Letter from devoted Umba angler Orla Bertram Nielsen

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Despite my perseverance neither the Skjern, Varde or Stor River in Denmark have yielded anything this spring. 5 or 6 salmon have risen to my fly, but none were genuine takers. My frustration was of course palpable, so I resolutely renewed my passport and bought a return ticket to Murmansk in order to cast my beloved flies in the beautiful Umba River on the southern shores of the Kola Peninsula.

With salmon fever running through your veins, sleep is never easy in these places, and it was truly wonderful to fish the paradisiacal Home Pool just a short walk from the lodge. I felt a salmon nudging the fly on the ninth cast, and it struck with a vengeance on the next cast, only to be released a few minutes late after a hefty fight. Just two cast more and the scene was repeated – thus came the cure from the severest signs of salmon fever.

I had short and blissful nap and entered the pool again later in the afternoon. This time I hardly managed to get half of the shooting head out, before the third salmon of the day raced downstream to the blessed sound of a screaming salmon reel. And it happened again shortly after. What a contrast to the many fruitless hours on the rivers of western Jutland!

I landed salmon every day and was even ”top rod” with 15 fish caught on nine of my own fly patterns. Umba is obviously heading for better times. After long and strenuous negotiations with the Russian operators, Steffen Juhl has now succeeded in reducing poaching issues, and further improvements look very tangible in the near future.

The only rain on my parade was that I managed to ’sink’ my old and faithful Nikon D 70 leaving me with no picture of my biggest fish estimated at 16 pounds. On the other hand, I did get a picture of my German fishing partner Markus Kemmer and his beautiful 20 pounder.

Tight lines

Orla Bertram Nielsen

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