Lots to learn!!

This most recent blog is a bit delayed - I never wrote a part 4 to my Norway adventure and I also had planned to do one of those 'my year in a blog' things....but as I am completely useless at time management sometimes....and always find an excuse to put things off to go fishing...so never got to it!

So how did Norway go? I sadly never managed to catch the monster salmon. At first I was gutted about this, but when I thought about it I came to a conclusion which finally resulting in the decision that I must return next year to take them on once again! I had my chances at a big one, 3 in fact, and each time I missed the take...why....because I did not give the fish time to turn, take to loop and get hooked. I thought about when my friend Marina Gibson cam e out for one week to fish with me and bagged not one but two big salmon...she has been fishing for salmon since she was 10 years old. I watched her when she caught the second fish, she felt the fish on the fly and said the universal fish on claim of 'yes', but she kept her calm and I remember noting a short time before she calmly lifted the rod. I have had this in my mind ever since but when the next time came I still did not hold my cool long enough...this kind of connection and understanding with salmon only comes after years of experience.  So I began to feel better about it, I wasn't ready or worthy yet and it was my inexperience with salmon fishing which ultimately made me fail my salmon mission. The big ones are there - in fact Jonny saw them when he dived the pools to take part in the count - but I just wasn't good enough to catch them yet, I still have a lot to learn!!

 I also experienced that some times even if you stick the fly on his nose you still might not get him! There was a pool where we could stand on the bank and see a huge cock fish guarding his female, I cast fly after fly that swung perfectly past him but he had only one thing on his mind! At one point as my surface fly disturbed him as it went past, he stuck his huge head out of the water to take a look, but still no attack, he must have been 30lb! But I am all set to return in 2017 (not sure if I'm ready for the lack of sleep and miles of smiles yet) but I can't wait to breathe the fresh air, drink the river water and stand in awe of the mountains.....and of course do battle with bagging a big one!

But it turned out that salmon was not the only fish that Norway has to offer, we took a few days out to look for cod and halibut in the fjords. They come into the shallows to sunbathe and feed, we had huge shoals of cod chasing our flies and lures. Also something happened which made me feel better about not catching the big salmon, I bagged a monster halibut on fly! I tied up a half and half fly on a 4/0 partridge sea prince, cast it out let it sink and allowed it to hit the bottom as I stripped it in. When the fish hit it was so powerful and really put my greys salt 9 weight through its paces. It took 35 minutes to tame the beast and when on shore we measured it and took some snaps. I eventually had this fish confirmed as the new fly caught Norwegian record. I will share the article which was published in Saltwater boat angler and a soon to be published field sports

There is only a couple of months left of the river season so I will now be concentrating on pike and trying to meet a big one before the rest period. I have a few fly tying shows coming up, and in February I have the honour of opening the river Teith in Callender! I will follow up soon with a report of how this all panned out!

Keep it reel

Jo x

Life in a Salmon Lodge : Reisaelva Norway :Part 3

I have had some people asking me where part 3 of my blog entry is at, I am sorry it  has taken a while to get to writing this - time is just flying by!

So I think the last time I wrote here we had just received our second set of guests. It was a bit mental for a while here as we have had full weeks with lots of salmon obsessed people! We must have had a few days with 10 guests here so it was a bit hectic at times, mornings were the worst as they would all filter in for breakfast at varying times, and we worried at times we had not prepped enough food! Each group needed boxes prepared with tea, coffee, snacks and drinks, the correct licences for each person needed organising and then the logistics of ferrying the various groups to the river. Jonny did the driving as we had the one car and getting everyone to the river when they all want to get there at opening time was a bit stressful. Sometimes the guides would pick them up which would help heaps. Then it was time to prep lunch, sometimes they would take grill food to cook by the river which was good for us as it gave us more time to do the shopping, clean etc... and other times they wanted to come back to the lodge for lunch, and sometimes each group wanted to do different things! It was all a major learning curve but I think we coped quite well, and the most amazing thing was Jonny and I seem to be able towork well together....without arguing!! (for those that know us this is quite a big achievement :D)

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Over the weeks and various groups things started to settle as we averaged maybe 4- 6 people which was much more manageable. The guest we have had have been really awesome, all friendly and happy to just be fishing in a stunning part of the world, so this made our job fairly easy and satisfying!

