We decided to visit a different river on the Friday the Van Grofta, Graham had visited this river on a previous trip and regaled us with tales of huge Grayling to the dry fly. It was a much smaller river than the Glomma, most rivers are I dare say. It looked fantastic though and on route we passed several traditional Norwegian houses. These are often postcard perfect houses and I commented on the grass growing on the roof on most of the homes. Graham told me it was for the sheep in the winter, it took a minute before I asked how do they get the sheep onto the roof. Another minute passed before I realised I had been had! We checked out the notice board which gave all the information about the river and decided to split the cars Del, Graeme and Alan remained at the bottom of the beat while Andy Graham and I headed to the top of the beat.
It looked pretty sweet and we decided to fish it. We walked down a good ways until we figured we were half way between where we left the others and decided to fish up. It being a smaller river we broke it down into sections. I have to say I was fairly pleased with my little bit of river it looked perfect water and was nice and clear. The bottom was a little too sandy though and I failed to even spook a fish let alone catch one. Andy who was below soon caught me up and reported the same. As we were catching up to Graham my phone went it was Del reporting a nil return as well. Graham made the command decision to return to the Glomma, great call. We proceeded to catch some cracking fish from this stretch of the river. On the way back Alan needed a packet of tobacco and took a liking to a wee hot dog in the service station. £36 later he did say it was the nicest hot dog he ever had! I had asked Graham to pick me up a Snickers but at £3 a pop I would have choked so did without.
After a bit of lunch Graeme and Andy went out to fish the Glomma with Alan in tow. Del Graham and I went off to recce a small mountain stream called the Tele (I think). It looked stunning and was right up our street it would need to be fished carefully with stealth and a bit more finesse than we had been employing on the main river. The fish would not be big but wild brown trout most definitely lived in this river. It was one for the back pocket, back to the lodge and a bit more of the good stuff. Alan was quite sure of what he wanted for the movie and Graham and I tootled off to help him out. Graham gave him what he wanted and after that Graham and I returned to shooty in corner and had a ball until the darkness and now steady rain got the better of us.
We returned to the lodge soaked but grinning from ear to ear it had been a grand wee session. Scrubbed and fed we proceeded to tuck into a very special bottle of Whisky that Graeme Sharp had brought along called Exotic Cargo we were there to celebrate his 60thyear after all. It did not take long to smash it but there was plenty of dram left for all. Unfortunately, Andy had to leave us on the Saturday morning to head home and join the family for a holiday in Turkey. Del dropped him at the station and when he returned we decided to push downstream the river was coming up fast and starting to hold a bit of colour. Graham had miss placed his sun glasses but it was only five minutes back to the lodge. The rest of us ventured down to the water’s edge. Alan was putting the drone up and wanted a bit of action his stream of demands was endless! Go over there catch a fish, catch a bigger fish. I tried explaining that the fish get a vote as well! Luckily, the fish played ball and not only were we all catching good numbers some toppers were coming out of the heavy water. It was some time before I wondered what had happened to Graham. He had found a good tune on the radio and missed the turn for the lodge oblivious he went on a short tour of the countryside. When he got back he slotted straight in and started catching.
Once Al had safely landed the drone I beckoned him over for a go at fishing. An accomplished angler it did not take long for him to get into a fish and it was not too shabby either. We opted for a move in the cars a bit further upstream to what looked like a peachy bit of river but it was rising fast as the tributaries started filling the river from the previous night’s rain. So, we were back to the lodge for a bit of lunch and a re-think. Graham suggested that the small stream we had looked at the previous day might have run off already and may well be at pristine levels to fish.
Graham had called it right the small stream was spot on and dropping fast with the colour running out of it. Del and Graham were to fish upstream while Graeme and I took the water below the bridge we had stopped on. We walked down about 250 meters and I figured I had enough water to keep me occupied for the rest of the afternoon. I advised Graeme to carry on down until he thought he had enough water to go at. There was a lot of underwater debris and I lost a few flies on sunken logs. Despite the small width of the stream it was still very deep in places and would require heavy nymphs to get down in the strong flow. I managed my first little brown trout just at the head of my first run. I was really enjoying myself, the solitude of fishing by myself after the gang fishing on the Glomma was most welcome and a few small spotties joined in to really make my day.
I had not reached the end of my second bend when Graeme returned he had lost several flies and had fallen in over his waders. Despite urging me to fish on I felt obliged to get him back to the lodge for a change of clothes. So, I fished through the last of my water faster than I would have liked but did catch a few more little gems. On returning to the lodge I went straight down to the river. It looked not to bad and seemed to be dropping away. I started to cross but I had completely misjudged the flow and depth and soon found myself in real trouble. With the water well above my waste and visions of my family flashing through my head I was quite terrified. Too far to go back barely enough strength to go forward.
By some miracle I kept my feet and inched my way to the island where I collapsed in an exhausted heap. After a short period of recovery, I went to shooty in corner but the fishing was tough. A group of Czech anglers had been fishing there all day, bugger! I managed three fish but decided to try and make my way back to the lodge more than a little shaken from my ordeal. I would like to say it was an early night but we had a hard session on the whisky and it was near midnight before I saw my pillow.
There had been over the last few days some debate into what the stuffed animal in the lodge was, in the end the general consensus was that it was a Wolverine. This is when Graham (Bear Grylls) Lumsdon piped up with “bad bastards them, you don’t want to fight one of those”. As we all turned he went on to explain that if your attacked by a Brown bear you should have a go and give it a fight. On the other hand, if a Grizzly comes at you, go with play dead. I was waiting on the third option of run like the clappers but that did not come. So, now you know, two options play dead or fight for your life it’s your only chance, unless it’s a Wolverine then your just fu**ed!
The following morning, we went local for our last days fishing. I was only in the water ten minutes before I decided that I did not have enough layers on so back to the lodge for me to layer up. When I had returned the guys were getting some big fish up by the island Del and Graeme decided to cross the river and were rewarded with some great sport. Graham and I picked our way up the other bank with Alan in tow. His trip with the camera was not wasted as Graham was like a big fish magnet taking half a dozen 40+ fish on the bounce. I watched as the boys on the other bank were getting into some consistent sport. I was picking up the odd one or two but my heart was not really in it, tired from my exertions the previous day. After lunch I went and lay on my bed for an hour and felt a lot better for it.
"Del was very close to the 200 target he had set himself for the trip"
The last session we returned to a bit of the river we had fished previous but it was still up but dropping away. It was tough going and the fish were not coming off in the numbers they were a few days previous. Del was very close to the 200 target he had set himself for the trip, but as the light was fading fast it was going to take a super human effort to make it. An amazing big push by Del with the light fading fast saw him catch his 200thfish, amazing! His very last cast he caught a Brown trout and finished the trip up on 201, well done.
Graham and I were supposed to fish the Monday morning but we decided to take the time to have a look around the country and headed over to the Ronova national Park. It was stunning with fantastic views everywhere you looked. I loved fishing in Norway and as a destination I think we only scratched the surface. I would love to take a campervan around the smaller streams and fish for wild brownies. The place has much to offer and I hope to return again one day, beside I still have some Krona left to spend ;-)
Alan Ward from Country Field Media filmed for the entire trip and will be producing a short movie. All the guys are really excited to see the film but filming is just the easy part and the editing may take months. I am sure it will be a super film when finished Alan was really patient with us and we all really appreciate his efforts.
Back row left to right Del Spry, Andrew Croucher and Graeme Sharp. Front row left to right Lindsay Simpson, Graham Lumsdon and Alan Ward.