KRUSNICA FINEST FLY FISHING IRIGOYEN ARCTIC CHAR ON THE FLY #18
Photo by LUKA SIMUNJAK
We feel very fortunate to be able to work with people who – like ourselves - are passionate about story-telling through photography and words. They inspire and motivate us, and we hope they’ll do the same for you! There’s never a shortage of good, entertaining, heart-breaking, thought-provoking, beautiful or important stories out there. Putting pen to paper and conveying these stories and generating the picture material to back them up, however, isn’t something that is super widespread. Once written and published, a great story will live on forever, and it will resonate with the people, who read it, and become part of the collective spirit. It will inspire and connect people. That’s the magic of story-telling! We all have our individual voices, mind-sets and personalities, but we all possess a general ability to engage and motivate. And - in this digitalized global day and age, it’s never been easier to make our voices heard! So, grab your camera, document your passion for the sport, the fish stocks, the community, and our environment - and go viral. We owe it to each other and the future of fly fishing to spread the word! This time around we’re excited to have contributions from Steffan Jones, Luka Simunjak, Tarquin Millington-Drake, Florian Kaiser, Fran Mairani, Brett Zundel and Rasmus Ovesen. They will take you to destinations such as Argentina, Iceland, Slovenia, Greenland and Bosnia and Herzegovina. We hope you enjoy it! Tight Lines// The In the Loop Crew
Photo by LUKA SIMUNJAK
LAND OF GIANTS
UNDER THE SOURCE
The Salmonids of Iceland â€“ Pt 1 by Rasmus Ovesen & Martin Ejler Olsen Irigoyen by Steffan Jones Under the Source by Luka Simunjak Una Patagonia by Francisco Mariani What about Greenland by Tarquin Millington-Drake Savinja by Florian Kaiser And much much more...
Contributors RASMUS OVESEN
In the Loop Magazine C/O Cast Away Media Org no: 999 320 147 www.intheloopmag.com
By James Snyder Hoodlum Photography
Oslo-resident, Rasmus Ovesen, was handed his first fly rod at the tender age of eight, and he has been a borderline fluff chucking fanatic ever since. Rasmus has written articles for some of the world’s most renowned fishing magazines, and his travels take him to remote areas across the globe in search for fish that will test and challenge his skills to the maximum. He has seen his fair share of exposed backing in the tropics, but his heart truly belongs to the soulful realm of trout and salmon fishing.
MARTIN EJLER OLSEN
Danish fly fisherman and photo journalist, Martin Ejler Olsen, has years of experience fishing for the many and varied freshand saltwater species in the Danish rivers, lakes, and fjords. He has landed some truly massive sea trout on the fly, and he has a certain gift for hooking up with the biggest fish in the schools. Martin is also a keen tropical fly fisherman. His expeditions abroad has seen him battle bonefish, permit, barracuda, tarpon, GT and sailfish – and being a gifted photographer, these trips have resulted in some great footage.
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.
Although he has fished and photographed extensively around the world through his work as the MD of travel company Frontiers UK, TMD’s heart lies with the Atlantic salmon. He has fished Norway, Iceland and Russia every year for the past 20+ years. He was also President of the Ponoi River Company for 10 years and is an international Director of NASF. He is lucky to be a member of the 50lbs + salmon club. You can follow his travels and love of photography at blog.www.millingtondrake.com.
Steffan has been obsessed with chasing tails since he was four years old – they start them young in Wales. He grew up on the revered sea trout rivers of West Wales, spending countless nights honing his craft. These fish still remain his main passion (obsession) and what he is best known for, having guided for them for 20 years. His passion for the sport has taken him all over the world, but he is always looking for the next challenge and adventure to test his tackle to the limits. When not looking after his own clients closer to home through www.anglingworldwide.com he is looking after those travelling further afield through www.aardvarkmcleod.com.
Luka Simunjak is professional photographer and passionate fly fishermen. He comes from Croatia, but fishes all across the Balkan region. Although it might not seem like it, he is fairly new to fly fishing and doing his best to gather experience and develop knowledge. While doing so, he takes vivid pictures of his adventures and the amazing landscapes surrounding his home waters. If you follow him on Instagram you will get to see colourful galleries of trout and trout rivers from all around the Balkan region: https://www. instagram.com/the_fish_eye/
Florian Kaiser, a native Bavarian, has been fly fishing and traveling for the past twenty five years in the northern and southern hemisphere for fresh- and saltwater species in remote places such as Argentina, Austria, Bolivia, Brazil, Seychelles, Slovenia, Venezuela and New Zealand - enjoying outdoor sports, mountain biking, photography and good wine. Fly fishing is only one of his hobbies, but the one he kind of loves most. Florian hosts selected trips, and he is a European Ambassador for Thomas & Thomas and a Pro Staff for World Fly Angler (leading distributor of fly tackle and top brands in Europe) and of Alfa Reels from Finland. Follow his trips at http://theflyfishingfamily.blogspot.com
Fran Mariani, was born with a rod in his hands, and has fished as long as he can remember. He owns the only fly fishing TV show in South America through ESPN Networks, and works as a Patagonia-ambassador (the clothing brand) and Argentina Fly Fishing Manager. Fish Simply, is a Natural Spin off from the aforementioned businesses. He is the founder of Una Patagon1a, bringing together 10 of the best lodges in Patagonia with the aim of working together on repositioning the region and creating revenue for conservation causes throughout the region.
WANNA CONTRIBUTE? 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.
TROUT, SALMON AND CHAR:
The Salmonids of Iceland Pt1
By RASMUS OVESEN Photography by RASMUS OVESEN AND MARTIN EJLER OLSEN
Iceland is the land of fire and ice. Itâ€™s also a place of rare beauty and massive salmonids â€“ and a few well-hidden surprises for the trout and salmon bum. Hereâ€™s a guide to the salmonids of Iceland and some of the best rivers and lakes to target them.
I might as well admit it straight away: I’m impartial. Completely and utterly impartial when it comes to Iceland. I’m head over heels in love with the place, and not even the moody weather, the howling winds, the (oftentimes) extreme cold and the remoteness of the place will ever persuade me to feel differently. Iceland is a place of rare beauty – an isolated haven where craggy mountainous landscapes, iridescent turquoise glaciers, and cascading watersheds are relieved by spewing geysers, majestic waterfalls and fluorescent green meadows sitting on top of rich lava soil. Everything is so vivid and sharply defined up there, and, as a result, it’s a place where your thoughts somehow gain in clarity and scope; a place where you suddenly find yourself confronted with who you essentially are. Had Iceland been fishless, I would probably still have had a big crush on it. But, as fate will have it, Iceland isn’t fishless – far from it. It is
teeming with fish, and not only that. Aside from sticklebacks – which are basically fish food, only trout, char and salmon swim in its waters, and besides being native and wild they are as strikingly beautiful as the country they inhabit. Salmon Atlantic Salmon (Salmo Salar) are abundant throughout all of Iceland, and even in the capital of Reykjavik you can catch migratory salmon. The salmon in Iceland are not known for their size, but for their numbers and quality. Each year several fish pushing 1 meter are caught, but it’s rare to catch fish over 110cm – and in terms of weight, it means that you’re probably better off heading to Norway, Sweden or Russia, if you’re looking for salmon in the 15-20 kilo range. If, however, you love to fly fish for salmon using single-handed rods – or light double-handers, and you’re into sight-fishing with small flies or hitch fishing, then Iceland is just the thing for you.