I have learnt a lot about salmon fishing since I've been here, firstly people get salmon fever and become utterly obsessed, and secondly salmon fishing is tough and you have to be committed.  I have learnt that river height, temperature and clarity effects things hugely, and the perfect day is a very rare event. Some of the guests were unlucky with the conditions, and others struck it hot. People come here for the chance to catch a personal best salmon, as the salmon here can grown to great sizes. Some of our guests managed to catch their PB salmon and others caught salmon but will need to come back again next year for another shot at their PB! One week on of the members of the Reisastua family landed a massive near 40lb fresh salmon, his face says it all - disbelieve at what this river is capable of producing! This beautiful fish was released to finish his journey and share his genetic code for future generations of monster Reisa salmon!

Jonny and I managed to get away to fish when we could, but often this was just and hour or two, or on sunday switch over day we got a few more hours in between guests. I started to learn why salmon fishing was 1. addictive and 2. soul destroying! I concentrated on my casting when fishing, trying hard not to think about the fish, the more I expected a pull the more crazy it would make me when it did not happen. I have never experienced so many blank days before! I started to dream about salmon and starting to love and loathe it at the same time.

One afternoon we went down to a Sone which was quite hard to cast in, high banks and high water and lots of trees. I went through the pool and snagged so many times! Jonny followed me in the pool, but I was so wound up I needed a second to sit and calm myself - so Jonny skipped ahead....you can guess what happened next right? Yep, he bagged a nice 18lb salmon.

So this added pressure to things for me, and I realise its only me who puts pressure on myself.

One afternoon we had no salmon licences so we strapped up our kayak and went to explore a lake down the road - mosquito heaven! But we had a really fun day catching some really awesome Perch and Pike, and we even had a front seat at a moose show!

So we continued the search for salmon, Jonny was super sweet and let me fish first all the time so I had the best chance of catching. Eventually one afternoon we had a couple of hours and travelled to a really awkward part of the river. I think maybe on the 3rd cast I hooked a salmon, only small but it was my first Atlantic salmon!! Then another 3 casts and I got another of the same size! I can understand why people find these fish so special, you have to work so hard for them! Fortunately the surrounding valley, the river and landscape makes it worth while even if you leave empty handed that day.

We had 4 days when we had a family of 10 people here at the lodge, but they wanted to look after themselves and so did not need us, we actually felt a bit in the way! So one night we took our kayak to the coast, had a fire on the beach, made supper and about 1 am launched the kayak into a very misty fjord and went in search of coal fish, cod and sea trout. I was fly fishing and Jonny used the lure. There were fish going off everywhere, Jonny managed to hook, small coal fish, mackerel, and even a sea trout. I had fish chase my fly but not one would take the hook, they just nipped at the tail, it was very frustrating. Of course because the sun does not set we kept fishing until about 5am, then packed up back to the lodge to sleep! We did this again one other night but conditions were different and it was too unsteady for the kayak so we cast from the beach and caught a few coal fish, only small considering the huge sizes they can reach here, but really fin on a fly rod! Jonny caught another beautiful sea trout!

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The week just gone we had a group of 2 guys and my good friend Marina Gibson come out to fish. Marina and I had the first day together on sone 8 which is the sone the lodge is on. We had a run through the pool each, and then on her second run through she hooked an amazing 20+lb hen fish! Her personal best! I netted the fish for her and we couldn't believe the size of it when we looked in the net, after she released it we all a bit stunned at what had just happened! I unfortunately then had to go back to the lodge to cook dinner for a group of 4 south Africans who had arrived, so I left Marina to it for a while. Once dinner was done I paddled Marina and I over to the small Island in front of the lodge, I had a floating line with a small red and black sunray I had just tied. I cast out to the pool and stripped it in and a grilse nailed it and I had my 3rd salmon! Only small compared to Marinas monster, but perfectly formed and beautifully fresh!

Marina and I had a day together on the upper part of the river, the valley was even more stunning! it was a really fun day fishing lots of different pools and stopping to make a fire and cook meat, proper boy scout stuff. We had a really experienced guide with us who knew all the hiding spots! Marina caught her personal best brown trout, it was gorgeous with incredible markings. On the next pool just before lunch she was working her was down and hooked massive coloured cock fish, she'd wanted to catch one of these for 10 years! The valley was breath taking, and it was great to see these beautiful fish up close, definitely a day I will remember!

