Tokkeåi – where big trout swim
As an angler on Tokkeåi you take part of preserving something special, especially when you respect the strict regulations which are put in place both for Bandak and the river. These regulations are crucial for the conservation of this unique river and the trout that swim here, which are unique to Tokkeåi and have been here for over 10,000 years.
The large trout in Bandak and Tokkeåi are some of the largest and strongest wild strains of brown trout in Norway. Researcher Morten Kraabøl stretches this even farther, his opinion is that this is one of the most unique strains of trout in the world. Unfortunately the population has steadily declined after 1950. Genetic calculations undertaken from 2012-2014 indicate that the effective mature population lies somewhere between 54-114 individual fish. It is these fish that will carry this unique strain forward.
As an angler and “river caretaker” you become a part of this conservation work. The opportunity to come into contact with a fish of a lifetime is still here, and this is exactly what all anglers dream about. When your line not only goes tight, but just stops… then starts moving. You lift your rod tip, but it bends in the cork. If you do manage to get one of these incredible fish into the net and release it unharmed to ensure future generations may have the opportunity to have the same experience then you are a winner. Even if you don’t get it into the net you are guaranteed an experience you won’t ever forget, and you are still a winner. But if the the fish pays with its life there are many losers. Not only you, but the trout, nature, and everyone else who wishes to preserve this unique resource.
These large trout are of course not born large. Like all trout they have developed from an egg, first with a yolk. As they develop the yolk disappears, and they hatch. The start life feeding on microorganisms such as plankton and larvae, and as they grow they switch over to insects. What separates the large trout from the small are that they switch over early to being piscivorous. This is a genetic trait specific to this unique strain. The best chance of coming into contact with them is when they are between 100 to 500 grams.
To the untrained eye it is impossible to differentiate a young “large trout” from any other trout. It can either be a young “large trout”, or one of two other strains of trout found in Tokkeåi. You won’t know, and nobody expects you to. What is expected of you is that you handle all trout caught in Tokkeåi with respect. Follow the fishing regulations. The regulations are strict, and they are assessed each season.
Our goal is that the strain of large trout in Tokkeåi with strengthen enough to justify a sustainable harvest at some point down the road. Not only that anglers down the road can enjoy what we have today, but that it can once again become the fishery it was over half a century ago. That Tokkeåi can offer the type of fishing that anglers travel halfway around the world for. We believe this is possible, but we’ll need your help. Tokkeåi is the spawning and nursery river for this large strain of trout, as well as two other unique strains. This in and of itself is unique. When the the trout in Tokkeåi grow large enough, they move out to deeper water and feed primarily on char and whitefish in lakes Bandak, Kvitesidfjorden, Sundkilen and Flåvatn. We know that trout caught and marked in Tokkeåi wander down to Skarprudstrømmen, which connects Bandak and Kvitesidfjorden. We believe that they travel throughout the entire system of lakes downstream to Hogga, but this has not been scientifically studied.
Tokkeåi runs through the town of Dalen, and the outer edge of society. The area is both rich in animal life and scenery. One evening on Tokkeåi offers more than just fishing. Take your time to soak in the scenery and load up the batteries. And remember not to leave a trace. We look forward to seeing you on the the riverbanks.
– Bjørn Olav Haukelidsæter