In the summer of 2019, the Erfalik Lodge – in the remote wilderness of Greenland, replaced our former tent camp. Now, you can have the best of both worlds: Greenland’s most productive arctic char fishing as well as great comfort; including single occupancy rooms, 24-hour power, hot showers, and three-course meals.
The eco-friendly lodge is located at the mouth of the Erfalik River with a magnificent view of the river and fjord, and it replaces our legendary tent camp where we developed the now famous foam fly fishing for char more than a decade ago.
The tidal pool right in front of the lodge can be very productive on a rising tide. A couple of deep pools, before the river meets the first lake, always hold fish as well. Other great spots before reaching the upper river include a stream between the first and the second lake, and especially around inlets and outlets. A short hike further up and you’re on the upper river – perfect water for skating foam flies, swinging streamers, or sight-fishing with nymphs.
Three things make the Erfalik River stand out: The clarity of the water (it’s lake fed so it doesn’t get dirty or “glacier-milky”), the abundance of arctic char, and their willingness to chase skated foam flies. Though the latter depends on the weather conditions, (oftentimes, it’s not productive during clear, sunny days) – there will be plenty of occasions during a week where you can get them on foam flies. And more so than on any other river we have fished in Greenland. Only the fish know why.
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 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: On request – get in touch!
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Following a hearthy breakfast, you pick up your waders in the dry room, put on your boots on the stairs overlooking Home Pool, and soon you’ll be on your way to the boat, anchored in the lake a short walk from the lodge. Together with a handful of your fellow anglers, one of the young guides will ferry you across the lake.
Fifteen minutes later, you will be on a path to the upper river: A path already beaten by generations of reindeer, local hunters, and previous anglers. It’s trouble free hiking and it’s easy enough for you to enjoy it in your breathable waders, which will also give you the freedom to cross the river wherever you like.
Most fisheries for anadromous salmonids see the fish holding in pools or other defined lies. On the Erfalik River, maybe due to the sheer number of fish running, the char spread out until they are ready for spawning. This means that each kilometer (or mile, if that’s your thing) doesn’t just represent a few good spots and a lot of “dead” water in between – instead, it’s actually a kilometer of fishable water. In other words, you have seven or eight kilometers of river to fish (that’s five miles). That’s A LOT of water to cover in a day. The good news is that you have six long days to try to fish it all.
You might have heard stories about fly fishing in Greenland that include super aggressive fish hitting every fly you throw at them – stories that lead to crazy numbers of landed fish in a day, or in a week. Though not equally hyped, there are – fortunately – also stories about the very same char having lockjaw and days where you need small flies, prefect presentation, and a few secret tricks to crack the code. Like everywhere else, it’s called “fishing” – not “catching”.
We love it when the fishing gets a little technical. And we know the small tricks needed to fool a few nice fish – even when the bite isn’t on. Our camp managers and young, eager guides love to share them with our guests. Maybe because they’re friendly, maybe because it makes them look cool. Probably, it’s a mix of both.
You return to the lodge after a long day of fishing. It feels great to kick off the boots, to get out of the waders – and maybe grab a shower before dinner. You’re tired but happy. Maybe you should rest in your room for half an hour? Maybe not. The special after-fishing atmosphere draws you in for an after-fishing drink. The first few fish stories start to flow.
The nice dinner – a dinner you really deserve after hiking all day – fuels up your body with energy. Soon, you find yourself on the big porch with everyone else, swapping more fish stories, looking at phone- and camera screens displaying digital proof of a great day. Enjoying life with friends and fellow fly anglers in the most scenic surroundings.
The trick is to know when to call it a day. If you are waiting for darkness to make the decision for you, you will be waiting in vain. These are the days of great fishing, good times, and of the midnight sun. Be sensible and find your room sooner or later. Tomorrow is another great day on the Erfalik River.
Where is the lodge?
The lodge is located approximately 80 kilometers south of Sisimiut, Greenland’s second largest city with 5000 inhabitants. It overlooks the fjord and the river mouth of the Erfalik River.
How do I get there?
To get to Sisimiut, you will need to fly to Copenhagen, Denmark (overnight in 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 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 gradually become more and more interested in spawning and should probably be left alone. Also, once you get well into September, the weather can turn kind of rough.
Where do we fish?
On the Erfalik River, sometimes in inlets and outlets of the lakes, and occasionally in the fjord for cod or fresh char heading for the river mouth.
Where do we stay?
In a brand-new lodge (built in 2019) overlooking the fjord and the river mouth. The sleeping cabins are pretty small (with bunk beds) but all guests have a single room so there is plenty of room for all your stuff. The lodge has a big, comfortable dining area, big couches and a large porch, all with a spectacular view of the fjord.
Who is best suited for this destination?
Anyone in reasonable shape, with some fly fishing experience, and with a bit of self-sufficiency. Though some days are always better than others, the fishing is rarely difficult and there is no need to have a guide watching over your shoulders all day long. After having been introduced to the fishery, most anglers are fine about fishing with one or two other guests, and only occasionally, when venturing into a new area, do they ask one of the young guides for assistance. However, if you prefer being guided at all times, have someone tie all your knots, unhook your fish etc, this is not for you.
The fishing is on a walk-in basis, so to get the full benefit of the possibilities, anglers should be reasonably fit. The terrain is easy to hike but you should be prepared to cover a total of four to eight miles on most days.
