”Long time no see”.
We went european grayling fishing last week on North Finland, Kilpisjärvi. First drive 14 hours from home to there by car, then about 20min helicopter ride to river. This time Vili was first time with us, me, my cousin Viki, mu uncle Esko and my aunt widow Veksi. First we did drive breakfast to hiking center. After brekfast last shopping local store, and last visit real toilet.Vili was quite exiting for helicopter ride, what tuc about 20 min. So we arrival to ”our” camping area, where we have been last time 6 year a go. Other side river was other grou about 800m from our place. (Pictures have timelapse, virst is first day ext ext)
First put tend on and try find some dry trees for campfire (biggest trees is about 1m long, because there is not trees, only bushs). My cousin Viki have 60 birthday soon, so we made ”suprise party” for him, small cupcakes and give new reel/rod combo to him. Allso Vili have 10 birthday soon, so i did give him ”double puukko” (finnish knife where is knife for work things and smaller knife for eating), becouse we everyone have same knife system and is work nice on camping/fishing trips.
After that we tuc nap, becouse everyone was been wake up over 24 hours. First day we didnt fishing daytime. Hole summer have been +25´c on home, but now air temperature was +3´c. Hole fishing week temperature was between +3´c to +8´c, river temperature was +9`c.
First evening we made ”test fishin”, me, Vili and Esko tuck walk to spot where we usually fishing on down stream, Esko catch first grayling, but we let it go back. Me and Vili not get touch to fishs. Viki and Veksi made test fishing upper stream, and Veksi catch some small graylings by fly (hi fishing only by fly). Evening snowing little.
First morning everyone sleep late (i did sleep every ninght 12 hours). After breakfast everyone went to river, different spots for ”reconing” where fishes is. Wind was strong and didn´t calm hole week. Usualy we do fishing this river night time when is calm wind or no wind. So we walk to up river couple of hundreds of meters with Vili. First we did try spinners what we normally use, but becouse water was really shallow on hole river, was difficult use spinners. We saw some fishes visit top on water, but didn´t bite lure. We tuck a rest and keep fishes calm. Then i sayd to Vili that he should use small Tasmanian Devil lure (i bought several 10 y a go from Sydney). We choice orange colour, because some fly´s what fishs eat is orange colour. First cast and fish on. I do not know who was more exiting, me or Vili. Not big fish, but legal, strong fish. Fight was difficult to Vili, becouse he have been fishing only bigger fishes who has harder mouth. Grayling mouth have quite soft and cant do too hard/fast moves and reel brake have to bee quite loose. Anyway short fight and allmoste lose fish, because it swim many times between stones. Finally i use net and Vili´s very first grayling was on land. Nice size 37cm/500g. Veksi had catch allso same size and couple smaller fishs by fly. Me, Esko and Viki did not catch anything first full fishing day. Evening we did wait that wind end and hope that we can go fishing down stream, where river is more wide and stream is slow. Vi visit with Esko and Vili downstream fishing spot and Esko catch one small garyling, but after that was totally quiet, we get sleep early.
Second day Esko sayd, that hi go to try down stream middle of day, even we usually fishing there night (sun not go complete down hole night). Veksi stay near camp, me and Vili did go near upper stream an Viki tuck walk over 1km upper stream. Vili did try fly fishing first time and we practise that. We saw some fishs on top, but they didnt want our flyes. I did try allso some lures and softplastics, but nothing. Veksi walk to us, but he didnt allso catch fishes. Couple of hundreds meter more to upper stream we find deeper spot, but get or didnt even saw any fishes. We did return camp early. Viki allso return soon and he did cach some grayling with 1g spinner, but under 35cm limit. 1g spinner is really small, and now we know that fishs are not hungry, usually this river allso small graylings bite 6g to 12 g spinners. Later allso Esko return camp, and he had 40cm, 46cm and 50cm graylings, biggest was 1105g. He sayd, that he get fishes on first 5 casts, after that nothing. So ”time window” when fish bite was really short. Anyway me, Vili, Viki and Esko will go this evening to down stream. We did and Veksi thinking that he nor go, there is not so good spot for fly fishing. So we walk down stream with guys, Esko sayd that he is Vili´s ”assistant” and no fishing anymore today. Cast after casts but nothing. Esko and Vili did go more down, to spot where is big stone. Me and Viki stay still casting same spot and we saw that Veksi coming, even he sayd that it is not interesting place fishing with fly. Soon Viki sayd to mee ”look, Veksi have fish on”. We watching his fight and saw that he use net after quite long fight. Viki continue fishing and start walk to down stream. I did walk to Veksi and he sayd that he have not scale, but grayling what he catch is 51cm. I had scale and fish was 1180g, his PB grayling. We both move more down stream and i did pass Esko and Vili, they catch allso nothing. I did stay fishing shallow water with fly, walk allmoste middle of river to sandbank. Cast after cast but not even bite. Esko and Vili arrivel soon, and i sayd that i go more to downstream. Allso Viki going there. I let flyfishing gears to Vili, and he continue fishing by fly with Esko. I get my self to 50m from then and Viki was 30m from me, he was allready catch couple 40-42cm graylings and one pike. I casting and soon fish on, but after 10 seconds it was free. Same time Vili yelling ”Fish on”, fly gears. Eski give tips how to fight and i was really exiting, i tuck one picture with zoom. Quite long fight and i saw that Esko try use net allready couple of times, but fish was still too fresh. Then i saw that they get fish in net, and i start walk to there. I saw that now is nice size grayling, first fly fish ever to Vili, by finnish national fly Nalle Puh (Winnie the Pooh) what made by bear hair. That Vili´s grayling was 47cm, but really fat and 920g. (Usually 49cm is 900g and 50cm is 1000g). Still we continue fishing, but only Viki catch more fishes, 35-40cm graylings, but realese them becouse we had enough fishs for eat.
