The Varzina River on the North Kola Peninsula is one…
Land of the Ice and Fire, Iceland can throw all kinds of adverse conditions at those venturing onto rivers. Admittedly, we did experience periods of strong northerly breezes during our latest Fly Odyssey visit though overall the Nordic weather smiled on us when hatching midges kept trout looking up for long periods. In fact, at times, so many naturals littered the surface, trying to identify your imitation amongst them was far from easy…a nice problem to have I can tell you!
Cumbrian based Dave Peggs got off to a flying start by wandering up a neglected branch of one stream where trout were virtually free rising. Mostly, small shuttlecock dressings were the medicine though a fair few trout responded well to black Klinkhamers or parachute type flies too. And when more blustery conditions prevailed, a black hopper came up trumps.
Back on the mother river there were some true giants about though not surprisingly these proved that bit more challenging to tempt. Well travelled rod Jon Pepper opened his innings with a stunning fish just shy of 6lb and John Wyke was in the thick of it too, tangling with midge feeders topping 5lb. Best of all, Jonathon Tomlinson achieved his PB river wild brown trout that weighed 5lb exactly.
On most days we reached for dry flies, yet any chilly breeze saw us switch to nymphs for continued success. Interestingly, patterns like the PTN and hare’s ear produced the goods, despite trout obviously feeding on small, black midge pupae. These were best presented as a single fly, fished upstream beneath a wee tuft of wool.
Our second leg took us north to the mighty Laxa, just outside the Arctic Circle, renowned for tremendous midge hatches where trout apparently throw caution to the wind. However, by Laxa standards the midge carnival didn’t quite live up to expectations. That said, enough fly emerged to see those broad flowing flats erupt into life when Dave Peggs exclaimed “At times, it was difficult to know where to cast”. Being surrounded by sipping trout on more than one occasion, I can vouch for his comments though imagine what it must be like when one of those legendary hatches occur!
Laid back than most, Kevin Stolz caught the dry fly bug proper, resulting in him spending more time by the water than usual. Thankfully, he was rewarded for his efforts with plenty of taking fish. For me, I never tire from seeing the nebs of solid trout break surface to clamp down on a midge imitation…especially in unspoilt surroundings. In all, one of the most memorable trips we’ve done and with beats already booked at prime time next year, one we aim to repeat!
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