Fishing Place - Alvkarleby / Dalalven - Sweden
It's mid October 2016, and the Salmon run is all but over for this year.
If the water conditions are right, the salmon begin their run from the Baltic sea, to their breeding grounds around the beginning of May. By the end of July, most have returned back to the baltic sea.
During that time, 1,391 Salmon were caught, 33 were released and the average weight was 8.6 kilos / 18 lbs (2015 Stats as 2016 not yet available)
I know for a fact that heaviest salmon caught was around 22kg / 48lbs because I was there the day it was caught !
After the Salmon retreat, there is a short break in the fishing, before the next wave of sea trout arrive late September. That's why I am here today.
Taking a short break from fishing, I wondered up river to stretch my legs and give my back a break, something caught my eye about 1 metre out from the rivers edge. At first glance, It looked like a Koi fish, but I knew what it really was.
I sat on the river bank and just watched this once mighty salmon slowly move its tail, just enough to keep it facing upstream. To weak to swim in the main stream, or make the long journey back to the sea, it had found a calm spot close into the river bank. This spot will most likely be the end of the road for this fish.
I could not help feeling a little sad... This salmon had run the gauntlet, probably more than one time in its life. Whilst at sea, it had avoided capture from the mass of trolling boats and all the fancy lures they had to offer.
I wondered how many hand tied flies it had resisted on its way up river, and if maybe, it was one of the many salmon, who with pure power broke off my 0.70 nylon fishing line!
I imagined how this fish looked coming from the sea and entering the river. A magnificent and powerful silver bullet, with only one thing on its mind - to breed.
I started to think about how we noncommercial weekend fishermen treat these fantastic creatures.. Not just salmon, but all fish in general. I think about the number of times I see fishermen more interested in taking a selfie, whilst the fish is still alive, instead of putting the fish out of its misery!
Or the number of times I have seen a fish landed, only to be thrown on the ground whilst the fisherman is congratulated by his friends and other spectators ..
Give the fish, the respect it deserves... If its going back in the water, get it in there as fast as possible. Make sure it is going to survive before releasing it. Wait for the "Kick" then let it go.. Or if you are going to keep it, kill it quickly with one good "Donk" on the head.
For me, salmon fishing is all about the fight... That initial strike, and then the powerful 50M - 100M run, normally down stream! Then comes the fight - man vs fish.. If the river is running strong this fight can last for what seems a life time. I have seen fishermen hand over their rod to a friend because they simply run out of energy! As the salmon gets closer to the river banks, in a last desperate attempt to escape, it will normally launch itself right out of the water.
At this point, I am usually nervous!
Will the line hold ?
Will the hook hold ?
If everything goes to plan, the salmon is moments away from landing..
If not, the rod suddenly fires back towards you, and that feeling of defeat is usually expressed loudly with lots of profanity!
Either way the match is over.
I can honestly say, win or lose - the feeling is always the same, An adrenaline rush !
It's the reason I love salmon fishing...
Today, sitting here watching this once mighty salmon slowly die, was not an adrenaline rush, it was just sad and it made me realise how much respect I have for the mighty salmon..