3th day was really windy. Enyone didnt want go fishing day time. Me, Esko and Vili did tuck walk to mount near our camp. Hill is quite steep and rocky, have to look what route you can go. Tuck over1 hour get top. There was so bad and strong cold wind, that we only tuc some pictures and call home (only place there where your phone work), allso we saw rabbit poo to on the hill. Then return back to camp, really slow, because down hill is more dangerous, for that, that you cant see so well next step. On camp did build ”Wind wall”, made food and everybody think that no fishing today, too much wind. Rest of the evening we did read books in tend and eat some candys.
4th day we did walk with Esko and Vili over 2km to down stream, heavy walk on swamp and in bushs. Its tuck power and time. We walk to lake what is middle on river and where we know that live ”monster graylings”. Viki and Veksi stay near camp Esko didnt tuc fishing gears, he still want to be Vili assistant (Esko have been this river over 5 time and fishing on North finland over 10 times, so was kind that he help Vili). We casting near lake, was bad and cold wind, my finger was frozen and i allso fell in swamp hole and get my pens wet. Really nice fishing area and should be nice try fishing on lake with packtraft some day. We did lose some lures to cast over river bushs. Our plan was fishing same time when we walk to up stream near river. We saw some really deep spots on river, 3-5m deep spots places where river is only 10m wide. About after 1 hour fishing Vili had fish on, same spot where i just end fishing. Now he did know well, how fight with grayling, quite loosee brake, and smooth moves. Soon Esko use net, and 43cm/735g grayling was landet. We still fishing several hours same time when we walk to camp, but nothing, absolute nothing. Esko and Vili let to camp before, and i get 2 bite to spinner, but not hooked. Viki and Veksi was catch some small graylings near by camp, and one really small trout.
5th day we all sleep later, and after midday everybody was sama opinion, no fishing down stream day time. So we had qood time made pancakes. I have small bushcraft essential, good for made pancakes. So me and Viki start prepare things, Vili and Esko cutting small sticks. Tuck over 1 hour, but finally we had pancakes with rasperryjam, orange and apple marmelade, really delicious. After eat, we ofcource get some nap and rest for night fishing. We arrival to down stream fishing spot and Veksi catch strait 4 graylings, biggest 40cm by fly. Viki catch later 2 pike and one 42cm grayling. Me, Vili and Esko catch nothing. We tuck rest in bush, and wait if wind calm. Its did´t and i did try fishing by fly. I get 5 bite, but not hooked any. Wind going stronger and stronger, so we let to sleep.
6th day, last fishing day and i havent catch anything. Other stay fishing near camp, but i did walk to down stream before midday. Cast spinners, softplastics, everything, try by fly..but no, nothing. Is it my first trip, that i not catch any fishs? I had been fishing alone 4 hours and walk to last spot before camp. First cast by spinner, i saw that big grayling follow. (that spot is shallow water, but on my side river is about 20mx6m deep spot). Cast again and i did feel and saw that fish bite spinner agressive, but did´t hooked. This was same spot where Veksi catch his pb grayling second day by fly. So i did change floating fly. Firs nothing, but then i saw that grayling swimming to my fly, look that and not eat. New cast and same thing, and then it swim away. I did change other floating fly, and again fish swim 2 times watching it, but not bite. Ok, i change sinking fly and casting several times, nothing. About 10min later i saw that fish swim to me, cast fast that sinking fly, see on clear water, only 3m from me, that it bite. Rod up and fight start, after 5min, i heard voise ”zing” and lose fish. Baga, baga baga. I collecting my self, eat some chocolade, packing my gears and say goodbye to river, this year not any fishs. I tuc 3 step in the direction to the camp, when i saw that grayling swim to me, fast sinking fly in to water, fish is interesting but not bite. BUT, then i saw, other grayling swim 10cm behing first crayling and bite my fly. Fight start and i saw that fly line is loop on rod, but loop is enought loose, that fish can pull line. After few minute fight fish swim fast to me and i am lucky, get it in net. Catch my first fish on this trip, last day and 1 cast after my last cast. I bow down to river and I shouted out loud “thank you Kaitsajoki, thank you Kaitsajoki.” (kaitsajoki is that river name) Allso it was first day fishing with fishraider cap, days before was so cold that I did fishing with beanie. I packing my gears again and tuc walk to camp. Scale show, that it was my very first over 1kg fish by fly from Finland, and it was my second biggest grayling ever. 50cm/1140g.Then some pictures, meal and i did ask Vili, that if he want, we can walk to that spot and hi can try pb grayling (usually we not fishing last evening). We did try, but didnt see any fishs anymore. Evening we packing stuff already for next morning helicopter transfer.
7th morning we did packing tent and other gears, eat and start wait helicopter. Best weather on this trip, +18´c and not any wind, lot of moskitos and other flyes, next week should be really nice weather for fishing, but we should go home now. We saw that helicopter arrival, but different colour and model what let us week a go. Pilot was norwegian woman how told to us, that other company helicopter is under service and she carry us back to car. So packing stuff in and soon we landing helicopter field near to car. I did call to hotel, do they have sauna free, and order sauna for us after one hour. We packing cars and drive to only local shop. Was nice open cold pepsi and drink, eat some ice cream. Then we drive to sauna, amazing views from sauna, snow toppet mounths on Sweden, and Norway side, even we went in Finland, cristal clear water, 12´c warm We tuck sauna, me and Vili swim 2 times. We sayd goodbye to Kilpisjärvi and drive 14 hors to home. Maby next year somewhere there again. Vili was really brisk and was not any problem, allso he sayd that he enjou trip, even he had not possible use any smarthphone or similar.