Arctic seas, feasting salmon & conditions now perfect for FCW sea trout.

I feel a bit of a fraud as I sit writing this blog in a room in the Arctic Hotel in Ilullissat, 250 miles north of the arctic circle on the west coast of Greenland! One reason why perhaps I can justify writing a bulletin about Finavon from this distance is that this is where our two-sea-winter salmon come to feed. The sea is a few yards away from where I am sitting, and the view is breathtaking with brilliant sunshine on massive icebergs exiting the great Jacobshavn Glacier. As far as I can see there are icebergs of different sizes, shapes and colours, ranging from ten-story tower blocks to the size of a mini, from shimmering white to deep blue. The sea is very calm in the blazing sun, and the coastline behind me a mixture of bare rock and snow patches. There are snow buntings and a team of twenty or so huskies lazing around on flat slabs of exposed rocks, chained up because they are not always of a friendly disposition. There is also a litter of husky pups causing general mayhem, all within a few yards of my window. Talk about panoramic! When I return I shall download some photos of this incredible seascape, huskies included, for this blog.

Below: Where our salmon feed at sea near the town of Ilulissat, 250 miles inside the arctic circle on the west coast of Greenland

Icebergs exiting the great Jacobshavn Glacier

Sunlight on icebergs in the sea off the Jacobshavn Glacier

Sleeping husky, chained-up because these working dogs are dangerous!

So this is where our two and (if we are lucky) our three-sea-winter salmon come to stuff themselves with capelin, squid, and anything else of the right size for them to eat. The salmon here are grossly fat and oily. Their flesh is soft and full of fat. We never see them like that because, by the time they get back to the South Esk, they have the physique of an athlete, after swimming the two thousand miles of the return journey. By the time they arrive with us all the fat has been worked off and they are fit and firm-fleshed, and much nicer to eat of course! I have never been in much doubt about the salmon’s status as a top-line predator, but seeing the way they feast here in the cold Greenland coastal waters, has confirmed that in my mind as a certainty. So, when you fish for salmon in Finavon’s pools maybe it’s a good idea to keep the fly moving, because they really do like to chase their prey. It seems rather odd that we are putting these top-of-the-food chain predators into cages and stuffing them with South American anchovies in order for us to eat them as farmed salmon. Rather like an African tribe deciding they like roast lion steaks, so they cage-up the lions, and feed them antelopes in order to fatten up the lions so they can eat them. I can’t think of any other predator we treat in this way. Wild salmon are very special animals and perhaps we need to rethink our relationship with them. 

Night fishing

The best sea trout fishing is at night

The other reason why I feel I can write a bulletin about FCW sea trout prospects from long range is because of what modern technology provides in terms of information. For example, the webcam tells me that the river has dropped nicely to a level where sea trout should be moving upriver steadily and, with any luck, be starting to shoal in the main pools. I would expect there to be some sea trout in all the pools, with some good shoals developing in Tyndals, Willows, Upper Boat (all Milton Beat), Red Brae, Kirkinn (Castle Beat), Haughs, Tollmuir and House Pool (Bogardo Beat), Melgund, Frank’s Stream and of course Indies (Indies Beat). If I were going fishing at midnight tonight (Sunday) I would put money on seeing and hearing sea trout splashing about in Indies and Willows. Following reports of significant numbers of sea trout going through, and some being caught, at Kinnaird, there are bound to be fish in those FCW pools I mentioned above. The warmer water after the superb weather on Friday and Saturday should encourage sea trout to run. The new FCW sea trout syndicates start this coming week. I wish them all every success – good warm summer nights with exciting trysts with sea trout and the occasional salmon, perhaps interspersed a convivial blether & dram in the Indies fishing hut.  Incidentally, well done, Ian Ingledew with that lovely 11 lbs fish from the tail of Haughs (Bogardo Beat) last week. That was a welcome surprise for a night sea trout fisherman! This is a magical time of year, so enjoy. The fog, snow and ice will be back far too soon, so, like the grass-hopper, party-on while the sun shines!

Postscript: Moray had a 2 lbs sea trout at 0400 today from Frank’s Stream (Indies Beat), but that is all for an early season night. From here on things should improve.


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