Scierra was the main spearhead for these tours, having rented a house and leasing some of the most beautiful stretches of salmon water on the Orkla River in the Rønningen area, 60 kilometers south of Trondheim. The trip also incorporated elements from a local newspaper "Aarhus Stiftstidende" and "Grejbiksen" a local tackle shop.
Scierra are one of the biggest and fastest growing fishing equipment companies in Denmark, with all forms of fishing equipment and tackle now on the market. One of its main developers is the well-known champion fly-caster from Wales, Hywel Morgan. With the enormous efforts of many people, none more so than Laurits Flowbinner, a two-week salmon trip was arranged.
Leaving Aarhus at 12.30 in the afternoon on Friday we travelled 1.5 hours to Frederikshaven to catch the ferry to Larvik in southern Norway. This trip took us 6.5 hours. Arriving in Larvik at 10pm that same evening we then had a 9-hour drive ahead of us. But it was such an amazing trip for the scenery alone. We had 3 stops on the journey and took it in turns to drive. At that time of year there is a very short night, because of the Northern Lights effect.
We arrived in Rønningen at 7.30am next morning ready for action. We travelled around and located the sections of river we had the fishing rights too, namely Kvikne, Rørommet, kvikneaunet and also the stretch of river connected to the campsite. We then went back to the house which consisted of 4 sleeping rooms, 2 single beds in each, a large livingroom, a well-equipped kitchen, a fully equipped bathroom with shower, an entrance hall and a small room over the veranda. The house was built for English lords in the last century, when they travelled to Norway for salmon fishing.
The trip was from Saturday noon to the following Saturday noon. Teams were formed to do daily cleaning, with Laurits not only doing the casting instruction, but also preparing all the food. Many of the group had one complaint, they claimed that it was the first fishing trip where, even with all the fishing, day and night, they actually gained weight from the delicious menus every evening. Breakfast and lunch was also included in the cost along with the price of the ferry. The only extras were the annual Norwegian fishing license, which costs £18 approx. per annum and petrol for travelling, but as there were 2 sharing, this was halved.
One aspect of the trip was the Norwegian disinfecting methods of all fishing equipment, waders, fishing rods, even flies and spinners. As you can see from the picture, the main method of disinfecting everything is by using a hose which takes about 2 minutes and having all smaller equipment dipped into a tub of some sort which has disinfectant in it. The whole process takes about 5 minutes and costs about £15. Not a very effective method of disinfecting but they claim that it works.
After getting settled in and cleaning rotas made out, we had a good breakfast, then went out, prepared our fishing rods and headed for the river.
We had access to 4 stretches of the Orkla River in all, 3 leased by Scierra and, as we were renting a house connected to the Rønningen camping, we also 2 day-tickets for this long stretch also. In all we had over 1,600 meters of fishing water. Most of the water is ideal for wading and one could reach long distances but with care, as there were some sharp drops into deeps holes in the center of the river. The water level is kept at a constant 20 cube meters per second flow, due to power stations further up the river, so there is a constant flow of water at very good levels. The river structure changed from fast running water to powerful under-currents, with excellent lies for salmon.
At one of the dams further up the river they have a fish counter, which counts the numbers of fish swimming through every day, almost 2,000 fish were counted over a 48-hour period. Part of the package was fly-casting instructions on double and single hand rods. I had up to that point had very little experience with a double-handed rod so I choose to take some instruction. I am normally using a single-handed rod or on occasion a spinning rod. With Scierra stocking the house with a full range of all of their rods, reels and lines, I had the opportunity of testing many of them. I found that the 15.1foot Scierra TI rod was the most suitable for me. It is, very light weight and the handle tapered, so if you had a large or small hand it could easily be adjusted to suit everyone's needs.
The weather was mostly overcast with thundery rain at the start of the week. We started catching salmon the next day, a 2.5kg grill salmon. A grill, being defined as a salmon under 3kilos in weight. It was ideal fishing weather and out of the 8 people on the tour 11 salmon were caught. Michael Weiss catching the largest salmon, weighing in at 8.5kgs. He had only cast out his line and the salmon jumped on the fly. I'm not sure who was the most surprised, the fish or Michael, but the smile on his face, when he got back to the house was enough to tell us who won the contest.
Michael had that evening decided to take the Scierra TI 15.1 foot double-handed rod I used earlier and test it. When he arrived back with it after only about an hour, he sang it's praises on how great the rod was, of which I had to agree, but what we couldn't figure was, if it was so good why was he not down on the river using it. We soon discovered the answer. It was when he went to the boot of his car, after circling it about 3 times first, taking out his salmon, his first ever. His only fear was that there would be nobody at the house the see his fish when he got home. Michael is an experienced fly fisherman and had spent a couple of years on other rivers in Sweden but had never caught any salmon before this trip. On the week he was there Michael caught 3 beautiful salmon, it was very exciting for him and especially for his dad, Ib, who was also on the trip with us.
