly designs on the Texas style hooks. Many interesting flies have emerged, but they have all come with the compromise between weedless or “pikeless”. Not to mention the time spent at the vice incorporating shanks, to get a little more space to tie the fly on. International cooperation When it comes to modern, innovative predator flies, Gunnar Brammer (US) and Paul Monaghan (UK) have made quite a name for themselves lately.
Paul Monaghan usually designs his flies for pike, perch and zander, while Gunnar Brammer is an expert on musky- and bass flies. They share the search for the perfect solution on weedless flies and, in many ways, their experiments have led them in the same direction. Eventually they started collaborating with Danish hook brand, Ahrex Hooks, in order to make the first dedicated fly hooks for weedless predator flies. The collaboration began with the design of the Texas hook, but the goal was to avoid the shank blocking the
hook point. At the same time, a more substantial shank to tie the fly on was a priority. Like all hooks several sizes were needed and last, but not least, the duo wanted the hook to easily accept rattles. Rattles can be very effective when fishing near the bottom and it’s never been easy to fix them on the curved Texas hooks. With these demands it was on to the designing. Ahrex PR378 GB Swimbait The result of the collaboration be-
tween Paul Manoghan and Gunnar Brammer landed in tackle stores across the world during the fall of 2020 in the form of Ahrex PR378 GB Swimbait. Who would’ve thought that the solution to this old problem was to be found in a collaboration between America, England and Denmark? Brammer and Monaghan both have their own YouTube channels where they post tying videos on a regular basis. There’s already plenty of inspiration to be had with flies tied on the PR 378 GB Swimbait hook. The goal of designing and producing a weedless hook on which all types of pike flies can be tied seems to have been a success. Reverse bulkhead In the following, we’ll have a look at one of Paul Monaghan’s successful pike flies. The fly is called Reverse Bulkhead and is inspired by Bob Popovics’ Bulkhead Deceiver. The classic baitfish profile is built up with bucktail and synthetic fibres and the reverse-style gives a light weight, yet voluminous fly. The reverse-tied
fibres provide the illusion of size, but don’t soak up water – so it’s easy to cast. The drop shape of the Reverse Bulkhead is built up around the hook point, which makes the fly weedless. But unlike the Texas hooks, the design of the PR 378 allows the dressing to collapse when a pike strikes and exposes the offset hook point. Paul Monaghan considers this a simple fly, but still offers these pointers: - Pay attention to the first step when attaching the bucktail. Use buck from the lower part of the tail, where the hairs are hollow. Ensure that the fibres are evenly distribution around the hook shank. The buoyant hair will help balance the fly in the water, says Paul. - I often use a synthetic called Kanekalon for my baitfish flies. It’s not available in the tackle stores as it’s made for human hair extensions, but it works well in big flies and it’s cheap. After tying the fly it might look a little messy, but just try soaking the fly under a faucet when the glue is dry. Once the fly dries up, it will have the perfect shape.
FAIL is not an Floating or Intermediate Skagit Heads
“Floating They say Steelhead are the fiIntermediate sh of a thousand casts, so I need to make every one of them count. The new or Skagit Heads fully-tapered Skagit head from Scientific Anglers turns over easier, ensuring my fly and line swing at the “They say Steelhead are the fish of a thousand casts, so I need to make every one of them count. The new same speed and allowing me to cover the water more efficiently.” fully-tapered Skagit head from Scientific Anglers turns over easier, ensuring my fly and line swing at the - same Brianspeed Silvey,and SAallowing Ambassador me to cover the water more efficiently.”