The season starts typically starts in June and lasts until mid-September, and although all salmon fishing is ultimately weather and river flow dependent, the Icelandic salmon rivers usually fish well throughout the season. These days, salmon fishing in Iceland is marred by the fact that most salmon rivers are run by lodges and guiding agencies that have pushed prices dramatically up. There are, however, still a number of rivers left, where you can fish for salmon without having to spend several hundred Euros per rod per day. For more info about river access, prices and availability, you should check the following resources: www.gofishing.is www.fishinginiceland.com www.icelandfishingguide.com www.fishpartner.com www.lax-a.net
Among the most well-known and established salmon rivers in Iceland are East and West Rangá, Laxá in Adaldal, Vatnsdalsá, Kjarra, Midfjardara, Nordura, Leirvogsa, Tinnudalsá, Breidalsá, Jökla, Sela, Hafralonsa, Hofsa, Haukadalsa, Sog in Asgardur, Tungufljot, Vididalsá and Stora Laxa. The latter two are among my favourite salmon rivers. The Vididalsá Like many of Iceland’s other spectacular salmon rivers, the Vididalsá River is located in the northwestern corner of the island, between Blöndós and Laugarbakki. The river drains a fertile agricultural expanse comprising some 1,130 km2 of land, and together with the tributary, Fitjá, it offers 50 kilometres of pristine water with more than 100 enticing pools carved into a mesmerizingly beautiful and at times dramatic lush-green valley. Vididalsá offers a total of eight rods and four different beats, and the average landing rate over the past five years has been around 1000 salmon. For the last couple of years that average has increased considerably, however.
The season at Vididalsá stretches from June 24th until September 15th – both days inclusive. The first couple of weeks sees the river invaded by massive amounts of medium-sized chromers, and from the middle of July and onwards until the end of August – in what is generally considered to be the high season – fully grown salmon enter the river in great numbers. The majority of the fish in the river weigh between 4 and 8 kilos, but every year several 10 kilo+ fish are landed – and throughout the river’s rich fly fishing history, a number of fish in excess of 15 kilos have been landed. The majority of Vididalsá’s pools are quite easy and unproblematic to access, fish and wade. They are typically fished with medium-range casts towards the opposite bank, and the gear that’s usually in use is either light double-handed or single-handed fly rods in weights ranging from #6-8 in combination with floating fly lines and small hitch tube flies such as Sunray Shadow, Collie Dog, Francis and Snaelda.
The Vididalsá River is home to its own fly fishing lodge with full-catering services and atmospheric rooms and facilities. The lodge will host up to 24 fly fishing guests per day in comfortable double rooms with private showers, and once the dinner is ready in the evening, something truly extraordinary awaits the guests. The dinners at the lodge are a chapter of their own. They consist of local ingredients, produce and cooking techniques, and accompanied by a glass of classy wine they mark the perfect ending to a good day’s worth of fishing. For additional information: http://www.vididalsa.is firstname.lastname@example.org The Stora Laxa The Stora Laxa River in the Southern corner of Iceland is administered by the Icelandic salmon fisherman, Arni Baldursson, and the company Lax-A (www.lax-a.net). Lax-A disposes over 40 kilometers of the Stora Laxa River, which is a tributary to the massive glacier river Ölfusá. A total of ten rods are available on the four beats: 4 on Beat I and II, which are
rented out together, 2 on Beat II and 4 on Beat IV. Depending on the beat and the season, a rod costs between 250 – 700 Euros per day and it includes accommodation in one of the big, comfortable and well-equipped self-service cabins that belong to each beat. Each cabin sleeps up to 12 guests, and they are right on the river bank, which means that they work very well as a starting point for the fishing. Stora Laxa is a medium-sized and extremely clear river, that is well suited for light single handed and double handed fly fishing. It is among the 10 most productive salmon rivers in Iceland, and in the 2013 season an impressive 1776 salmon were landed – which is in the vicinity of 2,5 salmon per rod/day. In the main season, which stretches from August to the end of September, daily catches of up 10-15 salmon aren’t unusual. At this time of year, there are massive amounts of fish in the river, and if your fishing coincides with some downpours and rising water levels, the fishing oftentimes explodes completely.
Getting to Iceland Iceland is extremely well-connected to the rest of the world, and from the airport in Keflavik tons of great fisheries are within close range. Icelandair offers service to and from Iceland through Icelandairâ€™s hub at Keflavik International Airport serving 20 destinations in North America and more than 25 destinations in Scandinavia, the U.K., and Continental Europe. Icelandair has been in operation since 1937 and celebrates its 80th anniversary this year. As an aviation pioneer, Icelandair continues to grow by adding new aircraft to its modern fleet, more destinations and popular amenities including more than 600 hours personal in-flight entertainment and gate-to-gate Wi-Fi access. Icelandair also allows passengers to take an Icelandair Stopover for up to seven nights at no additional airfare on their journey between Europe and North America. For more information about Icelandair Stopover and destinations please visit: www.icelandair.com
Logistics Getting around in Iceland is pretty straightforward, but in certain places youâ€™ll need a 4WD to access some of the more secluded rivers and lakes. There are many rental car suppliers in Iceland â€“ and one of them is Go Iceland: www.goiceland.com Fishing Licenses There is no national fishing license in Iceland, but as a foreigner one must buy local licenses for local rivers and lakes. A lot of fisheries are run by lodges and guiding agencies, but thereâ€™s actually an impressive array of water held by an organisation called Veidikortid. They administer 34 different fisheries across Iceland and a year-license is a mere 6900ISK, which is less than 60 Euros. For a full overview of the fisheries that the Veidikortid license provide you with access to, please visit: http://veidikortid.is/is/
Lodging When salmon fishing, it is common that each salmon beat comes with either a full-service lodge or a self-catering lodge. This also holds true for a lot of the trout and char fishing, but it generally isnâ€™t the standard â€“ and so, here it is more common to arrange lodging on your own. When fishing lake Thingvallavatn, we stayed at the Ljosafosskoli Hostel, which is only a 10-minute drive from some of the lakeâ€™s best beats. http://ljosafossskoli.is (pictured above) Generally, there are surprisingly many hotels, hostels and camp sites scattered across Iceland (Yup, the general tourist influx has given birth to a great deal of infrastructure). To find a hotel, check the following link: http://www.inspiredbyiceland.com/plan-your-trip/accommodation/
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Chasing Sea Trout Where The World Ends They say to get over a problem you must first admit that you have one. I have an addiction, affliction â€“ call it what you may. The sea trout is my mistress, my temptress and I yearn for her attention. She keeps me up at ungodly hours, provokes me, teases me and leaves me wanting more. Sometimes she is cruel, sometimes she is kind, but no matter what her mood to me there is no finer treasure to be found. By STEFFAN JONES
I have chased sea trout around the British Isles for as long as I have held a fly rod; rude not to when you are born equidistance between the revered Teifi and Towy Rivers in West Wales. Then in the Northern Hemisphere’s winter I follow the birds and migrate south, again in pursuit of the silver tourist. Over the years I have been fortunate to fish some magnificent sea trout rivers; each and every one holding its unique charm and intrigue. The Queen of Welsh Rivers – the River Teifi – is my Northern Hemisphere’ mistress, but in the Southern Hemisphere my heart belongs to one; the Rio Irigoyen. The Irigoyen does not often fall onto an angler’s radar, especially with the mighty Rio Grande being nearby. Indeed, it is no larger than that of a tributary of the Rio Grande, such as the Menendez, for example. As such, why the Irigoyen above all others? Especially given the neighbouring pedigree. Every sea trout is a reward, not matter what the size – when it comes to wild fish we should
be grateful of every capture. However, it is the challenge of the reward that holds the Irigoyen in such high esteem for me. Located on the island of Tierra del Fuego between the towns of Rio Grande and Ushuaia the Irigoyen meanders through dense lenga and Antarctic beech woodland, which not only add beauty but also buffer the winds that the island is synonymous for. The river is some 15-20 metres wide at most, barely changing over the first 15km upstream from the ocean as there are no notable tributaries until then. Whilst the river meanders like a lowland spring creek it retains a surprising gradient, which, in turn, creates a classical ‘run-pool-riffle’ combination us anglers adore. Interesting pocket water is abound; created by the fallen trees and logjams that construct the perfect habitat and hideaway for the sea trout. Then at every corner you have a holding pool. Those with structure present – be it bedrock or wood – are always the most productive, creating a secure lair for the sea trout.
