For a long time we have wanted to go on a fishing trip abroad. This idea has been blocked for years by our education… until now. In June 2013 we finally made it to be given two weeks off at the same time. So we started off to Finland, heading for the northern Lapland.
We left Monday evening with a huge amount of luggage and motivation. In Helsinki we rented a car and drove all night long in a northerly direction. After 450 miles and 8 hours of driving, we arrived in Tornio at the Finnish-Swedish border. We wanted to get some information about fishing in that region, what turned out pretty complex because there are no united rules for fishing in Finland. Even the salesmen in fishing stores and owners of camping sites told us different stories about licenses and rules. And the Tourist Information Office had no clue about fishing either.
We decided to drive further northwards and arrived three hours later in Muonio. What looked like a city on the road map was only a village with around 2400 inhabitants. Because we were tired from the ride we decided to stay the night and rented a cozy cabin, of course with sauna. Due to the midnight sun and the snoring of a member of our group, the night was not really relaxing, at least not for all of us.
More or less relaxed we tried again to get some information. We visited stores, camping sites and Tourist Information Offices. The license, we had bought on the homepage of the Finnish embassy before our trip was unknown by most of the finish people. Everyone wanted to sell us a different license. In a coffee shop we finally got usable information: As long as we didn’t fish in the rivers that are marketed as a salmon stretch of water, we would be fine with our licenses.
We spotted some promising creeks on the map and finally started fishing. But the only fish we caught for hours was a small a brown trout. The uncountable mosquitos were much hungrier and really tried to scoff us. Of course we knew about the mosquitos before the trip, but the sheer size and the enormous number of them surprised us nevertheless.
So we drove from stream to stream and tried out every single fly we had brought with us, but the situation didn’t change… we still didn’t catch more fish. The motivation dropped from day to day and so we decided to try out some tributary streams in hope that some big fish got lost there. So we started to catch small grayling and medium sized pike. But we didn’t catch a grayling over 17 in or a pike over 40 in as we had hoped.
After the first week we arrived at Kilpisjärvi, very close to Norway. On the road map we detected uncountable small lakes and already the first one we tried out was full of trout and grayling rising for flies. Finally we found an auspicious region… after 7 days! So we started fishing with excessive optimism and were rather disappointed when we realized that they completely ignored our dry flies. When a gull started to scream at us because we accidentally came to close to her nest, we changed to the opposed bank. A few casts and we caught our first trout. And it we caught trout and grayling until 2 a.m. when we ate fish for the first time of our trip. We were so much northern, that the sun shined at midnight as bright as it does on a cloudy day in Switzerland.
The next morning we packed our backpacks and went on a hike to a nameless lake on a elevated plain. We quickly spotted some fish hunting for flies in the middle of the lake. Because we didn’t reach them with our casts, we had to fish a little closer to the border. Individual fish came closer to the shore and through the rings on the water we realized that one approached us. We guessed the route it may swim and placed our fly softly on the water. When we hold the nice brown trout in our hand, the big fins and head stuck out. It was perfect, soft cast, exciting fight and a really nice naturally grown up brown trout.
We moved to a sector of the border where a small creek flows into the lake. After a short period of observation we spent two hours of exciting dry fly-fishing. The trout were not very big but were in good shape and made our brakes whir like a pike. They didn’t surpass 17 in but this lake gave us some memorable fishing moments. Even when we reached our tents we were all smiles.
For the last few days we changed over to Sweden. We fished many nice lakes with a big pike population. Even if didn’t catch a pike over 26 in it was very exciting. The pike was very aggressive an attacked our streamers low under the surface and we could see them from far.
Then it was already time to drive back the 450 miles to Helsinki. We have lived for two weeks in our car and two tents and rented all three days a cabin where we could have a shower, charge our cameras and cook bigger meals than usually on our camping stove. And of course we tried out many finish saunas.
Tired and with endless mosquito bites we flew back to Switzerland. In memory of the beautiful ambiance of Lapland, the endless forest, the uncountable lakes, the feeling of freedom and beautiful fishing. Certainly this was not the last time Mountain-Flyfishing visited the northern Lapland.