onsdag 7 juli 2021

Salmon Fishing in The Rajamaa

By chance we came across an ad for salmon fishing some months ago. Apparently, the biggest salmons in Europe can be found in the Muonio river, about as far away from pretty much everything as you can get.

The ad was from the company Rajamaa, located in Muodoslompolo, just by the river, offering full board and guided fishing trips, basically around the clock since the sun never sets in summer. 

We immediately decided to go there.

After an uneventful flight to Kiruna, we were met at the airport for quite a long transfer to Muodoslompolo, neighbour town to Muonio on the Finish side of the border.

About halfway there we came across a reindeer herd that absolutely refused to leave the road. After 2-3 miles they suddenly decided to take another route at the most peculiar place.

A good few hours later we finally arrived at Rajamaa. Later on I learned that Rajamaa actually means borderland, which is very suiting indeed since the entire facility is situated on an island in the border river between Sweden and Finland.

We made ourselves at home in No 6, one of the two-bed cabins. There are a number of 4-bed cabins as well, and even the opportunity to put up your tent, but I am not sure that I would recommend that during the worst part of the mosquito-season, which we seemed to have hit spot on.

Then we went on to  meet our guide for the week, Keijo. It turned out that we actually had two guides since his son Jere would accompany him for the better part of the week.

We set off through the forest for Pitkänsaarenpää, a promontory not too far away with opportunities to catch both salmon and arctic grayling. And perch and pike I suppose.

Some kind of adventure company passed by on one of their rafting excursions.

We didn't catch any fish of significance today so I skip forward in time to one of two boating trips we did with Markku Rauhala and his associate Kalle. They really knew their game. With four fishing rods each, in old-fashioned Kätkesuando-boats, we methodically fished the river just above the rapid water, waiting for the odd salmon to rise. And lo and behold, before the night was over, the proud fisherman Todd Linder landed a 5.5 kg salmon.

It ended up as a delicious dinner for all the Rajamaa guests the next day.

Quite the eco-friendly and sustainable company, they even grow their own vegetables in a makeshift greenhouse.

The next boating trip a few days later was even more successful. I got my first one, and Todd got a whooping 7.5 kg beast.

We made some more attemtps to catch salmons from the shores, but it turned out to be harder than we had anticipated. We got some pikes and the odd grayling and perch, but no salmons.

Slowly we began to understand that it is extremely difficult to catch salmons. As both our own guide Keijo, and another local fishing guide said - you would be happy to catch one salmon in a week. If you are extremely skilled, you could hope for two. Since we already had got four between the two of us, and we certainly weren't extremely skilled at salmon fishing yet, I guess that we had filled our quota.

But you've got to keep trying.

Our last night at Rajamaa, Keijo took us to one of our favourite spots. 

He was off on another project, but we had approximately two hours of fishing ahead of us, and we started working the stream.

After about an hour, I got a fish on that set off down the river. I followed it on the shore as far as I could, but without a landing net, it would be no easy task to land it. In the end Todd got into the river and managed to wrestle it ashore for our fifth salmon in just four days.

We had a great time in the borderland, and we learned a lot both about fishing and about the interesting history and culture in the northeasternmost part of Sweden.

A big thank you to the entire Rajamaa crew for a unique wilderness and fishing experience.

torsdag 29 april 2021


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onsdag 29 januari 2020

Sri Lanka - part 7

Kandy turned out to be a busy and quite modern town, partly set on a very steep hill. And high up on the hill was where we found Le leopard d 'argent.

A number of buildings surrounded by, or rather in the midst of, the jungle. Sometimes visited by silver leopards, and more oftenly, like today, by monkeys.

The proprietor turned out to be a French expat with culinary ambitions. It suited us quite well since we didn't really feel like driving all the way down the hill for thirty minutes to get some dinner. It was actually the first non-Sri Lankan food we'd had since coming here (apart from the odd pizza). The Sri Lankan food is fantastic, but this was a nice change nonetheless.

After a good nights sleep and a morning spider scare we set out on a day full of excursions on the long road to Negombo.

We started with Kandy's famous Royal Botanical Garden. Their renowned collection of orchids left lots to be desired, but there were plenty of other things to like.

Before we left the Kandy area, we stopped at a wood craft shop. Exquisite work, but a bit bulky for  light travellers. They showed off theor magical skills in making different dyes from nothing but sawdust, fruit juice and electrolytes.

Next stop - the gem store. We learned that Sri Lanka is the only place in the world where there are blue sapphires. And everything else about traditional mining methods.

It was all very interesting but we refrained from buying anything.

We could not help ourselves at the next stopt hough - the ayurvedic spice garden. Super interesting tour topped off with buying an assortment of remedies to cure almost anything.

Final stop before hitting the tarmac was an elephant sanctuary. We learned about elephants, we rode elephants, we washed elephants.

And then we hit the road.

We arrived in Negombo just in time for the goilden hour on the beach.

Early next morning, it was time to say good bye to Sri Lanka for now.

A truly wonderful country, well worth a second visit.