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(1994) Lapland's streams and lakes are undeniably a paradise for fly fishermen and UL spin fishermen. There was also no doubt about this when I, during the approach to Østersund in Sweden, looked out the window and enjoyed this beautiful nature. I would go so far as to say that “it stinks” of lovely trout fishing. My goal, however, was not the common brown trout, char or grayling, but wild brown trout.04 lapland wild brown trout 20220219 1655894362

Saturday, August 13th

Following the previous evening's hair-raising experiences in Bengt's useless car on unlit mountain roads, the sunny morning promised a somewhat different and better day. We were now on the Norwegian side of the border-mountains at an altitude of about 600 meters. From here, the trip with the boys went out to a Sami national park, which is usually only visited by the Sami and mountain hikers. For the same reason, it was necessary to have the acclaimed local guide, Kåre, with us. The cold, long walk into the wilderness was facilitated by the horse we had with us to carry the camp equipment. I led to believe that there would be several horses and that they would carry all the gear, so I had brought all sorts of stuff that weighed more than what was clever. Generally, it is of enormous importance on hikes in mountainous places to be very selective with what equipment you bring, for obvious reasons. However, my torments were alleviated a lot by discovering that our Dutch friends carried even more stuff. One had brought a backpack, but the other only had duffel bags, which they had to hang on the rod tube and carry it between them.

20 lapland wild brown trout 20220219 2062060880 All the hardships were of course quickly forgotten when we finally got over the last peak before the lake. It was a divine sight unfolding before our eyes, azure blue water and sky, beautiful green mountain sides with white blobs of ice and hordes of reindeer keeping an eye on us at an appropriate distance.

We spent the rest of the afternoon setting up tent camp and setting up a rock kitchen, which was fixed with large flat stones as shelter for the three gas and alcohol burners. Bengt was in charge of the cooking and this evening he spoiled us with mushroom soup, fried marinated reindeer meat with rice, and rosehip soup for dessert.

Sunday, August 14th
Man, it was hard to get up. My legs were stiff as tree trunks, and besides, it was nice and warm in the sleeping bag, but after ten minutes the smell of coffee and the urge to fish became too much for me. I offered Old Danish herb liquor, and with that good taste in our mouths, we spread out around the lake to make our first attempt at catching the wild trout.

Bengt calls the trout here a wild brown trout, because this form apparently dates back to the last ice age without any influence from other trout forms. Its Latin name is the same as the common brown trout, Salmo trutta fario, but colours and dots are quite different, as seen in trout which live in acidic water.20 lapland wild brown trout 20220219 2062060880 

There was not much activity in the lake, which was also pretty shallow for the season. Bengt lost a fighter of about a kilo near the camp while the rest of us made the attempt in the adjacent streams. We climbed around cliff sides along small waterfalls and fished in the most perfect pools with gin-clear water. Today's catch came to 12 trout of between 100 and 900 grams and all were caught on small spinners. I had the best result with my beloved little yellow jungle spinner, Rooster Tail.

The dinner of course consisted of fried trout, hollandaise sauce with white wine and pasta, and in the evening we sat and enjoyed ourselves around the fire with each our little glass of cognac and a lot of fishing-stories.

Monday, August 15th

It was a somewhat raw morning to wake up to, and a bit disappointing with fairly cold winds and clouds. But as soon as I got into the fishing clothes, the fish fever had done its thing. Today's goal for me was to reach the top of the adjacent stream, where there is also a small, interesting lake. The weather cleared before I arrived at the little lake, and suddenly everything was bathed in beautiful sunlight. My knees and elbows were soaked as a result of the wet vegetation, but it was a landscape of beautiful flowers, white cottongrass, mushrooms and cloudberries that mostly ended up being munched on.

