Once again, we were excited to start another season on the Erfalik River. There is always a feeling of great anticipation arriving at Erfalik – how many fish have already entered the river? On the morning of the first day, while crossing the first lake, the clear water revealed that hundreds of fish had already begun their upstream journey.
When we laid eyes on the river, it turned out to be surprisingly low compared to early July last year. While hiking up the first part of the river, we wondered whether the low water had kept the fish in the lakes. Minutes after, we were proven wrong when one of the guests hooked into a beautiful sea-run char in Big Pool – one of our proven spots that will often hold fish throughout the season.
It turned out that the river was starting to fill up with fish, stacking up from the first waterfall and all the way back to Phone Pool. All pools and pockets downstream the fall were full of silver chars, eager to take flies, even if the river had risen a great deal after two days of heavy rain. The Erfalik chars lived up to their reputation with aggressive behaviour toward the skated foam flies. For some reason, skating these Gurgler-type flies has always been one of the deadliest – and surely the most exciting – techniques on Erfalik.
Later in the week, some of our guests decided to have an easy day and fished Home Pool, located just 50 metres from the lodge. Swinging a streamer on the incoming tide, where the salty sea meets the sweetwater of the river, can result in some pretty intense fishing. It’s quite addictive seeing your backing ripped off the reel as a silver bullet of a char decides to swim back to the sea.
At the beginning of week two, the fishing started to kick off around the inlets and outlets of Lake One and Lake Two. These areas are classic holding spots and great places to fish while waiting for the boat transfers. In the early season, this can actually be some of the most productive fishing spots on the entire system.
Since the end of week one, the amount of fish in the small pockets downstream of the second waterfall increased. The high river conditions had made the fishing challenging and only the most skilled anglers achieved some success. However, during week three, when the water began to drop, the guests willing to do the extra hike were rewarded with some jaw-dropping and visual takes when fishing the faster water.
By week four, the river was back to normal water levels, which opened new possibilities and challenges. At this point, it was much easier to spot the fish in the pools. At times, the clear water made the fish more skittish but also made for some great sight fishing opportunities. When it all comes together, skating a foam fly at the right angle and seeing it disappear on a ferocious take, or drifting a nymph perfectly in front of a laid up fish that gently sips the tiny bug, are two very different but equally rewarding experiences.
Is that a salmon?! The video on his phone revealed that it was: Our camp assistant Marcus Dreyer had finished his final boat transfer of the day and was on his way back to the lodge. After guiding and netting fish all day for our guests, he was eager to get some action for himself and therefore decided to try his luck near the outlet of Lake One. He soon spotted a huge big fish, resting in a pocket just below the lake. It rejected all of his offerings until he changed to a small nymph, the fish finally ate and the race was on!
On its first run, the fish took off towards the middle of the lake but suddenly turned round and swam straight back towards the outlet. Marcus barely managed to keep this monster of a char in the lake – but it was another 15 minutes before it was clear that it wasn’t a char at all but an Atlantic salmon of 8-10 kilos, or possibly even more! Unfortunately, the fish came off during the final stages of the battle – but the video that Marcus had captured with his phone during the last part of the fight confirmed that Erfalik had had an uncommon visitor. (While many salmon migrate to the waters around Greenland to feed, only one river in the south of Greenland has a small run of Atlantic salmon. For the rest of them, it’s sea-run chars only – apparently apart from the odd visitor now and then).
During week five – the first week of August, the fish were spread out across the entire system. As the river began to drop, the fish could easily cross the first waterfalls, and with some effort even the bigger second one. For this reason, our camp assistant and two guests ventured into Paradise Valley to check if the fish had reached the very upper part of our fishing grounds. Reaching Paradise Valley requires a bit of hiking, but the scenic and adventurous reward is truly extraordinary, and as an added bonus they would be the first group of the year to fish this remote section of the river – and the first to catch some of the char that won the annual Erfalik Long Distance Swimming competition.
By the time the sixth group of clients arrived, some of the fish had really started to turn into what our American guests sometimes refer to as “pumpkins”: Super saturated orange bellies, some even going screaming red … that’s classic Erfalik pre-spawning colours. Once again, the outlet of Lake One yielded an abundance of fish. Some guests reported that when the fishing was on, they almost hooked up on every cast.
Further upstream, the fish displayed an aggressive response to vibrant streamers, especially below the first waterfall, where the current is slower. These sea-run char just couldn’t resist a streamer swinging rapidly away from them. Downstream of the second waterfall, the skated foam fly proved superior to other techniques, resulting in our guests releasing several hard fighting fish 60cm+ fish after removing the orange foam-snack from the scissor of their jaws.
Our seventh week saw the river dropping significantly, to a water level that was low even by August standards. That can make the fishing challenging and our anglers were forced to experiment to find the key to success. The big, colourful streamers were obviously too bright for these conditions, and sight fishing with nymphs soon proved to be the most effective method – not only for catching numbers but also for enticing the larger fish to bite.
The 8th week finished the Erfalik-season in style: Fishing was great throughout the system, from hectic foam fly action at the very lowest part of the river, where it turns into a delta before flowing into Lake 2, to fish hitting streamers and nymphs in the lakes and with a mix of great streamer fishing and skated foam fly action at the upper part of the river, between S-Pool and the first waterfall.
During the week, we had some rain at night which caused the river to rise and this bump in the water really turned on the fish.
A few adventurous souls joined one of the camp managers on a hike to Paradise Valley – fortunately, the view was spectacular and the wildlife abundant because the rain must have caused some glacial melt-off up there and the fishing was fairly slow. They didn’t enjoy the same success as the group that had ventured up a few weeks earlier. Anyway, since it was really good everywhere else, it was a fair trade-off! It was a happy group of guests that said their goodbyes to Erfalik, finished with the traditional farewell dinner at Hotel Sisimiut – and rumour has it a few even made it to town, celebrating the end of another great season with our lodge staff.
As an epilogue to another great year, a few days later we actually went back to Erfalik to film for two days with the Yellow Dog-team. You’ve probably seen the film by now – it shows pretty well that we actually “end the season before the season ends”: The fishing was still spectacular – but these fish need a rest at some point. So we wrapped it up and gave them one. See you next year!
Getaway Fly Fishing, Denmark
Contact us: +45 70 21 80 60
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