Swedish version


Adventure in northern Dalarna
By John Kingma

This summer holiday took me and my family for 3 weeks to Idre in northern Dalarna, Sweden.

This story will not be so interesting for the experienced Scandinavian traveller or expert river fisherman. Never before I went this far up in Sweden and to be honest that while fly fishing on and off for some 20 years I had no experience fishing in rivers and never caught a fish on a dry fly. I don’t think one evening fishing the Mörrum river, with salmon almost jumping in my waders (I still have nightmares) not catching anything, will count.

As this was the family holiday I fished mainly the evenings. The first evening was a disaster. Driving up to Foskros I passed a bridge crossing river Storån. It looked fishy so I parked the car, put on my waders and walked up stream. The water looked deep, not knowing what to use, I tied on a large double gold head nymph. Wading looked impossible, and not being able to make a roll cast, so finding a clear stretch on the bank I made my first cast. Immediately hooking a very nice bush behind me (many would follow). When I finally got my nymph in the water there was a take, which I missed. With high hopes I fished on. Result many bites all missed. Bringing no insect repellent I had my first acquaintance with the northern mosquitoes. These things didn’t miss me so I fled. The next day I bought "Mygga" which worked like a charm.

I found out that from the bridge in Idre crossing river Storån to the bridge crossing river Sörälven there were many (mostly small) grayling. This place being close to the cottage looked like a good place to practice my fishing skills. Fishing up stream with a Klinkhamer I at first hooked only 2 or 3 of the 10 bites but later on I got the hang of It and my hook up rate increased some what. Not much but still. I finally caught fish with a dry fly in a river. Finding out that I could not fish in fast water I began looking for places where the rivers flowed nice and easy.

A very nice place proofed to be the fly fishing stretch of the Storån above Foskros. The river was full of rising trout. Every where I looked rising fish. Using again the Klinkhamer I caught my first small trout. The next day I came back I hooked many trout but all small. After the first elation of catching fish on dry flies was over I was looking for a place to find some bigger fish.

River Grövlan Photo: Mats Sjöstrand 1998 ©
River Grövlan
Photo: Mats Sjöstrand 1998 ©

   Getting lost

Fishing in such a wild place was a new experience for me. Someone from Idre Fjäll Sport pointed me to a stretch of river Grövlan where the fishing should be very good and there should be some big fish. I could park my car and walk down to the river. I found the place to park my car, put on my neoprene waders and started walking down. Walking over trees stumps, stones and swamp I came down, but no river. Walking up hill, down hill and around more swamp I finally found the river. After cooling down for half an hour and fighting of the hornets who seemed to think my sweating body smelled like Chanel. I started fishing. There were some nice grayling there who would take my B.W.O. While standing in the river I saw my first beavers.

When it was getting dark I thought it was a good idea to head back to the car. This proofed to be more difficult then I expected. Walking, totally lost, for 2 hours up, down hills, around and through swamps I finally found the road, but not my car. The car I found 3 km. further down the road. While getting out of my private neoprene sauna I decided that I wouldn’t fish at places where I could not see the river from where I parked the car. 


Keeping to my decision I found a place high up in the Storån above Hällsjön. Walking far down stream looking for rising fish, nobody in sight, I found some bear tracks and droppings. Not being used to meeting animals more dangerous than cows. The best idea, I tough, was to quickly leave the area. Much further up river(and closer to the car) I saw some fish rising. I forgot the bear tracks and decided to try to catch some of these. I hooked and landed a very nice brown trout. Wading up I saw a fish rising close to the bank. After some tries my fly landed (to my surprise) perfectly. And yes there was the take, 1, 2 strike. A enormous bulge in the water, line sizzling through the guides, rod bend to maximum, adrenaline almost gushing from my ears…. for maybe 5 seconds. I saw the fish going down river, a wake like a submarine, taking my last Europeá 12 to unknown destination. With trembling hands and a bit weak in the knees I waded to shore to celebrate my disappointment with a cigarette and something to drink. Sitting peacefully smoking my cigarette, adrenaline level getting back to normal I suddenly was startled by something grunting and crashing through the Forrest. Adrenaline rocketing sky high I sprung up. Clutching my rod in self defence, trying desperately to remember what the booklet from the tourist information said about meeting a bear, ready to flee.

When …. there appeared a great pair of antlers attached to a reindeer . This reindeer was followed by a whole herd of these animals all merrily grunting away. I never did see a bear during my stay. But knowing these animals are there did ad some spice to my fishing. A couple of times I went back to the same place hoping the big fish would return but to no avail.

River Storån. Photo: Mats Sjöstrand 1998 ©
River Storån
Photo: Mats Sjöstrand 1998 ©

   Fishing the fly fishing stretch in river Storån above Foskros

When driving from Idre through Foskros you will pas a bridge crossing river Storån. This is the beginning of the fly fishing stretch. After a few hundred meters you will see the sign Hällsjön. The gravel road follows the river closely high up to river Storån passing Hällsjön on the way. According to my information from Idre Fjäll Sport you fish all of Storån on the Idre/Särna FVOF fishing permit except for the upper stretches (beginning approx. 8 km north of Hällsjön) here you need to buy a separate special permit, and one of this upper stretches are quated (only a few fishermen allowed here each year). After passing Hällsjön the road gets very bad but maybe you will meet the big trout I lost.

At the fly fishing stretch in the upper Storån the fishing was really fantastic. At first I caught only small trout fishing dry flies upstream. One late evening wading down stream to the place where I started up ( so I could find my car) soaking a big Montana nymph when the rod was suddenly almost snatched from my hands. Panic stations all the way. After a long fight the fish managed to swim between my legs forcing me to make some very strange movements but at last I held a 50 cm. trout in my hands. Totally overjoyed I did my best Tarzan impression ever.

