Autumn by the river.
The 2008 season has come to an end for the rivers in the Trøndelag region, but for some reason it was not completely over in my head, I guess the thoughts of salmon fishing are there every day throughout the year. When I left the river after the last fishing weekend I was still very keen on fishing. I did fish quite a bit this summer, but really felt like one last trip on a beautiful September’s day.
The weather forecast promised fantastic weather for the next 10 days, this was important as I wanted to bring my camera and try to get some pictures of jumping fish in the pools, and during autumn it is nice to have some good sunlight with regards to photography. As I packed my bag I recognised this good feeling I have when I am about to set off to Gaula during the season, and this time around I was only bringing my thermos and camera. It is actually quite worrying to think about how “messed up” in the head one becomes just by being a fly fisher, it controls most of the thoughts, and that it is possible to look forward to a trip along the river this much, just equipped with a camera, surely this cannot be healthy! But nonetheless, this is how things are, and the car ride up the valley was yet again very exciting, I was looking for the same signals as I got closer to my destination. Studying the water level, looking up to check the light conditions – everything was perfect.
Look at the view I had on this trip.
As I arrived to the first pool I planned to visit this day I got this wonderful calm feeling. I got down to the pool, armed with a camping chair, camera tripod, a thermos full of coffee, and most important of all: the camera (fly rod). I had already decided whereabouts in the pool I would begin, and I thought this was really exciting. When I had rigged everything, the first salmon jumped in the favourite run, and just at the edge of this run I have hooked many a salmon. The salmon kept on jumping, and I was experiencing what often happens when you fish as well, it was very difficult to catch it (on film), after a while I was almost possessed, surely it must be possible to get a perfect picture of an airborne salmon??! The “normal” salmon jumps were to be seen this day as well, some salmon jumped straight up, some slid through the water like dolphins, the latter could not be heard, so to get good pictures of them I would have to be alert at all times.
For several reasons this trip developed into something completely different than what I expected beforehand, it was a trip with lots of excitement and some other experiences than what you have when the fly rod is a part of the set-up, but nonetheless it was a trip with many great moments. It is just fantastic to experience the nature, the river, and the salmon through the camera lens. It was very exciting to try and “catch” the salmon through the camera lens, and those times when I was just too late to push the button it was almost like dropping a salmon after a long fight.
Two salmon showing at the same time – territorial behaviour perhaps?
I was hiding behind a boulder around 3 meters away from where I knew the big one was residing, I lay completely motionless and the zoom was focused right on target, the excitement was greater than you can imagine. I was lying there with my finger on the “trigger” for a long time without anything happening. After a while I just had to change my position, and a cup of coffee was also quite tempting this the beautiful autumn day. And just as I put the camera away and had a cup of coffee in my hand, the biggest salmon I have seen in a long time jumped, just at the spot where I had focused a minute ago! I could not believe it; the jump was so perfect as well. The salmon came up through the surface without a sound, it was like it was showing off with its long body in a perfect arc so that the whole fish was just clear of the water. I wish I could have caught that one (on film).
I just sat there for a while, enjoying my coffee and looking at the ripples from the large salmon’s jump, when I realised that at just this spot in August I lost a massive fish on the 7 weight, could this salmon have been the same that I lost? This was also one of the reasons why this turned into a trip with more excitement than I expected, just thinking that this could have been “my” salmon made this trip a fantastic experience.
The challenge posed by photographing a salmon “in the jump” turned out to be a bit too difficult for my camera and my experience as a photographer, but this is again just as when you’re fishing. You continuously feel that you should invest in some new gear, in order to improve your odds when trying to catch salmon in varying conditions by the river. Thus, the hunt for new camera equipment has begun, and I will also attend a photography class in order to learn more about this – for in my head, that dream picture of a leaping salmon is crystal clear.
I saw several salmon jump in some of my hot spots, I guess I sometimes became very confident when thinking “I would not need many casts before hooking that one”, and so on. This was a great experience, as it was fantastic to see so many salmon in the pools, which is promising with regards to future fishing trips. The trip was also good in other ways; the weather was good, so was the coffee, and the excitement at the end of the camera was at times electrical. As darkness approached and the camera batteries were empty, it was time to drive home, and this time I actually felt that I too could finish the season.
That’s all folks, see you next year!