ALPHONSE ISLAND ICELAND - TROUT, SALMON AND CHAR SESSION A FLY FISHING RENDEZVOUZ #19
Photo by RASMUS OVESEN
Spring is finally here and with it, a new season. Perhaps you have a special trip booked, or maybe you’re tying flies for that secret river you like to fish during the may fly hatches? Or maybe – like us, you’re feverishly running around, semi-stressed and frantic - with all the gear but no real game-plan? After a harrowingly long winter, the possibilities are now endless, and it takes stoicism to stay calm and focused. From trout, grayling and salmon to pike and perch, the local venues and fisheries now bustle with opportunities. And let’s not forget all the destinations available if you get on a plane and fly for a few hours… With all of this said, we hope you’ll find the time and calmness of mind to delve whole-heartedly into this edition of In the Loop Magazine. Our contributors have put their heart and soul into it, and so have we. This edition features the work of Rene Harrop, Alex Jardine, Allan Overgaard, Emil La Beet, Eric Otten, Sanna Koljonen, Martin Ejler Olsen and Rasmus Ovesen. We hope you enjoy it! Tight Lines// The In the Loop Crew
Photo by RASMUS OVESEN
The Salmonids of Iceland â€“ Pt2 by Rasmus Ovesen & Martin Ejler Olsen A Kalahari Adventure by Alex Jardine Alphonse Island by Rasmus Ovesen & Martin Ejler Olsen Salmon Fishing under the Midnight Sun by Sanna Koljonen Session, Bornholm Bornholm Bornholm by Emil La Beet Eric Otten, A Fishy Artist by Rasmus Ovesen & Eric Otten And much much more...
A FISHY ARTIST
Contributors RASMUS OVESEN
In the Loop Magazine C/O Cast Away Media Org no: 999 320 147 www.intheloopmag.com
By Rasmus Ovesen
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.
With her twin sister Karoliina, Sanna was introduced to the world of fly fishing at the age of 13 by her salmon geneticist mother. It wasn’t until 2014, however, when fly fishing became a big part of her life. What Sanna loves the most in fly fishing are the amazing places it takes her to, being outdoors, meeting likeminded easy-going people, continuous learning, and last but not least, catching big fish.
EMIL LA BEET
Emil is located in Copenhagen, Denmark, and he is always looking for new adventures with his fly rod. His main target is sea-run brown trout. He has travelled extensively – from the far north of Norway to Gotland and Öland in eastern Sweden and to almost every corner of Denmark - in pursuit of the seatrout. When coastal seatrout aren’t on the menu, he devotes his time to the Scandinavian rivers. Here, he employs heavy sinking lines for spring salmon as well as single-handed skagit lines and thin leaders with small dry flies. As long as it’s a salmonid, he’s in!
Alex was raised on a diet of fly fishing and we are pretty sure that Charles Jardine only gave him fly reels to play with instead of toys! Alex has fished competitively for the England Youth Team, representing them at World Championship level over a 4-year period whilst honing his skills on the rivers and lakes around the UK. Since then he has travelled extensively, looking after groups of people and guiding them as well as giving numerous casting demonstrations alongside his father. He is often happiest when watching the river for the next rising trout but is addicted to searching for new and interesting species to target on the fly. Alex offers guiding in the UK and international trips through www.aardvarkmcleod.com
Allan is a Danish fly fisherman with a profound passion for pursuing silvery sea-run brown trout along the coastline of Denmark. Fly tying is an integral part of Allan’s hunt for silver and he likes to design and tie flies for those special occasions when the sea-run browns are picky. Especially the long, cold winter nights are spent behind the vise trying to develop just the right fly. Throughout the year, you are likely to run into Allan on the coast or see him in his belly boat trying to lure the next sea-run brown trout.
German artist and fly fisherman, Eric Otten, is a rising star, who – despite his young age – has already made quite a splash in the industry. When Eric isn’t painting or illustrating fish, he targets brown trout, seatrout and pike in the Kiel-area where he currently resides. To find out more about Eric and see more of his extraordinary artwork, please check: https://www.instagram.com/eric_otten/
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.
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TROUT, SALMON AND CHAR:
The Salmonids of Iceland Pt2
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.
CONTINUED FROM LAST ISSUE… Brown Trout – and sea-run brown trout Brown Trout (Salmo Trutta) are the most abundant species of fish in Iceland, and they inhabit most rivers and lakes across the island. Their migrating cousins, the sea-run brown trout, are present in most rivers, and – especially in rivers, where there are few salmon – the sea-run brown trout prosper. And while few people recognize Iceland for its searun brown trout fishing, there are a handful of rivers that will outcompete many of the famous Patagonian rivers both when it comes to the numbers and size of the fish.
tides. September is – by many – considered the prime time, but fishing can last well into October, when more and more coloured fish are encountered. (The season closes on October 10th).
The sea-run brown trout in Iceland typically start running in March and April – and as a result, one can encounter both post-spawn and prespawn fish in the rivers, when the season opens on April 1st.
For more information about these rivers, please check out:
The numbers intensify through July and August – especially when heavy precipitation coincides with high
Some of the best Icelandic sea-run brown trout rivers include the Húseyjarkvisl, the Tungulaekur, Eldvatn, and Varmá I Thorleifslækur. They’re fished like any other sea-run brown trout river in the world, swinging streamers and nymphs, and each year several 10kg+ fish are caught despite the relatively few rods in action.
http://www.icelandangling.com/index.php https://anglers.is http://www.fishpal.com/Norse/Iceland/Huseyjarkvisl/?dom=Pal
When it comes to resident brown trout, they are scattered all over – and a lot of times, a big water fall will mark the section between a sea-run brown trout or salmon river, and a brown trout river. Since the season is fairly short and hectic – and the Winters are long and bitterly cold, Icelandic brown trout keep themselves busy throughout the Spring, Summer and Fallmonths feeding on anything from small midges, scuds and caddis to sticklebacks and even char-, salmonand trout fry. Their omnivorous and opportunistic demeanour shouldn’t be mistaken, however. Because although some of the fish might seem gullible, they’ll sometimes be super-finicky, selective and shy. So always be prepared to switch from streamers or nymphs to dries and emergers, and be sure to keep a selection of #20-26 midgeblack fly- and chronomid imitations close to your heart along with a few spare spools of 5 – 6.5X tippet material. You’ll be amazed to see the size of trout that will gulp down even the
most minute flies. Breaking the 2kg-mark is realistic in most well-established Icelandic trout rivers, and in rivers such as the Svarta i Skagafirdi, Kaldakvisl, Varmá, Minnivallalaekur, Litlaá, Brunná, Lonsa, Tungufljot, and Vatnsá there’s even the possibility of cracking the 3kg-mark. However, if you’re looking for the real giants, you should focus your efforts on some of the big lakes in Iceland. You probably already know about Lake Thingvallavatn, home to Iceage brown trout of mind-boggling proportions, but there are other big-fish lakes too – for instance Heidarvatn, Vilingavatn, Apavatn, Laugarvatn, Grænavatn, Hraunvotn, Skorradalsvatn, Fellsendavatn, Thorisvatn, Myvatn, Arnarvatn, Ljoasavatn, and Langavatn. Most of the above-mentioned lakes are accessible by 4WD cars, which means that they get fished by the locals with varying frequency. There are even more lakes that require a good hike, and these lakes, oftentimes, offer great fishing.
Most of the lakes freeze over during winter, and especially the high-altitude lakes will remain iced over until late Spring – sometimes the ice won’t clear until late May, so don’t plan a trip before then… Stillwater tactics apply to the lakes, and– unless there are fish actively rising, it pays off to fish actively and cover a lot of water using attractor patterns such as Wolly Buggers and Stickleback-imitations in combination with dropper nymphs. Also, be sure to bring sinking lines for the lakes that have steep dropoffs. A lot of times, the really big fish will be prowling along these well-defined structures. Lake Thingvallavatn The fishing in Lake Thingvallavatn is legendary by now –and the fishing can be quite diverse. On calm days, for instance, you can experience some incredibly exciting sight fishing with nymphs and dry flies. In the mouths of some of the tributaries you can fish like in a river using cross current presentation, line mends, and strike-indicators.
And when the wind is howling – which is does annoyingly often in Iceland – you can blind fish with streamers. It’s a rather arduous type of fishing, where you systematically search the shoreline for schools of fish with small, rapidly retrieved stickleback- and arctic char imitations – but it can produce some real monsters. Access to the lake can be a little bit tricky since most of the shoreline is privately owned and there’s a significant lack of public roads. There is public access to the lake in the northern end – in the Thingvellir National Park. Fishing licenses for the national park can be bought via the national fishing license provider Veidikortid. (www.veidikotid.is), and especially during spring and early summer, the fishing can be good.
The lake’s best fishing is without a doubt found on two beats managed by ION Fishing. Þorsteinsvík and Ölfusvatnsárós are the breakneck names of these two beats, and here you can experience what is probably the best brown trout fishing in the world. Because of stable water temperatures and closeness to deep water, the fishing is superb here - right from the season opening on the 20th of April until the season closing on September 15th. In total, four rods are available per day on a ‘fly only’ and catch and release basis, and licenses can be bought through: (www.ionfishing.is). The gear that is typically used in Lake Thingvallavatn is fairly stout - and with good reason! First of all, the weather is usually quite windy. Secondly, there’s quite a good chance of running into fish of frightening proportions, and thirdly the Thingvallavatn brown trout fight as if they were on a cocktail of steroids and speed. When streamer fishing, a 9,6’ #8 fly rod with a floating- or intermediate fly line and a 4-5-meter-long 0,35mm fluorocarbon leader is suitable. The flies, that are most frequently used,
are typically quite bulky, eye-catching weighted streamers in different sizes: from #4 – 2/0. The local favourites are streamers such as Black Ghost Zonker, Super Tinsel, White Nobbler and Black Brahan – and they are all flies that can imitate the sticklebacks and arctic char in the lake. When it comes to the incredible dry fly- and nymph fishing on the lake’s ION Beats, a delicate and subtle presentation is often crucial. As a result, the gear usually consists of a fairly compliant 9’ 5/6-weight rod, a fly reel with a minimum of 300 meters of backing, a floating WF fly line, a 5-6-meter-long leader with a 0.160.22mm tippet and small #12-18 nymphs and dry flies. It goes without saying that hooking into giant brown trout with such delicate gear involves some serious challenges. Oftentimes it simply results in spooled fly reels, straightened hooks, torn leaders, and broken hearts. The occasional lost fish, however, is a price a lot of fly fishermen are willing to pay to be able to sight cast to wild brown trout ranging from 5-10 kilos. Where else in the world is that even possible?