30 lapland wild brown trout 20220219 1353077808 But now it was the fly rod I wanted to get into action. I fished all the alluring pools and worked my way downstream, which took most of the day, but which funnily enough didn’t feel as strenuous as the way up. There were lots of beautiful trout in varying sizes, but I only managed to land fish up to 500 grams. To be completely honest, I think they had taken any fly, but still I would mention that flies like Blue Dun, Iron Blue Dun and Ant Queen in small sizes worked absolutely great. I occasionally took small breaks to eat and write diary and really enjoy nature and life.

Tuesday, August 16th
Again the day started with a cloudy sky, but when I stuck my head out of the tent opening, the wind and weather were immediately forgotten. No more than 50 meters from my tent stood a magnificent and proud reindeer buck, staring straight into my eyes. I understand well that he decided to find a better view after seeing my morning face, but luckily he moved off only a few hundred meters and started grazing. I ripped my camera out of my bag, put on a powerful telephoto lens and in my underpants, camouflage jacket and green cap I snuck out between the bushes. Whether he could better tolerate my new look, or whether he just had not discovered me, I will probably never find out, but at least I got very close to him and got myself a series of good pictures.26 lapland wild brown trout 20220219 1511025195 

Well satisfied with myself, I fixed some coffee while the others hiked out on the day's trout trip. Before the coffee was drunk, my happy thoughts had culminated into a new plan. No fishing today, but in return I wanted to climb the nearest mountain, which every day seemed to mock my poor fighting shape. But when I eventually reached the top with the sun just braking through the cloud cover, all the hardships were quickly forgotten. I stayed up there for about an hour and photographed away, and on the way down, with danger to life and limbs, I had to try to sit on a big sheet of ice.

At camp, I was greeted with many funny remarks about my lazy gait on my way down the hills. I decided to relax for the rest of the day and ponder on the now very special 1,214 meters, which I certainly would never throw myself into climbing again. But I did it again two days later. I just never learn… 

60 lapland wild brown trout 20220219 1247106569Wednesday, August 17th
The night was a somewhat chilly affair. I had probably not exactly frozen, but with -2.5 degrees it was wise to keep your head down in the sleeping bag. However, we had the most beautiful, sunny day in store. Coffee cup in hand, we sat around the rock kitchen and made plans for the day's fishing. It had gradually dawned on us that the larger trout in the lake were not approachable, so Bengt and Kåre wanted to go over the ridge to a lake they had found on our map. I did not intend to climb anything higher than a curb that day, so I chose to walk along the lake to the south, where the stream runs out of the lake.

I made a few throws into the lake on the way down, but to no avail. Instead, it was a different welcome I received in the stream. Here was pool after pool with crystal clear water with lots of dotted rocket trout whizzing around in the current. This was a dream fly-water, the Ant Queen was presented to the dear little ones, who were apparently very enthusiastic about the offering. During the day, I caught quite a few on the fly at up to 700 grams and a single one of about 300 grams on the jungle spinner. All fish were in great condition and so beautiful.

Later we gathered in the camp for dinner, which today consisted of reindeer stew and spaghetti. Bengt and Kåre had had an exciting trip, but there were obviously no fish in the lake they had chosen.
70 lapland wild brown trout 20220219 1147638921

Friday, August 18th
The day was dreary with some rain and generally boring weather. We stayed in our tents most of the day, except for my trip to the top once again, which was somewhat easier than the first one mainly because I found an easier way up there. Late in the evening, the horse owner Bernt arrived with two horses to everyone’s immense satisfaction.

Saturday, August 19th
The day had come to sadly pack up the camp and load the gear on the horses. The walk back to civilization did not really feel less hard with the two horses, but it is conceivable that it was because we constantly turned around to take another last look at the beautiful surroundings that had been our home for the last 5 days.

All in all, the trip was a great experience, but the larger trout that can weigh over 4 kilos in the lake, we never really got in touch with. The hot summer which brought about the low water level in the lake had undoubtedly done its part to limit our chances this year; but then there is nothing to do but try again next year.

98 lapland wild brown trout 20220219 1193384726

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