- Brian Silvey, SA Ambassador
LURE n option Featuring a new full-tapered design for Featuring a new
full-tapered design for SMOOTH SMOOTH
• Compact, powerful design with fully tapered belly
for consistent turnover and accurate delivery
Designed to be useddesign with sink targeting • Compact, powerful withtips fullyfortapered belly steelhead andturnover salmon and accurate delivery for consistent
High contrast at the rear thetargeting head • Designed to besighter used with sink tipsof for identifies the steelhead andperfect salmonoverhang
The intermediate sink at density version • High contrast sighter the rear of theswings head flies deeper slower identifi es theand perfect overhang
Braided multifilament core forversion moderate • The intermediate sink density swings climates fland ies cold deeper and slower
• Braided multifilament core for moderate
Wild Brown Trout of the Baltics Estonian nature is unspoilt and diverse; deep forests, picturesque lakes and rivers are just some of its abundant treasures. Estonia comprises an area of 45,215 km²—almost as large as Denmark and the Netherlands, but with a population of less than a 1.4 million. The small population density has enabled the country to preserve the natural environment better than in the densely populated Western European areas. By VAHUR MAE
Estonia is known for its beautiful Nordic nature, for Tallinn’s medieval old-town or, perhaps, as the country where Skype was invented. But few people are aware that Estonia is home to numerous beautiful, clean, and undisturbed rivers with wild, endemic brown trout and grayling. It takes only an hour’s drive from the centre of the capital, Tallinn, to get to some of the best fishing waters; small, hidden-away gems where you will find wild brown trout, bear trails, and rarely see any other fishermen. This is one of the most unique aspects of Estonia: The fact that wild nature and beautiful rivers with a trophy trout are just a short drive from the biggest towns. Overall, you can find brown trout in more than one hundred Estonian rivers, and in most of them, the trout are wild – and submitted to very limited fishing pressure. Because Estonia’s trout rivers flow through the wildest parts of the country, it’s very common to spot a moose, beaver, or roe deer while fishing. Even if you don’t see the animal itself, you can find moose droppings, bea-
ver-chewed logs, and even fresh bear trails, which are all tell-tale signs of a wild and healthy environment. Estonia isn’t a widely known fly fishing destination yet, but every year more travelling fly fisherman visits the country. Still, due to the multiplicity of rivers to choose from, you rarely meet other fisherman while fishing. The Rivers By European standards, Estonian rivers are small to mid-sized. Although the landscape across Estonia is relatively flat, there are beautiful, fast-running rapids that flow through virgin coniferous forests, which are often referred to as an extension of the Siberian taiga in Estonia. The fast-running stretches hold a good amount of fish, but the biggest trout tend to be in the slower and deeper stretches of these rivers. Therefore, the typical fishing water is slow- to medium-flowing chalk streams surrounded by meadows, old forests, and marshes. Generally speaking, Estonia has suitable water for most fly fisherman; whatever their particular tastes and fancies.
There are spots with easy access – spots within walking range from a parked car, where you don’t need to cover more than a few hundred meters to have a good and productive fly fishing session. However, there are also plenty of spots for the adventures fly fisherman who likes to hike for hours in order to get to wild and untouched rivers, or for those who like to push further upstream for days without seeing any signs of civilization.
Although brown trout and grayling are typically what interest visiting fishermen the most, Estonia also has good seatrout- and salmon runs What to catch? Estonian rivers are home to wild brown trout and grayling. Estonian brown trout are generally very healthy, fat and with beautiful patterns and colourations. They are strong fighters and can be rather selective at times. The average size of our brown trout is between 35 - 40 cm.
A good-sized brown trout in Estonia is around 50 – 55 cm. Although catching fish in this size range can be challenging, it isn’t uncommon at all, and from time to time even bigger fish are caught. A trophy-sized Estonian brown trout in is somewhere between 55 and 65 cm. Trout that big aren’t rare, but catching them requires skills, timing, and a bit of that good-old quintessential luck. Grayling are present only in a handful of rivers, but in these particular rivers, they are thriving. They thrive to the point where they compete with the brown trout over both habitat and food – and in certain rivers the average size of the grayling is even bigger than that of the average brown trout. They often range in size from 35 to 40 cm, but 45 cm+ grayling are actually rather common. You can even find grayling up to 50 cm. Although brown trout and grayling are typically what interest visiting fishermen the most, Estonia also has good seatrout- and salm-
on runs. The stocks of salmon and seatrout are growing and improving every year, but it is rather hard to plan a fishing trip for these two species nowadays. It’s down to the saddening fact that our weather is becoming more and more unpredictable, and because both our salmon and seatrout tend to migrate into our rivers only when the water is both high and suitably cold. In recent years, with the increased instability of the local weather, suitable migratory conditions could arrive as early as September or as late as November. The Fishing season The peak season begins in May. At this time of year, the waters flows are steady, the lush meadows and forests are in bloom, the weather is warm, and both brown trout and grayling feed actively. The highlight is when the mayflies hatch, which – despite their name, is typically in early June. This is the most eagerly awaited period of the season.
