Sunday, 28 July 2013

Holarctic musings

One of the advantages of moving to Sweden is that is shares much of its flora and fauna with the homeland(s).

In terms of fish and bugs, I can therefore pull from my disjointed repository on how to fly fish up-and-over here (I guess just over for Oliver).

I have had the urge for a few weeks, but no vehicle prohibited anything overly ambitious. I settled for carpooling to a stocked lake just east of Uppsala and renting a row boat. I grew violently ill from this faux fly fishing expedition (could also have been the snus). Something had to give. What did I do, you, the faithful SS&S readership, asks? I will tell you what I did:

I bought a fucking Volvo.

No need for a photo. It gets us from A to B aka home to the river. But seriously, Kim and I felt this was a good investment if we wanted to properly tour Sweden and the surrounding countries. Plus it is a Volvo.

While Kim was away in Italy, I decided to head northwest to see what I could find. I ended up here:

I settled on the municipality of Alvdalen, which translated means river valley. Seeing that all of us contributors (I apologize to the excluded SS&S readership) honed our research skills at the U of A, I was aptly prepared to find fish in this foreign land (google: fly fishing + Sweden). I did ask around at the fly shop, but in somewhat typical Swede fashion, I got only uninformative one liners from the guy at the desk.

I did, however, have a few destinations in mind - x marks the spot:

I had no set plans, just get up there, find water, fish, and make camp. The latter turned out to be pretty easy. Swedes, of course, have randomly placed shelters across their hinterland:

Night one I polished off two indian packs, a bottle of port, and slept with no fly on the tent.

Oh wait, there is the Volvo

Swedish infrastructure is incredible:  you go from pristine roads to one-lane (40 km) groomed gravel roads - in the middle of a forest - that meet up with another maintained two lane gravel road which in another 30 km leads you to a good asphalt road. These seem to zig zag across the country and I only passed a handful of cars.

I won't even try to describe this landscape. Just come see it for yourself.

But back to the fish. The intraweb told me tales of grayling and browns, but all I landed were some variety of whitefish (D ID?)

Sweden is in a serious drought right now and water levels are very low - I suspect this is why I only got these guys + I have no clue how to fish for browns. But regardless, it was a fun two days of fishing with enough action (and snus) to keep you on the water for 8 hours at a time.

We plan to head 200 km further north with Joe and Lani (mid august), if not sooner.

Sorry about the photos, I only have my shitty IPhone at the moment, and you know what they say about IPhone cameras...

Saturday, 27 July 2013

Far up the poudre

I have been out fishing a lot this summer with the intention of getting some good pictures to write a blog update. Unfortunately I never catch any fish. The cache la poudre (pronounced pooter) is a pretty tough river, as it runs right through Fort Collins and so gets a lot of pressure. On top of that there was a big fire last year and we have been getting rains recently, the combination of which has led to lots of runoff, mudslides, and poor visibility. All of this typically leads to me fishing for 3 hours, missing a few fish and eventually hooking one on a nymph while I am not paying attention. To combat these issues, and my generally poor casting abilities, Lani, myself, and a couple friends decided to go far up river to a place I have had good luck before.

The pool I have fished before is about a 1.5 hour hike upstream
The hardest part about this hike is bypassing all the early, amazing-looking pools, and looking helplessly at the inaccessible parts of the canyon that are teeming with fish like...

this one- picture taken from about 35 feet above

However, it is all worth it- the pool is the biggest I have seen on the whole river and we were so excited that we decided to take some artistic shots for D...

I fished dry-dropper all day...

We caught a lot of brook trout
And some cutthroat

And some really nice looking cutthroat

Lani is learning to fly fish and is getting better at casting

She could use some work on landing fish- she hooked probably 5, missed 5 others and landed none. She fought the biggest fish of the day for a couple minutes before losing it. What she lacked in alertness in setting the hook she made up for in force, nearly ripping a fishes head off at one point with her spastic jerking. 

On our way back out I was able to make my way down to the pool we had spotted fish in from above. 

I fished it for 5 minutes and caught 5 fish, and missed about 3 others. I don't think I had a cast that a fish did not hit my fly. 

All-in-all a good day, and it restored my faith that I can catch fish. 

Here is another artistic shot for D. All photo credits: Lani (except for the one of Lani)

Monday, 1 July 2013

The funny thing about deers is...

To mark the occasion of the death of Google Reader, my until-now trusty provider of Science Shoots and Skins updates, I think I may have discovered the patron saint of SS&S.

To be honest, I can't really handle more than about 3 minutes of this guy at a time, and I suspect in person he'd drive me to actual physical violence. I also can't really look away - this is genuine car-wreck territory.

Just in case a deer isn't enough, there's more, much more, here.

Oh, and I'm trying out The Old Reader as a Google Reader substitute. So far so good.