If you need a break during your week, you can fish the river mouth on an incoming tide or get one of the guides to drop you off on the other side of the lake and fish the inlet and outlet.
What is a typical day like?
Get up around 7.00 where breakfast is served, make your own sandwiches after breakfast, get in your fishing clothes, and head for the river around 8.30. The guides will ferry you across the first lake, and unless you choose to fish the inlet or outlet of the small stream between the two lakes, it’s a 20-minute hike to the upper river. The next five to seven miles are yours to explore over the week. Head back for dinner somewhere between 6 and 7 PM, unless you choose to fish a little longer. Most guests will also go out once or twice during the week for some evening- or even night fishing. They typically sleep in the next day. It’s an easy-going and flexible schedule as there is light enough to fish 20-24 hours a day, depending on the season.
What are the meals like?
While it’s not fine dining as such, the meals are tasty and made with the “Swedish chef’s” dedication. Our Swedish chefs aren’t quite as entertaining as the one you might remember from the Muppet Show but they all work much bigger venues for most of the year, they like fly fishing, and a week or two in Greenland is part of their summer break.
Most nights, they will prepare a nice three course meals, though variations on the dessert theme are fairly limited. Most of our guests are impressed with what they come up with, especially when taking the remoteness of the location into consideration.
Breakfast will be eggs, bacon, bread, cereals etc. And for lunch, we put out bread, cold meat, and toppings so you can make a couple of sandwiches that will keep you going throughout the day.
How would you describe the general vibe and atmosphere?
Very relaxed and down to earth. The fishing is usually very productive so there is not any real stress to catch what you came for. And while some of the char reach good sizes, it’s not a fishery with record-sized fish, and most guests here don’t really fish for size but for their pleasure. So, there aren’t really a lot of big egos around either. We tend to have mixed groups with several different nationalities, which create a great international atmosphere and a good deal of making-new-friends throughout the week.
Is there an on-site manager, owner, or point-of-reference-person at the lodge?
Yes, there is a camp manager on-site.
Is there Internet and cell service?
At the moment there is no Internet service. Cell phone reception is getting better, and now there are a couple of spots around camp where you can find reception.
How does one fish?
It’s typically either swinging streamers, skating foam flies, or sometimes nymphing. While some methods are more productive than others, we encourage the methods that are the most fun. Nothing beats catching char on foam flies skated across the surface – but the fish aren’t always in the mood for that. Other times, you can sight-fish for them with small streamers. And when you really need a pull, swinging a weighted streamer or fishing a nymph will usually get it done.
How many fish will I catch?
Enough. While we have certainly seen our weeks of “silly numbers”, we are not at all into encouraging our anglers to hammer the water and land as many char as humanly possible. And you will never see us advertising weekly catch rates to fill more spots.
Even if there are probably tens of thousands of char running the Erfalik River, it is still a natural resource, and every fish landed – and released – amounts to pressure on this resource. On good days, you can easily catch fifteen or twenty char on methods that give you a lot of fun and pleasure. There are ways to sometimes double that number, possibly even triple it. But why? You’ve not entered a competition.
What are the guides like?
They are young, helpful, and speak English – but they’re not professional fly fishing guides (yet). Most of them are interns from one of the Scandinavian academies that combine high school with an education in outdoors, guiding etc.
Will we see other anglers?
No. The Erfalik River is under concession and it is not allowed for other anglers to visit.
Will I be wade fishing?
You might but usually not more than knee-deep. We fish in breathable waders because it’s nice to be able to cross the river to reach all the spots – but it’s super easy wading, and there is no need for a wading stick or special soles etc.
How far is it to the fishing grounds?
From two minutes to two hours. Most of the time, a five-minute walk followed by a fifteen-minute boat ride and another twenty minutes of hiking.
Does the lodge provide equipment?
No, you must bring your own.
Does the lodge provide flies?
Yes, we can provide flies. However, to be sure we have everything you need in stock, we kindly require a pre-order.
What is your favorite rod(s) for the trip?
A nine-foot six weight, preferably with a fight butt, is our go-to rod. A five weight with some backbone will do as well. Bring two rods, in case of breakage.
What are the top flies?
Foam flies and streamers. We provide a Pre Trip Planner with detailed information on flies.
Are there other activities?
Other than a bit of sightseeing in Sisimiut – no. However, there are additional fishing opportunities. Sometimes, we find pretty good fly fishing for cod in the fjord. They are fun to catch and fantastic to eat!
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 in emergencies)) and back home safely.
Does this trip combine well with other trips?
You may consider spending a couple of days in Copenhagen – it’s never nicer than during the summer.
Are special skills required?
What are the physical demands?
You should be able to hike at least four – five miles on a daily basis.
Dangers and annoyances?
There are probably no other dangers than tripping over rocks. Some guests ask us about polar bears. They live on the ice, and to the best of our knowledge there has never even been a single sighting of a bear south of Sisimiut during the summer months.
There can be a lot of mosquitoes and especially small flies if the wind is down. We find that a Buff and some repellent take care of the bugs most of the time, but we always carry a mosquito net to pull over our caps, should they become a real nuisance.
PRICE: On request – get in touch!
Getaway Fly Fishing, Denmark
Contact us: +45 70 21 80 60