So I'm pretty much up to date for now, all the guests are gone and currently we have no - one booked in for the rest of the season which is a shame as August is apparently a really good time to fish (so we don't mind having more time to fish! Ha!). We have some jobs to do around the lodge and of course as much fishing as we can try to do! Yesterday Jonny, I and one of the guides Kris all headed to sone 3 for the day. It was a really mild sunny day, whilst waiting for Kris I took my newly tied yellow and black tube for a run down the pool and I hooked another small salmon, definitely a good start to the day. When Kris arrived we took the boat to the next pool, Kris fished the lower section and I started fishing the upper section. Using my yellow fly again I had a larger fish take my fly whilst I was stripping the line in, it jumped pretty much as soon as it felt the hook so I had no time to strip down and get it under control, so I lost it! Gutted! a couple of casts more and I had another take unfortunately not as big as the one I'd lost but it was my 5th Norwegian salmon! Whilst I was doing that Jonny was nailing some beautiful the sea trout!

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I am fast becoming the grilse queen. I realise how special salmon are and you really have to work hard for them, but I think I have had my grilse training and now I need one of these famed Norwegian big salmon! But in the mean time I will enjoy getting to catch anything and being out by the river. We have a 3 day trip hopefully planned to the top of the river next weekend, this will be my best chance of a big one. So I will let you all know what happens....!

Tight Lines....Jo x

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Life in a Salmon Lodge : Reisaelva, Norway :2016 Part 2

We have been in Norway for Just over 3 weeks now, we had a week to get to know the place and what our job roles will be before our first guests arrived. The surroundings of the lodge are beautiful, we are right in the Reisa valley with the mountains still with some flecks of snow on the top, trees and bush land all around and the river running right past the lodge.

Our first guest arrived on a Thursday afternoon, four American guys traveling together and a one of Roars 'Hero's' also American. Roars hero's are guys working within the fishing industry who can benefit the name and profile of the lodge so he invites them along for some fishing for some help with advertising etc... Our current hero was an epic casting instructor who writes many articles for fishing magazines and who is currently working on a book. He kindly took Jonny and I out one afternoon for some coaching as neither of us cast double handed rods very often, it was super helpful!

Our day is quite long - I get up at 8am and start setting up for breakfast for the guests and Roar, empty the dishwasher and clear up from the late night stragglers he night before. Make the filter coffee and the tea and set the table. Jonny comes down and goes out the let the dogs out and feed them and then comes in to help cook breakfast. We have tried to change things each morning so that is not always just eggs and bacon - we've done scrambled egg and even waffles one day. Whilst the guests are eating I set up their day boxes - tea, coffee, biscuits, milk, beer and wine, and Jonny organises the licences with Roar for the days fishing.

The licence system here I find quite confusing, I'm getting to understand, but luckily Jonny has a better idea. Theriver is split into Sone's (zone) each sone is either owned privately by the farmer who's land it is, or by the government. Each sone then will have a certain number of licences available each day. Roar purchases as many licences as he can for as may sones as possible, so there are plenty available when guests book in. Some of the sones are many kilometres long with lots of different pools to fish. Some of the pools can be accessed by foot but a lot can only be reached by boat. The lodge has 3 very experienced guides who know the river system well and have river boats so they can transport the guests to areas of the river to fish different pools.

Fishing time on the river is from 12noon - 12midnight, so after breakfast the guests will either head to the boats orJonny will drive the guests to meet their guides at the allotted sones whilst I clear up, do any washing and check the rooms, make beds and clean bathrooms. Our other jobs will include maintenance - putting up mosquito nets, building steps, driving into town to shop for supplies, and I also painted the big wooden fish which I think looks heaps better now!

Once this is done I must start organising lunch which is often served about 5pm. This is where we have to be organised and think ahead - know what we will be doing and get things out of the freezer in time. Often we will do a large lunch such as shepherds pie, spag bol or fennibiff. Fennibiff is a  Norwegian dish I have learnt to do, made with reindeer meat and I a bit like stroganoff, its really tasty! The guests will either come back to the lodge or we take lunch to them at the riverside where the guides will build a fire and cook right by the river so no fishing time is lost! We then may have a short space of time for ourselves to rest or if Roar has a licence for us we can go fishing, I then start on supper which is often something light like soup, or cheese, bread and ham selections. The guests will come back to the lodge anywhere from 10:30 - 12:30 and they call Jonny when they need collecting. Whilst waiting for the guests I can sometimes get a few flies tied, which makes me happy! After serving supper and clearing up we usually get to bed about 2am, I will often go earlier as I get up earlier and Jonny stays down to look after and 'entertain' the guests.

Because of the 24 hour sunlight it really screws up your ability to know what the time is, before you know it it's 2am but its still light outside.

