It starts with a flight out to Norway on the 31st of may to join friends ready to have their first cast of the new season on the Verdal as the clock strikes midnight. It might be a short season for the rivers of Norway but the opening week is always eagerly awaited.
My trip to Tingvoll is now a regular feature in the calendar and every year it seems to come around so fast wetting the appetite for days and nights of fishing this magnificent river. Early fishing is renowned for some big fish if not there in serious quantities but the chance of catching a fish of a life time is why we all do it!
This year on arrival the river was pretty full but incredibly dropped off over the first night by almost a metre – I really can’t remember seeing a river lose so much water so fast. The good news though was that the hight was perfect and everyone was keen to get going.
John Olav Oldren and his wife Gunn are our most excellent hosts on the trip. They simply can’t do enough to help you and literally nothing is too much trouble if you need something. The week is also hosted by Gary Scott who had some new and some existing guests invited over all keen to get in the river. Gary too is always on hand to help out be it a for a bit of casting lessons or handing over one of his many “secret weapon” flies that are made specifically for Tingvoll and usually so reliable.
John holding Rupert’s first fish – well done
This is a big river and it sometimes puts anglers off coming but I can assure you, the pools are easily covered with some straight forward wading or indeed with John’s help he is always happy to take you out in the boat to cover the far banks of pools maybe just out of reach.
This part of the river is all fly fishing wheres elsewhere there are beats that offer spinning as an alternative. The guests on Tingvoll were all keen fisherman from being relatively new to fishing to guys who have been fishing for ever and many a worldwide experience of fishing to share stories about around the fire in front of the hut.
Early news of a large fish caught above us in the early hours of day 1 was enough to keep us all on the river that first night till about 4am in the morning – you can do this as it is never dark but you learn to stretch out your times of fishing to suit when conditions are at their best. There are no restrictions on when you can fish unlike some rivers I have fished and this makes Tingvoll really popular as you decide when you next want to venture out for a cast.
The lodge facilities and the full board way of fishing here means you really don’t go anywhere else during your trip – away from the maddening crowd and just lovely to spend so much time in such wonderful surroundings.
Our party fished hard for the days we were there and fish were seen in the pools – not just splashes but more the noise you hear if you were to throw a large log into the river! I had some really aggressive takes and a fish that came right out of the water narrowly missing my fly on the surface but for me alas, no fish to report on the bank.
The first fish was a cracker of 20lb and much was made of the celebrations round the fire as toasts were made and drams consumed as more and more confidence in our chances were discussed before inevitably wanting to head back out for more.
A huge thank you to John and Gunn and to Gary too who were as I said, hosts who really couldn’t do enough to help you enjoy your experience on Tingvoll. To my fellow anglers with whom I shared this experience we now have a bond that will see us once again gather on Tingvoll or indeed other rivers closer to home over the coming season and I thank you for your company, tales, craic and drams.
If you need any insight or want to know more about how you too can fish here then please do give me a ring – there are a few days remaining in July but already next year is starting to fill up so don’t leave it to late if you would like to join in the fun of Tingvoll.
And for me, back to work and then an early trip to the Spey to look forward too too see if I can find a Spey bar of silver – it’s what fishing is all about, thoughts of your trip gone by and then the excitement building for that next time out on the river – love it!!
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