The brown trout in Lake Thingvallavatn are known to be extremely powerful, and if you’re fishing with light tippets and small nymphs or dry flies, you will need plenty of backing. Stories of people getting spooled are certainly not uncommon, so the locals generally tend to use micro-spun backing and large arbour reels that will hold at least 300 meters of life-saving backing. Arctic Char (Salvelinus Alpinus) In addition to the salmon- and brown trout, Iceland boasts spectacular arctic char fishing possibilities – both in river systems and in lakes. Char is the most geographically widespread salmonid species in Iceland, and all across the country you’ll find populations of both sea-run and residential char, but not only that. There are several sub-species of char in Iceland – populations of char that have been isolated in certain watersheds and areas for ages, char that have ended up evolving into highly biotope-specialized strains with their own unique physical traits and behaviour. In Lake Thingvallavatn alone, there are four distinct sub-species of char –
something that reflects the variety of habitats in the lakes and makes this place unique in the world. All four strains of char originate from the same species of char (bleikja in Icelandic), and they have developed into four highly adapted sub-species in less than 10.000 years. The four different sub-species of arctic char in Lake Thingvallavatn are divided into two different groups each having their own specialized habitat. The first group – the pelagic one forages in the open water masses, where they constantly need to be on the move as there’s little shelter, and the sources of food are constantly redistributed. One of these pelagic char species is piscivorous – the sílableikja – and it mainly feeds on smaller char and sticklebacks. It grows up to 4050cm in length. The other pelagic sub-species – the murta – is planktivorous, and it rarely exceeds 25cm in length. Both of these char species are very streamlined, relatively light in colouration, and they have long lower jaws.
The second group of char in Thingvallavatn consist of a snail-eating char and a dwarf-char, both of which thrive along the craggy bottom structures of the lake, where there is plenty of shelter from predators. The snail-eating char grows up to about 55cm in length, and it is recognized by its sturdy frame, dark colourations and pronounced overbite. The dwarfchar also has a pronounced overbite but, and - living up to its name, it rarely exceeds 13cm in length. It can be found close to shore, in the Flosagjá Fault, and – surprisingly – in secluded cracks and rifts that may - or may not – be connected to the lake via underground waterways. Generally, Icelandic char don’t grow to sizes comparable with their fellow species in, for instance, Greenland and the Northwest Territories, but especially the sea-run char can grow to interesting sizes. There are a number of rivers to the north that produce char in the 3-4 kilo range, and every now and then the 5kg mark is broken. The national char record, however, goes to show that even bigger fish exist. The record is a smashing 10,5 kilos.
Some of the most well-known arctic char rivers include the Sog in Asgardur, River Holaa, Steinsmyrarvotn, River Brunna, and River Bruara. Here, the fish generally push upstream with the high tides, and the migratory runs will start to intensify from mid-June through August. Most of the Iceland char fishing is very visual and it is done with small nymphs, midges, chronomids and dry flies at close range. However, when the bigger fish start to migrate from the ocean, streamers and gurglers can be used with great results. And these super-fit and feisty char will provide you with some serious action that will put your gear to the ultimate test. The mystery trout In a well-hidden, secluded area of Iceland there’s a lake inhabited by a species of trout (or char?) that is phenotypically unique and adds to the diverse salmonid cartography of the place. Having fished there on two different occasions, I have sampled these trout, and when it comes to appearance they are unlike any other trout species I know of.
Watch the free short-movie “BLEIKJA” below
They live alongside regular brown trout and look like a cross between a brown trout and a char, and since the lake once was connected to the ocean â€“ thousands of years ago, it might be that a char-brown trout hybrid species has evolved since then. Physiologically, they look like brown trout, but in terms of coloration they resemble a char. They are bright yellow and orange with marbled patterns and they completely lack spots along the flanks. They only display discrete ink stain-like micro-spots on the gill plates, and when they go into spawning-mode, their colours get augmented and intensified, and they suddenly look more like koi carp than trout. Hopefully next year, DNA-samples will reveal the true origins and distinctions of this unique mystery trout. Who knows, maybe a whole new trout species will then be added to the already impressive salmonid gallery of Iceland?
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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A Kalahari Adventure Africa has always seemed like a long way away to me. As someone who plans nearly all of their movements around where and when the fishing is good, I have never really pictured the continent as high up on my list. Of course, there is the well-documented and fierce tigerfish as well as a very prolific saltwater fishery but nothing had made me take the leapâ€Śuntil now.
By ALEX JARDINE
I had read and seen various accounts of fishing for yellowfish over the years and I must admit they did gain some of my interest, but I very much felt that they were a species that the South African’s targeted as a replacement for trout… how wrong I was. In 2016, one of our good friends, Garth Wellman, first told us of this little-known but potentially world class destination in South Africa’s Northern Cape for largemouth yellowfish. You, like I did, are probably thinking that a yellowfish is a yellowfish but there are in fact quite a lot of subspecies, each with their own unique characteristics. The smallmouth yellowfish is the most well documented of the species, it is an avid nymph and dry fly eater and is generally about 1 – 3 lbs in weight. The largemouth, however, are surrounded with more mystery. They are not readily accessible in southern Africa due to their specific habitat requirements, often looking for deep holes with lots of structure and plenty of baitfish. They are aggressive fish eaters, and unlike their more carp-like brethren, they
take on a much more mahseer-like appearance with a flat and forward facing mouth combined with their eyes on the top of their head to help them hunt in low light conditions. Garth, and Craig, had briefed us that it was possible to catch good numbers of smaller smallmouth in the fast water on nymphs in the Northern Cape but what really made this place special was the big streamer-eating fish in the slow deep pools. As I secretly enjoy fishing streamers and baitfish patterns this grabbed my attention immediately and I set up station at my vice to prepare for the relative unknown… With feather and fur strapped to hooks and bags packed it was soon time to leave the warm August sunshine in the UK for the South African winter. Africa and winter, you may not think all that much of it but I must recommend that you pack a woolly hat and warm socks. Whilst the day time temperatures were as hot as any summer’s day in the UK, the night time plunged into single figures and some extra warmth was often very welcome.
We were greeted by our guides, Craig and Matt, and the camp crew that would be with us for the week, West, Eric, William and Anton. The bags were deposited in our rooms and welcome drinks were ready and waiting at the bar. That evening the usual buzz filled the air, stories of previous trips, judging of flies tied and the anticipation for what lay ahead of us. We enjoyed a wonderful braai around a camp fire under a canopy of stars before grabbing a few hoursâ€™ sleep. I usually struggle to sleep in on fishing trips, never wanting to miss a moment of daylight or the beautiful golden hours of sunrise and sunset. I was no different here, waking up at about 0530, I found my way to the hot coffee and waited outside for the bleeding hot orange of the horizon to take over from the expanse of midnight blue. As daylight began to take a hold it was possible to see fleeting springbok move from grass tussock to bush. We wolfed down breakfast and more coffee before loading our kit on to a safari-style Land Rover and begin-
ning our 20-30 minute journey to the river. The accommodation and river access is all part of a large game reserve and leopard protection area, this makes for a very unique and wonderful commute to the river. On this first morning we saw numerous springbok, a gemsbok and a lone giraffe as well as numerous birds and raptors. For what is at first quite desolate in appearance soon springs to life. As you approach the river the plains scrub turns into a rich vein of trees and shrubs with the chorus of various birds audible over the babbling water. Our set up on this first day was 7 and 8 weight rods matched with Airflo 40+ Di5 sinking lines and 8-10 ft leaders with a 13-15 lbs tippet. For starters, Craig and Matt advised us to fish with heavier black streamer patterns. They assured us that these are good for searching for fish and only once you find a shoal that you then start trying different colours and sizes. Now all set-up, Ronnie and I headed out with Matt guiding us and Charlotte and Gordon headed downstream with Craig.
The day can only be described as one of two halves, the morning was fresh and sunny but the afternoon whilst still sunny buffeted us with a fierce and cool easterly wind which made for tough fishing conditions. Despite this we were all able to hook a fish or two and feel a few takes. I found the takes very odd on this first day, they were not like the big hits that the Montana trout give you but far more hesitant, almost like a salmon just nipping at the tail strands.
deep before the hooked pulled. With our appetite whetted it was time to begin our float trip. The real world hustle and bustle was soon forgotten as we putted the rafts down the river and into the wilderness that divides South Africa and Namibia.
Both Matt and Craig put this down to the unusual low pressure system that had passed through the area just before we arrived. They hoped with some settled weather that we would begin to feel some proper takes in the coming days.
To journey along the Orange River here is to see how rich in life it is, the trees grow thick, catfish and carp leap from the water, and kingfishers, cormorants and herons pursue their prey from most rocky outcrops. It is truly an overload on the senses, as birds skip and flutter in all directions, baboon shouts ring up and down the valley, the flowering plants offer a subtle fragrance to the banksides and the sun begin to warm the still chilly breeze.
Charlotte took honours for the day with a nice largemouth yellowfish of about 4 lbs and we landed three smallmouth yellowfish between 3 â€“ 4 lbs. Ronnie was the unfortunate angler with the â€˜one that got awayâ€™ story as he hooked into what appeared a good fish only for it to stay
The landscape is full of interest, Red sandstone and granite cliffs guide the river along its path. Dry river beds from floods bygone carve their way to the river offering animal drinking spots and the pools are broken up and split into channels by sand and bedrock islands.