Our first week was really good, our guests were really nice, relaxed and not demanding at all. The only thing they really enjoyed was a gin and tonic when they returned from the river, which I made sure I had ready for them as soon as they walked in, which earned me the title form one guest as 'nurse' as I had his medicine ready.

The river opened at 12noon on July 1st the guests and Roar were all very excited! We have two in river cameras which we can watch on the lodge TV, we often see some gorgeous brown trout and also salmon so we knew they were in the system.

As with any fishing weather and river conditions play such a huge part in how the fish will react. The first week was really hot, 20+ degrees for a good 4 days in a row, so the water temperature was quite high. They guys fished hard and not often was it that the came home early - only on the nights that the football was on!  One of the group was amazing he was 80 years young and was out there every day casting all day until 12 and it did not seem to tire him. Each of the group had a fish, one of the guys who was new to Salmon fishing caught his personal best then, trumped that and caught another PB a couple of days later!! Two of them hooked into one of the famed monster salmon of the Reisa which shot off downriver, one bent the hook, and the other took 400m of line before coming off. Where else could you experience something line that other than the Reisa river - the monster salmon were here but they were not going to be easy!

It then started raining - lots! On their penultimate day they had to stay home as the river had risen so much it was unfishable, and dangerous to be out on. It looked more like the Frasier river I had fished in Canada for sturgeon rather than the gin clear Norwegian salmon river, we saw whole trees floating down past the lodge! We heard reports that morning of a group of canoeists up river who has capsized and there was search teams out looking for them. Helicopters flying over the lodge and police cars whizzing past. Luckily they found them all safe and well. Thankfully the following day the river had calmed and the guests were able to safely access the river and fish again.

A couple of the days Jonny and I were able to get out to one of the Sones and have a fish. We were able to go after the lunch had been given and cleared away and the fishermen were off again, so out at about 7:30 to be back for 9pm to prep for dinner. These short times were great for us to start learning the river, and the pools and to get in the much needed practice for casting in different conditions and different river situations.

On the last night the weekend our first guest left to travel home was going to be our best chance of getting in some better fishing time. We decided to spend Saturday morning getting the room turn around done so we could send more of Sunday fishing as the river was dropping and it was likely to be better conditions then. We still had some of the heros here, so once we had served breakie, cleared up and sorted their packed lunch and coffee we were free to go fish!! :D

At last we make it to our sone for the day, sone 3. A large Stoney beach, the river running down to the right with a nice deep pool and a back eddie just after the pool. The wind was unhelpfully coming upriver but because of the clear beach it was easy to do a left handed back cast here. Jonny let me have first run through the pool, I tied on a black and green tube with a myler body and started my way down. Jonny walked with me whilst he waited for me to be far enough down so he could start. He noticed a salmon jump just before the eddie. I slowly made my way towards it as Jonny returned to the car to get his rod to start casting. I cast out and let my tube swing round, just before it came straight again a fish splashed, and I was sure it was just about where my fly was. I yelled at Jonny and quickly cast again, it swung round and this time nothing, I cast again whilst explaining to Jonny what I saw and as my line came round, it stopped and the line went tight! Yes! I screeched, I lifted my rod into it and...it nothing, my rod bent over and I lifted some more, and nothing moved. I think maybe its a stone I said to Jonny. He then started to wade in towards my line and the fish shot of! Yes a salmon!! I could not believe how strong it was, I seriously put some strain on the rod and I could not move that fish! The fish then stopped again, and again I could do nothing with it. It then ran once more and jumped, I got a good look at this silvery fish, maybe around 12 - 14lb. Once back in the water it ran towards me, I reeled in the slack, maybe I should have walked backwards too, I felt the fish prepare for another jump and then the hook came flying back at me. I could not believe it, I know salmon have a rep for being hard to catch but I really thought he was hooked well.

I am not ashamed to say I cried. Crying before the fly hit the floor according to Jonny. I do not know of anything else that can fill you with elation, and adrenaline and then can sink your heart and fill you with despair and disbelief in a split second!

I was gutted, I actually felt more upset about loosing this salmon than I did about loosing that massive sturgeon whilst filming the semi final of BBCs The Big Fish. I guess this is because I knew that I could go out the next day on the Frasier river and have a pretty good chance of catching another decent sturgeon, and that I did do, but with salmon its not that easy. But I am here for the whole season and I will have another chance to catch one, whether I do or not is another thing. I am trying to think positive!! Watch this space!

