Elusive char in the land of the midnight sun

Dragonfly, stonefly or a streamer. Or should it be a feather-mosquito? If you can’t offer something remotely like the real thing you won’t even get a nibble, no matter how diligent you are. The fastidious char in the Kvikkjokk’s mountain will simply brush you off.

Without any knowledge of which insects are hatching during the summer season and which stage they are at, nymph stage, pupa or dryfly, it is still difficult to get the fish to bite. Nothing is good enough. When the gnats hatch the fish won’t go for anything else, they are fully occupied searching for larvae among the rocks in shallow waters.

  • The char is fickle and fastidious and most definitely the most handsome. Therefore is becomes even more attractive to a sport-fisherman, says fishing guide Daniel Nordvall, NordvallFishing.

The illogical can work

Daniel often return with his guests to the fishing waters in the Kvikkjokk’s mountains, just near the world Heritage listed Laponia. After a short helicopter trip, erecting the vvon, (tent tipi) strategically by the shore, three, four or five eventuell days are waiting do be had. Cascading glacier rivers and clear mountain lakes is a fly-fisherman’s wet dream. This is the home of the trout and char.  The best time to come here is from midsummer through all of July, at least if it’s char you’re after. Your best chance to catch the red glowing beauty is early morning before it’s too warm, or in late afternoon.

  • It’s a matter of chosig the right fly and be observant to where the fish is standing. If the char is nowhere to be seen you must sometimes try an illogical tactic. Test bright coloured flies that is not imitating an insect and to go deep with heavy flies is never a wrong move. Perhaps chose a fish imitation, like the classical red-yellow streamer Micky Finn, is a tip from
  • It is usually harder if the water level is high. The water temperature rise which is not good either. Then you fish more towards and into the night.

Flowing water requires knowledge

Fishing at night increases your chances of catching. Char fishing with fly in flowing water is truly a pleasure. The char is the toughest and most fun to catch on a fly, it’s really a fighting fish and does everything to outsmart its catcher. Changing to a streamer will increase the chances, perhaps a Wolly Bugger, a hybrid between large nymph and streamer.

  • Char prefer movement in the water.Fishing in streams takes know how. One has to read the water and try to guess where between the stones the fish is standing. In streamy water the fish is exceptionally strong. It’s not dead easy to land it either, that is a sport in its own right, säger Daniel.

The water is so clear. Despite shallow streams with hard water or deep hollows with slow moving water you can often see where the trout is standing. It’s even more annoying when it is absolutely refusing all the goodies on the line floating by. Yet also enticing. Wading equipment is a must for the serious fisherman. Although more the rule than exception is that at least once per trip someone will slip or step in too deep, which usually will be  amusing. For the ones not getting wet, that is. These things happen. An hour or so at the fire and the person is warm and dry again, ready for more action.

  • Safety is most important. Being the guide I must try to star the guests in the right direction to avoid anything serious from happening, säger Daniel.

Even the mosquitoes are part of this experience in nature

All around are towering alpine tops. It is really grand. By the shore cloudberry buds tilt in the evening breeze. Lappvedel, Oxytropis lapponica, Dwarf cornel, Cornus suecica and different types of starr wave between the short alpine birch trees. The plentiful vegetation is doing its best to promote the trout and char stock in the nutrition poor mountain waters. The plants feed the insects. Insects feed the fish. The cloud of mosquitoes and gnats buzzing around your ears is also a must to keep the stock of fish that nobody wants to be without. It all goes together.

Fly fishing has gone from being a sport for snobb’s in England to a folk sport. For some the fly fishing is a science whilst others put the relaxation part as their highest priority.  What they have in common is the nature experience. To catch a lot of fish is not the most important, even if the chance is greater with fly fishing. The time when people expected to catch a bucket full is long gong, thank goodness.

Responsible and sustainable

NordvallFishing cherish sustainable fishing practises, hence it is preferred to catch just one fish for eating per day, the rest is carefully put back into the water. To bring any fish back is not an option. That is hardly why you came here in the first place.

  • It is important ot handle the fish in an appropriate manner so as to not harm it. Of course you want to take a photo of a larger catch before it is put back, which is possible by handling it with care, placing your open hand under the belly and keep your other hand a little bit further back with a careful hold around its tail area. You must not squeeze or hold it by the gills, Daniel explains.
  • The larger ones are especially important for future breeding. It is a must for them to keep on swimming.

Daniel says it is noticeable that the younger generation in particular is very aware of sustainability and sustainable fishing in particular. According to his experience they are more gentle and avoid breaking twigs, branches, or making fires unless it is necessary.

Great times by the fire

After the first intense days of fishing and never ending talk about fishing at any opportunity a relaxing atmosphere usually start to find its way into the soul. Chat’s by the fire will glide across to life in general and can at time become thought provoking and deep and meaningful.

Daniel, who himself have been fishing together with his uncles since he learnt to walk, is really appreciating sharing experiences and the camaraderie with others. He is also proud to show off the dramatically beautiful yet so inviting nature.

  • People make comments that it is so untouched and really appreciate that there’s not a lot of people around.

Full stomach is the key

Sometimes the weather can be tough and hard, even though it’s summer.

  • Personally I tend to suggest to bring water resistant clothing as well as worm ones, otherwise there won’t be much joy, says

Every experienced fishing guide knows it is vital to keep their guests satisfied and content by keeping them full, with food. Moods will always rise after a hearty meal and a cup of good boiled coffee. Quite often there are local produced treats such as Daniel’s home made suovas, perhaps served with pasta and a creamy sauce, topped with Skabramost. Or, the catch of the day is wrapped in foil with butter, dill, lemon and a pinch of salt to slowly infuse with flavours on the embers. Even on a rainy, grey day motivation will get a kick, life will get a spark by spicing up the day with some story telling, something Daniel very is good at.

  • It can be as diversified as me telling some of my own fishing stories, or speaking about the nature all around us, to Laponia, the Sami Culture, or about the wild animals in the alpine region, says

The saviour

Although fishing in the flowing, streaming, waters and rapids is particularly appreciated, the excitement is also present in calmer waters such as larger ponds and lakes. Perhaps things just don’t go as planned. Not even a nibble. Still, the hope of catching that elusive one when, for the umpteenth time, you’re searching among your flies for a Klinkhammer or a Streaking Caddis that was made under the kitchen light a dark evening in December. Maybe this one? But No.

Time to change focus. Lucky there’s a saviour to the rescue. The catchable grayling! A prolific insect eater not at all as finicky as its more refined peers.

  • Shallow fishing for grayling is by far the most fun done with dry fly. It’s a lot of fun, says Daniel Nordvall.

No matter what, despite technic, experience and level of of knowledge, sport fishing is a great hobby. A sport fully mastered – Never!

Text: Iréne Lundström

Nordvall fishing

Nordvall fishing

Daniel Nordvall is a fly fishing guide, educated at Tornedalens folkhögskola, where he was taught to guide fly fishing to both beginners and more experienced fishermen.