Do not let the size of the river fool you. Massive sea trout are present; certainly within reach of those caught and expected on the Rio Grande. Landing them, however, is a different matter! This, to me, is what makes the Irigoyen so special and unique. Not only do you have to think about the cast and presentation but you also have to think about a battle strategy. You are forced to think about every single cast; what depth am I fishing at? Am I giving the fish enough/too much time to see my fly? How close to I dare fish to the snag? Are there submerged branches? How wide is the undercut bank? When hooked, what is my exit strategy for the fish? What other obstacles are there in the pool that I need to be aware of when playing the fish? There are few guarantees in fishing, there are even fewer on the Irigoyen. The sea trout are present in healthy numbers, getting them to take and landing them is a different matter. Every fish feels like a reward and that your effort and thought process deserved the outcome. This, again,
is what makes the Irigoyen special to me. It is not a river of ‘chuck and chance’. The daytime fishing is predominated with nymph fishing – akin to high-sticking for trout. Line control and accuracy takes precedence over distance. You must approach each hole with stealth and then present the fly within a hair of an obstacle whilst immediately allowing it to achieve the necessary depth before the current sweeps it away and passed the fish. Tungsten is invariably the key; be it in bead or dumbbell form. You must then have nylon that’s up to the job; no lighter than 15lb in the daytime with 25lb being the material of choice for the evening. Fluorocarbon is a good choice with its extra abrasion resistance. Sometimes it’s a case of hit and hold or there’s a need to drag a fish away from an impending obstacle; turn the fish or lose it, it really is that simple. With fish of over 20lb hooked every week this is definitely easier said than done… Your hooks, too, must be up to the task in hand.
Indeed, every aspect of your tackle will be tested and nothing should be left to chance. Strong salmon or steelhead hooks should be used or carp hooks, which are my personal preference as you get a lot more variety and they are immensely strong. Another beauty of the Irigoyen is that it is all single handed rod fishing. A 10ft #8 is the perfect companion. Nothing more than a floating line is needed either, adding to the simplicity. You do, however, need tips of varying sink speeds; everything from intermediate to type 7-8. Again, make sure they are up to the task as many will have low breaking strains. Evening fishing for sea trout is special and on the Irigoyen is no different. The habits of these sea trout are the same as those found closer to home and as the light fails the sea trout soon betray their daytime lairs. This is when your daytime reconnaissance comes into use and hopefully you have remembered the key structure in a given pool. As light levels diminish many, if not
most, of the sea trout will move out from the undercut banks, drop out of the deep holes and recesses, and wander from underneath the logjams and structure. They will drop onto the shallower tails of the pool, onto the edge of the drop-offs or move towards the run into a pool if they are tempted to vacate and find another home further upstream â€“ sometimes this is just to test the levels and they will then decide against this course of action until water levels change or time becomes pressing. No matter what the reason, this action presents them as an easier target and it should be fully capitalised on. Under these conditions there are two flies I would never be without; the sunray shadow and the leech. The fading light excites the sea trout and when they are active, rolling around, exploring the runs etc. they can usually be tempted to a sunray shadow fished towards the surface. When this fails and the fish become less active then it is time for a leech. Basically, as long as it is black then chances are it will work.
They are usually tied with zonker rabbit strips over some large krystal hackle. Most are articulated with either a Waddington shank or a clipped Aberdeen hook up front then a trailing stinger hook in size 4-1 behind. You may use wire or braid to connect the two and either leave the hook loose or bind it to the flowing rabbit strip to stop it from snagging; usually only necessary on the longer leeches. The takes can be explosive â€“ they really want to kill the fly. Other times it is the lightest of weight changes detected that will indicate a take. These fish present very different challenges. Whilst where they were hooked may present few challenges, where they may run to present many. This is when your nylon, daytime recollection of the pool and a healthy pinch of luck will all come into play to decide the outcome. The serenity of the environment lulls you into a relaxed state, which is then overturned into a state of deep concentration mixed with extreme chaos and hedonistic sport â€“ I have experienced no other river that takes
you on such a rollercoaster. Sea trout have no need to feed once back in freshwater and on their spawning run. As such, if the water is low and clear and the sun shining then thereâ€™s only one thing for it; head for the beach. The estuary and sea-pools of the Irigoyen provide yet further sport, but this time for a very unusual species called robalo (Eleginops Maclovinus). Robalo is the only member of its genus and only member of its family; Eleginopsidae. It is a sea fish that comes into the estuary and sea-pools to feed mainly on weed, worms and crustaceans. They are very opportunistic and will readily take a fly, especially one that is fished slowly close the riverbed. They have a particular penchant for olive and orange with these often proving too tempting. They have been caught in excess of 15lbs in the Irigoyen and sessions of over fifty in a tide (best fished over an incoming tide) between a party of rods is not uncommon.
They are good fighters and do not give in easily. Certainly worth targeting during your visit and a species to add to your list, especially when sport is likely to be unfruitful on the main river for sea trout. As you may have now gathered if you are after an easy life on the sea trout front then the Irigoyen is probably not for you. If, however, you are not obsessed with numbers, prefer to be rewarded for your fish and fancy a unique challenge then you must visit the Irigoyen. This is why the river has reached cult status in only a few years and is where many anglers â€“ me being one of them - choose to return to annually beyond all others. Aardvark McLeod Sporting Travel Specialists have the worldwide distribution on the Irigoyen. For further information visit: www.aardvarkmcleod.com
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RIVER KRUĹ NICA:
Under the Source The Balkan region offers some of the finest fly fishing possibilities in all of Europe, and Bosnia and Herzegovina is home to some of the finest rivers in the whole region. The picturesque Krusnica River is one of the more well-hidden onesâ€Ś
By LUKA SIMUNJAK
Nowadays, there are fewer and fewer locations for a real getaway: Places to get lost, places to escape, to be one with Nature, to fish, to explore – places to discover one self and to make peace with nature. Nature’s way of sharpening the human mind in the wilderness is glorious to me. Things get narrowed down to the essentials: to reading the water, spotting the fish, lighting a bonfire, helping a friend net a fish and taking a picture before releasing the fish back unharmed. Escapist breathing holes like this - where you can evade the entrapment of urban living - are getting harder and harder to come by. Most European fishing destinations – the Balkan ones included - are located near cities, villages, and areas with a lot of human activity. Unregulated and untouched rivers and streams are so rare to find nowadays. This inevitably propels fly fishermen to travel for miles and miles - to get a glimpse of Nature in all its untouched glory and to fish their heart out in a place of majestic beauty. It’s
an allure that we’re all attuned to. I certainly am! One of these seemingly untouched places is Krušnica: A small, secluded river draining into the mighty Una River. The Krušnica is home to breath-taking trout and grayling populations, and it’s one of the few spots left in Europe where you can still find 1m+ hucho hucho. Fishing is allowed throughout the whole river length and it is amazing. After a long and busy year, two of my friends decided to get lost for a while. We aimed to get away from city life, to take a break in Nature, and since I had never been to the Krušnica before, I knew just where to go. River Krušnica is located in the western part of Bosnia and Herzegovina. The nearest city is Bosanska Krupa. The river is surrounded by dense forest, and gushes out of a massive cave in the heart of the woods. The source of the Krušnica is such an impressive sight to see, and during the relatively dry summer months the cave offers prime exploration territory.
It really is a magical place where no special expedition equipment is needed except for a healthy dose of caution and respect of the power of Nature. Connecting with this place somehow makes you a part of the powerful river that originates here â€“ a source that supplies thousands of people with clean drinking water. Onwards to the Krusnica We hit the road early in the morning, and the three-hour drive from Slovenia goes by surprisingly fast. After a pit stop in a bakery, where we have the traditional Bosnian pastry called Burek, we are slowly making it to the Bosanska Krupa. The most recent weather forecast predicts two beautiful and sunny days, and it makes us the more anxious to reach our destination. To make it to the river we have to get to the top of the canyon and drive down a windy dirt road. The road to the canyon is a bit hard to find, but with the use of modern navigation technology not even the most well-hidden river is impossible to find.