Bente Johannsen caught the other fish. Another very experienced salmon fisher-woman with over 11 years salmon-fishing experience in Norway and this was her biggest catch ever of 8 salmon in one week. The largest salmon weighing 5.5kgs.
Another gentleman on the trip was Fleming, who is devoted to the spinning rod, but decided to learn the double-hand. The amount of progress he made was so amazing that when some of the regular salmon fishing men who saw him did not believe that he was just a beginner. He did catch 2 fish, one sea-trout of 25cm long - but the toughest one was on the last night when he decided to put down the double-hand and go back to his spinning rod for a last chance of getting a fish. Laurits saw a fish move in the river just under the water and directed Fleming where he should cast his spinner. He cast it out to perfection and wham the fish was hooked. I was further up the stretch and gave a huge hurrah when I saw what had happened, but as luck would have it, it was another seatrout of about 32cm. We could not believe it, as it was at least 2/3 weeks early for sea-trout to be travelling up according to local fishermen. The luck of salmon fishing...
Jørgen and Ib, another Ib, were also on the trip, fishing with worms, spinners and bubble-floats. They did not, unfortunately manage to land any salmon, but not from the want of trying.
I must admit, even though, I have many, many hours of fishing behind me; learning the double-hand is no holiday. You use very different muscles, getting used to the longer rod - and trying out many different kinds of rods, lengths and weights, does not make life easier! I was in agony for a couple of days, with muscles I never knew I had aching every time I moved.
Learning the technique of the double-hand was the easy part, but I was close to throwing it all in a couple of times. I am seriously glad that I persevered with it. My first week had been a great education and I was looking forward, very much, to the second week.
On Saturday, the next tour group arrived, a group of 5 men from Sweden. The leader of the tour is the Managing Director in Sweden for Scierra, Bent Johansen. As there were only 5 people on this tour, Laurits and I were invited to stay on an extra couple of days, which we gladly accepted. The next day, Sunday, around 7pm I had a large fish on, around the 8/10 kgs mark, but it went to the bottom into some large boulders and I was unable to get him landed and eventually lost the fish.
When the first week was over, we, Laurits and I, had another week holiday before we headed back to Denmark, so we traveled south by a different route. We visited 2 Danish lads from Randers, on Jutland, whom we met on the ferry over to Norway, who were travelling up to Køtsoy for 2 weeks fishing on the Gaula river. On the evening that we visited them, they were preparing for some guests but we were given the fishing news. The stretch they had was 2.5 kilometers long and they had both sides of the river. They had caught over 30 salmon, the largest weighing 10.2 kgs. Eleven, at that point, were caught on dry-fly.
After leaving Peter and Erik to their guests, we drove 40 kilometers south from Køtsoy and came to a stretch on the Gaula River where there are high stone cliffs and deep pools with a weir that the very large or very small salmon can not pass. The sight of this spectacle was extremely impressive. 4 or 5 salmon jumping up the weir, only to be washed down again - it was a beautiful sight.
Travelling further on, we stopped in one of the loveliest of the old Norwegian towns, Røros. It is a very old mining town. The town is a museum to its industry and the Old Norwegian way of life and buildings, many of which are still standing today. After dining we travelled on to Tolga, where we stayed in a camping site in a cabin for the night, called Setersegga Camping, one of the cleanest camping sites I have ever stayed in and would recommend it to anyone travelling up through Norway. They have different choices of cabin, all well equipped, sauna, laundry and kitchen with facilities for the disabled and a place to wash your car, if required and places for tents and caravans or campers. It's set in the forest, with a view of the river. After speaking to some of the residents the next day, we discovered that some were regulars every year, one couple, from Sweden, repeatedly coming back for over 11 years. The cabin we had was so intimate and warm it was hard to leave it the next day. An extremely, friendly, clean and welcoming campsite.
Later that day we arrived in Rena, our destination for grayling fishing and bought day tickets for the local river. We drove 11 kilometers out of town to the campsite where we were due to stay that night, but all the information we had received from the local fishing shop was not fully correct. The campsite was not the best, but for a short stay, it was okay. The reason we chose this campsite was because we were told that we could fish from the banks of the river on the campsite, but that was not exactly the case. We had to travel another few kilometers to get to the stretch of river connected to it. Bit of a bummer that.
The next day we travelled to Larvik, for our ferry home, and waiting in anticipation for the next trip to Norway, due to start on the 2nd of August. I did not catch anything other than feel fish pull at my line that week, but I promised that it would be different next time.
This report to follow!