Different species of mayflies hatch throughout the season, but what Estonian fly fishermen refer to as THE mayfly hatch, is when the biggest mayfly, the Danica, is hatching. The mayfly hatches in Estonia are very intense and the biggest trout are typically caught during this time. The mayfly hatch triggers behaviour in the local trout and grayling that sets the standard for the rest of the summer. Prior to June, the trout and grayling mostly feed underwater but as soon as the first mayflies hatch, the rivers come alive. And even after the mayfly hatch is over – right till the end of summer, the fish will continue to look towards the surface.
July and August are the warmest months and offer the most stable weather. These months are the most convenient for fly fishers and they offer exceptional fishing. The smallto mid-sized trout are very active in the rapids where they feed on smaller mayflies that hatch all throughout the summer. The big fish will be holding in the deeper stretches and pockets, and surprisingly often they are ready to rise to a juicy terrestrial. Their most active feeding period, however, starts in the late evening when the large caddis flies are hatching. And the always the chance of catching a big fish in the last light of day. The great fishing continues until mid-September when the trout season ends. Where to fish in Estonia You can find trout rivers and streams all over Estonia, but the best rivers are mostly located in the middle of Estonia and along the north coast. The rivers are rather different in these two regions. The middle-Estonia rivers are spring creeks with extremely clear water.
Most of these are chalk stream-type waters where the current is fairly slow, and the water is deep. These rivers mostly flow through meadows and wetlands and support a thriving insect life that again sustains trophy-sized brown trout. The biggest brown trout caught in Estonia weighed 6,3 kilos. It was caught in one of these small spring creeks.
The biggest brown trout caught in Estonia weighed 6,3 kilos. It was caught in one of the country’s small spring creeks Catching a brown trout in one of Estonia’s small creeks and rivers isn’t exactly easy. There is very little current, the water is extremely clear, and the trout are wary and selective. These small rivers will truly test a fly fisherman’s skills and careful stalking and perfect presentations are required in order to achieve success.
When you succeed, however, and get a bite, you will be in for a fight to remember. These wild and large fish don’t give up easily – and playing them at close range in secluded, overgrown rivers is a remarkable experience. The north-Estonian rivers offer more variety. The upper parts of these rivers offer similar conditions to those in central-Estonia, but the middle and lower stretches feature beautiful and wide rapids and meandering courses through large coniferous forests. Besides brown trout, these rivers also boast grayling and autumn-runs of Atlantic salmon. Come Fish Estonia Most Estonian fly fisherman like to keep their fishing spots secret and because of it, it’s almost impossible to find any local fly fishing destination information online. The reason for that is that the rivers are rather small and they don’t handle crowds to well.
It also has to do with the fact that Estonians, by nature, generally like to spend their time outdoors in solitude rather than bumping into other people. However, like mentioned before, Estonia offers plenty of elbow room and lots of beautiful and rather untouched wilderness and no matter how private the locals might be, they’re also very friendly and inviting. So do not hesitate to plan in some fishing if you ever touch base in Estonia. Or how about planning a trip with the sole purpose of fly fishing for trout and grayling – you won’t be disappointed! To get to the best rivers as a visiting DIY-fly fisherman, you need to have plenty of time for exploring. Another solution would be to hire an experienced fly fishing guide who knows all the secret spots. The most experienced fly fishing guide in Estonia is Vahur Mäe who represents the fly fishing tour operator called Estfly www.estfly.com
Fresh, Fast &
The new benchmark in high-perform
Scott Fly Rod Company
2355 Air Park Way, Montrose
mance, handcrafted fly rods from Scott.