Shortly after, we arrive at the end of the road. From here, a 3 km walk with all our camping and fishing gear awaits. The view of the river is stunning with the first rays of the sun making their way through forest branches, lighting up the heavy fog rising from the water. August – The Dry Season The River Krušnica generally runs at a sedate pace, but at its source, it is running fast with glass-like clarity. The water quality is absolutely superb and you can drink water directly from the river - the whole river, from the beginning to the end. Our path leads up to the old power plant, which was built in 1905, and we put up our tent in close proximity. Since our trip is taking place in August, rain hasn’t hit the ground for as long as 60 days now. As a result, the water levels are incredibly low and the fish are easy to spot. However, with every careless step along the river bank a game of hide and seek begins. To explore a little and get a better feel for the place, we take a walk
and scout some of the most attractive holding spots. And during our ten-minute walk, we spot a 40cm+ grayling and a few trout up to well over 50cm. If this isn’t motivational, I really don’t know what is! We now agree upon individual spots for everyone and start preparing the gear. Ivan and I are putting together our rods, tying tippets and carefully choosing our flies. Our friend Kristijan is also making preparations - but for something entirely different. On this trip, he has taken on the role as cook. Soon he is busy making goulash next to the racing river - on a bonfire. What more could you possibly ask for? The fishing We fish while our lunch is slowly stirring on an open fire and the wine is cooling down to about 7 degrees Celsius inside the temperate river. We’re less than 150 meters downstream from our camp, which makes it possible for us to check on our lunch, drink a glass of wine, talk a bit about flies, techniques and approach. It’s all very social and atmospheric.
While we listen to the silent fire burning, the scents of spices fill the air, and it makes the fishing even more relaxing and tranquil. Smaller trout and grayling occasionally hit our dry flies, but we all know what we are waiting for: The evening hatch and the golden hour. Fishing and small-talking makes time fly by. Meanwhile, we are approached by a local on catch-andrelease control duty. While catching up with him, we are shown photographs of huge hucho hucho caught just a few kilometres downstream. He is giving us some serious run for our money, but in the end, we did come for the fun and relaxation - not competition. Maybe next time… As expected, the warmth of the afternoon takes its toll and the fish are less active. Then finally, we hear “the cook” calling out to us. I guess we look a bit like starving trout on the hunt for insects, as we come back, and – not surprisingly - the food tastes delicious. A bit of rest and messing around brings the evening closer, and we are
counting on the fish getting hungry and more active. Our rods are ready to go, our designated fishing spots are waiting for us, and, now that the light is a little bit more favourable, a lot of fish are visible through the clear water. But we are not relying on our sight, we are casting close to natural hiding spots – long, precise and delicate casts. Both the brown trout and grayling are on their fins now, and the bites are not very far in between. The fish are in great shape and they fight as hard as one could possibly imagine. My personal favourite nymph for the day gets to be an olive-green gammarus, which is singled out by vividly coloured brown trout upon vividly coloured brown trout. The butter bellies of trout keep sliding through our hands, one after another and in just a few hours we have caught and released a dozen fish some caught on nymphs, some on dry flies. The blackness of the night is now starting to surround us and we gather around the camp table.
Kristijan’s homemade wine along with amble amounts of jolly fishing stories quickly turn us into a spirited crowd. But after a long, sunny day, an early drive and lots of fishing, we soon settle in our sleeping bags and sleep through the cold night.
ens of trout ranging from 30 – 40cm. Ivan gets surprised by a wild 40cm grayling he hooks during a break and a barefoot walk along the river. The following ten-minute fight leaves Ivan freezing in the cold water.
Another day – more fishing The morning is glorious! The surroundings are unbelievably ambient and there suddenly seems to be incalculable fish around. The opportunity to fish in such an environment, to wade through water pure beyond belief, to surround yourself with a never-ending lush-green landscape is not to be taken lightly. I guess the enthusiasm is giving me away, right? Well, you are right to think that our morning fishing rocked, because it did! After only a single day on the river, we have already adjusted ourselves, learned from Mother Nature and taken it all in. And we now beat the fish at their own game using olive-green gammarus imitations with amazing results.
Ivan’s grayling has fin colours I can only describe as spectacular. Its stunning race car red and black colour-combination leaves him with a huge grin on his face. Generally, the Krusnica grayling are surprisingly strong and persistent, making them a trophy fish and a story in their own right.
The biggest trout of the morning is 52cm and it is accompanied by doz-
Even though the river is full of fish, the summer fishing isn´t all that easy - and the fish are extremely careful and selective. However, the combination of 0.10 mm tippets and #18 gammarus imitations turns out to be the key to catching fish on a regular basis. When – during the day - the fish start rising on dry flies, Red Tags tied on #16 hooks are our weapons of choice.
These flies get gulped down, especially by the fish holding in the faster water. We decide to end the last day with a walk along the river upstream and into the cave. Needless to say, we are stunned! There are none of the “No Access”-signs or tall fences otherwise so typical of our day and age, just the untouched force of water. Can you imagine kneeling down and drinking water flowing from the source right into your hands? The river is taken care of by the “Krušnica 1936 Association”, who also owns rights to part of the Una River, and it is cared for really well. If you ever go there, you will cross paths with an area and a people of rare hospitality and you will not come home disappointed. (Every visit must be announced ahead of time in order to limit pressure). River Krušnica is truly a wonder of Nature and worth the trip. It’s a perfect place to visit with friends, eat good food, get a few drinks and do a lot of fishing.
...more at www.scierra.com
Uniting & Repositioning the Region, Collaboratively
By FRANCISCO MARIANI
Patagonia is a place of rare beauty and unique fishing possibilities â€“ but as with most other places in the world an active conservational policy is needed to preserve its legacy â€“ and that requires cooperation!
It was the year 1999, and – as usual - January was a prime fishing month for us. This time, we decided to make it all the way down to the Alerces National Park and start our fishing trip in that magical place, driving down to meet Rio Pico’s legend, Mr. Paulino Arias. After some enjoyable fishing in the picturesque Lago 3, Rio Pico and Rio Corcovado we then decided it was time to head South, to the searun brown trout paradise of Estancia Maria Behety. It was a long trip to be honest, but full of joy. We were sharing the car with good fishing friends and between big slurps of mate, fish tales were being told. Way before reaching the Tierra del Fuego, we decided to turn off and try our luck with the other prime searun brown trout destination we have here in Argentina: The Rio Gallegos. After a few days spent on the Rio Gallegos, we then decided it was time to head to Tierra del Fuego. In order to get to the Island, while you are driving in Argentina, you have to clear 4 customs as the Magellan´s Channel blocks any direct crossing within the country. First customs
encounter is when getting out of Argentina, then another one to get into Chile. After a few hours of driving, you then cross over with a Ferry to get to the island. There, you need to clear the 3rd custom to leave Chile while passing through the fourth in order to get back into Argentina. Now, finally, you’re on the Tierra del Fuego island. In most other civilized border zones across the globe, this shouldn’t be a big deal. But believe me, in this part of the world it is! Argentinians and Chileans were somehow pulled apart by the Malvinas War back in the early Eighties and things are further complicated by the fact that many Argentinians now feel like the Chileans are opportunist Patagonian invaders. Because of this, it’s hard to unite people across the borders – even though they share the same interests, ideas and visions. I’m a passionate 37-year old fly fisherman, who has been fly fishing and exploring the region since I was 9 years old. Almost all my life, I have been dreaming about bringing these two countries together.
The first approach was in the arena of rural schools, where I worked for 7 years in an educational non-profit organisation that helped and assisted more than 2700 kids along the famous Ruta 40 in Argentina – a route that runs from Salta down to Santa Cruz. Opposite old school fishermen who’ve had the same week on the same river, year after year with the same bunch of gents, the new fly fishermen of today are willing to fish as much water and as many species as they possibly can. With this in mind – and with the knowledge of the power of the collective – I recently decided to shift my approach and tools when it comes to accomplishing my main goal: forging a strong communitarian bond between Argentina and Chile.
Fly Fishing has become my very effective tool in this pursuit. With the simple idea of bringing together the best Patagonian destinations in a UNION, my Una Patagon1a project is working to reposition the region globally, open new opportunities for trip combinations for modern fly fishermen, managing the fishing pressure in different areas, and creating our own selling force as a Union â€“ one that will direct 5% of all commissions to conservation work within the region. This way, we are hoping to create a complimentary circle where lodges will be able to provide a wide range of options for visiting fishermen, who have the chance, so far, of catching at least 9 different salmonid species within the same Patagonia region.
And hopefully they will also find pleasure and appeal in knowing that when they stay at one of the Una Patagon1a lodges, they will be channelling money in to conservation and sustainability work, which will ultimately help protect and improve the Patagonian fisheries for generations to come.
