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Midnight Summer Salmon

July 19 2016

BALTIC SALMON FISHING

 

The summer salmon season is well under way and what a start it has been for all Atlantic and Baltic Salmon fishing rivers. The Loop Sweden crew have been out in full force for the arrival of the Baltic’s in the Arctic Circle. We proudly hosted the fantastic crew of fly-fishing film makers Hooké from Canada! An all out 24/7 road trip over two weeks ensued. We took the crew to 5 of the best Baltic salmon rivers Sweden has to offer, Byske, Torne, Lainio, Kalix and Ängesån.

 

Deep within the forest, the Hooke crew quickly learnt that if Swedish Salmon are on the catch list, then any willing angler must put themselves on the menu for the plethora of mosquitoes and all things buggy, looking for a quick meal. Next a quick transition to uncomfortable hours, approaching the mid summer day, night time in the arctic circle can be difficult to distinguish. With long hours of dedication on the river, anyone can certainly loose track of time and occasionally which day it is.

BYSKE RIVER

 

First stop, the Byske River and the most southern river of our epic adventure. Hooké met with local fishermen Ted Logardt and Calle Lundqvist. The team spent 2 days exploring the forest-lined river. Many salmon were covered with all techniques in the book, but hot conditions in the air and water kept the salmon off the take. Despite no fish landed, the crew saw more Salmon than ever before. They even snapped some leapers heading up the Fällfors rapids.

KENGIS BRUK – TORNE RIVER

 

Next stop a 300km overnight ride north to the famous Kengis Bruk beat on the Torne River. The crew landed in time for the prime time 3:30am drop with their host Lars Munk. The first glimpse of the mighty Torne river had the Hooké drew doubting their double hand casting skills. This was not helped any further by witnessing Lars shooting seriously impressive lengths of line out across the water.
An estimated 52,000 salmon had already entered the system. Many fish had already been landed and all the pools were alive with fish. Hanging out by the fire, drinking coffee after coffee, discussing fly and line choices and hoping for the magic to happen, suddenly at 01:30 the next morning, the first fish was landed. After a short rest, persistence paid off with a second Baltic chromer in hand.

An estimated 52,000 salmon had already entered the system. Many fish had already been landed and all the pools were alive with fish. Hanging out by the fire, drinking coffee after coffee, discussing fly and line choices and hoping for the magic to happen, suddenly at 01:30 the next morning, the first fish was landed. After a short rest, persistence paid off with a second Baltic chromer in hand.

 

Shortly after the first bout of success the river rose another 30cm. At this height, Kengis Bruk in zone 2 reaches a peak in excellence for Baltic Salmon Fishing. With the water levels holding steady and the slight brandy coloured tinge running back to a crystal clear flow, we did not have to wait long for the continual waves of fresh fish entering the pools. During the night we hooked 9 fish and lost almost one after the other before finally 2 fantastic fish were landed. One fish fell to Calle Lundqvist who had hooked most of the fish during the night.

A MORNING TO REMEMBER

 

As the sunlight broke over the top of the forest tree line at 04:00, we were treated to the first golden shimmer of light over the water. This beckoned the use of the famous Banana fly and offered a welcome bit of warmth after a few days of continual rain and colder conditions.
As Lars and the Hooké crew hit the water, another Loop rep Jay Bartlett set up the tying gear in his car and tied one of his favourite patterns that may be worth a shot in the bright conditions we were presented. Within 10 minutes of tying the fresh fly on, he hooked into the first fish of the day. An immaculate 16 pounder that put a serious smile on his face. Just minutes later the Hooké crew were in again, this time on a traditional Canadian fly. A mean spirited male fish that made many runs each time it came close the bank and by this point spirits were soaring high.

 

Enjoying a short break with more coffee by the fire, Lars decided to give the pool another run. This time grabbing Jay’s rod to give the new fly another swim. Within minutes we heard Lars shouting from down stream with yet another fish on. This was by far one of the best mornings fishing we had all experienced. As Lars expertly brought his fish to land, there was not a single face without a smile as wide as the river. That night many more fish were hooked, both lost and landed between 16 and 20lbs.

CAMP ONKA – LAINIO RIVER

 

The following day the road trip brought the crew even further North. 75km on to Pinetree Lodge in Kangos town situated nearby the Lainio River. A large,smooth flowing, yet shallow tributary of the Torne River where some 60% of the running Salmon head to each year. The water was some of the most beautiful majestic flows and scenery the Hooké crew had ever seen. It now certainly holds a special place in all of our hearts.

 

Lars Munk directed the crew to Camp Onka a fishing Camp he himself developed several years ago. Situated on top of a large cliff overlooking a striking 90 degree bend in the river. Onka is a famous spot for holding big salmon throughout the short but intense season. It wasn’t long before Hooké landed their most beautiful Baltic Salmon of the trip. With tight lines and racing hearts, the euphoric rush as reels peeled out line and more beautiful Salmon abruptly broke the surface, cart wheeling through the wilderness air made for an unforgettable experience. Celebratory fire sausages and a few drams of whisky over favourite stories topped the evening off in style.

KANGOS – LAINIO RIVER

 

The following day our Adventure continued downstream to the expansive Kangos waters on the Lainio river. Downstream of Camp Onka, we met with local legend Kristian Stridman. Born and raised in Kangos, there may be no one else that knows these baltic salmon fishing waters better than Kristian. In 2015 on a visit to Kengis Bruk on the Torne river he was rewarded with 2 fish of a lifetime. 128cm / 43.7lbs and then 116cm / 35lbs. Kristian led the crew to a favourite stretch of water that once again yielded some fantastic results. More salmon landed and more celebratory fire sausages and coffee on the river bank were required!

JOCKFALL – KALIX RIVER

 

We left the Lainio river valley with the highest spirits and set course for our final destination. The mighty Kalix river at Jockfall! The legendary falls cascaded at a velocity so hypnotically mesmerising that the shear power of the river, begged the question just how strong do these Salmon have to be to make it through the falls?

 

As we approached the mid summer day, conditions in the air and water had reached an uncomfortable high for a chance of success. Over the coming days we fished hard through day and night. We even travelled a few times to the local tributary Ängesån. Both rivers offered spectacular scenery in the glowing day and night sun. We enjoyed continual activity in the water from running salmon. However throughout our time fishing we could not tempt any fish to the fly. These are tA rest was long overdue, before getting back on the water for one last try at the Baltic Behemoths.

The Baltic Salmon continue to astonish us. We have certainly sparked a new profound love for Baltic Salmon Fishing within the Hooké crew also. As we departed, the Torne river system registered some 70.000 plus fish. By the 12th of July, 85.246 fish registered through the counter. It could now potentially reach the magic 100.000 plus as it did in 2014. The Loop Sweden crew will continue to target these magnificent creatures throughout July and August with hopefully many more fantastic stories to tell. For now… the adventure continues!

 

This adventure has been supported and arranged by Swedish Lapland & Heart Of Lapland.

 

www.swedishlapland.com / @swedishlapland

www.heartoflapland.com / @heartoflapland

http://www.byskealven.se/ @Byskealven

www.kengisbruk.com / @kengisbruk

www.camponka.com / @CampOnka

www.jockfall.com / @jockfallet

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