River Åelva (Norway)
Image contrib. And, Paul, Karol
The Åelva is an untamed river which flows into the Bindalfjord. It is ca. 15 km. long. The part of the river suitable for salmon fishing stretches all the way from lake Abjora down to the fjord. In the upper part, the water is so clean that you can drink it. The river flows through forests and ravines and holds numerous ‘hot spots’ close to waterfalls.
We established our base at Granbostad. It’s an old Norwegian ‘stuga’ with view on the Abjora lake. From there, we tested the several "fosse",the waterfalls. The closest fishing place to our cabin offers us a stunning view. To get to the bank of the river, we had to climb down a steep path through the forest. Fully loaded with fishing gear and in waders, we need 20 minutes to get there.
Fantastic pools, emerald green water. We have been informed that the salmon run has started late this year. After several (unsuccessful) casts with double handed rod, we switch to single handed rods and dry flies because of the numerous trout rises. The huge rising trout, around 50cm, are extremely cautious. As soon as soon as the fly lands, they move further towards midstream, out of reach even for our longest casts.
Next day, we try our luck on the other "fosse" down the river. Also here, the view is breathtaking....and so is the way down to the river! We try not to imagine what would happen should we slip during one of the difficult passages.
We fish several perfect spots. We try every fly pattern. Alas, there is no result and no sign of salmon whatsoever.
We grill a couple of sausages and bake some potatoes on the open fire. We don’t say anything, but there seems to be one question in our eyes: where do the salmon hide?
We move downstream to the next pool. Here, we see salmon jumping in the middle of the current. Looking further, we see them as they try to jump the waterfall on their way upstream. Moved by the fascinating spectacle, we pause and just watch. Among the many salmon, we discover also some sea trout (picture bottom right).
Finally it happens. A grilse is fooled by a black salmon fly. It’s only a 50 cm fish, but that’s enough to mobilize new energies in all of us.
Encouraged by the first success, we cast our flies as far as possible towards the middle of the current. In the picture above, a nice salmon shortly before getting released .
The salmon lie (as always!) towards the other bank of the river, beyond the turbulent water. Only with long distance casts or dangerous wading are we able to present our flies to the biggest fish.
2 kilos pure muscle, caught at dusk on a middle-sized black tube fly. Following intuition, the angler had mounted a superfast sinking leader.
The ‘blue shrimp’ has caught the biggest fish. The wings of this fly are made of the primary feather of the blue golden ara (ara ararauna). It was good fortune to to purchase some of those feathers long time ago in some tropical country. The natural brilliance of the colors is much more effective than the imitations.
After catching some salmon the pressure-to-fish loosens. Often we found ourselves in plain contemplation, while we watch the salmon trying to jump the waterfall on their way upstream.
Our rating in one sentence: the Åelva offers the perfect mix of grilse, grown salmon and first rate water quality!
MORE FLY FISHING CONTENTS