Una Patagon1a is an innovative initiative within the fly fishing industry, aiming to use the power of a collective to generate a complementary circle. At present, Una Patagon1a has brought together 10 of the best lodges in the Argentinian side of Patagonia. They seek to reposition the region collaboratively by sharing experiences and communicating our destinations from locals with great knowledge of our resources. They aim to enhance value by creating combinations of different lodges and fish species. The most important and distinctive aspect of this alliance is that 5% of the sales commissions done through the Una Patagon1a office will go toward conservation initiatives within the region. Collaboration enables individuals to work together to achieve a defined and common business purpose. For more info: http://www.unapatagon1a.com
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What about Greenland?
By TARQUIN MILLINGTON-DRAKE
Would Greenland be an excuse to go fishing or would fishing for arctic char be an excuse to go to Greenland? Either is possible and both are excellent excuses.
I went to Greenland this summer because I am asked regularly ‘what about Greenland?’ So I thought it best to go and see for myself. I examined quite a few operations over the winter. There are some really wonderful, non-fishing outfits that Frontiers non-sporting or Bespoke/Elegant Journeys department work with and there are a few fishing operators who have built camps on specific rivers. What appealed to me about Halldor’s, or Dori’s (as he likes to be called) operation is that you can do both – be a tourist and fish and you certainly do not fish the same valley, or watershed, unless you want to. This jives with my comments above about what your reasons might be for going to Greenland. When I heard that Dori was an active member of Iceland’s highly respected volunteer rescue service ICE-SAR (Icelandic Association for Search and Rescue) that got my attention because I knew he would understand the dangers of the Greenland wilderness.
Dori prices to include the Air Iceland (not Icelandair) flights from Icelandâ€™s international airport Keflavik but he is now going to price with and without because together we learned that it is cheaper to buy tickets to Iceland and Greenland together, and you can check your bags through assuming the Icelandair (who look after Air Iceland flights) computers are working. Getting there The flight to Narsarsuaq (South Greenland) is about two hours on a Dash-8 and they are quite strict about bag weight at 20 kg. If you have clear weather the flight over Greenland can be truly magnificent and we were lucky with incredible views over the glaciers. Please do look at a map, you will see that South Greenland is a seemingly endless network of very deep (600 metres or more) fjords and rocky waterways between them. Once you have been and can see where you went, you can then see how much more there is! It is pretty amazing. The landscape is treeless, very rocky but with multiple hues of green on the mountains which really stand out and make the landscape attractive.
The fjords are adorned with icebergs of all shapes and sizes that have mostly calved from three main glaciers, two forks of the Eqalorustsit Kangilliit and the Qooqqup glaciers. In the southeast of this region more get blown in from the east coast. Accommodation Accommodation is currently a choice of two options. A perfectly acceptable hotel at Narsaq or a guest house that sleeps four on a farm about 30-minutes from Narsaq. I am torn. The Narsaq option has mediocre food but you are in an Inuit town which I really enjoyed and found interesting. The guest house enjoys excellent cooking by the French landlady and it is nicer but other than the culture of her and her husbandâ€™s life on the farm (certainly interesting) there is less local culture. Either way, though nothing grand, the accommodation is perfectly acceptable. Make no mistake, this is a remote area, yes, there is very slow Wi-Fi in the hotel but you are out there and this is authentic Greenland. If the right species of whale appears and the quota has not been used, they will be after it.
Three polar bears were rumoured to have arrived on icebergs from the north while we were there and the community goes out to find them and shoot them to protect people and livestock. On arrival in Narsarsuaq we met our Inuit Captain Erasmus (you would not want anyone else driving your boat other than an Inuit local) and commenced the one-hour boat ride to the Narsaq and the hotel of the same name. Muskox was on the menu for dinner. Overdone for some of us, excellent for others. Time for bed. Itâ€™s all about choice The whole rationale behind Doriâ€™s operation is choice. Choice of where you fish, choice of if you fish or what else you might want to see. At no more than four anglers and two guides to a boat your little team can decide where you go or what you are interested in. Journeys to rivers and lakes can vary from half an hour to close to four hours and you can camp out a night too. From what I experienced, all of them are worthwhile and of course there is also the journey. While it was tempting to sleep, the desire to stay awake and enjoy the scenery, look for whales and marvel at the
magnificence of the icebergs usually won the day. There are tons of icebergs of all shapes and sizes and you need the experience of the Inuit Captain to navigate and read them as well as know his way around. With Dori and Erasmus we felt 100% safe all the time, both were true professionals. It was rainy on our first day but the sea remained calm and I learned from Dori that, unlike Iceland, this is typical of Greenland at this time of year. He was right from our experience, for all our days the sea only ever got to a mild chop. The rest of the days we also enjoyed blue skies and apparently that is pretty typical too. Losing count I cannot name the valleys we went to but we headed north on our first day to a short river system. As we arrived we saw char in the bay but we walked up the river to the lake (sometimes you fish the river) and four of us enjoyed catching any amount of char (I would imagine about 80+) from about 1lb to over 3lbs. We used a floating line and 5 weight trout rods with either nymph, dry fly or streamers and had really great sport all day.
Some fish were mint-bright straight from the sea, others were becoming orange which is their spawning colour. We took a couple for sashimi on the shore of the lake and a couple more for the chef to cook the next evening. We fished blind and sighted on the lighter bottom areas of the lake. On the 30-minute walk back to the boat I walked to the actual estuary and there were lots of char flirting with running the river and I caught a few before being beckoned to head home. My friend Dominicâ€™s boys aged 23 and 17 had a great day catching char adding to their fishing experience in every regard. We were home in time for dinner at eight and then bed was tempting due to the two-hour time difference with the UK (one hour with Iceland). What about bugs I hear you cry â€“ Greenland is famous for them. I can only tell you my experience in the areas I was. We brought spray, headnets etc ready for the worst.
We were there 25th to 29th July for the record. They were not bad in general â€“ I never wore a headnet - I did spray each day and black flies and mosquitoes were about and buzzed around my head if there was NO wind but the moment there was any kind of breeze, I need not have sprayed. Before the chill of the evening or as things warmed up in the morning, there were a few about town. In short, they were minimum hassle for us. Another day â€“ another river Our destination the next day was cancelled due to too much ice coming down from the east coast and blocking our way to the valley, this proved to be the case for our entire stay. Icebergs require a lot of common sense but the respect with which Erasmus treated them really got my attention. I wanted to photograph him with one in the background but he would not go nearly as close as I had hoped for fear it could break at any time. He also seemed to fear the wave such a break would create and he explained to us that if such an event took place in shallow water (deeper water dampens the effect) the wave could swamp the boat.
We therefore headed further north this time to a milky river that required sinktips. The river and its valley were bigger and breath-taking and we were greeted by two golden eagles. Each of these valleys has a farmer carving a living out of the landscape with livestock and a hay field here and there wherever it is possible. There are very short tracks around the farm (which we were able to take advantage of) but in terms of reaching the outside world, the main mode of transport is by boat. The remoteness of these farms and indeed some of the towns (try Alluitsup Paa as an example) is amazing and this is very much part of the experience of Greenland. The maps also have Viking ruins marked on them and most valleys have some Viking history and settlements. We walked up the valley, over a farm bridge and back down another branch of the river to a large pool which was to be headquarters but it was also fish city and we caught some wonderful strong, fat char over 60 cm. What was most interesting about them was their milky hue in keeping with their environment.
