The relationship between Denmark and Greenland goes back a long way. Three hundred years ago, Danish Christian missionaries were sent to Greenland to preach Christianity. Soon after, merchants were running Danish colonies in Greenland and, while Denmark is undoubtedly responsible for some of the darker periods in the history of bringing modern civilization to Greenland, the two countries have maintained a strong relationship to this day.
Flyfish Greenland is operated by Getaway Fly Fishing and our Danish background is probably a significant part of the reason why we are the biggest operator specializing in fly fishing trips in Greenland today. It was a long and winding road getting to where we are today, but without a Danish background it is doubtful we could have built the strong partnerships that lie at the foundation of our present operations in Greenland.
We fished Greenland for more than fifteen years before we ever got into the travel business and it took more than five years, after having ventured into this business, before we finally got the break in Greenland we were looking for. First, let’s explain a little bit about the history of sportfishing in Greenland.
Every summer since the late seventies or early eighties, Danish fishermen have been fishing rivers in Greenland for sea-run arctic char. Almost every river on the world’s biggest island holds good numbers of char from late June through July and August, and anglers were catching plenty of fish: Typically, more char in a week than the amount of sea trout they could catch off the coasts or in the rivers back home – in a whole year! Greenland became known as a fishing mecca for the Danes (and their Scandinavian neighbours in Sweden and Norway) but during the nineties the interest dropped.
Back then, the infrastructure in Greenland was even less developed than today, so only a few rivers close to the smaller cities could be fished. Though fish were plentiful, these rivers were often quite small – with one or two major holding pools – or glacier fed with greenish coloured water gushing out to sea. Also, the average size of the char in these rivers was affected by years of netting done by local fishermen. With many trout anglers taking up fly fishing, and a general change in focus from catching numbers to targeting bigger fish with challenging methods, taking 15 or 20 char in the 1 – 3lb range from a glacier fed river on spinning gear just didn’t sell tickets anymore. No matter what, we had other ambitions – and we never stopped searching for undiscovered rivers that offered “the real deal”.
We always knew they were there, but in a country boasting the world’s fourth longest coastline (44.087 km.), hundreds of rivers and a mere 56.000 inhabitants, accessing most of them is nearly impossible.
In 2007, we teamed up with Sirius Greenland. Based in Sisimiut, Sirius was running a couple of long-range boats with the necessary certifications to transport tourists far away from civilisation. During the following years, we explored every major river in the area. On the available maps, many looked promising but once we got there, most were too narrow, too short or with too few big fish to offer an interesting week’s worth of fishing (…back then most satellite images had been collected between October and April where everything was kind of … white). What did work well was when we dropped off three young and adventurous fly fishermen and picked them up weeks later, after they had crossed five or six rivers and made lots of scouting notes.
Eventually, we picked out three rivers that offered what we wanted in terms of great fly fishing: Big fish and plenty of gin-clear water to fish for a week. These are the three rivers upon which we have built our famous char camps; Erfalik Lodge, Camp North and Napiarissat.
Greenland looks huge – how many people live there?
Though Greenland is the world’s largest island, covering almost 2 million km2, almost 80% is covered with ice. Only the areas along the coastal shores in the southern part of the country are inhabitable, and the population is around a mere 56.000 people, which gives the lowest population density in the world.
What time zone are you in?
The time zone in western Greenland, where we fish, is GMT -3.
What’s the weather like?
Temperatures may vary from a little below the freezing point up to approximately 20 degrees Celsius. The weather may change quickly, which means you need to be prepared for severe changes in temperature, wind, and precipitation during a day of fishing.
Is it light 24 hours a day?
The polar circle is close to Sisimiut, thus during most of the fishing season it will not be dark at night. It’s only during the latter part of August that we will have a few hours of darkness.
How do I get there?
To get to Sisimiut, you will need to fly to Copenhagen, Denmark (overnight in a hotel) and then to Sisimiut via Kangerlussuaq, Greenland. It’s approx. 4,5 hrs from Copenhagen to Kangerlussuaq, and then a short domestic flight of 30 min. to Sisimiut. You arrive early in the afternoon, settle in at Hotel Sisimiut, and have the rest of the afternoon for sightseeing and relaxation. The next day you transfer to the lodge by boat (approx. 2,5 hrs. transfer time).
Do I need a Visa?
Most nationalities only need a valid passport to visit Denmark and Greenland. Check online to make sure.
When should I go?
The peak season is during July and August. The arctic char start running the rivers in late June, and somewhere between late August and early September they become so interested in spawning that they should probably be left alone. Also, once you get well into September, the weather can turn kind of rough.
How safe is Greenland?
Very safe! Think “modern world” without hard crime, heavy traffic and air pollution.
Do I need trip insurance?
You need a standard travel insurance that will cover the costs of getting you out of camp (typically by boat (helicopter for emergencies)) and back home safely.
What languages are spoken?
Unless you are already fluent in Greenlandic (Eskimo-Aleut) you can usually get by with English – or Danish. Greenlandic people are known for their welcoming and hospitable nature. Don’t be surprised if locals strike up a conversation with you in the street.
FLY TO: Sisimiut via Copenhagen, Denmark.
Day 1: Arrival in Copenhagen, stay at hotel (optional).
Day 2: Morning flight to Sisimiut via Kangerlussuaq, transfer to Hotel Sisimiut,
afternoon sight seeing in town or relax at the hotel.
Day 3: Boat transfer to camp or lodge, fishing the rest of the day.
Day 4-9: Six days (and nights) of fishing.
Day 10: Boat transfer to Hotel Sisimiut, farewell dinner.
Day 11: Morning flight back to Copenhagen.
PRICE: From EUR 3975 including flights from Copenhagen.
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Getaway Fly Fishing, Denmark
Contact us: +45 70 21 80 60