The guides worked the boats using anchors and the oars to hold the rafts in position so that you can target rock drop-offs, deep undercut banks and bed rock shelves. Over the course of our trip we really began to get an understanding of where these fish could be found, the biggest restraint was having the confidence to fish the fly properly. Both the largemouth and larger smallmouth yellowfish were found in deep water, close to the bottom but also tight against a structure. The casts were often made at the structure and then a series mends were made in order to hold the fly in position and give the line and fly time to sink to the correct depth. The fishing trip had started slowly with a few taps here and there and only a few largemouth and smallmouth landed, but our luck began to pick up as we descended down more rapids and lower down the river. It was our changing fortunes that led me to hook a fish that will haunt me for years to come, this time the line was almost ripped out of my hands. The fish then ran straight for us, and
I rushed to gather up my loose line and get the fish under control on the reel. Now on the reel the fish felt the extra tension and this time took off downstream to take residence behind a rock midstream. Pausing only briefly, it then went on a searing run for about 20 yards. There was no chance of turning this fish, or stopping it in its tracks and then I felt it go through weed and the line run along rocks. My heart sank at this point, knowing I was now facing a losing battle I hung on in hope. Sure enough, the line frayed and broke and I was left crushed and beaten in the back of the boat. We never saw the fish so cannot say for sure how big it was but with knowledge that the largemouth exceed 20 lbs here and there is belief that they may even exceed 30 lbs it was easy for the mind to wanderâ€Ś Never one to take losing a fish too well, I sat in the back of the boat with a cold Windhoek beer and watched the river pass by. As the sun began to dip behind the jagged horizon the temperature began to fall and we pushed on to our campsite.
The campsite was already set up and the glow of a warming campfire welcomed us in. The camp was on a large beach, made up of small stones and millions of shells from the large population of crustaceans in the river, it was more akin to a seaside beach than a river. Four spacious tents were set up with plenty of room for two people to share. A seating area around one campfire and a second campfire for cooking. That night the sky burnt red before giving way to an incredible star display. Whilst the temperature plummeted to single figures the tents were comfortable and it was so easy to fall asleep with the stars glinting through the tent windows. Rising early to the crackling fire and dim pre-dawn light was much easier here. It was a new day and there were more fish to catch. Breakfast was a simple spread of cereals, yogurts and rusk (best to dunk these in your coffee, unless you want to break your teeth!). Whilst eating, the camp hands set up a catfish rod with bait to see if we couldn’t find one of the many big fish that reside in the river. The set up was a simple heavy duty spinning rod, fixed spool reel, weight
and a hefty chunk of one of the many mudfish from the river. It wasn’t long before we had action with a nice fish of around 20 lbs landed during breakfast. With the loss now firmly behind me, we floated on down the river and the largemouth and smallmouth yellowfish began to grace the net with far more frequency. The takes were far more confident and the fish were clearly more active as the weather began to stabilise. Both Largemouth and Smallmouth averaged 4-6 lbs and fish over 8 lbs were common. On the final day, after several missed takes I had to have a stern word with myself to pull it together and make the next take count. As we drifted into a pool called ‘Last Chance Saloon’, we could see the prime spot. It took a while to get the cast in the right zone but then I fired a cast across. Immediately you knew it was in the right place, I made some mends in order to get the fly down. As I felt the fly sinking I could feel the line draw tight, not like a snag but different. I firmly strip set the hook and knew that I had got it right.
The fish took off into the pool and tried to dig deep. Now that my fish was away from the zone my boat partner was able make another cast. As my fish approached the net I look over to see that he has also hooked into a fish. After a few minutes we had both fish sat in our net. They were good fish and remarkably similar in size. When weighed they both clocked the scales at 12 lbs, it was a fantastic moment. Not quite the last cast but a wonderful
way to round off a brilliant fishing trip. Over the course of our four and a half days fishing we landed 25 smallmouth to just under 10 lbs and 25 largemouth to 18 lbs between four of us. Whilst this was considered a tough week of fishing, we were delighted with our efforts but at the back of my mind that fish that got away is still lingeringâ€Ś I must go back.
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A Tropical Fishing Paradise in the Seychelles The Seychelles is an archipelago located North of Madagascar, and it mainly consists of small coral islands, atolls and reefs. The Seychelles is known for its beautiful palm beaches, but it is also home to some of the best and most diverse tropical saltwater fly fishing in the world.
Text: RASMUS OVESEN Pictures: RASMUS OVESEN, MARTIN EJLER OLSEN and KEITH ROSE-INNES
I’M BEWILDERED and overwhelmed. Dizzy and languid, like a boxer who has just left the ring - humiliated and defeated. The scenes from a full week of hysterically exciting tropical fly fishing flickers before my feverish eyes, while my gazing eyes emptily skirts across the shimmering blue water, which the catamaran transects with surgical precision. We’re in the middle of the Indian Ocean on our way to our resort on Alphonse Island in the Seychelles. The shiny white flats, the moonscape-like coral formations and the riveting tidal currents, which - in combination with vast elongated, subaqueous meadows of turtle grass and toothy, weather-beaten outer reefs - constitute the heart and soul of the St. Francois Atoll and its hunting grounds, now unobtrusively fade away behind us – like a bittersweet diminuendo that quietly yields to total silence. All of it stings relentlessly inside the depths of my soul and, as I cast one last glance behind me and take in the scenery for the last time, I suddenly realize that I’ve never been so sad having to pack up and leave a fishing destination as I am now. It’s a veritable tragedy!
”ETERNALLY OWNED IS BUT WHAT’S LOST”, sounds a trite, old proverb, which – unfortunately – makes too good sense now that everything is over. In this very moment I feel as if it might as well have been the title of the bizarre Film Noir-like drama that I’ve just been through: An anti-climactic drama – hopeless and dark, where I have had close encounters of the third degree with the full St. Francois Atoll villain cast; bonefish, triggerfish, milkfish, permit and giant trevally, and where - in a morass of nerves, failed technique, and misfortunate circumstances - I’ve lost everything! EVERYTHING GETS OFF TO A GOOD START. My faithful fishing buddy, Martin Ejler Olsen, and I begin building our confidence by catching a handful of bonefish on the flickering white sand flats of the St. Francois Atoll – bonefish in combative sizes that seem completely magnetised by our flies, all the while impressing us with their shimmering pearlescent glow, silvery flanks, iridescent blue fin strokes, and phantom-like runs, which make our fly reels hiss like the hoarse winds. Additionally, we catch a yellowlip emperor, a couple of groupers and a lemon shark of about 90lbs. And I get to cast to a giant trevally along the so-called Lollipop Reef – a fish that turns after the fly with inexorable resoluteness, and - heading straight towards me – inhales the fly at such a pace, that I don’t stand a chance of hooking it. The line goes slack, and the fly is spat out before I ever get to establish contact.
ENCOURAGED BY YESTERDAY’S GREAT FISHING we now spend our second day buoyantly scouting and blind-casting along tidal currents, depth curves and reefs in the hopes of hooking one of the atoll’s terrifying giant trevallies: A powerful and lightning-quick predator species, which – because of its keen eyesight, bloated ego, menacing mannerisms and inflammable temperament – has risen to near-mythical status among saltwater fly fishermen and come to be known as the ‘gangster of the flats’. Unfortunately, on this particular day they are like flickering, ominous ghosts. They disappear just as abruptly as they emerge – and when we finally manage to get a couple of quality casts in, they display an atypical apathetic indifference with our flies. AFTER A WHOLE DAY with nothing but a few side-catches in the shape of garfish, grouper and bluefin trevally we revise our plans for the following day. Here, we fish along the western reaches of the St. Francois Atoll where an elongated moonscape-like coral reef constitutes a staunch but scarred barrier against the agitated sea.
The tide is high, and our plan is to sight-fish for some of the atoll’s numerous triggerfish – a rather goofy looking and incredibly aggressive fish that is equipped with toothy jaws designed for breaking down corals and crushing crustaceans and mussels. The fact that it is capable of chewing flies (and flustered fingers) clean through only serves to further testament its reputation as one of the most exciting game fish in Indo-pacific Ocean. The combat fishing that ensues surpasses all of our expectations. With great assistance from our guide, Brandon, - who jumps headlong on the fish with his landing net as soon as they’re hooked - we manage to land three out of the five uptight triggerfish that gulp down our crab flies. In addition to triggerfish we also catch three yellowlip emperors, a few groupers, several unidentifiable coral fish, and a couple of solid bonefish. With both triggerfish and bonefish on my scorecard today, Brandon suggests that we end off with halfan-hour’s worth of blind-casting with poppers for giant trevally. If all ends well, I could end up with an Indo-Pacific grand slam.
Along a sandy flats bar with a relatively drastic drop off we’re now busy casting and retrieving our noisy NYAP poppers in the hopes of a redeeming strike. There’s plenty of small mullet and other baitfish around, so things look promising. It isn’t me, however, who suddenly experiences the violent burst and tug from a giant trevally. 10 minutes before our guided day session is over, Martin’s popper is brutally torn off the surface and he now feels the weight from a tenacious fish – one that he handles expertly, with full drag power, a low rod angle and maximum pressure. After having jubilantly landed the dirty-fighting brute of a giant trevally – and it’s approximately 25lb frame has been photographed and released - I can’t help but mention how it’s a pity that Martin didn’t take time to catch a bonefish earlier in the day. Then it would have been him, who had managed a grand slam. Upon hearing this, Brandon interjects that we still have a couple of minutes on us, and that – although there are no bonefish to be seen anywhere – Martin might as
well try blind-casting a bit along the sand bar we’re on, while the boat is prepared for take off. It seems like there’s no real point, but Martin gives it a shot nonetheless. And when he hooks up on the very first cast and shortly after lands a little bonefish, we can hardly believe our own eyes. A small miracle has just happened! THE FOURTH DAY ARRIVES, and we’ve now gone into GT-mode. We see several of them - but out of casting range, and the blind fishing that we do only results in by-catches in the shape of blue-speckled emperors, garfish, groupers, brassy trevally and bluefin trevally. The next day, where the winds have finally died down enough for us to fish the outer reefs, we continue chasing giant trevally - but once again they’re finicky. We see a couple passing through a tidal channel, but they’re gone before we ever manage to put a cast in. Later in the day, the tidal water comes gushing in over the outer reefs.