So our second set of guests have arrived, 4 guys from England plus their host renowned fishing photographer Matt Harris. Scott Mackenzie and His Son Ross are still with us and have been fishing hard with Roar, between them they have caught some really nice salmon, and Ross caught his personal best here at Reisastua, a chip off the old block you could say!

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I am feeling this will be a busy week as we have a full house and we need to make sure everyone is happy. This is a beautiful place in the world, with the river just at the doorstep. It maybe tiring days but I know at some point soon I will get another shot at that salmon!

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Life in a Salmon Lodge : Resiaelva, Norway : 2016

For those of you who follow me on my Facebook, Instagram, Twitter or Angling IQ profiles will know that my husband and I have been super fortunate to secure a job working in a fishing lodge in the north of Norway. The lodge is called Reisastua and in located on the bank of the Reisa in Northern Norway 30 mins drive from StØrslett within the arctic circle. The Reisa is a sister river to the Alta and runs through the Reisadalens national park to reach the lodge. It is famed for it's huge salmon, to catches of 35lb to 50lb salmon are not uncommon each season here.

Reisastua from the far side of the river

Reisastua from the far side of the river

Leading up to the day of the trip I was starting to feel a little wobbly about it, we were only going for 3 months but I had to give up my much loved job of 8 years as a nurse manager in a veterinary hospital to go to a job I didn't know if I would like, didn't know what to expect and wasn't sure if we would actually get to do any fishing ourselves anyway! But at least I wouldn't be on my own, Jonny and my two Labradors Eider and Steller were coming too!

Back home in Suffolk the river season re-opened on Thursday 16th May. I was excited about getting to stalk pike again, but as we were leaving on the 20th and I was working the 16th and 17th I was unsure if I would manage to get a chance to go with all the pre travel preparations I had to do before we left on the 20th. Jonny then told me he had booked in a guided trip for us on our Kayaks on the 18th! I was initially annoyed with him as time was getting so short to get everything organised before we go, from packing the car, handing over my allotment to my neighbour and making sure I bought new tyres of the Volvo! But turns out I was actually quite under control so I day on the river would be great!

The guys we were taking came to stay the night before and we were up early to start the hunt, the weather was awful so we stopped for brekie to wait for a restbite in the rain. We got the kayaks on the water and were off to a great start, one pike to Jonnys yak within 15 minutes, and my yak followed not too long afterwards. The day turned out to be a good one, the pike were really active and aggressive and were following the flies right to yak side, sometime attacking the fly and spraying up water and others swirling with a huge bow wave but not quite taking the fly. At the end of the day Jonnys yak could boast the most fish at 6 and the biggest at 11lb, and my yak with two pike but both guys pleased with personal PB's.

The 20th came and we started packing the car, I thought we'd packed quite light but once we started putting in the dogs stuff, rods, reels and fly tying gear, there didn't seem to be much space for much else...plus Jonny was insisting on taking the Kayak with us! But we got everything in and headed off to wait to get on the Harwich overnight ferry to Holland.

We arrived in Holland at 8am local time (1 hour ahead of UK) and faced a long drive through to Denmark, Sweden, Finland and finally Norway. Jonny decided he would rather drive as he didn't trust me driving on the wrong side of the road! Fine no problems here! The dogs had their area in the car behind the driver seat and happily slept as soon as the car was moving.

This journey was going to take a few days and the first stint was a 12 hour drive, approx. four hours into Sweden to stay with the lovely Ilias Karanzas who kindly offered us a place to stay for the night. This guy is an awesome fly tyer, famed for his ace air brushed poppers, which I was keen to witness in action. Ilias and his lovely partner Molly also crafted us a yummy Swedish dish called smΓΆrgΓ₯startΓ₯ to fill us up after our long journey. It was like a savoury cake made with bread, ham, salmon and mayo - mmmm!

We headed off the next day from Ilias's but it wasn't long before I realised I had left my bag which I had placed by the car before I got in! As you can imagine Jonny wasn't best pleased but as I told him, it was better to be only 15 minutes away rather than 10 hours! Don't know if that made him any happier - but I got my punishment for being such a numpty as when we got back to the bag it seemed we had rolled over it and crushed a pair of my Costa sunglasses (insert big sad face).

Our next 12 hour car journey we arrived in Vilhalmina in the north of Sweden to stay with Jonnys friend Anders and his wife Kickan, they were so lovely and welcoming, they lived just outside of Vilhalmina in among the trees. Their home was one of the typical pretty swedish houses you see in the area, red tin outer and very cosy and there were various moose skulls decorating the place. We decided to stay the following day to give Jonny a rest from driving....and also Anders said he would take us to his local Grayling patch!

