I have to take my hat off to photographer, Matt Harris. He certainly gets some great gigs. Matt and I have a mutual friend in Andy Blyth – former premiership and international rugby player and mad-keen salmon angler. Although Matt and I have never met, Andy regularly keeps me updated on his exploits, of which the latest two have made me green, not just by name, but also with envy.
First of all came Norway’s Gaula River. At 90 miles long, it’s the largest river in Central Norway. It’s also renowned for its salmon fishing – becoming officially recognised as Norway’s most productive salmon river in 2005 with a yield of 37.5 tonnes of salmon in a single year!
Having already been there once to do a piece for Fieldsports Magazine (I’ll come back to that below), Matt was once again fishing the Gaula with friends from the Norwegian Flyfishers Club. Long story short, the conditions were perfect and the salmon were running. Matt topped off a fabulous trip with this beauty. In his own words:
“Jean-Luc had a 25 pound beauty today too. If you haven’t been here, you really should come – the water is gin-clear and the fish fight like tigers. This one went straight down a rapid & jumped like a maniac.”
Believing there’s no such thing as too much of a good thing, it wasn’t long before Matt had the double-handed fly rod in his hands once more – this time on Russia’s one and only Yokanga. In what he called a “truly epic week” Matt landed twenty big fresh salmon, topped off by this beauty at 33lbs.
What a catch.
Speaking of ‘what a catch’, let me go back to Matt’s ‘work trip’. He was to do a piece for Fieldsports Magazine on steelhead legend, conservation activist and expert spey caster, April Vokey. April is something of a celebrity in the US fishing world and she’s known, not only for her fishing ability, dynamic ability to get things done and her forthright opinions on conservation, but also for her looks. So there Matt found himself on one of Norway’s finest salmon rivers, fishing with and taking photographs of one of the world’s most photogenic fly fishers. It’s a tough life.
As it happened, the fishing on this trip wasn’t up to much. In Matt’s own words “for beats of such rich quality, the pickings were unusually slim”. But did he leave disappointed? Well, I’ll let you work that out for yourself. His article is here.
Photos and info courtesy of Matt Harris.