For information on Alphonse, e-mail: email@example.com, or visit www.alphonsefishingco.com
We’re busy carefully scouring one of the flat faults when the perfect opportunity suddenly arrives. Three charcoal-black giant trevally - of which the fish in front is a true monster - unsuspectingly approach, and this time I manage to place a long cast ahead of them and let the fly sink a little. The suspense is almost unbearable as the fish get closer, and as I start the retrieve and speed up the fly it’s with a galloping heart and feverish hands. One of the two “smaller” fish, which are probably both around 40-45lbs, resolutely chases after the fly in a state of blatant agitation – with flaring fins and flaming eyes, and 10 meters in front of me, it suddenly bursts forward and inhales the fly in an explosion of foam and water. I do as prescribed: I lower the rod tip, pull hard and resolutely on the fly line and start backing up to set the hook, but the fish just opens its bucket-sized mouth and spits the fly. In a state of pure, flustered over-agitation, my nervous hands have lost their grip on the fly line, and all my efforts to hook the fish have been in vain. And before I manage to put in another cast, the fish are gone! Beyond frustrated, I toss the fly rod scornfully into the water, and after having filled the air with all sorts of inappropriate curses and cuss words, I stand there completely disillusioned on the flat in total silence – with the taste of blood in my mouth, trembling nerves, a hoarse staccato-like breath and a heart that rages blindly behind the skeletal bars of my chest. To be continued…
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Salmon Fishing under the Midnight Sun I arrive at the salmon fishing lodge Naamisuvanto, located in Lapland, above the Arctic Circle, in Northwestern Finland. The smell of fresh coffee welcomes me as I step inside the lodge.
By SANNA KOLJONEN Pictures: SANNA KOLJONEN, HENRY SCHMIDT, JOONAS LINKOLA and ISAK SANDLING
I notice a group of fishermen gathered around the table, all of them are staring at something spread out on the table - presumably a map of a river, and a screen in the corner of the room showing a real-time graph of salmon ascending to the local river to spawn. I introduce myself to everyone in the room. The situation is very familiar to me. Whenever I meet fishermen I feel like coming home, while the ones meeting me - a female fly-fisher, often seem to wonder whether I’ve come to the right place at all. A fishing guide from Naamisuvanto, Miska Haapsalo, joins us and we start discussing the first weeks of the season. The beginning of the summer has been rather cold, the water levels are high, and the salmon run is late. I listen to Miska very carefully because it’s only my second salmon fishing season and my first time at the longest free-flowing salmon river in Europe - River Tornio or River Torne as they call it in Sweden. Not surprisingly, my aim is to catch a salmon on the fly. However, I’m not alone with my mission. With me, I have a Swedish fly-fishing virtuoso Emilie Björkman. We have come here to catch the Baltic
dream and to make a short fly-fishing video for Travel Pello, a company that promotes tourism in the area. We have four days on us. The story of the Baltic Salmon of River Tornio When I was presented with the opportunity to fish River Tornio, I immediately said yes. Throughout my childhood, I had heard stories about the mighty 510-kilometer-long salmon river that flows on the border of Finland and Sweden and drains into the Baltic Sea. The story of the Baltic salmon in River Tornio is special in many ways. Based on genetic differentiation, the Atlantic salmon stock in the Baltic Sea area can be divided into three phylogenetic lineages: southern, eastern and northern. The northern lineage - in other words the salmon stocks of the Gulf of Bothnia including River Tornio - arrived into the Baltic Sea during the Yoldia Sea stage around 10 000 years ago when the Baltic Sea was still connected to the Atlantic Ocean through the middle of Sweden and thus it was possible for the Atlantic salmon to spread from the West to the East.
Today, this northern lineage is the most viable of these three lineages and over one third of the 1-1.5 million salmon that feed in the Main Basin of the Baltic Sea are born in the mighty River Tornio. This makes the river nothing less than one of the most important spawning rivers of the wild Atlantic salmon in the world. The history of the Baltic salmon in River Tornio also teaches us an important lesson: Viable salmon stocks should not be taken for granted. In the 1980s, commercial overfishing almost led to the extinction of the River Tornio salmon stock. Luckily, the countries that are home to the rivers, which the Baltic salmon stocks originate from, woke up to the situation before it was too late. After being on the brink of extinction, the fishing regulations were tightened up and the Baltic salmon stocks were saved. Thanks to revised fishing policies and regular enhancement stocking, the salmon stocks of River Tornio have recovered well. The year 2014 was the best year since the downfall of the stock and that year over 100 000 spawners passed the fish counter at the Kattilakoski rapids, located further down River Tornio. Due to the good fishing conditions, the year 2016 was even better fishing wise.
In addition to the revived salmon stock, the river fishing culture has also taken huge steps forward and, for instance, the number of recreational fishermen has increased remarkably. The development that has taken place during the past 20 years in fishing tourism has even surprised the entrepreneur of Naamisuvanto, Petri Uusitalo, himself. Salmon fishing madness Emilie and I fish like maniacs for four days and sleep only a few hours each night. I thought I was done staying up all night, but the nights spent awake with my thesis during the spring are nothing compared to salmon fishing. The pools we fish look so promising that every now and then I forget to breathe because I’m sure that the salmon will grab my fly at any given moment. The story goes that Baltic salmon are strong - and I can’t wait to experience it myself. The chance of hooking a big salmon keeps me focused despite my tired mind and I continue fishing with a smile on my face day after day even though my waders leak badly and I can’t recall when we last ate. By the river, it almost seems like salmon fish-
ermen get all the energy they need from the very thought of catching a salmon and the looming midnight sun. My thoughts go in circles when I think about where the salmon is, why it won’t take, how I should present the fly, whether I should change to a heavier line, where the drag is - I wish I would see at least a glimpse of silver! The realm of big salmon I’ve fished for salmon in Sweden and Norway on previous occasions, but the River Tornio is beyond compare. I fall in love with its magnificent size, versatility and the challenge it entails. Due to its big size, there are countless of places to fish. Emilie and I fish many promising pools from the bank. In many places, the fishing resembles fishing in the Norwegian private pools because, apart from us, we don’t see many fishermen fishing from the bank and we get to open one beautiful pool after another. It’s early season, the water is cold, and the current is strong, so we fish with heavier lines and big tube flies, which should help us to find the salmon. However, despite the breadth of the river, one doesn’t always have to cast that far to catch a salmon in River Tornio.
Especially in the beginning of the summer the salmon tend to come very close to the bank where the current is moderate and thus more favorable. Miska, who has guided in River Tornio for five years, explains to me that the customers that keep returning to the river year after year are most often hooked by the size of the fish: The average weight of salmon caught in River Tornio vary from 6 to 8 kilos and each year salmon over 20 kg are landed. I can identify myself with other salmon fishermen who crave a big silver salmon – it’s precisely the reason I’m here. Casting from the boat The main run is late, but it slowly begins the same week we’re there. The guides of Naamisuvanto barely sleep when the season is at its hottest and big salmon are guided for the customers day and night. Salmon fishermen from Finland, Sweden and from further abroad come to the River Tornio to quench their never-ending thirst for big salmon. For instance, a Swedish fly-fishing guide, Isak Sandling, guides two beautiful shiners to a French fly-fishing veteran during our stay. After fishing from the bank a few days,
the guides take us to fish from the traditional long wooden boats. At first, I feel very sceptic about the whole idea, but fishing from the boat in a nightless misty night turns out to be one of the most mesmerizing moments of my summer. In the boats we reach spots that are unreachable even for the most talented banked fly fisherman and Emilie manages to hook her first chromer. Moments later I hear cursing in Swedish and conclude that the fish has gotten away: The salmon has spit the fly. The four days have now come to their end and we decide to continue fishing in the River Tornio later in the summer. Return to the salmon mecca I return to the river in the middle of August. The end of the season is drawing closer and the water temperatures have dropped to 13-14 degrees °C. Instead of the runners, this time I focus on finding salmons that have already been in the river for a while. After almost three weeks of fishing, my turn finally arrives. Nothing in the world feels as good as that steady, calm pull that leaves no room for doubt about what has just taken my Banana Fly.
The salmon is strong and fights hard and, even though I’m prepared to face the Queen of the Baltic Sea with 400 meters of backing, it doesn’t take long runs. When the dotted beauty lies in the net I’m shaking with excitement and happiness, and I feel like an Olympic champion: I have achieved my goal. During the four day-trip that turned into three weeks, I learn that, to catch a Baltic salmon, you often need to step out of your comfort zone. However, it’s still the coolest thing you can do in fishing, and once you land your first, there’s no going back. Although I didn’t plan to spend three weeks of my summer in River Tornio, the time spent in Naamisuvanto with likeminded, easy-going and down-to-earth salmon bums turned out to be the best weeks of the whole summer. By the end of the salmon season I’m fully convinced that although salmon fishing might not have been invented in River Tornio, it was certainly perfected there.
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Bornholm, Bornholm, Bornholm Bornholm is known by fly fishermen as the perfect environment to hunt for those elusive 10-pound silver bars. The relatively small islandâ€™s geographical location in the middle of the Baltic Sea and the low salinity levels make it the ideal place for sea-run brown trout (Salmo Trutta) to overwinter. Here, they forage on gammarus, shrimp, and other prey items that secure a good layer of fat throughout the winter months.
By EMIL LA BEET Photos FREDERIK LAKS LORENTZEN and LUKAS LUND MSISKA
Imagine being in one of the best places on earth when it comes to targeting coastal sea trout with a fly rod – and being there with a big bunch of like-minded fly fishermen. Throw in Bornholm’s stunning landscape, huge sea trout, and social gatherings with amazing food from local sources, funny fly fishing related events and a hefty pool party and you’ve got “Bornholm Session”.
ing somewhat alienated by society, Bornholm Session is a holy sanctuary for fly fishermen, regardless of age, gender or level of experience.
