You would be forgiven for believing that the Hemsedal region of Norway had been designed by some ancient fly fishing deity. If you can manage to cast your eyes away from the sizable wild brown trout resting in the gin clear rivers, you will be completely captivated by the stunning scenery. It is simply a spectacular venue.
The best fishing is in June where huge hatches of May flies spark the wild trout into a feeding frenzy. The average size of these beautiful fish is around the 2lb mark but 4lb and 5lb fish are common and even specimens around the double figure mark have been caught.
The tactics are a cross between hunting and fishing. On arrival at the chosen stretch of river you wish to fish, you sit and watch for a rising fish. Once you have located your target trout you then plan your approach. Wading into the river downstream of the fish will mean you remain out of view as the trout are facing upstream in order to intercept insects washed down by the current. Once you have carefully positioned yourself within a nice casting range, you then cast your fly upstream of your selected trout and watch as your fly drifts down over the lie. This whole process of watching, stalking and presenting builds a sense of great anticipation adding to the excitement and adrenaline rush as the you see the trout in the crystal water react by rising up and sipping your fly off the surface. Then the tranquillity of the river changes to a rush of frenzied activity as your fish explodes on the surface and starts to run hard downstream. Luckily the wading is largely good underfoot as you set off in pursuit of your quarry. This is awesome fishing, and you get a real feeling of achievement when a large wild brownie finally succumbs to the net.
The tackle needed for this style of fishing is relatively simple, I used a 9 foot 5 weight rod, but rods of around this size and weight will suffice. I had had a selection of leader materials from 4x to 6x and a selection of mayfly, sedge and midge patterns. A few tapered leaders will also aid your presentation. Waders are essential as is a small pan net and a good set of Polaroid sun glasses.
The guides are fantastic they grew up in the area and have spent their lives fly fishing. We stayed in two beautiful wooden lodges located on one of the guide’s farm. He couldn’t have been friendlier and more helpful to make sure we got the most out of our visit.
We also visited other beautiful rivers including one that was purely made from the melt water of an overlooking glacier. To stand and fish in turquoise waters right underneath a huge glacier is an experience I will never forget. The fishing was brilliant. A fast flowing river cascades from a mountain lake that harbours beautiful silver brownies. Big bushy wets work well on this water and, as it is very rarely fished, the trout are plentiful and willing.
We also visited some of the numerous lakes in the region for some traditional loch style fishing, once again big wet flies and dry sedges proved the most productive patters and once again the trout were in superb condition and of a good size for sport.
I often refer to the three Qs of an angler’s development. The first is quantity, where the fly fishermen judges his success by the number of fish they catch on each visit. The second is quality, where the fishermen, having caught fair few trout, now wants something a bigger or better. The final Q is quarry, where and angler develops an acute understanding of his target species and becomes intrinsically connected. No matter where you lie on your journey as a fly fisherman, Hemsedal has everything to offer and will undoubtedly help you progress. I learnt a great deal on this trip and thoroughly enjoyed doing so.
To fish for these trout in such a healthy, productive and pristine environment was an absolute privilege and one that would highly recommend.
Ben Dobson – 2013 Lexus European Individual Champion
For more details on fishing holidays at Hemsedal, Norway visit http://anglersworld.tv/world-game-fishing/norway/bjordalen/