Sunday, 31 July 2016

Wilderness Grayling...an Adventure! The Conclusion

Emilia true to her word took me in pursuit of the Whitefish present in the river, found only in certain places, some places only as small as 100m in length and if you dont know where to look then you may never find them at all. The conditions also had to be right as we were targeting these fish on dry fly and if the conditions didn't suit them we might as well forget it, luckily they were merging on still fishable when we slipped the anchor chain over the side and sat watching for movement.

Emilia spotted the first rising fish, totally different from anything I had seen before, these fish when rising are so delicate yet so clumsy, there mouths are so small you need to reduce the fly sizes down and wait for the take yet the fish shows its full dorsal fin and tail fin when rising.

A long cast with a small klinkhammer resulted in the first whitefish for me.

These fish's mouths are so soft that any undue pressure on them whilst fighting results in lost fish, luckily I managed to get mine to the net and that was it I was happy as punch, two species I had never caught before completed on the trip....time for another whisky!

The next couple of fish weren't so easy with 4 fish lost to 1 landed but what a fish it was that made the net, a 3lbs fish on dry fly.

I was well chuffed but even more so when Emilia announced her personal best was only a half pound or so more so that really did put the icing on the cake for me.

We continued on with another few whitefish and Grayling being taken in the mix before it finally came to an end, we decided that the best chances would be a 0530am approach the next day  when the wind was low and things might be a little better.

So after lunch and an hour chilling, it was grayling all around again, with the guys on the boat heading downstream and me heading to what had know become known as George's rock. The rock I had waded to on the first day and had taken many fish from.

Mani and another nice fish, never quite reached his target size of 55cm but a 52cm was not to be sniffed at either.

and the rock proving to be a productive place to cast from again.

As you can appreciate the food was varied but everyone wanted to try the fresh whitefish so a couple of fish were dispatched earlier in the day to eat that night.

Emilia preparing the fish to go with the chips I was preparing so we could have Tundra fish & chips.

Next morning 0500am the sun was already high in the sky, the conditions were calm as we set off in pursuit of the whitefish again, Aija as always not far from me as he had started to follow me everywhere.

The conditions were ideal on arrival but no matter how hard we tried we couldn't land a fish they were all long range releases until finally Emilia hooked up and landed a fish.

and soon afterwards I did the same.

As like the day previous a few more fish were caught until the conditions changed and made it unfishable which wasnt a bad thing as we were back in pursuit of the Grayling.

This Grayling took what was becoming to be my go to fly at the bottom of a long pool and when hooked slipped down into the pool downstream only for a large Pike to start chasing it around the pool with the Grayling going hell for leather to escape the clutches of it, thankfully it managed to evade the toothy critter and I slipped the net under another lovely big Grayling.

meanwhile in the commotion of the chase I had lost something.....my hat had been blown off by the wind and was heading downstream.

totally out of energy it took almost 30 minutes for the fish to recover in a pool before I could safely see that it was ready to go and thankfully I found my hat a little way downstream.

Whilst walking downstream for my hat I stumbled across nature at its best again, small crustaceans of some sort putting on a display in a rock pool.

The adventure was starting to come to an end and the helicopter was due back the next day to pick us up and return us to civilization, a midday pickup so any fishing we wanted had to be done that night, I opted to return to the rock for a few hours and picked up a few smaller fish before finally calling it a night and settling down to reflect on the trip, the most productive fly for me being both the yellow and green bodied dyret dry fly.

Accounting for over 90% of my fish caught which the totals were totally irrelevant but I had managed to capture & release 5 Grayling over the 50 cm mark being recorded by Emilia with the largest measuring 53 cm and being the largest caught on the trip by 1 cm and the large 3lbs whitefish also being the heaviest fish, so a very nice end to my wilderness adventure.

The bottle was empty too, with everyone catching new records and of course Emilia partaking in a dram or two, new friendships bonded for life.

All that was left was to pack up camp in the morning and await pickup.

A group photo for prosperity. 

The sun was high in the sky & very hot when the camp was finally dismantled and everything packed to go, all that was left was to chill and await the helicopter.

laughs were almost constant with Mani, on the final day producing for the first time an umbrella he had packed in his bag in case he needed to go in the middle of the night so wouldn't need to get dressed if it was raining, needless to say it didn't happen and was now a sunshade.

the sound of rotor blades soon filled our ears

and once loaded we were off leaving only a small pile of rocks where our campfire had stood for the last 8 days.

The flight back flashing past as we were all looking forward to a nice hot shower.

even the pilot had a smile on his face as we were the last pick up of the day.

The high peaks appeared in front of us indicating we weren't too far away from Kilpisjarvi.

and then it was upon us, coming into land back where the adventure had all began for real.

Unloaded and back to the Cabin for a shower, and to contact family for the first time in over a week, with arrangements made to meet up later for a meal.

all the modern conveniences we had done without  even a sauna in each cabin.

with stunning views thrown in for good measure.

my two fishing partners having a laugh at my expense, I did look a bit ridiculous though.... two giant panda eyes where my sunglasses had been for the full week.

Emilia picked us up and we headed off for a meal, Reindeer steak being the order of the day. and a moment for one last pose.

all that was left was a 03am rise for the drive back to Tromso in Norway for our early morning flights back home.
Luckily I had only one connection at Oslo unlike Felix & Mani who had Oslo to Paris, then Paris to Munich and of course there was no engine troubles on the way home.....

I would like to personally & publically thank my two fishing colleagues Felix & Mani from Austria for the friendship they both showed me and for listening to my somewhat rusty German dialect but all language barriers were broken down through one goal we all share, the love of fishing for Grayling.

To Aki & Emilia at Graylingland

They both work extremely hard and go out their way to ensure that everyone enjoys the time spent with them, from the moment they first shake hands with you to the last hug goodbye. Some advice I will give to anyone thinking of going to Graylingland, DO IT, dont wait!
 I cannot thank them enough for the experience and happy memories they have given me which will stay with me to I finally kick the bucket and pass over to the big river in the sky and I know there will be plenty of water pass over the rocks of magic river,

but I will return someday of that Im certain!!!

I now sit at my desk back home in Yorkshire but every time I look up I glimpse at these & the memories come flooding back.....Thank You x


  1. Hello George

    Nice write up with some great pictures. Looks like you had a good time.

    What weight would you say the biggest Grayling was? I would guess well over three pounds (which is a monster to me). Those whitefish are funny looking looking creatures, a bit like a mullet, but with finer features. Is that their actual name or is it a generic name?

    Anyway, I'll look forward to your next adventures closer to home.



  2. Hi Dave,
    It was superb mate, the big grayling I wouldn't even try to estimate its weight as that was irrelevant to me all the arctic grayling were special if I were to be honest. Yep that's the whitefish' proper name, another species ticked off. I'm hoping to get out soon so hopefully the blog will see more fish. Cheers George

  3. Brilliant George, i'm afraid Emilia would have been to much of a distraction for me lol.
    Well done m8, great write up and pic's as always...especially of Emilia :).


    1. Maybe its a good job I didn't ask you, I doubt you would have got any fishing done....goggle eyes spring to mind....lol
      be good mate


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