After our lunch (sandwiches, drinks and biscuits supplied by the hotel and Dori â€“ donâ€™t expect too much fruit and veg!) we walked up river and chose various pools to fish most of which had good numbers of char. It was a totally different experience in every regard, the scenery, the fishing techniques, fishing a river opposed to a lake, and of course the fish themselves. We navigated our way home through the icebergs in time for supper at 8pm and then we headed to the local bar which was also owned by the hotel. It was an old storage facility down by the water and had real character to the building as well as its occupants! Never-before-fly-fished destinations That morning, while waiting for the boat and watching all the activity of tourists coming and going from a cruise ship visiting for the morning, I chatted to an Inuit woman about what she had in her bucket under some seaweed. She showed me some magnificent char. As long as the biggest ones we had caught or longer but not fat and of clear water hue not milky. Erasmus saw me and came over to chat too. He asked her where she caught them and she explained. Dori had never been there but Erasmus encouraged him to give it a try
as did we so on day three of our adventure we headed off to a likely never-before-fly-fished destination about three hours by boat from Narsaq through multiple channels and rocky canyons between islands. It was a long journey but every minute was enjoyable. The Char-quarium We could see from the map that the fjord containing our river had some serious mountains either side but nothing prepared us for the beauty of the place and the old glacier still hanging high up on one side. We tried for a cod before approaching the river and as we approached we realised that the river entered the fjord by way of a waterfall. We saw a char roll and cast to it and caught it, which we thought was very cool, until we realised there were literally hundreds, if not thousands, of fish waiting to ascend the waterfall. This was a char-quarium! It was a site to behold and there were some good 5lbs fish to be had too. As we fished, there was a constant flow of char trying to jump the falls and as the tide dropped so the power of the river grew and the obstacle became ever greater but that did not deter the char.
After lunch we headed up river to the stunning lake and continued to catch more char of varying sizes. The bigger ones fought hard, well into the backing. It really was a wonderful day. We stopped for dinner at Qaqortoq as we were too late for the hotel. It was burgers and steak all round and not bad for the middle of nowhere! The last day Our last day could not have been more of a contrast: it was the shortest boat ride at just 30-minutes including spotting a whale; our walk was the longest and steepest yet at about an hour over a hill along a track; (one does need a basic level of fitness to get the best out of this trip) and the river was the smallest and clearest we had seen, that is saying something because all the clear water was the clearest I have ever seen! The tiny pools were loaded with char (this is where the Instagram video was made) and we caught them using a 3-weight rod on nymph and dry flies mostly. Some were very strong, into the backing strong, and ran upstream out of the pools, which was a new experience! It might have been our best day yet but every day seemed like our best day. We
packed up fishing about 3pm to head down to the boat, stopping on the way to pay our respects to a crashed WWII US plane that had stopped at Narsarsuaq to refuel on its way home after the war. It suffered tragic mechanical failure after take-off and crashed in this beautiful valley killing all three pilots. From where we met our boat it was 30-minutes to the airport, checkin (get there early they close check-in very early!) and head back to Iceland. If headed to the UK, an overnight is required at an airport hotel nearby. I was back to work hosting Frontiers guests salmon fishing. Back to what I said at the start, an excuse to go to Greenland or Greenland an excuse to go fishing? Whichever way you see it, this was a really enjoyable and educational trip with lots of fish caught in interesting ways. No, we did not catch the biggest char out there but as an experience, when a 17 and 23year old rate it highly along with their Dad, that is a real success in my book. There is no doubt in my mind that Doriâ€™s concept is the perfect approach for those that like to see a bit while fishing or fish a bit while seeing!
Tackle to take: 7 weight with floating and sink-tip lines â€“ a Teeny 250 is about the right sink-rate 5 weight with floating and sink-tip (standard) 3 weight with floating line Reels you enjoy using with some backing 4, 6 and 10lbs leaders A selection of weighed nymphs, largish dries (attractors) and lots of pink streamers Waders, wading jacket, layers Back-pack essential Sun cream 30 or 50+ Bug cream/spray Day time snacks
PERFECTED A PERFECTION
WATCH ERGO MICRO-TIP SCISSORS
AT OUR BENCH N AT YOURS
NED IN USA
The Profile of a Fly Fisherman
Name: Ruth Sims Born: Seattle, Washington Occupation: Electrical Engineer Country of residence: USA Instagram: @navajoflyfisher
How did you get started fly fishing and when? About two and a half years ago while in grad school I met a trio of native students through the small native community on my school’s campus. They were from Montana. They were the kind of natives who listened to country music, frequented rodeos, hunted and fished. Having grown up in the heart of Seattle this lifestyle was all too fascinating to me. Once, while a group of us were hanging out I noticed a row of threads on a shelf next to a variety of tiny tools. I thought to myself, ‘hmmm… he must sew, how interesting.’ Being an avid quilter and dressmaker,
mainly as a pastime hobby, I was allured by this set up of his. I asked, “Hey Cody, do you sew or something?” He told me, “No, I tie flies.” Intrigued, I asked “What do you mean flies?” With eyes a little more alert he began to bring out boxes and boxes of flies, explaining their every purpose and ideal environment. I asked if I could try making one and he proceeded to explain how difficult they were to tie. With one eyebrow slightly raised and a ‘try me’ look on my face he was reluctant but allowed me to use his tools and materials to tie my first fly. When I was done he took it from me, glanced at it from all angles and said “wow, I can’t believe that’s your first fly. That’s incredible.”
Ruth Sims You see, Iâ€™m the kind of person that looks at something and knows whether or not I am up for the challenge. Through my years of sewing and level of comfort using thread I knew I could do it and that I would enjoy it. Before ever casting a rod or really even understanding what fly fishing was I had already tied a half box worth of flies- some from existing patterns but many of my own creation from things I had found around the house. That August I went to Montana and ended up fly fishing for the first time with Cody and his dad on a small river near the Flathead Indian Reservation. I ended up catching my first fish on the fly using the first fly I had tied. At that moment the fishing gene that was passed down from my grandfather to my father to me had been summoned and I was instantly and absolutely in love with fly fishing. What is it that intrigues you about fly fishing? As an engineer I see the world in numbers. I see fly fishing as a physics problem with endless parameters and variables and most importantly an infinite amount of solutions, solutions that I have become addicted to solving.
The Profile of a Fly Fisherman
I am intrigued by the challenge of solving the puzzle. Just last weekend while fishing the Deschutes in Central Oregon there was a rainbow trout that kept on rising in the same spot. @thewinterfly and I threw at least 5 different flies at it. Changed the length, diameter and material of the leader two different times and and on the 6th fly change using 6X crouching as high back in riverside grass as we could we finally got it to eat and landed it. When something like that happens you just want to scream into the air, “Mystery solved! Case closed!” while high-fiving everyone in sight.
What goes through your head when you’re out fly fishing? Well I’ll tell you what doesn’t go through my head while fly fishing. Work, family issues, things I need to get done etc. Fishing is a time for me to reflect on where I am in life and what my next step should be. It’s a time for me to practice patience, appreciate and be attentive to all around me. Fly fishing has become my escape from life, from worries and problems and given me praise and confidence which inevitably are healing necessities. It gives me something to look forward to, some-
Ruth Sims thing that can completely take me away in thought when I need life to let me breathe and reground again. What characterizes the most rewarding moments as a fly fisherwoman? The first thing that comes to mind is the people who you are fishing with. Some of the most rewarding moments have not been the biggest fish or the most exotic species but it’s how excited people who you fish with as you are for them. It’s literally the net jobs, high fives and celebrating. The interactions and joking that goes on between two fly fisher people is what makes the most memorable moments. The second thing that comes to mind is being able to teach someone something new. Showing someone how to cast, teaching them to
tie flies, and how to present a fly is quite exhilarating and when you finally have the chance to see that person put everything together and catch their first fish on the fly, I just loose my shit haha seriously I just go bananas- its just as exciting for me as it is for them. Also as a woman I get tons of questions from other women looking to get into the sport, through social media, local events and teaching casting classes I’ve been able to get a lot of women to take their interest in fly fishing to the water. I have become good friends with some of the most amazing fly fisherwomen I’ve ever met. It’s empowering to get together with a like-minded female angler, study satellite images, plan a trip and go out exploring new lands and waters. Not to mention have an absolute ball doing so.
The Profile of a Fly Fisherman When someone is just as excited for you landing a fish as you are for them, you know you have found a good fishing friend. And these are the kinds of friendships that will last a lifetime. The people that come across my path, the new like-minded friendships that develop –these are some of the most rewarding moments. Does fly fishing help you become a better person? I’m not sure. I think it depends on the person to begin with. For me it helps me to become a more balanced person. I am a strong believer in “work hard/play hard” for an all-around healthy lifestyle. For me fly fishing is my “play” and keeps me overjoyed and content with life.
