Trout Fishing Report Week 28A – 2014
Scones Kharlovka and Swan Litza.
A trout of 7 kg+ on a size 14 dry fly. An energetic search for rising fish in a season that never seemed to be getting started. A leg that was badly injured, making fishing almost impossible for Per and a true sense of friendship among likeminded fishermen. These were some of the main ingredients of yet another unforgettable week on the tundra, starting 5th of July.
From left: Pål Wemåker, Volodya (camp chef), Jon Sigmond, Svein Røbergshagen (group leader), Erik Hauge, Per Bratlie and Tor Nedkvitne
Even by the first week of July, the trout season had not really started on the tundra. The insects had been few and far between, and the trout seemed not yet to be distributed from the lakes into the river systems. Among the returning fishermen at the Meridian lobby, we were met by a unison saying: ”Time is here. The hatches will start now and you will have the fishing of your lifetime”. The expectations were raised for a tremendous kick off, and for sure the tundra rivers really offered some unforgettable experiences. however in a little different way than expected.
All in all the conditions at Scones seemed very favourable, the water level was falling, being slightly above normal and the water temps close to 12 degrees. The first night we fished the neck below the camp and the nice water outside of Koian, a short walk upstream. There were no fish rising, but when searching the water with Streking Caddis and Madam X a few fish touched, but no one was landed. Very often the first night on the tundra is a little restless and bringing nervous adjustments that can yield few fish but higher hopes for the coming day. That night we were all dreaming of a warming sun and hordes of hatching insects.
Just as we reached Bjørnenakken the next day, the sky cleared and the sun lifted the fog off the tundra. A few caddis started fluttering on the slow moving water at Bjørnenakken, but there were no fish to be seen. Further downstream we finally got into fish and for the coming days this area was the place to be. Occasionally a few caddis and some small mayflies were seen floating the surface in the heat of a glowing sun and even though we did find a few fish rising every day, when reaching the net, they all seemed to have been earned the hard way.
The biggest fish of the week was caught by Svein on the first day. It did not give a single sign of its true size or even its feeding preferences, but disposed its position by rising a few times on a neck of a stream connecting two small lakes. It first refused a caddis pattern, but then rose with indiscriminate confidence to a size 14 mayfly pattern. On 3x tippet and five weight rod the fight was a nerve wrecking tug of war, the outcome never to be told until the fish was safely landed. The fly was nicely placed in its lower jaw and the tippet slightly frayed. The scale on the weight came short on 7 kg, so this weight is a slightly conservative estimate. We did really try to measure the length of the trout, but in this attempt the fish made all its effort to come loose and it made sense to just let it go. The exact weight of this trout is never to be known, but it is nevertheless a proving fact of the extraordinary qualities of the Kharlovka and Litza rivers.
The next day Svein caught a fish of 4,8 kg, a sizable fish by all standards, but in comparison it seemed small.
Due to fog, we were transferred to Litza on Wednesday. The tempting water at Swan reached 17 degrees and was flowing at a perfect level. The first day we rose as usual to Volodyas excellent free choice breakfast of porridge or omelette which, when entering the river, were mixed with a caddis hatch of gigantic proportions. It seemed like every square inch of the river surface was covered by caddis flies, but strangely, the only one taking part in the feast was six hungry fishermen and no trout. We really had to look for rising fish and finally we found the activity concentrated to the downstream part of Swan, just above the Sami cabin. On this particular piece of water we had two days of nice dry fly fishing, accompanied by more or less sucsessfull streamerfishing in other parts of the river that was barren of any surface activity whatsoever. The really good thing about Swan was that even Per with his injured leg could wade the sandy riverbed and to some extent take part in the fishing, catching a very nice tundra trout just hours before pick up time friday evening. It was a fish very well deserved.
At Swan it all happened what we were waiting for, a hatch of epic dimensions. But the harsh weather in the previous weeks left the trout mostly ignorant to the hatch, probably still eating subsurface calories in the lakes. When leaving Swan, we all had a strong urge to come back, to enjoy Volodyas extraordinary hospitality and excellent food and hopefully to once more share the experience of a truly gigantic tundra trout.
Svein Røbergshagen, Group leader