e, Colorado 81401
Walter Foster An Eye for the Details Home Country: USA Website: www.etsy.com/shop/FineFinArt/ www.trouttales.com SoMe: www.instagram.com/finefinart/
Growing up in Northeastern USA and fly fishing for local brook trout, Walter Foster quickly became obsessed with the beauty and exquisiteness of the local wilderness reserves, valleys, rivers and fish. And as he turned his attention to his sketch pads and pencils, and ventured to visually study- and graphically capture fish, he realized that he had an eye for all the intrinsically minute nuances so omnipresent in trout. Walter has now turned his passion for trout and art into a lifestyle and a profession, and it has further helped him become a more accomplished fly fisherman. In the following, you’ll get to know why. Can you tell us a little bit about your background and how you got into painting? Growing up in Vermont, in Northeastern USA, I spent summers fishing the small streams around my house and I was fascinated by the spots and coloration of the small brook trout I used to catch. My first fish art started with a mechanical pencil, sketch pad, and an issue of Outdoor Life magazine. I realized that I had an eye for detail as I tried to mimic every spot and pattern of the trout; I always enjoyed going back to my art table after a day of fishing with hopes of recreating the image of those spectacular fish. Have you developed a specific painting technique along the way? I like to use different mediums to achieve varied effects. Colored pencil allows me to capture fine details and watercolor allows me to build multiple layers of color of a trout skin and blending watery backgrounds. Oil pencils, watercolor pencils, acrylic paints each provide flex-
ibility to different areas. With no formal art I study the trout I or my clients catch on the river. What has compelled you to paint fish and fly fishing motives? I see trout as living pieces of art with so much variation in color, shape and size - it’s an endless palette. How did you get started fly fishing and why? My neighbor had an old bamboo fly rod in his barn that he gave me as a gift for mowing his yard on the weekends in the summer. I caught a brook trout on that rod in the stream behind my house when I was 13 years old – I’ve been hooked ever since. While in High School, I began working at the Orvis Headquarters in Manchester Vermont and spent 8 years with Orvis as a fly-casting instructor, guide and retail associate. I studied aquatic biology and earned my B.S in Environmental Science.
After dabbling in the corporate world, I found my way back to fly-fishing and guiding when I took my passion out West and guided in Lake Tahoe area of CA and Jackson Hole, Wyoming. In 2005, I moved to Park City Utah with my wife Andrea and we began our fly- fishing outfitter, Park City Trout Tales in 2012. What is it about fly fishing that intrigues you? I love being aware of my surroundings and ecosystem - I appreciate the cycle of fly-fishing from the imitation of bugs, to the specifics of the drift, to the excitement of bringing the fish to the net. I love the challenge! How do you split your time between fly fishing and painting? As the owner and operator of Park City Trout Tales, a fly-fishing outfitter, the peak months for guide season is from May to October. During the winter months my art studio gets the most use. In your opinion, do fly fishing and painting complement each other – and if so how? Absolutely. The art of fishing is a science and the science of fishing is a changing display of unique art.
Has fly fishing helped you become a better painter – or vice versa? Fly fishing directly affects my art – I study each spot more, the different hues and highlights of the fish, the size and every detail I take back to the studio. What are your aspirations as a fly fisher? I feel extremely fortunate and proud to have turned my passion into my profession. The art of fly-fishing is a Kaleidoscope of opportunity and offers a unique outcome every time. It’s always changing and evolving – I want to stay humble and continue to learn and adapt with those species while promoting sustainability in the resources the fish exist in. Even after 30 years of fly-fishing rivers, streams, lakes and oceans – I want to continue to learn and improve techniques Do you have any cool projects coming up; fishing- or art wise? An upcoming fly fishing excursion includes a trip to Pyramid Lake in western Nevada. Once thought extinct, the Pilot Peak strain Lahontan Cutthroat now thrive in the lake. It’s like a Jurassic Park type scenario for the fly-fishing world. It’s one of the few places in the world where you have a good shot at a trout over 10lbs and the possibility of a trout in the 20lb range. Who wouldn’t like chasing ancient monster cutthroat with a flyrod? In the summer of 2021, the Park City Community will host its outdoor art, food and music festival Park City Silly MarketFine Fin Art will be on display. Recently, a variety of art pieces were used on the set for the acclaimed show TV Yellowstone season 3 starring Kevin Costner. Any advice to fellow fly fishermen, who aspire to do fish art? You are your own best teacher. Practice patience, study your subjects and learn from each experience whether it’s on the river or in your studio. Use life experiences and social resources to improve either craft.
WE’RE ON I @intheloopmagazine
N S TAG R A M
Pre vio us issu es
Get Involved Get Involved Join
our oceans, lakes, and Join the fight to protect rivers, the pristine aquatic our oceans, lakes, and ecosystems across the globe rivers, the pristine aquatic and thei precious fish stocks. ecosystems across the globe and thei precious fish stocks. It’s an acutely important battle - and one that we It’s an acutely important simply cannot afford to lose! battle - and one that we simply cannot afford to lose!
plastic change plastic change NASF North Atlantic Salmon Fund NASF
North Atlantic Salmon Fund
We’ll keep yo u #intheloop