What’s it like being a female in a male-dominated sport? Well even though I’ve only been fishing for less than three years, since undergrad as an engineering student it was the same situation, male-dominated so really it wasn’t that much of a change being surrounded by men. However I will say that it takes a certain kind of female to withstand both the positive and negative attention that you get from male anglers, and I think that the most important first step is the way in which you present yourself. I see myself as truly having a passion in fly fishing and as someone who is eager to learn more and more and I think the image portrayed by social media correctly delivers that. So I guess to answer your question what is it
like? Its just fine, Iâ€™m just a fly fisherwoman who is eager to learn but is also confident enough to handle the attention both positive and negative. Overall on a scale from 1 to 10 on how fun it is to be a woman in the fly world id give it an 11. 10 because I absolutely find so so much joy in it. And a
bonus 1 is for the praise and support I get not only from family and friends but even those I donâ€™t know for getting after what I love. The positivity overrides and uncomfortable or negative situations I may encounter by 110%, and Iâ€™d rather give and focus my energy on that.
The Profile of a Fly Fisherman What is your favorite species to target on a fly rod and why? Anything with a dorsal, caudal, pectoral, pelvic, anal, and/or adipose fin. Haha I love them all! Seriously there is nothing I love more than fishing a new species with a new habitat and environment. I love learning all that I can about different techniques and tactics of fly fishing. My Instagram account @navajoflyfisher has helped me to network with people from all over the world and because of this many of the places I fish are completely different kinds of water. Through traveling and fishing various waters Iâ€™ve become knowledgeable of the vast variety of gear needed to effectively fish and attain results with a given set of conditions.
So I guess you could say I donâ€™t have a favorite species because I enjoy each and every one of them. Again, I enjoy the puzzle of figuring out how to catch different fish. But if it was the end of the world and I HAD to choose I guess the first thing that comes to mind is once I got a spotted puffer fish, he/she was probably the most interesting fish I landed on a fly. Definitely the cutest. What are your fly fishing ambitions for the future? One thing that I find myself doing quite frequently is going on lots of little trips around the states fishing with friends who live there and new people who are down to meet up and fish. That being said there are two areas I really want to focus on in the next year. One is committing more time to exploring waters in my home state so that I can save for longer trips abroad. I really would like to spend some time exploring the salt. I have a feeling that a week long salt trip will be in the next year or so as well as a trip to south America-Amazonian waters to be exact. I would absolutely love to spend some time down there and put my high school Spanish to work!! Any exciting new projects coming up? In the beginning of May, I spent a week in Iceland, which was my first successful flyfishing trip abroad. While there I fished with several other fly fishermen all from Norway and from there in Iceland.
Ruth Sims A couple of them filmed quite a bit with the hopes of creating a film documenting the trip. I am excited to see how it turns out as one of the biggest fish I have ever caught was caught completely on film. It was such an honor to be able to fish with some of the most talented fishermen I have ever met. I would go back to Iceland in a heartbeat and do that trip all over again 100 times, what a beautiful country and culture of people. Also locally I have been working with a few companies in or near the Pacific Northwest @blackstrap_inc , @decade_reels , @heidi_michelle_designs , @rising3474 to name a couple and I’m looking forward to seeing where this all goes! If you could be anywhere in the world right now fly fishing, where would you be - and why? I would be in Hawaii at an indisclosed location. I went there 2 weeks ago fished 3 days for bonefish and I did not get one. I had many chances however either I just did not present the fly in time, the presentation was off, or they just were not interested. I fished my heart out for 3 days and did not even get a bonefish nibble. There is no greater motivation to get back out there and keep trying like being skunked. Although I will say that I wasn’t exactly skunked because I caught one of the most beautiful fish I have ever seen as “bycatch” it was a barred trevally, maybe only 3-4 lbs but he fought just as hard as a steelhead and took my breath away when I finally saw him/her up close.
New on the market Center Axis: WATERWORKS-LAMSON LAUNCHES NEW ROD & REEL CONCEPT
Waterworks-Lamson are known for their cutting-edge fly reels that have pushed the limits in terms of combining light-weight large-arbour design with sturdy, high-performance constructions. It has been their signature and expertise for several decades, but now they’re branching out and introducing a new fly rod and reel concept – The Center Axis concept.
Sage launched a similar series of rod and reel configurations some 15 years ago, but the patented idea behind those rods and reels was Waterworks-Lamson’s. Sage only licensed the patent in order to issue a range of super-lightweight kits, and – according to WaterworksLamson – they never quite got the center axis alignment quite right.
The Center Axis concept is based on centering the weight of the reel along the axis of the fly rod, and the result is a fly rod and reel setup that is more integrated than standard rod and reel configurations – and one that looks decisively different! Before we get more into the mechanics and the physical principles of the design itself, you might already be thinking to yourself: Haven’t I seen something similar already? Well, you just might.
Anyway, we’ve had the chance to test the new Waterworks-Lamson Center Axis rods and reels, which come in 5 - 8-weights, and which are based on a design that really leverages the weight of the reel and centralizes it around the axis of the rod. WWL says that the basic principle is to reduce the centrifugal effects of the reel, to provide better balance and to reduce vibrations in the rod blank.
To underline these benefits, they have produced a range of standard seat-configuration rods based on the same blanks so that people can test and compare – and hopefully feel the difference. Having test cast both the Standard Seat and Center Axis 9’ 5-weight kits using a Scientific Anglers ART WF5 taper, we’re convinced that there is a difference.
and not the concept itself).
The Center Axis rod and reel feel remarkably light, and well-balanced while casting, and especially on short and medium distances the rod loads well and with great precision. It feels very intuitive to cast, and the loops generated are very smooth and energy-efficient. When distance casting the Center Axis kit also performs very well, but there is no doubt that the rod excels in the short to medium range. (Something that, most likely, is down to the blank design
Whether one likes the design and aesthetics of the kit is a whole different issue that is sure to generate some debate. There is no doubt, however, that the concept itself makes sense – and that casting it is a very tentative and lightweight experience!
We’re thoroughly impressed with the concept and the feel of the Center Axis kit. The reel is very lightweight and the rod and reel configuration weighs little more than 200 grams, which makes it a great little kit for nymph- and dry fly fishing – and even light streamer fishing.
For more info, be sure to visit: www.flyfisheurope.com/wwl
Martin Ejler Olsen
PHOTOGRAPHER & FLY FISHING GLOBETROTTER
I’m lucky enough to get to fly fish some of the most remote and beautiful destinations in the world. When I’m there, however, I don’t want to rely on luck. I want to eliminate all the stochastic variables! That’s why I only use the best gear available – and Lenz Optics have become an integral part of my gear setup. Lenz Optics keep me sharp and focused when it really counts!
www.lenzoptics.com | www.facebook.com/lenzoptics
THE LION’S HEAD By JONATAN TERNALD
Lion’s head or Surf candy: It’s always hard calling a pattern your own! You can always find similarities with other patterns. Whether this fly is a Lion’s Head or a Surf Candy, I honestly don’t know. But I came up with the idea for this fly when I saw my oldest daughter’s lion costume. The fur trim on the hood was made out of really nice craft fur with a great looking colour combo. In my mind it would look perfect tied onto a fly hook!
My daughter, however, didn’t quite share my enthusiasm when I brought out the scissors, so in the end some STF dub (Synthetic Transluscent Fiber) replaced the fur from her outfit. With a bit of marker pen work STF Dub looks really good. And as always with STF you get an awesome
transparent look in the water. I use the Lion’s Head-pattern for sea-run brown trout on the coast. It works great in both shallow water and tied to a sinking line going deep, when the water temperatures rise. But it probably works for most fish that go after small fish or fry: A simple pattern that’s fun to tie!
MATERIALS: Hook: Ahrex NS 122 size 8,6,4 Thread: Mono Body: STF tan and white + Loon UV glue Belly: Veevus pearl Eyes, Eyes: Living Eyes wind 4mm
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CAPT. SHANE SMITH
They just keep coming...
The awards, that is. IFTD Best of Show Overall, IFTD Best Saltwater Fly Rod, Gray’s Best, Field & Stream Best of the Best, American Angler Gear of the Year, Yellowstone Angler 8-weight Shootout, Fly Fisherman Best Saltwater Fly Rod, Fly Rod & Reel Kudos Award, and so many more… Thank you all, we’re honored to receive the recognition.