Session – A Fly Fishing Rendezvous Bornholm Session is a concept created by Gordon P Henriksen and Frederik Lorentzen. Their idea was to get off the grid and - instead of mainly socializing online, to have a real-life get-together. All things considered, it’s quite hard to do fly fishing in front of a screen…
Gordon and Frederik do everything to embrace all aspects of fly fishing. Every year, they execute a carefully composed event, including a food truck by the sea, fly tying sessions, video screenings and premieres, BBQ’s by the local harbour and the infamous pool party. All your needs fulfilled, right there. Additionally, Gordon and Frederik have managed to involve some of the locals: Mainly wise men in their best years. They truly add a special feel to the social aspect with fairy talelike stories about the amazing fishery Bornholm can deliver.
Their main goal was to gather people with a passion for fly fishing and everything that comes with it. March 2018 marked the second year for the event on Bornholm. Again, the event showed its potential by being one of the best fly fishing-related events I’ve ever participated in. To be around like-minded people for a week is an indescribable feeling. Normally feel-
During winter, fishing in Denmark is often quite slow. Therefore, this time of the year is often considered off season. After long winter nights tying flies, preparing gear and planning the upcoming season’s adventures, Bornholm Session is the perfect kick-off. It is scheduled in week 10, in the beginning of March. Is there a better way to start the season?
A Home-Coming For the last two years while participating in Bornholm Session, Iâ€™ve had the feeling of coming home. It might seem hard to understand for non-fishermen, but â€“ believe me - the welcoming atmosphere at this event will become etched into your heart, should you ever choose to participate. You will get the feeling of being a part of something bigger than yourself. Itâ€™s like a state of genuine freedom to be around people who are as eager as yourself when it comes to discussing the quality of spey hackles, debate political environmental issues, talk shit about farmed salmon and just generally praise life as fly fishermen. Session Bornholm accommodates it all.
Winter Fishing for Sea-Run Brown Trout Fishing during the cold winter- and early spring months in Denmark can be a real challenge – and it’s hard work. Cold fingers, icy guides and frozen feet comprise the harsh realities of this fishery. However, due to the low salinity levels around Bornholm, the fishing here can be very accommodating. Anadromous salmonids are dependent on a permille of salt in their bodies. To save energy during winter, the fish travel far to reach waters with a relatively low permille of salt. Many of the local fishermen often start fishing as early as December and it’s kind of a tradition to kick off the season when the conservation period for the spawning fish ceases on January 16th. As with any other fishery, the peaks of the season depend on the weather. When the water temperatures decline, and the water temperatures reach 3 degrees Celsius or less, the sea trout’s metabolism is so slow that their feeding periods during the day become very short – and the fish can therefore be tricky to catch. However, during warmer periods throughout winter
and early spring, you can get lucky and experience amazing fishery for powerful, chrome and well-nourished sea trout. Spring Sensation During March, the days gradually get longer, and daylight gets brighter and brighter. The water temperatures climb every day and the sea trout become more and more active. In March, there are good chances of experiencing some of the most incredible fishing on Bornholm. Besides Bornholm’s outstanding nature with rough coastlines made up of cliffs and huge rocks, the island also offers long, mesmerizing sand beaches full of reefs that provide the sea trout with the perfect feeding habitat. In my opinion, Bornholm offers a very unique kind of fishing. What sets Bornholm apart from my home waters, is the possibility to successfully fish in swells and huge waves. You need to prepare yourself to get wet, however - Very wet! Due to the rocky bottom, the lack of clay and chalk and the rich occurrences of seaweed, the waters surrounding Bornholm often stay clear, and the sea trout, of course, are aware of this.
It might seem counterintuitive, but the sea trout save a lot of energy by hunting in the surf. All their preferred prey items get knocked out of their hiding places and due to the sea trout’s excellent hunting skills, the surf provides the perfect hunting grounds. Everyone Is Welcome Session Bornholm is a social event that accommodates all your fly fishing needs regardless of your preferences. It doesn’t matter if you’re in it for the
hardcore fishing or for drinking beer, eating great food and spending time with friends and like-minded people Session Bornholm is for you. As is often the case, pictures tell a much more elaborate story than words. Gordon and Frederik collaborated with Niels Vestergaard, Jacob Gruwier Vinjegaard and the young, talented guys from @finfollowers and did a short philosophical movie showing what Bornholm Session is all about. Watch it here:
Bornholm is easily accessible by car from Denmark and Sweden and has plenty of daily flight connections. The only thing you need to keep in mind is that the island can easily get covered in snow within hours, so winter tyres and snow chains are mandatory. Otherwise the island is easily covered by a normal vehicle and there are plenty of brilliant spots to be fished. Fly Fishing on Bornholm â€“ What to Bring? For fishing on Bornholm, it is important to be well equipped. The rough conditions put your gear to the test. Proper wading boots with studs and a wading staff are recommended. The locals normally equip themselves with a fast 6 or 7-weight single handed rod, combined with an intermediate shooting head to keep track of the fly in the swells and to get down to the fish when the water is still cold.
For most people, a stripping basket is a God-given tool for fishing in harsh winds and big swells but, nonetheless, some manage without. A normal selection of flies for coastal sea trout is more than enough but remember to bring plenty of smaller flies. As mentioned above; the water keeps clear. If you ever consider joining Bornholm Session, you can follow the Facebook page for more information. www.facebook.com/flyfishersrendezvous Donâ€™t hesitate, there will be tons of opportunities to get priceless advice from the local guys and from some of the usual trout bums whoâ€™ve been fishing on Bornholm for years. Tight lines and see you in week 10 on Bornholm!
The Profile of a Fly Fisherman
Name: René Harrop Born: September 6, 1945 Occupation: Fly tyer, Writer, Fly Fishing Consultant Website: www.houseofharrop.com Facebook: René Harrop
Few people have inspired and meant so much to so many as the American flyfishing legend, industry insider, outdoors writer and fly tyer extraordinaire, René Harrop. A bottomless well of wisdom, René resides in Montana where he spends his time catching finicky and selective, wild rainbow trout on flies that he has conceptualized and perfected over the years. We’ve had a word with René about what there is to learn from fully focusing on and immersing oneself in one river (The Henry’s Fork); what can be done to get kids and adolescents into fly fishing; and much, much more…
How did you get started fly fishing and when? I began fly fishing in the early 1950’s by watching my father. Dad gave me a nine foot bamboo rod with about four inches broken from the tip in 1954. I fished with a willow and no reel prior to that time.
What is it that intrigues you about fly fishing? I like the way fly fishing forces me to observe, think, and to concentrate. Each individual trout represents a new experience and no two are ever exactly the same. Ideally, fly fishing is a one on one encoun-
RenĂŠ Harrop ter with an elusive opponent that must first be found and then dealt with on terms that are established by the fish. Each situation carries a distinct set of problems that must be solved both intellectually and physically. The level of pressure is determined by the degree of difficulty attached to the engagement, and the trout that win provide the strongest motivation for growth. What goes through your head when youâ€™re out fly fishing? To be truly effective as a fly fisher one must approach the game with a clear mind. Allowing even minor distraction when engaged with a fish will work against you. A mental mistake can be as costly as a bungled cast, and full concentration must be applied from start to finish if one hopes to find his adversary in the net. What characterizes the most rewarding moments as a fly fisherman? There are many ways to fish an artificial fly, and I enjoy them all. However, I am most happy when engaged with a particularly resistant trout that is feeding on the surface. For me nothing is more stimulating than a standoff that may extend for as long as an hour during which I am compelled to give my best effort. To see the fish take the fly and then feel its weight is enough to tell me that I have done everything right, and that is all the satisfaction I need.
The Profile of a Fly Fisherman
What is your favourite species to target on a fly rod and why? I live in trout country so naturally I am attached to the brown trout and brook trout that share that share the waters of the Yellowstone region with cutthroat, our native trout. However, more than six decades of dealing with the defiant rainbows of the Henry’s Fork has brought about a level of respect and appreciation for this species that has not been surpassed. Henry’s Fork rainbows are unique in attaining considerable size while continuing to survive mainly on insects through-
out their lifespan. This means that the largest rout in the river will be a candidate for a well-fished dry fly at some point. My own personal best is a rainbow in excess of twenty six inches that took a size 16 floating pattern only four years ago. You’ve fished the Henry’s Fork your whole life. What is it that fascinates you about this particular river? While the Henry’s Fork is most known for the slow, wide, and shallow currents that characterize the fly only water of the Harriman Ranch, there is much more to this world-famous trout stream.
René Harrop Though its length is more than eighty miles, the Henry’s Fork is a river of extreme diversity. Beginning small at its spring-fed source, the river is ever changing as it gathers volume from other springs and numerous tributaries on the way to the confluence with the Snake River. Undulating through changing terrain and elevation, it can seem as many rivers as it courses through pine forest and open meadows where its flow may be wide, slow, and gentle or surging through narrow stretches of intimidating rapids. Ever growing, as it courses through deep canyons and over spectacular falls, the Henry’s Fork leaves mountainous terrain and runs across the vast Snake River Plain. Although my days on the Henry’s Fork
number in the thousands I have not fished it all, and there are many lessons left to be learned. What’s it like to fish a certain river for as long as you have fished the Henry’s Fork? To have a river as magnificent as the Henry’s Fork close by is to live in a condition of happiness, if you are a fly fisherman. Time and distance are never a factor in determining whether I can fish on any given day, and only prohibitive weather keeps me away from the water. Few men can work and raise a family while still enjoying more than a hundred days each year on the water. The two homes I own are separated by about forty miles but both are only a few hundred yards from the Henry’s Fork.
The Profile of a Fly Fisherman This gives the ability to leave work and catch the best hour of a special event like a Green Drake hatch before returning to the responsibility of making a living. Who has changed more - you or the Henry’s Fork? Because we have existed together for so many years, it is quite likely that the changes in my life and who I am has been dictated by the fortunes of the Henry’s Fork. I began in the business of fly fishing nearly fifty years ago with the Henry’s Fork as the basis of my entry. The highs and lows of my professional life have mirrored the ability of the Henry’s Fork to attract those who support my livelihood. In general, the river has a sustained history as a great pro-
ducer of trout but there have been periods when factors such as draught or human caused problems have affected its productivity. When the fishery suffers we in the industry suffer as well, and we prosper together in good times. Certainly, I am a different person now than when I first fished the Henry’s Fork as a young boy. However, I can still walk the banks and wade its flows with the same enthusiasm that existed in the beginning more than sixty years ago. What is there to learn from fishing a certain river year after year? Every river holds its own secrets, but I believe a river like the Henry’s Fork holds more than most.