In need to stock up on some flies (more bushes and trees) I talked to Henk. A Dutch guy who is working, next to being a guide, at Idre Fjäll Sport. He advised me to lengthen my leader to about 4 meters. This proofed to be good advise as the size of my catches increased.

Mostly I fished upstream and because of the gentle flow It was possible to make long drifts.

A few evenings there was a strong wind blowing down river making some waves on the surface. Not being the best caster I was forced to change tactic. Not seeing any rises I tied on a big Européa casting quartering down stream. Throwing a lose line I hoped to make a drag free drift. With the wind and the flow going in the same direction the first drift was very short. After this the fly would skate over the water. Fumbling with some weed in the fly line I felt a tug and some struggling at the end of my line. A small trout had hooked It self.

The following drift, with a bit more concentration, I let the fly skate over the water and to my surprise there was a trout trying to get my fly. Being infamous among my friends for my early and forceful strikes I managed to wrench the fly from the fishes mouth..

Managing a bit more restrain I caught many fish this way. One fish was a real surprise. After a feeble struggle there came a very nice fish of about 38 cm. to hand. Totally infested with some kind of green parasites. Never before had I seen something like It.

When It got to dark to see my fly I tied on a small Muddler. Wow did they like this, I could not see the fish take but I could hear them splashing after It resulting in aggressive takes.

It can get a bit busy at the beginning of the fly fishing stretch. Everyone, including me was fishing the north side of the river. Noticing that the more quiet rises occurred at the south side the last evening before packing I tried to cross the river. Finding a place to cross I had a fantastic last evening. Starting up with a Européa 12 and catching some nice trout up to about 30 cm. Then with fish still rising they refused to take the Européa. Looking at the water there were some kind of flies with upright wings floating down river. The trout went totally crazy, jumping clear out of the water to snap the ones that flew away. Fish everywhere. Trying to match the hatch I tied on a B.W.O. Over a stretch of some 800 hundred meters I caught a lot of fish mostly small ones but also fish in the 30 to 40 cm. range still missing plenty though.

Seeing a swirl some 10 meters in front in front of me I made a cast. Almost before the fly hit the water It vanished. Surprised It took me a few seconds to react. I hooked something solid. The fish came down stream, not able to keep up the line went slack. Thinking this would be the end of It when my rod bend almost flat. The fish roaring downstream rrrrrr there went the backing knot to the through the guides. Splashing trough the water I tried to keep up with the fish. The first 15 min. absolutely no control. Hanging on for dear life. Praying It would stay on. After about a half hour, maybe more, maybe less, I beached a whopping 60 cm trout. Well It could have been 59 or 61 It was a bit dark and my hands weren’t really steady but to me It didn’t really matter. It took about 5 min. to revive the fish before It swam away.

River Storån. Photo: Mats Sjöstrand 1998 ©
River Storån
Photo: Mats Sjöstrand 1998 ©

Now It was getting really cold and dark so I turned down stream wading back fishing a small Mudler down stream to where I could cross the river. Catching a few more trout.

Getting out of the water, the river steaming and the pink evening light reflecting. I sat there on the bank not wanting to let the moment pas. Never in my wildest dreams I expected that I would catch so many and to that such a big trout on my first vacation fishing in rivers. But as all things must come to an end, so the next day we packed and returned to The Netherlands.

It would have been nice to catch a char but maybe next year. The lakes can be nice also. Especially where the water is forced under a bridge and there is a bit of flow. At these places I got some nice Grayling.

If you are in the neighbourhood of Idre I think you should try it. If I as a novice to this kind of fishing can make such catches it’s bewildering to imagine what an expert can accomplish.

The fishing licence is cheap. I bought a season permit for some 300 Sek. With this licence you get a map with the fishing waters. The area which you can fish is so large It will take more than a life time to fish them all.

   What did I use.

I used my old home build 8,6 ft Fibatube for a 5 weight line. On this a Loop graphite with plenty of backing. Mats (editor of this webzine) send me a list of flies to use there. So I tied (and bought) a lot of those before leaving. Mostly though I started up with a Européa if this didn’t work I tried till something would work. One advise don’t forget your B.W.O.
As leader I used a 9 ft. 3x Maxima to the end of this I tied a leader ring and to that a 1 meter point of 4 x.

   Some practical information.

When driving to Idre from Göteborg all the route guides will show you the way by driving through Oslo. You will get there but if you instead drive road 45 in direction to Karlstad – road 62 to Stöllet – road 45 to Malung – road 297 to Idre, you will save about 200 km.

As winter is the high season the prices in summer are really low. If you are searching for a place to stay you can look under http://www.idreturism.com look up "Logi". There are a lot of nice cottages there. If you, like me, bring your family with children then Idre FJäll resort is also a nice place. There are lots of activities and a swimming pool. The prices will be a bit higher there.

Next to these there is a very nice camping place with cottages in Idre run by a Dutch couple. You can find this place by http://www.soralven-camping.com the camping is situated right on the bank of the Sörälven river.

Mats Sjöstrand (editor of this webzine) was so kind to e-mail me some very good information about flies and tactics to use. This was really helpful so thanks again Mats. He also mentioned the site http://www.cinclusc.com/spfguide/eng/province/dalarna.htm here you will find information about the rivers but beware of mark 6. on the map is the place where I lost the way back to my car.

Wishing you tight lines.

© John Kingma, The Netherlands 2001



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