Scott Fly Rod Company
2 3 5 5 A i r Pa r k Wa y, M o n t r o s e , C o l o r a d o 8 1 4 0 1
”FINDING TAPAM - MONSTER JUNGLE POONS” By BLACK FLY EYES Follow Getaway Tours and Black Fly Eyes as they head into the jungle in search for Tapam.
“HUNGRY TROUT : PATAGONIA!” By HOOKÉ Fishing for brown trout on huge dry flies in Patagonia is still to this day one of our most memorable adventures.
“2017 KAMCHATKA FLY FISHING” By TIGHT LOOP MEDIA. Fly Fishing in the Russian Far East - Sept. 2017 | Anglers Dan Kauffman, John Sherman, J.R. Hubbard, Keith Munemitsu & Guides Greg Kennedy & Alexy Morschagin.
A Well-protected Slovenian Treasure Slovenia boasts some of the most beautiful and prolific rivers in all of Europe. And the Savinja River is among its finest gems. Follow Florian Kaiser in his quest to catch trout on this fabled river.
By FLORIAN KAISER
Most of you have probably heard or read about Slovenia: The European country of milk and honey in terms of fly fishing. Some of you might even have traveled to that wonderful country of mountains and rivers just south of Austria, east of Italy and on the north tip of the former country conglomerate called Yugoslavia. And some of you might have experienced the high fishing pressure typical for the famous rivers such as the legendary Soca with its scarce Marmorata or the lovely Sava Bohinjka. These rivers run through awesome valleys and - without a doubt - they can provide good fishing. Nevertheless, high fishing pressure and high expectations plus partial catch & kill traditions don’t mix together very well in the long run. The result is a fish population that - termed in a friendly way - could be identified as “stock supported”. If you don’t mind fishing for rainbows with rounded fins all day long, stop reading here. If you prefer a more natural and sustainable approach, read on… You would think that fishing license prices well beyond 50 € and close to
100€ a day might limit the market demand and fishing pressure. Judging from the number of fly fishers and pressure on the above-mentioned rivers, obviously, they do not. The chance to fish such “trophy sections” and to catch one of those +5lbs rainbows or browns is too appealing to a lot of fly fishermen. It’s fun to do that for half a day but, after that, your appetite should be satisfied and you should turn away and focus on the more natural sections of those rivers. There is one river, in particular, that provides a somewhat more natural and sustainable management. It provides awesome structure, a good population of locally spawned fish and less pressure due to strict access management, control and limitation. If such limitations weren’t in place, I wouldn’t have bothered mentioning it here. I am writing about the Savinja in northern Slovenia. It runs through one of the most beautiful and amazing mountainous landscapes. Savinja is born in the Kamnik-Savinja Alps and runs in an Eastern direction through a picturesque alpine valley. Tight and narrow in the top section and wide in the sections further down river.
Savinja, particularly in the sections managed by the fishing club Ljubno ob Savinji, provides cold, alpine, fast running freestone fishing at the top. Further down river and in the sections managed by fishing club Mozirje the river changes to a slower flowing river with a healthy population of grayling and caddis. In the lower sections of Mozirje and below in the section of fishing club Ĺ empeter the highly regarded Huchen finds a good habitat with plenty of fish to feed on. The main fish in the upper sections is the non-native rainbow, that was imported in 1965 via eggs from Seattle, the local danubian brown and a healthy population of grayling. The fishing club of Ljubno ob Savinji is in full digital mode. They programmed a license management system, that allows you to buy your license online and telling you how many other fly fishers already have booked a license on a specific day.
With a fishable section of 29km and a daily maximum of 35 fly fishers that gives you a good picture of what is happening on the river. The whole license-booking system is very convenient and easy to use. That is Fly Fishing 4.0! What is so appealing, especially about the sections managed by the fishing club Ljubno ob Savinji, is the structure of the river and how careful the fishery is managed. Roadside parking and river access is kind of limited but that is part of the fun and pretty much at every access point you are rewarded with rich, diverse and natural structure. There are deep pools, riffles and runs providing perfect habitat for the various types of fish. You will catch fish, sometimes lots of fish, but luring the big ones is not easy (as usual). Take your 9’ 5# or a 4#, 0,14 – 0,16mm tippets, some standard dries, nymphs, some specials for grayling such as antand Klinkhamer flies and you are set. Consider some cleats in your non felt soles as the stones are kind of slippery. Park your car and fish a kilometer or two upstream (!) and you are in refueling-mode instantly.
The peak seasons are usually from early April – June and late September – October. With high summer temperatures and low water levels, fishing might be limited during the day or even prohibited to protect the population. During summer, the early hours of the day or the late hours with good hatches are the time to be spend on the water. Depending on water levels and -temperatures you can experience prolific hatches and excellent fishing. As usual, catching the bigger ones might put your abilities to the ultimate test. The river and its rich and varied structures call for exploration. Every corner or section brings a surprise. Some might be more or less interesting but, as always, there is a pleasant surprise behind the next corner – go and discover it! Once in a while the traveling fly fisher might want to fish specifically for the bigger ones. For that desire Ljubno fishing club has a hatchery and a trophy section as well. Give it a try! The fish are huge and sometimes hard to catch. But do not spend too much time there.
The real pleasure lies off and away from this hot spot. The club strictly manages the fishery with limited numbers of daily licenses, barbless only, strict C&R since 2016 and intense monitoring by 20 voluntary fishing wardens. Actually this club was the first in Slovenia to introduce barbless fishing back in 2004! Soon, other clubs followed. All those rules and restrictions are the solid foundation when it comes to managing the fishing pressure in a proactive way. If the guests cooperate and calmly fish their way upstream, everyone can enjoy their day. Do not jump without asking permission and if you see your preferred spot already occupied, go somewhere else. There are plenty of other spots! Fishing Savinja might not guarantee the high average fish size, you might experience on heavily stocked fisheries, but the current stock and distribution of fish sizes in combination with the newly introduced and enforced catch & release policy will most likely lead to a very good population within the next few years.
Good fishing is important but only part of the deal, when visiting Slovenia. You and your family might enjoy a break from the fishing. In that case, make your home base the Hiša Raduha in Luce (Hiša means house or hotel). This place is just awesome – also if you’re interested in culinary experiences. Some of the hotel’s rooms are right on the river front and you can choose between high class (imagine you and your partner in a luxury tree house!) or budget rooms. Martina, the chef is one of the very best in Slovenia. Enjoy a bottle of Slovenian red complementing your dinner and enjoy the delicious flavors of Slovenia. Even if you are not fly fishing, Hiša Raduha on its own would be a reason to travel there. The family of Martina Breznik run the business, and it is just lovely and very friendly – and the staff makes you feel at home instantly.
Close by, there are several other attractions such as a very special alpine village Velika Planina, or the highest and oldest visitable cave in Slovenia: The Snezna Jama (Snow Cave, guided tours during summer weekends or via an exclusive private tour). You could also spend some time exploring the picturesque alpine valleys Logarska Dolina and Robanov Kot. An hour’s drive to the south you can spend a day in the culturally rich city of Ljubljana. All in all, there are plenty of good reasons to visit with your fishing friends or your family and spend a week in Luce and in the Savinja valley. Ljubljana offers an international airport: Just grab a rental car, and 90 minutes later you are on the river casting your fly. Soca and Sava and all the other great Slovenian rivers are not far away, around 2 to 2 ½ hours by car and you can reach the other famous rivers and possibly combine it in one trip. At the Soca, I would recommend considering Nebesa for accommodation and Hiša Franco for your dinner at the world’s best chef Ana Roš – but that is another story … If I could, I would instantly pack my gear and would travel to sLOVEnia again – right now! Fishing Licenses and Accommodation: “Fishing club Ljubno ob Savinji” www.rd-ljubno.si (if you need a guiding contact ask for Gregor Križnik), further downriver “Fishing club Mozirje” http://www.ribiskekarte. si/en/rd-mozirje and the lowest section mentioned “Fishing club Šempeter” http://www.ribiskekarte.si/rd-sempeter Accommodation and dining at Hiša Raduha in Luce at http://www.raduha.com
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