Few rivers possess the diversity of trout sustaining organisms or offer equal opportunity to understand the essence of what true fly fishing is all about. I earned my place in the profession of fly tying by observing the aquatic insects of the Henry’s Fork and then translating their images into fly patterns that perform the task of tempting some of the most selective
trout in the world. What other places do you enjoy to fish? I believe that true learning in fly fishing can come only from the water, and many of the lessons I have learned from the Henry’s Fork with respect to the interaction between trout and their food sources can be transferred to other waters as well.
The Profile of a Fly Fisherman Although I have fished as far away as Japan, most of my fishing has been limited to waters much closer to my home state of Idaho. I have been charmed by the waters of Yellowstone, and the Fire Hole is something special. Rivers just outside the Park include the Madison, Gallatin, Yellowstone, Big Horn, Snake , and Green are well known to most fly fishers, and I have enjoyed them all More distant are the Missouri in Montana and Silver Creek in central Idaho, and I can fish for steelhead in the Salmon, about two hundred miles away. And any spring creek is to be loved. I have always enjoyed still waters but my interest in lake fishing has deepened in the last decade or so. Hebgen, Henryâ€™s, and Sheridan Lakes are less than an hour from my summer home and each receives consistent attention from June through October. Your whole family fishes. Any tips on getting youngsters into the sport? I learned to love the water as a young child when my fatherâ€™s extended family would gather for big streamside picnics. It is in that same way that my own children, grandchildren, and now great grandchildren have become introduced to its magic. Sunday picnics on the Henryâ€™s Fork begin in the spring as soon as the river is free of ice. Being close to the water becomes a normal feature of life when they are babies
and fishing becomes available as quickly as they are big enough to hold a spinning rod. The little ones of our family have all caught fish on bait well before they have achieved the physical development required to handle a fly rod. Usually by age eight or nine they have learned that fishing is fun and fly fishing has followed as a natural progression within the family unit. It may come as a surprise to some that even the adults in our family may resort to spinning rods and bait while snow remains on the banks of the river and the water is too cold for a hatch of any kind. From the beginning, our fishing seasons have begun around a campfire in late February or March when the long winter has yet to become a memory. I am convinced that traditions like this hold a family together more strongly than any indoor activity could ever accomplish. Of course, when the time comes for advancement in fly fishing, there is plenty of expertise provided to each individual child. If you could be anywhere in the world right now fly fishing, where would you be - and why? Right now, I am looking at snow that has been falling since yesterday. The temperature is well below freezing and the river is choked with ice. These conditions take
fishing out of the picture for now, but there is no sadness in this temporary separation from the water. While fishing is my primary outdoor interest, I hold almost equal passion for hunting. The weather so prohibitive for fishing is actually ideal for hunting deer or waterfowl. Both of these activities keep me close enough to the river to retain connection to one of the most important aspects of my life. The Henryâ€™s Fork is central to my existence and its culture is more than just fish-
ing. This is ancestral homeland to which I am instinctively connected. The footprints of my Native American ancestors lie in the same trails I walk along the river and they have been there for thousands of years. To fish right now would mean considerable travel, and I simply do not want to leave. The weather is sure to moderate at some near point and I will again be wading the water that I love. Meanwhile, I am content to just wait.
PERFECTED A PERFECTION
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New on the market Leave the water out: ORTLIEB GEAR-PACK Does your agenda include walking sandy flats all day, fishing the wave-splashing surf or going by boat. Then you’ll need equipment that is just as versatile as you are! Consider the ORTLIEB Gear-Pack: a hybrid dry bag and backpack that is ready for any fly fishing adventure imaginable. The Gear-Pack is waterproof, absolutely durable and extremely adaptable. This Gear-Pack combines the portability of a backpack with the durability of a packsack and it comes with the proven ORTLIEB roll closure and both front and lateral daisy chains that allow you to conveniently attach a spare fly rod. Comes in three colors and two sizes (32L & 40L). More info at: https://www.ortlieb.com/en/Gear-Pack/
Book by Steffan Jones: SEATROUT – TIPS, TRICKS AND TRIBULATIONS If you’re into seatrout, you shouldn’t miss out on the new book by Steffan Jones. Entitled, Seatrout – Tips, Tricks and Tribulations, this is one of the most authoritative, well-written and beautifully laid out books about seatrout fishing to date. The book deals with everything from the seatrouts feeding habits and biology to specific fishing- and approach techniques – including which patterns to use in varying conditions. It also provides a fascinating glimpse into the history and development of fly fishing for seatrout in Great Britain. Steffan Jones’ vast experience and passion for seatrout really shines through in this comprehensive and eloquently written book, and we highly recommended it! To order your own copy, please send an email to: firstname.lastname@example.org
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In Swedish: TORRFLUGEFISKE: DAGSLÄNDER AND NATTSLÄNDOR, BÄCKSLÄNDOR, MYGG & LANDINSEKTER This one is for all the Swedes, Danes and Norwegians: The new release from Swedish fly tyer and fly fisherman extraordinaire, Johan Klingberg, which includes two titles: Dagsländer (Mayflies) and Nattsländor, Bäcksländor, Mygg & Landinsekter (Other aquatic insects). The two books focus on the life cycles, biology and characteristics of the most prolific aquatic insects in Scandinavia, and they’re richly illustrated with beautiful photography and lots of super-interesting step-by-step fly tying sequences, which anyone – no matter their Swedish language proficiency – will benefit from. For more information, please visit: https://bit.ly/2rcvKGO
New on the market Wet Weather Protection: SCIERRA TUNDRA V2 CHEST WADERS The Scierra Tundra V2 Neoprene Chest Waders have a deluxe 5mm neoprene design with S-Seal technology for maximum waterproof protection and durability for great performance when wading. Built from soft and flexible 5mm neoprene fabric, this gives excellent stretch as well as comfort and features lower cut under arms for a better fit. The construction is 100% waterproof with glued, stitched and S-liquid sealed seams for enhanced fabric longevity and wet weather protection. For more information, please visit: www.scierra.com
New Line Series From Scierra: SCIERRA BIG FLY II As the name suggests, these WF-lines are designed to carry really big flies to their intended destinations. Our unwavering goal was to design lines with shorter front tapers (to turn over big flies more easily), without compromising with neither loop control nor presentations. Fantastic lines that will give you the upper hand when hunting bloodthirsty predators. Welded loops in both ends with laser printed indication. For more information, please visit: www.scierra.com
A New Generation: SIMMS G3 GUIDE TACTICAL JACKET The Simms G3 Guide Tactical Jacket is an upgrade from the best-selling Simms jacket of all time. It’s a jacket with a smooth, clean front that is constructed with a 3-layer GoreTex Shell fabric and a 100 percent nylon face, which prevents rain and wind from seeping in. The jacket is designed specifically to handle very tough weather conditions and to keep you dry while you are fishing, hiking, or enjoying the outdoors during extreme weather conditions. The jacket features 9 storage pockets, 4 zippered chest pockets, 1 internal zippered pocket, 1 stretch mesh pocket, 1 zippered sleeve pocket and 2 zippered micro-fleece lined hand warmer pockets, plenty of space for your valuables and fishing gear that you will need during your outdoor adventures. For more information, please visit: https://bit.ly/2HJVQes
Ultimate Drag: WATERWORKS-LAMSON COBALT A bolt from the blue, Cobalt is a big game powerhouse of a reel packed with technical breakthroughs that’ll change the game on the flats and into the deep. Cobalt features a dual-axis machined frame that dramatically strengthens the side that bears the most load. The foot is embedded—rather than perched—atop the reel to effectively transmit force and distribute weight. The large arbor spool is also machined with many subtle asymmetries that bring perfect balance without a counterweight. The Cobalt comes in 6, 8, 10, and 12-weights, and more information can be accessed here: https://www.flyfisheurope.com/wwl/cobalt/d2694
New on the market
For the Photographer: MINDSHIFT 180 ROTATION CAMERA BACKPACK As a fly fishing photographer, one is on or in the water most of the time, and it means that carefully stowing away the camera equipment in a backpack is necessary. At the same time, this means that the camera isn’t immediately at hand when something interesting suddenly happens. Well, until now… The new MindShift 180 Rotation BackPack features a built-in hip pack (or beltpack) that magically slides around your waist to the front. It fits a DSLR camera, and it means that you can easily produce your camera without having to take off your backpack and rummage through your belongings. You simply click the release/locking-mechanism and pull the integrated beltpack around your waist for rapid access to your gear. For further information, please check: https://www.mindshiftgear.com/products/rotation180-horizon
Advanced hand protection: BUFF® AQUA GLOVES Protect your hands from sun, surf, chafing, and cuts. These extremely versatile gloves are a fisherman’s best friend. The all-over silicone- grip palm makes it easier to keep hold of your rod, and the anti-microbial fabric prevents unpleasant odors. The unique design offers maximum durability, ensuring these gloves will last for years. More info at http://buffusa.com/gloves
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The door to Dream Waters
Pictures by Pedro Rodriguez
Jurassic Lake is the popular name for Lago Strobel: A remote, windswept lake in the Patagonian province of Santa Cruz in Argentina. The lake was inducted into the fly fishing hall of fame when Christer Sjöberg – the founder of Loop Tackle – co-organized an expedition to the lake back in 2005. The expedition stumbled upon a rainbow trout fishery that exceeded most fly fishermen’s wildest fantasies, and once a camp had been established, it didn’t take long before Jurassic Lake – as it was cleverly dubbed - had gained international attention and fame. Lago Strobel is a 63km2 endorheic ba-
sin – i.e. a closed drainage lake without an outlet. It’s set in a treeless lunar-like landscape and its shorelines are strewn with contorted tufa-formations, cliff fragments and even remnants of petrified forest. Lago Strobel is inherently fishless. Why it’s been like that for thousands of years is somewhat of a mystery, but it certainly isn’t due to scarcity of food. The crater-like lake offers a rich base of food mainly consisting of raw amounts of scuds, and with the almost 40 kilometre-long Barrancoso River providing prime spawning- and growth habitat, we’re talking about a unique biotope with an enormous potential.