I have always wanted to catch a grayling, they have been on my bucket list for some time - so I was quite excited for this day! In the afternoon we gathered our gear and purchased our fishing licence from the local fishing shop where Anders worked. We drove down a long gravel road and then turned onto a track which wound its way up into the hills, when we got to the top we scared off a single reindeer. I set up my Vision vipu 6# and tied on a klinkhammer and then followed the boys down to the river VojmΓ₯n. The scenery was stunning, gin clear running water surrounded by rocks and evergreens. 

We started fishing from the bank casting short and then wading slowly forward, allowing the klinckhammer to drift in the moving water I had a couple of fish attempt to take it, and although I felt the bend for a very short second neither resulted in a hook up. We slowly made our way down river, and found our selves at a lovely big bay with shallow rocky areas leading off to deeper points, as we approached we disturbed something in the shallow - Pike! Jonny had bought the 9# Vision Big Daddy with him and quickly set about unhooking the fly and casting out - it didn't take long before it attacked the fly, but the hook up didn't come, he cast again at the same fish and again it attacked but this time Jonny hooked him! Pretty much as soon as Jonny released him the heavens opened and we were soaked in seconds - we had our waders but didn't put on waterproof jackets as it seemed like such a nice day! We took shelter under the trees and it soon passed - out we went again but this time we were not alone, the rain had increased the mosquito attendance 10 fold, I have never seen so many. It wasn't long before we were covered in bites, and not only us but our poor Labradors who had become the place to eat!

We could see the Grayling topping just in front of us, Jonny continued to chase Pike and Anders and I cast for the grayling, but we were unable to provoke a take. We walked back to the car to change into dry clothing and then changed location up river, this included a bit of rock hopping to get to the spots. We saw a few grayling topping and so we each moved into position to cast for one. The fish I was aiming for was topping about 3 feet from the bank, I cast out and the kilnkhammer drifted over his head - I annoyingly missed the first take but I was sure he had not felt the hook. I couple more drifts and I had him! What hit me most about this fish was the power of the fight, I thought this fish would just give up quickly but he just put his beautiful dorsal fin up and stopped! Eventually he gave up and I had him in the net! My first grayling and at 43cm it wasn't a bad first one! I was elated!

My first Grayling!!!

We hit the road again the next day early, another 12 hour journey though many reindeer in the north of Sweden into Finland for a short period of time and then onto Norway. We arrived at the lodge Friday evening and after meeting our new boss Roar and having a tour of our new workplace and home for the next three months, we met Vidar and Venkar who we were to be replacing. This couple had worked for Roar as often as they were able, but this year they needed some time off.

The thing I was most worried about was cooking, I can cook and I like cooking, but cooking for people who were paying to be at the lodge was a bit daunting. I was told this will all be fine and I will be shown everything once I get there. But Vidar and Venker were only with us for 1.5 days - I was shown the food we kept in stock and given ideas of some meals but it was pretty much left up to me! So it was safe to say I was and still am feeling a bit anxious. The fishing hours are between 12 - 12 so we must cook breakfast, provide a large lunch either at the lodge or by the river and a small supper at around 1am. I feel we are going to have very long days!

The first thing we needed to sort when we arrived was a dog house for Eider and Steller. The carpenters had made a house for the with a swing door and a run, but the girls couldn't figure out how to work the swing door, so they were either stuck inside or stuck outside with the mosquitos! So we had to make a mosquito proof run outside area for them.

The most strange thing so far is the midnight sun, I was told we would have 24 hour daylight whilst we were here, but I assumed there would be a twilight sort of effect, but it is as bright at 1am as it is at 1pm. It is taking a bit of time getting used to sleeping at night, and even after a busy day in the lodge before I know it is 1am and I'm not tired!

We took a river boat up the system to visit the Mollis falls, and then we paddled back in an open canoe. The water was unbelievably clear, we stood up trying to spot fish - thank goodness for our Costa Sunglasses! Even though the water was clear they were still so hard to spot. There was some lovely big brown trout rising in places and we spotted about eight large salmon! The Reisa valley is beyond stunning, beautiful doesn't come close!

So the first guests are due to come this week for 9 days. I will admit I am feeling anxious about it, but I am sure it will be great. They will all be pumped about the start of the season so hopefully they will be happy as long as the food it hot and the beer is cold!

Stay tuned to see how I get on.....Tight Lines Jo x