Late summer 2009. A group of very hopeful fishers takes off at Gardemoen airport, Oslo. We have been sponsored by several Norwegian fishing and sport brands, and the goal was to get the
mysterious arctic char in Svalbard summertime. The rumors was that it is impossible to catch it with fishing lures summertime.
Net fishing from helicopter
It started one day, in my work lunch room. A well travelled man told us that a friend of him had fished for scientific purposes after arctic char from helicopters! Well, net fishing isn´t very exciting, but the size of the fishes caught my attention, and I stored it somewhere in my brain for further use. (Along with many other fishing tips.)
Several years later, the opportunity came, when I met a friend that talked about somebody who wanted to start a travel agency, and needed people to try out the fishing possibilities. «Hey!! Pick me!!» I screamed inside, wanting so much to visit the most excing island we have around. After some months it was all arranged, sponsors and everything.
Day one - Longyearbyen
I knew that things were a little «simple» in Longyearbyen, but I was surprised that all cars and almost all houses are left open for polar bear security. They have almost no crime and I felt that people was very open and welcoming. Almost everybody had snow mobiles and survival suits outside their garden free houses.
We quickly gathered outs things, packed our bags and boxes and checked the weather forecast. The weather was not looking to good, so we decided to speed up the process and leave at night, hoping to enter our first camp before the bad weather would stop us.
In the boat, an extremely robust aluminum boat, we had to wear survival suits and sit tight. If there would be waves, we could actually loose people of the speed and the waves was to hard. I got the lucky seat, in front of the cabin, and I got all the waves..
After a weather surprise, we had to go into a safe fjord and sleep over. Here we had to dry up loads of clothes and other stuff that became wet in the boat. This happened when we accidentally drove directly into some big ones in very high velocity. «From quiet to storm» would describe what happened in about 10 minutes.
When we woke up, the water was as a mirror and a group of walrus had entered into the fjord, looking bored and very interested in us. We quickly packed the boat and drove out to this breath stinking shell eaters, and took some beautiful photos of them, close to the boat.
After some hours at full speed we entered New Ålesund. This is a pristine place, hided from «the rest of the world». When we came, they had a gathering in the community house, and there were no people to find. All was just as a left city.
I believe that our boat driver bought gasoline before we rode the waves again. After some searching we found our secret place, not visible from the sea. With the help from some locals we found
our small river and set up a camp with 360 degrees view of pure nature.
It did not take long before rod and reels had joined forces and were ready for their first casts. I was the lucky one, and «broke the ice» with a beautiful fish, caught on a hot orange Vibrax lure in the small stream. After this it was quiet and a bit difficult, but later at night, the fishing went completely crazy. Together with my old friend, Kjetil Flakke, we caught many beautiful sea running Arctic Chars and normal Arctic Chars in the top of the stream and in the lake.
4 kilo of joy!
We had a few days in this place, and got many fishes and beautiful memories of the wilderness in Svalbard. Just the thought that we might be eaten ourselves, was strange and even frightening. Together with Kjetil, I found the best place in the lake, and we just kept on fishing all night long. Many fishes weighted more than 3 kilo, and my biggest about 4. This was the best fishing me and Kjetil has had together in fresh water!
Isfjord Radio Hotel
I have slept in hundreds of hotels in my life. Very few of them made the same impression on me as this on did. Located far away from people, on an edge at Cap Linnè, where land, sea and heaven unites, the hotel is a warm welcome after a heavy ride in a boat or on a snow mobile.
We slept in tent close to the beautiful Lake Linnè, and had the hotel at a three kilometer walk in a slow descending trail away from us. The guys at the hotel showed us where the polar bear has it´s routes, and taught us a lot about Svalbard and the extreme daily life they live up there. We where only here for four days, but we really felt like explorers and even if we didn´t see the polar bear at all this journey, we felt that he saw us! The gun was always near, the tent had firework alarm fence all around and the food was stored more than hundred meters away. After I while I didn´t want to see him at all. I wanted Arctic Chars, not to fight with polar bears.
Last night was the «evening out» and we got the suites at the hotel and a bottle of their extravagant «Isfjord Radio Vine» and a long wanted shower. The coffee the next morning might just have been my kind of cup and the best ever tasted.
Link to the hotel: press here
«Thank you, Linné»
A big lake isn´t my favorite fishing spot, and I haven´t always found the peace I seek around them. My lures feels tiny and the water feels to big. I have to work hard to find the fish. In Von Linnès lake, things are like most things in Svalbard; not normal. Here the fishes where plenty and on every corner. The thing to remember is colors! We fished with normal colors like silver and copper, but hot orange and other hot colors did the trick.
After a couple of days, learning the lake better, we did a drastic move, waded the river and fished on the other side of the lake. Here we ended for all time the false theories that the chars don´t bite in the summer! We caught many and big chars on both flies and lures. The biggest fish on the trip was a fish measured to be about 5,5 kg and again I was the lucky man holding the rod.