The explanation as to why the lake has such a prolific population of massive rainbow trout is to be found among the local gauchos – these hardy Argentinean cattlemen, who have found their domain in the windswept and arid terrain surrounding Jurassic Lake. It was the gauchos that introduced a modest number of rainbow trout from the Santa Cruz River into the Barrancoso tributary some 20 years ago – a stock of fish that have flourished in the lake and become a self-reproducing population of monster trout up to 15 kilos (and probably bigger). Despite its location in the middle of the Santa Cruz desert’s harsh and extremely inhospitable desert plateau, there’s a rich and compelling bird life in- and around the lake. Flamingos, ducks and eagles reside here in addition to the endemic hooded grebe – or maca tobiana, which lives nowhere else in the world, and which wasn’t discovered and documented until some 20 years ago. The lake is also rich in culture and history. People have lived here for more than 9000 years, and along the Barrancoso River you can still find traces of human activity: stone age tools, petroglyphs and settlement remnants. Logistics In order to get to Jurassic Lake Lodge, you need to fly to Comodoro Rivadavia via Buenos Aires. From here, Jurassic Lake Lodge now arranges private charter flights to the lake. This part of the journey, which
takes about an hour and a half, replaces and excruciatingly long and bumpy car ride, which – for the last 115 kilometres - from the city of Governor Gregores consists of rudimentary gravel roads that even cross country 4X4’s struggle with. The lodge’s new landing strip was completed in 2015, and there are flights every Saturday and – on demand – Wednesday. Clothes for Jurassic Lake Jurassic Lake is an extreme and moody place – especially when it comes to the weather. Oftentimes, warm and calm weather is suddenly superseded by cold- and raging winds, and – as a result – you always need to be ready to switch from sunscreen and t-shirts into wool and weather-resistant shell clothing. Late in the season there’s even the risk of snow storms. Regardless of when you plan to travel to Jurassic Lake, packing several layers of insulating core clothing and wind- and waterproof shell clothing is essential. The winds at Jurassic Lake reach speeds in excess of 100 kilometres an hour, and with the ceaseless imminence of extreme cold (and rain or snow), you’ll want to pack the best clothes out there. In addition to layers and shell-clothing, you should pack a warm wool-Buff, water-resistant gloves, and a beanie (or cap with ear flaps). Together with sunscreen and a pair of UV-protective crewnecks, all these garments should be packed in a waterproof daypack.
There are plenty of sight-fishing opportunities, no matter the wind- and weather conditions. Therefore, a good pair of polaroid sunglasses are essential. They also provide some much-needed protection, when casting in the notoriously tricky winds that rip through the lake basin. The Gear When it comes to the equipment, you also need to keep the extreme weather conditions in mind – and not least the size of the fish. Generally, 9,6 - 10’ #6-8 fly rods that are capable of handling turbulent winds will be useful, but if you’re lucky enough to experience calm days,
you shouldn’t rob yourself of the opportunity to fish a 9’ #4/5 – so bring one just in case. If you’re rather unexperienced when it comes to fishing in heavy winds, you might consider heavy shooting heads – if necessary in combination with switch- or light double-handed rods. Because even though the fish usually patrol the shorelines, sometimes they’ll hang around the drop offs, and then you’ll need long casts to reach them. The fly reels should have stable, low-inertia brake systems, and they should be able to pack a WF-fly line and 100-150 meters of backing. You’ll mostly be using
floating lines, but intermediate lines are great when fishing streamers or nymphs in heavy seas. When doing that, you’ll typically be using fluorocarbon leaders with 0,20 – 0,28mm tippets. Otherwise, when fishing dries, nylon leaders and tippets are to be preferred. Bring along even lighter tippet materials for the odd, windless and sunny day, but never fish lighter tippets than necessary. Remember: Jurassic Lake produces enormous fish, and they are super-powerful! The flies, that are typically used at Jurassic Lake, are a mix of olive-, white-, grey-, and black streamers ranging in size from 2 – 10, and #8 – 14 nymphs and scud imitations in similar colours – preferably with lively rubber legs. The best dry flies are big and buoyant. Chernobyl Ants and similar foam-dry flies with rubber legs and big, white wings of deer hair work impeccably. At the same time, they’re highly visible when fished at a distance. The common denominator for all of the flies is that they need to be tied on X-strong hooks. Otherwise, the will get straightened out by the bigger fish in the lake. Jurassic Lake Lodge Jurassic Lake Lodge is a comfortable and atmospheric lodge, which is strategically located precisely where the Barrancoso River enters Lago Strobel. In other words, it is situated in immediate prox-
imity to the lake’s most productive fishing area. Jurassic Lake Lodge accommodates up to 10 fly fishermen, who then have access to several different beats in the lake in addition to 30 kilometres of the incredibly exciting and relatively unexplored Barrancoso River. Furthermore, the lodge owns the rights to the Moro Creek, which is a little river, that connects a series of smaller lakes – and here you can experience some amazing – and practically undiscovered – trout fishing. For additional information and current prices, please refer to: www.jurassiclakelodge.com or contact lodge-owner, Carlos Lopez Casanello, directly: email@example.com
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!
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THE AUTUMN FLY By ALLAN OVERGAARD
There is more to fly tying than plastic, foam, and fake feathers. Let`s not forget the natural beauty and effectiveness of classic Danish coastal flies – tied with mother Nature’s very own materials.
Autumn Fly, invented by Henrik Brangstrup back in 1996-97, has a bit of history. I have always been very fond of flies that incorporate golden pheasant, so from an early stage, Autumn Fly had a special place in my fly box. It still has!
I first discovered the fly in Thomas Vinge’s books “Havørred på kysten”, which is Danish for “Coastal Searun Trout”. During talks with other fly tiers there were discussions about how to tie the fly. In order to get it right, I contacted
MATERIALS: Hook: Ahrex NS156 Traditional Shrimp #6 Thread: Red/Brown Tail: Red/brown golden pheasant + 2 strands of Flashabou Body: Tan dubbing Palmer hackle: Grizzly saddle Front hackle: Golden pheasant the inventor himself, Henrik Brangstrup. I told Henrik about my fascination of Autumn Fly and asked him for the story behind it, and so here it is, roughly as told by Henrik Brangstrup: â€œThe idea behind Autumn Fly emerged after I had developed a small series of flies, which had underfur dubbing from my old cat, Jerry. Whether it was as nymph or a salmon fly was debateable, but it just seemed to work, and it delivered fish. Fall fishing for sea-run brown trout has always been very dear to me, and I knew that this new fall-fly had to have natural colours but still be visible in turbulent water. From experience I
know that sea-run brown trout can be very finicky, and that targeting them in turbulent and murky water can provide the fly fisherman with an advantage. Long before I pulled out the chair underneath my fly tying desk, I had a clear vision of the unborn fly. First and foremost: Underfur from Jerry for the body. As for the rib, I had to choose between silver and gold rib, but I has an idea that silver would reflect light better than gold. Red fibres from a golden pheasant and two strands of pearl Flashabou for a tail, a body hackle from a grizzly rooster, and finally, a red chest feather from a golden pheasant as a front hackle and a head made of red tying thread (or red varnish).
On the first trip to the western part of Zealand the as yet unnamed fly did very well luring a couple of nice-sized trout. After a good day of fishing, we stood by the car stowing away our tackle. As I nipped the fly off the leader, I dropped the fly on the ground in a pile of leaves from the nearby trees. With it, the proverbial “penny dropped”. My fly had the exact same colour as the autumn leaves on the ground, and its name was inevitably: “Autumn Fly”. Autumn Fly quickly became my absolute favourite, and, during the years, it has fooled a serious amount of sea-run trout. The choice of materials is based on careful consideration. The fly is not fitted with any extra weight. Instead, it relies on the natural underfur to absorb water and give the fly a natural descend through the water column. Furthermore, the materials are chosen for
their liveliness and vibrance in the water even when slowly retrieved or paused. My favourite knot for this fly is an open loop-knot. It provides the fly with even more life”. Adding to the story of Henrik’s fly, I was lucky enough to achieve a personal goal with it. This autumn, I landed a 5+ kilo silvery sea-run brown trout off the coasts. The fantastic fish weighed 5,1 kg and it was fooled by… Autumn Fly.
”PLASTIC IN THE BASKET - HELP CLEAN UP THE OCEANS” By NIKOLAJ KORSHOLM
Collecting plastic in your stripping basket is a great way to reduce the amount of plastic (and micro plastics) in our oceans. Nikolaj Korsholm shows the way...
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.
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An Interview with a Fishy Artist?
By RASMUS OVESEN and ERIC OTTEN
Tell us a bit about yourself. Where do you live, how old are you, and what do you for a living? My name is Eric Otten and I am 23 years old. About a year ago, I started studying biology and I chose a university with good fishing opportunities within close distance from home. I ended up moving to the city of Kiel at the Baltic coast in Germany. So even though it is not exactly a living yet, I spend most of my time attending classes and lectures and of course, studying for exams. However, when I am not learning about the cellular structures of plants, the feeding habits of some worm or some chemical stuff that I barely understand, I get to spend some of my time drawing and painting fish, mostly gamefish from all around the world.
When did you get started fly fishing?
Did it coincide with you starting to do art?
I have been a fisherman for as long as I can remember, and, at one point, I did the typical career change from simple coarse fishing to spin fishing.
Well, it kind of did. Although I used to draw and paint fish and other animals before, getting into the world of fly fishing exposed me to a huge variety of great fly fishing films and photography that inspired me to pick popular gamefish as the subject of my art.
