Sälen on the fly Flowing or calm waters? Grayling, trout, char or pike? A long walk or taking the car as long as you can? We asked Henrik Wallberg, dedicated fly fisher, to explain the charm with fishing in Sälen. Words: Henrik Wallberg, Fjälläventyr. Picture: Ludwig Lind and Joel Gustafson.
The rippling flow, the forests swoosh, the dipper that swims through the rocks. And the watching of the rings on the surface that tells us that it is feeding time for the creatures in the river. It’s hard to describe fly fishing without being romantic, the impressions are many at the beautiful river. For those who don’t know, the river is just beautiful but for a fly fisher, it’s also a mystery that needs to be solved, a code that needs to be cracked. Where is the fish, what is it eating and how do I get close without scaring it? And are my skills good enough to trick it?
Calm and adrenaline meet in fly fishing. Could that be the reason that we meet several of the mountains ski and snowboarders by the water during the summer? Meditation is cut of by an explosion in the water when a hungry trout rushes of with your fly in its mouth. The excitement when its finally in your net and the feeling when you slowly let it back in the stream again. Or could it be tonight’s dinner?
Sälen has everything that a fly fisher can want and need – rivers and streams, lakes and tarns. Accessible for the curious and for the experience, there are miles and miles of flowing and calm water to discover by foot.
With a bit of luck and skill, a visitor can check of both grayling, trout and char here. If you want to give the children a push into angling, there are a number of tarns with planted fish, great fun for the whole family.
The places of interest vary with the season, tide and low. The Västerdal river, north of Sälen village, the Gör river by Stöten and Fulan are all worth a visit. Sälen is however overlooked as a fishing area. Many pass through on their way up north when they should stay a few days and discover the Sälen mountains many beautiful streams. There are easy waters that is suitable for an introduction into fly fishing but also the kind of water that the more experienced are seeking: a bit tricky and not that accessible. Even though I like to work as fishing guide in the crystal-clear waters of Slovenia, the exclusive and private waters in Norway, the highland in Scotland and New Zeeland, Sälen is closest to my heart.
The variation is incredible with small and big waters, in the forest and closer to the mountain, fast or slow streams and all the different species you can catch.
”The lady of the stream”. A favorite for a fly fisher. The grayling is beautiful with its big back fin and amazing colors and it often comes to the surface to catch a fly. Grayling for dinner? Eat it immediately, preferable wrapped in foil by the river. The grayling loses its flavor and consistency quite fast.
Mythical, beautifully dotted, shy and a bit hard to trick. Well on the hook, the trout dances like no other. Dry fly, nymph or a big imitation of a fish – trout-fishing is varied in a great way.
The Greta Garbo of the mountains. Shy and difficult. But if you do find a tarn with char and the conditions are good, it can be a bonanza since the char often comes in shoals. Small, black flies is a good tip to catch it.
In the calmer parts of the Västerdala river and in some tarns and lakes, there are plenty of pike. Pike fishing with flies requires a different gear but it’s a cool experience.
Visit the fishing shops in Sälen
They know what flies to use, the conditions in the area and you can add whatever you need to your gear as well as getting a fishing card.
Book a guide
Do you only have a few days to fish? Don’t chance it, book a guide on one of your first days. The local knowledge and sense of direction are key factors for successful fishing.
Pay respect by the water
We have miles of flowing water and an endless number of tarns and lakes here in Sälen. There is no need to step in where someone else is fishing.
Fish have incredible insights and they can feel the vibrations from the shore or when you wade out in the river, so approach with caution. Sit down and watch before you start fishing. And you don’t have to throw across to the other side, the fish is often on your side of the river.
Bring the kids
There are plenty of waters that are suitable to bring the kids to. Only catch the fish you need. A wise man once said: “yield the interest and not the capital”. Feel free to take a smaller fish or two for dinner but let the good genes on the bigger fishes continue swimming. The same goes for the fishes that are smaller than the average size. If you are letting the fish go, make sure to use a barbless hook and a net without knots, preferable made from rubber.