Monday, September 22, 2008

Exploring Your Backyard (Sweden)

Exploring Your Backyard
by Anna Sjöberg

People from Sweden are known for enjoying travelling around the world. Some serving drinks in bars, some taking care of kids, some just living for the moment. All of us want to explore exotic places and discover new areas. Fishermen of course travel all over to find new species or just to enjoy a new place. I recently heard a quote from a Swedish guy who after travelling around the world in order to find that great fishing, finally ended up in the Swedish mountains realizing that he could have spent all the time there. “The best fishing was in my own back-yard”. This is my thought as well. How come we forgot about the great things our country has to offer? Maybe it is time to explore our back-yard a bit more?

My summer was spent in Sweden and for a couple of weeks more specific in Lappland where I grew up. We went for a four day trekking in the mountains close to Ammarnäs. Not too far from my hometown and actually situated by the end of the road. You just can´t get any further. You could keep on driving, but since the road ends you´ll either end up the hill in the slalom slope or bump into the “potatoe-hill”. Both nice things to see, but there is so much more to explore in the areas around Ammarnäs.

We thought to combine trekking with fishing, and it was also the first time we wanted to introduce our daughter into trekking in the mountains. All of us had of course great expectations.

Flying up with a helicopter gave us the perfect view of the surroundings. Big deserted areas covered only with low bushes, some with left over snow, green grass and beautiful streams.

The first day was spent in an area where fishing was not allowed which made us focus on the beautiful views, fresh water in the streams and snowballfights with our daughter on our way to the first lake.

The possibility to enjoy the silence, deserted areas, watching the great views and to sit outside the tent hearing nothing but the wind, stream or the squeaks from the birds is for me something priceless. I couldn´t help of thinking about all the people who live in big cities where the complete silence is impossible to get. Here we were in the middle of it all. And maybe even more amazing, it´s all for free.

The second day we got to stay by a lake that most certainly was the home of some big trouts. This revealed from the big jumps we got to see, which of course was out of our reach (as always in flyfishing). In spite of the jumps in the middle of the lake, my husband, who recently started flyfishing kept fishing along the side of the lake accompanied by hundereds of mosquitos. He got paid for his effort and got his first fish on fly this night. A pretty small trout but beautiful and of course, historic since it was his first. This fish we enjoyed as a night snack at 11 pm sitting outside the tent in the light summernight. The sun wasn´t set, the air was cool but still nice, the mountainsides looked more inviting than never. It doesn´t get much better. Not even a 3-star-guide michelline- restaurant could compete with the taste of this trout. A perfect night with clear minds only focusing on the present moment.

On our way wandering back towards Ammarnäs, after leaving the high altitude and reaching the berchforest we stopped at a small and inviting forestlake for a break. During the lunch we looked at the water and realized we had to finish eating in an instant. There were so many signs of great fishing and we were eager to try. I choose my fly, Europe 12 and landed the fly where I saw the fish breaking the surface. The fish was there but was not caught, I tried it once more and got it. Another small trout. We had some pictures taken and then released it to go for the next one. There were fish all over. We got fish on every third or fourth cast and had a very enjoyable time. All the fishing on dryfly, which in my opinion makes it even more exciting.

Daniel who now had increased his amount of catches on fly bigtime, caught a big trout. A trout that really put up a fight hiding in the reed and rolling into the mud. It was a dirty trout who got landed and it wasn´t without some fighting we got a few shots until it was released. I soon had a similar-sized on but while waiting for the camera to come close, the trout had enough, spit the fly out and swam away.

The fishing was fantastic. My 7-year old daughter who hasn´t started flyfishing yet got frustrated since she didn´t get any fish on her lures, and wished for her own flyfishing rod. The dryflies were a success and we had a hard time leaving the lake. But as they say, everything comes to an end. We still had about 6 kilometers to walk and for that reason forced ourselves to stop casting, bringing the heavy backpack on our sore backs and started walking. Feeling very sad about leaving but very happy for the great hours spent.

I still get the great feeling of calmness, total happiness and content thinking back at those hours, and made a promise not to forget about my own back-yard. Of course I also dream about distant shores, rivers and streams with great fishing, but I also know what I can find a lot closer.

I sure intend to explore my back-yard a lot more.