My first steps into the world of fly fishing I took not too long ago, in 2013, after realizing that the only river that flows through the village I grew up in, held various species of trout in good numbers. Since this turned out to be a fly-only stretch, I had to go with the flow: I attended a casting clinique and made my first steps into the sport. My passion for flyfishing really took off a little later, when I first met Stephan Dombaj in Cologne. He gave me my first proper outfit and showed me a bunch of tricks for casting and presentation.
Back then, I did not really see my artwork as something special. I looked on it more as a pastime or a hobby, and did not even think about the possibility that there might be an international audience for it. This quickly changed after my friend Marko Freese, at that time a contributer to The Flyfishing Nation guys, posted my sketch of a grand slam on their Instagram channel. As a matter of fact, April Vokey saw it, decided to buy it and eventually printed it on a shirt.
Of course, I was absolutely overwhelmed by this kind of appreciation and, since then, I have not stopped my efforts in drawing and painting fish and sharing them with the social media community. I guess you could say that, while flyfishing itself may not have been the starting engine for what I do today, it sure as hell provided a huge boost of confidence, reach and inspiration for me.
How do you muster the stoicism to do art relating to fly fishing, when it takes time away from fly fishing? I do not think that art takes time away from fishing. I think fishing and creating art goes hand in hand and in my case, they rely on each other. If I am not knee-deep covered in commissioned artwork, I choose whatever I feel like doing at the moment, sometimes it is fishing, sometimes it is painting. Why did you get into painting in the first place, and why have you decided to paint fly fishing motives? What inspired you?
As mentioned before, I started drawing as a child and always was inspired by books and documentaries about animals and wildlife of all forms. Living pretty much in the countryside, I was also into nerdy stuff like bird watching, local reptiles and fish. I also kept fish in tanks all my life and consumed every book about the ones I had, as well as all those that I dreamt of getting. So the topic of my art was determined very early by my interest and obsession with fish. Luckily, my family, my closest friends and so many people around me from the beginning, until today, always supported me doing that!
How do you split your time between fly fishing and painting? Splitting time between fly fishing and painting is actually quite easy for me, because I mostly paint at nighttime, while the most productive fishing around here occurs during daylight. So as you see, there is no direct competition between these two things for me. What really is much more of a challenge to achieve, is the balance between studying, art and fishing.
Is there a common allure involved in fly fishing and painting - or do these endeavors represent different emotional involvement? I think in general, both things share a few values, such as the appreciation for aesthetics, whether it is in casting, tying, the beauty of a wild fishâ€™s pattern or looking at a piece of art. For me personally, art and fly fishing are absolutely crucial for maintaining a healthy balance in my life. I used to be a typical ADHDchild and I am still a rather hectic, restless and sometimes nervous person. The only two things that can really distract me from that and make me more focused and relaxed are fish. No matter if in real life while fly fishing or the ones coming to life on paper when I paint.
What is your favourite species of fish to target and why? That’s a tough question. I grew up catching brown trout and perch on lures and bait. Both species still have a special place in my heart these days. I got to say, trout in general are something special to me. Nowadays, with all those new opportunities, I have widened my scope a bit. I now also enjoy completely different stuff such as pike fishing or barbel and trout on tiny nymphs. But the list goes on, as cod and other saltwater species roam the waters down the street from my place and also get their fair share. You see, most fish I target and like to catch are native species in Germany, but I also plan to catch the fish I like to portray in my art in the future. GT, Tarpon and other popular gamefish are magical and on the top of my bucket list. I think there are just so many fish to catch on this planet, that I could never pick just one as my all-time favorite.
If I had to do it, it would most likely be pike. You just got to love the attitude, the strike, but also the beauty of these fish.
And what is your favourite place to fish – and why? Another tough question! So far, there is no place that is “the one” for me. I have fished many bodies of water throughout Germany and almost every single one of them was special to me in some way. I really enjoy fly fishing for barbel and trout with light outfits in the beautiful streams around Cologne in the summer months. I mean that is wet wading and sight-fishing for big fish… It really does not get much better than that! My favorite place to fish at home is definitely the Baltic coast. Casting streamers into the sea, hoping for a hook-up with a chrome seatrout in cold, harsh winds disconnects me from the struggles and stress of every day life and recharges my energy.
If people want to buy one of your paintings - or order one - where can they go? At the moment I can only take orders via mail, but we are working on a website as a better option, in the future. I plan to launch it in spring 2018, so stay tuned for that! In the meantime, I will post my finished artworks and a lot of sketches, progress shots and updates on my Instagram and Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/ eric.otten.5 https://www.instagram. com/eric_otten A few older artworks of mine are also available on canvas, shirts and caps at the webshop of my good friends at www.shop-daf.de
NO ONE CAN PREDICT THE WEATHER THE BEST YOU CAN DO IS BE PREPARED
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| Durable high abrasive shell fabric of 300D x 300D 100% polyester twill Oxford in melangĂŠ colour with DWR finish | 3-layer bonded with 100% waterproof TPU lamination of 10.000mm and high breathability of 8.000mvp & soft tricot backing | Flexible front and cuff insert of 86% polyester and 14% spandex creating a tough look and comfortable design | High quality waterproof zippers | Adjustable hem
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Blue Heart Campaign Aims to Protect the Last Wild Rivers of Europe A website, petition and documentary will raise awareness and facilitate action
In March, Patagonia launched the Blue Heart website and petition urging international banks to stop investing in the destruction of Europe’s last wild rivers. The multimedia campaign is aimed at protecting the Balkan region from more than 3,000 proposed hydropower projects and meant to bring international awareness to a potential environmental disaster. In the Balkan Peninsula between Slovenia and Albania, hydropower projects threaten to destroy the richly diverse culture, history and ecology of the region known as the Blue Heart of Europe. Local activists living along these rivers are fighting to save their homes and the rivers and lands that define them. Vigilant and steadfast women from the village of Kruščica, in Bosnia and Herzegovina, sat night and day for almost a year in peaceful protest to protect their communities’ rivers and their only source of drinking water, enduring physical violence from authorities to do so. European and local NGOs led by RiverWatch and Euronatur are opposing government corruption and
foreign investment that fuels this hydropower gold rush. Patagonia is joining with local communities and NGOs in Bosnia and Herzegovina, Albania and Macedonia to put pressure on foreign developers and banks that are pouring over €700 million to fund the dam-building projects—this according to the Bankwatch report which is released globally today. One third of the dams and diversions are planned within sensitive protected areas including 118 in national parks. If this fierce local opposition fails, communities will be displaced and the last undammed watersheds on the continent will be irreversibly damaged: https://bankwatch.org/publication/ financing-for-hydropower-in-protected-areas-of-southeast-europe-update Patagonia’s Blue Heart website features this endangered and forgotten region and details why hydropower dams are dirty technology that don’t belong in the green energy mix.
Patagonia, along with NGO partners, is asking concerned citizens around the world to sign the petition to stop the funding of these dams and protect the last wild rivers of Europe. “I believe this wild place requires and deserves protection,” said Patagonia founder Yvon Chouinard. “It’s a waste of money and a moral travesty that some of the world’s largest financial institutions have embraced this outdated and exploitative technology and are financing new dams in some of the last wild places in Europe. This is a fight too important to ignore.”
While the movement to decommission deadbeat dams and shift to truly clean energy is growing worldwide, the number of proposed projects in the Balkan region has doubled since 2015. Ninety-one percent of the proposed dams and diversions will provide very little energy and are extremely expensive to build and maintain. Because of their size, they require no environmental impact assessment. Sign the petition and act to protect Europe’s last wild rivers here: https://blueheart.patagonia.com
Patagonia’s latest documentary film, Blue Heart, depicts the fight to protect Europe’s last wild rivers and brings international awareness to a potential environmental disaster in Europe. It is being screened around the world as a centrepiece of the ongoing Save the Blue Heart of Europe campaign. The Balkan Peninsula between Slovenia and Albania is home to the last wild rivers in Europe where more than 3,000 proposed hydropower projects threaten to destroy the culture and ecology of this forgotten region. If fierce local opposition fails, 20,000 kilometers of pristine sparkling creeks, raging tributaries and swift, braided currents of the last undammed watersheds on the continent will be forever damaged by thousands of dams and diversions—at a time when dams are being decommissioned throughout much of the developed world. Local activists living along the shores of these rivers and European NGOs such as RiverWatch and EuroNatur are fighting against government corruption and foreign investment. Blue Heart documents the battle to protect Albania’s Vjosa River, the largest undammed river in Europe; the effort
to save the endangered Balkan Lynx in Macedonia, and the months-long fight by women of Kruščica, Bosnia and Herzegovina, who are protesting day and night to save their community’s only source of drinking water. “With the deluge of proposed hydropower dams and diversions in the Balkan peninsula we are looking at what could be irreversible environmental destruction, but there is very little awareness of this issue in Europe or globally,” states Ryan Gellert, general manager, EMEA, Patagonia. “ We hope that this film will bring international attention to the local communities fighting to protect the free-flowing rivers they rely on and educate people about why hydropower dams are an outdated, dirty technology.” Created by Patagonia, in partnership with NGOs from across the Balkan region and throughout Europe, directed by Britton Caillouette (Farm League) and with music by Andrew Bird, the film is a powerful moment in the larger ongoing effort to raise global awareness for the Save the Blue Heart of Europe campaign. In the film and throughout the campaign, Patagonia
asks people to act now and sign an online petition to put pressure on foreign developers and banks, who are funding dam-building projects, including within protected areas. Blue Heart launches globally on 28 April 2018. The world premiere of the film will be held at Idbar Dam in Bosnia and Herzegovina, followed by screenings across the Balkan Peninsula and in major cities worldwide. The film will also be available on iTunes from 8th August 2018. About the director Britton Caillouette has been making
films in the outdoors for over a decade. A student of history with a keen eye for photography and a love for challenging production situations, he brings a unique style of visual storytelling and humanity to his stories. Britton directed his first documentary in war-torn West Africa while an undergraduate at Stanford University and has won awards for his work in both film and advertising including a Cannes Lion. He is represented by Farm League (previous Farm League films for Patagonia include The Fishermanâ€™s Son and Unbroken Ground). Watch the trailer below:
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