Thursday, 25 October 2007

Fishing in Middle Earth


As we stepped out of the plane in Stockholm Arlanda, we were greeted by a beaming sun, and happy user friendly clouds, a lungful of silver air….. After many months of smog filled endurance my thankful lungs breathed a sigh of relief. We were back in the land of Volvos, slow driving, pine veneer, public efficiency, and overpriced beer. All of these elements make the land of the long tall blonde worth more than 5 minutes of any sane individuals time, but me and my long suffering brother were here for the fishing…Tens and tens of thousands of vast crystal clear glacial lakes, rivers of burnished mercury, mirrored mountain tarns- all stuffed full of fish. Silver fish, spotty fish, psychedelic fish (the artic char), mean green fish, stripy fin –fish etc etc… All of this for mostly under a tenner a day, not a stock pond pasty in sight, and most definitely no “out and out pellet waters”. After a uneventful flight to Ostersund (look it up) we were met by my good friend, the young Mr. Digby, and his wife, Mariann. In contrast to my last visit in snow -bound march we would not be staying in their “Stuga” (glorified log hut).After a bit of local research,Tom (Digby) had decided it would be a wise choice for us to reside in the “Ammerans Fiske camp” a purpose built location specially designed as a wilderness quarantine camp for fishing junkies such as ourselves.. As I had already spoken to our host for the next 14 days, the ubiquitous Mr. Ajax and discussed tactics and terms, I had high hopes and expectations. After a brief stop in town to stock up on provisions we arrived in the camp. Nestling in the base of the valley where the smaller Ammeran River meets the mighty Indalsalven River.
The first impression was that we had made the right choice. In a clearing in the forest, slap bang next to the river lay a modest farm house (red pine wood)complete with numerous (red pinewood) outhouses and the camp itself. The red pine theme had been dispensed with to be replaced by a collection of 5 huts (plain pine) whose appearance wouldn’t be out of place in a Nordic take on Hansel & Gretel. To the clamorous sound of baying hunting dogs, we swiftly un-packed our mountain of luggage into our designated Hansel hut nr 2. Then it was straight into the farmhouse to meet the mysterious Mr. Ajax… Birger (pronounced somewhere between Borg and burger) turned out to be a warm, gregarious, highly knowledgeable mountain man, with a shared addiction to fishing and all things Nordic and natural. We had already made a rough, if some what ambitious plan as to what we wanted to fish for during the next 14 days, and so we discussed with our Nordic yoda the logic/lunacy of what we wanted to achieve - my special need of tangling with one of the long ,green fighting machines that inhabit the depths of the Indalsalven ( “Indus –Elvefin”) After a lengthy discussion, we concurred that a short expeditionary boat trip on the river would be in order to investigate likely looking spots …. And so to bed.
I awoke the next day after a silent night sleeping the sleep of the travel weary, and stumbled out of my stuga, to explore the surroundings and attend to matters urgent. The weather was again doing its fluffy clouds, happy sunshine bit, but with an added autumnal freshness. The river was a stones throw away, so I went down to the waters edge and un-ceremoniously stuck my head in to wake myself up… yep, all vital signs functioning. After an artery hardening breakfast, we meet up with Birger to explore the Indalsalven River. Surrounded by steep sided hills covered in semi-deciduous forest, touched by the first golden hues of autumn, our first view of the Indalsalven was breathtaking. That serenity can go hand in hand with danger was made all too apparent to me as Birger casually pointed out the jagged point of a barely submerged rock. We had just reached the point where the Ammeran River flows into the Indalsalven. Our eyes, confirmed what we could see on the echo sounder – a jagged drop falling steeply to 18 meters could spell disaster for the unwary….

to be continued

Robin Adair