A Swedish Lapland Marathon: Pike & Grayling

For the last 12 years, my fishing activity has only been related to the area where I operate my guide, so after having the opportunity to explore new areas and jump on different species, it is also true that it has been pretty much the same . , saltwater fishing in a harsh, desert environment.

It’s normal that I started to need something different, but for a while I didn’t have the opportunity to jump into something that I really wanted, which meant a trip somewhere up north, lots of cold fresh water, lush, green surroundings and some . fish I have never chased before.

Photo by Robert Pljuscec

A good friend of mine told me he was going to organize a small fishing season in Swedish Lapland, in a virgin area full of Pike and Grayling, using a helicopter to get to the camp and then camping for a week . Well, I couldn’t be more excited. First, I called my good friend Marcello, who was on two trips with me in 2008 in the early days of my tropical fishing. Marcello was waiting for a fishing trip since then and of course after my phone call was on fire, with a few calls I gathered a group of good clients, friends, everything was decided and everyone was excited.

Second, I had to build my cold weather wardrobe and start tying lots of Pike flies, which I really enjoy doing, and pretty soon we were ready to go.

Photo by Robert Pljuscec

There is no rose without thorns, after arriving in Stockholm, we were missing all three of our luggage. Of course me and Marcello, who are the only fly fishers, all our rain gear, fly rods, flies and sleeping bags were in Vienna, Austria. Not a good start, it seemed that this summer the luggage situation in Europe was a total disaster.

Fortunately, the guys already at camp left us clothes, jackets, sleeping bags, but no fly rods available, which let us down, especially with a cold front. Pike are very slow and fly fishing would have been much more effective.

Photo by Robert Pljuscec

In short, in 8 days of fishing we had to spin the fish for 5 days with XL clothes, taking everything with a lot of philosophy.

The water we fished is a large system of lakes and rivers. To get around we had kayaks available which made it great as we got to paddle and work our fish while exploring the area which is our first season fishing here.

During the five days of trolling, we moved around a lot to explore the area. We mapped out the area to figure out where to fish, especially since we didn’t have fly rods. We spent a few hours chasing Grayling with crazy results.

Photo by Robert Pljuscec

We finally managed to get our bags on the fifth day. Meaning, we had three good days of fly fishing ahead of us, considering we were camping, that was more”fly fishing marathon.”

The river in front of our camp was infested with Grayling. We decided to immediately warm up on them with a fly rod, realizing how beautiful fishing is for these species.

Photo by Robert Pljuscec

First of all it is not that easy, the nymphs are not effective, the water is cloudy and you have to present your fly for them to see it. Once attached, they retracted properly. It is definitely an immaculate fishery, well worth spending a lot of time chasing a very large Grayling. It seemed to us that the bigger ones always stay in the same spots with little tenacity. It is possible to connect several Grayling tanks on the fly, fish over 1.5 kg.

Photo by Robert Pljuscec

At this point we were finally ready to go after Pike, the main reason we are here, and planned a long kayak ride to cross the main lake and reach a river where none of the previous anglers had gone upstream. upper. To make things just perfect, at the river entrance to the lake, there is a small cabin with 2 beds and a stove where we spent a few hours sleeping during our marathon.

Photo by Robert Pljuscec

The road to the mouth of the river took us about 10 hours since we stopped fishing along the way. We could see how effective the fly fishing was, we started getting some nice action in very shallow water about 1 meter down. Walking around these small bays surrounded by grass and large floating flies, we took our lines in very slowly. I finally managed to get a solid 110cm (43”) Pike with my beloved Giorgio Dallari reel. This fishing immediately reminded me of saltwater. I really enjoyed the wild, shallow waters we fished. Once Pike jumped all over the place, I was hooked.

Photo by Robert Pljuscec

We finally reached our destination, after 10 solid hours of fishing, we started walking upstream of this new river. It’s a very fast flowing stream, but I feel like we’ll find Pike somewhere. In fact, we found two large pools, mostly 1 kilometer long in a slow-flowing channel, where we caught a few. The third pool was much smaller, shallower water and a real shame to fish with a 9wt, to the point where I set my 5wt rod with a light, heavy fly and long made of Marabou and Saddle Hackles. I caught a few fish in the 70-75cm range. On a 5wt fly rod, a super mesmerizing river setting, I felt it was something special.

Photo by Robert Pljuscec

We kept moving upstream and the river was moving extremely fast. I found a small fast flowing pool that smelled of Trout. I put on a small, heavy streamer, and boom! A big head twitches and I think I’ve got it, as it comes up I see another Pike this time decide to swim downstream, taking me on the back and giving me some proper fighting on my rod 5 wt on threshold. What a cool capture, not a record, but compared to the whole picture, it made me incredibly happy!

Photo by Robert Pljuscec

After about 16 hours, we decided to go back to the cabin and rest a bit, dry our clothes and have something to eat before continuing our marathon. After a short rest, we start paddling and fishing our way back. As the sun warmed the water the activity picked up and we caught more Pike at many spots on the way back. We finally got back to camp, realizing we had been out fishing for about 29 hours, visualizing all the fish we dreamed of catching.

Photo by Robert Pljuscec

On the last day we motivated ourselves to fish for Grayling as we didn’t sleep much. It would have been incredible if our bags hadn’t been lost in Vienna. But that’s it, when life gives you lemons, you try to make lemonade, which it eventually did. All that said, we now look forward to returning with better flies, more knowledge and hopefully all our flying gear in one piece!

Nicola Vitali was born in Italy and has been fishing since the age of four. Since his love for fishing began at a young age, he has traveled all over the world to fly to exotic locations. Vitali, a multilingual speaker is the founder of Wild Sea Expeditions where you can find him managing trips to Sudan and the island of Socotra. Photos by Robert Pljuscec.

Check out the articles below:

2022 F3T Behind the Lens – “Northbound”

YETI: ‘A2B’ – A guide for anglers in Swedish Lapland

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