My season in Rena River
Few people fish the Rena river more than fly-fishing guide Martin Mikkelsen. His Instagram feed contains one big fish after the other, you might think he fishes more than he guides. Martin tells his view on this seasons fishing and reveals some good tips.
It was too warm last season, this season has been too cold, and almost every season can be summed up as a “strange season”. What is your impression of this “strange season” in Rena river?
– It has been a strange season. We had no substantial hatching. The Aurivillii (may fly) never really happened, the swimming pupa was ok, but not really coming off. The only consistent bug has been the Rhodani may fly. I don’t know the reason, it’s probably the cold summer as you mentioned. Anyway the season is not over and we will soon see second generation may-flies-
Most fishermen have the ability to stop all normally uncontrollable body functions, just to make a cast. As a guide you have to endure watching someone else casting on what in reality is your fish – what makes you want to put yourself through that?
– I find great satisfaction in helping others on to big fish. Getting a guided session is a good shortcut to knowing the river better, and getting some pointers for those who either are beginners, or just don’t know the river that well. It’s a tricky river and it takes a while to get to know it.
Guiding in the river you probably see a lot of fly-boxes. What are people mostly getting wrong on that front?
– Presentation is normally the issue. They are changing fly all the time when it in reality is the presentation that is off. May-fly presentations often get micro-stripes on the water film. When it comes to swimming pupa the general mistake is the speed of the fly.
What is correct way to fish the swimming pupa?
– In my mind the cast should be at an angle upstream and then retrieved in a way that gives it the most natural speed. Most people cast at an 45 degree downstream angle, and that gives the swing and the fly too much speed. You sometimes need to cast straight upstream when the fish is tucked into the bank, but its tricky.
High summer is the most popular time to fish the river and you some times get Woodstock-conditions on the Hanging bridge. Do you have a different part of the season that you would recommend?
– Naturally its most fishermen on the river in the common holiday in high summer, but personally i like the august fishing best. You have bigger fish moving with the swimming pupa active, big caddis and few fishermen on the river. You also get really big grayling in august and the following months.
photo: Jon Terje Refshal (stolen from Instragram)
When you are not fishing or guiding?
– I work in a sporting goods store in Rena, I’m soon to be a dad with my lovely girlfriend, but i admit; I do a lot of fishing. It normally starts up in February with fishing in Glomma river.
Tell us about the highlight of the season?
– In very nice conditions, shallow water, in a small channel, I had a trout of about 5 pounds on a small Auruvillii may-fly imitation.
This last question is a bit dumb, but if you only where to choose one fly, what would it be?
– The only fly I use now in august is the Devil bug, but for the whole year it would have to be a small CDC Caddis imitation as it can double as a comparadun may-fly.
This devil-bug is not the same variation as Martin uses.
Martin Mikkelsen: Guide Fishspot
Interview and translation by
Anders Dahl Eriksen