If you are up for your first trip to Greenland, we will be happy to take you to some of the most special places. Rivers far away from any civilization, rivers that will offer you a journey back in time. These rivers still have big Arctic char returning by the thousands during the summer months, like they have done for thousands of years, from before the first humans found a passage to the world’s biggest island almost 5000 years ago.
Imagine a river that hasn’t seen the negative effects of human interference. No pollution, no netting, no dams or destruction of habitat. Just thousands and thousands of fish returning to the river for their annual spawning migration and winter home, fat and feisty after months of feeding hard on the cold sea’s abundance of food.
With more than ten years of experience and extensive research in Greenland we know that we fish the best rivers. Most rivers in Greenland are too small, too coloured or hasn’t big enough fish to offer great fly fishing – but those few rivers that are an exception to this rule… well, it’s mind blowing! We have picked out three rivers that offers what we want in great fly fishing: Big fish and plenty of gin-clear water to fish for a week. These are the three rivers where we have built our famous char camps; Camp Erfalik, Camp North and Camp South.
If you’re into numbers we don’t know of anywhere it the world that is in the same league. And for size? The biggest char we have had a chance to weigh was a staggering 8,3 kilos! And our guests have seen, and possible even caught, bigger fish than that.
You know they often tell you: “You should have been here yesterday”. And when you hear stories from times gone by, it’s not even yesterday you missed – instead, you should have been there twenty, thirty or even fifty years ago. In Greenland, yesterday is today and thirty years ago is now. It doesn’t get any better than this: The fishing in Greenland has never – and won’t ever be better!
FLY TO: Sisimiut via Copenhagen, Denmark.
Day 1: Arrival in Copenhagen, stay at hotel.
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, 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 around EUR 3500 including flights from Copenhagen.
LEARN MORE: www.flyfishgreenland.com
Before we found the rivers we fish today, we had no idea that arctic char would go for skated surface flies. On the very first scouting trip to the Erfalik River we brought a bit of everything in order to quickly establish if there was enough good-sized char to consider a camp there. On the first day, our two anglers started out with spinners. Many fish? Check! Good sized fish? Check! They had six more days on the river before the boat came back to pick them up…
After a few more days, they had also proven beyond any doubt that streamer fishing was really good: Lots of indomitable char up to – and in excess of 70 cm had been caught and released. Then one of them found a floating mouse fly in his box; a left over fly from a trip to Alaska earlier that summer. Why not? It was a nice overcast day and the fishing was hot. He had caught more than enough fish already so he cast his little mouse close to the far bank and enjoyed watching it make its way across the river. It looked pretty cool, so he gave it a few more casts, just for fun. Well aware that there are no mice in Greenland, he was just goofing around with the mouse for a bit before going back to swinging streamers – but that’s when it happened! A wake formed several meters away, heading straight towards the mouse. When the wake reached the skating fly a nice-sized char opened its mouth, head out of the water, and sucked in the poor little thing! After that, we never really looked back.
We soon found out that foam flies in bright colours were much more effective than a brown deer hair mouse with black foam on the back, but that’s not the point. The point is, that when you can have the fish eat on the surface why would you then want to catch them below the surface ever again?
Foam flies are favourites of ours – simply because the surface action in Greenland is so spectacular. These flies stay effectively afloat through the fast and turbulent currents, even when using the heavier but more durable fluorocarbon leaders. For visibility, brightly coloured foam back is preferred, but make sure to bring a varied selection of foam flies – for instance in orange, purple and pink. Sometimes one colour is superior to all others.
We have clients who visit our camps with nothing but foam flies in their fly boxes, but there will be plenty of opportunities to experiment with different flies. Pink, red, purple and orange flies are good starting points, and fairly large streamers in bright colours are considered char classics.
Even nymphs have found their way into our Greenland fly boxes. We use heavily weighted nymph-style flies on long leaders in the deeper parts of the rivers if the surface action for some reason should fail.
Besides the standard attractor flies, small and basic streamers can be very effective at times when the char seem to reject the larger patterns.
We try to fish these rivers with the least possible impact. Therefore, we only allow the use of single barbless hooks. A single hook effectively hooks the fish and it is great for catch and release.
The char run big in Greenland and you will need a fly rod with some backbone to effectively tame them. As a go-to rod we like a fast 6 wt. rod with a fighting butt. The 6 wt. handles big flies on a windy day, but it still has enough feeling to make a delicate presentation when heading for some of the smaller creeks. The fighting butt is a great help when you need to put that extra pressure on a fresh-run fish.
Do not underestimate your wading boots – you will be doing a fair amount of hiking when fishing in Greenland, and you’ll need a good pair of boots to keep your feet happy. What’s essential is to bring boots that fit you well. Also, consider Vibram soles. We prefer these, because they provide you with great traction on the Greenland shorelines. Another tip is to bring neoprene socks equivalent to those on your waders. This way you can easily convert your wading boots into nice hiking boots for a long walk on a warm day.
With all the hiking and fishing you’ll be doing, optimal clothes are crucial for your personal comfort. The weather oftentimes changes rather suddenly and – as a result – you should come prepared for most conditions. Also, keep in mind that Greenland can offer anything from 20+ Celsius during the day to below 0 Celsius during the night. We recommend layered clothing, which make it easy to adjust your core temperature according to whether you are walking or standing relatively still fishing – and to tackle changing weather conditions. Layering is one of the key elements in staying comfortable, and keeping moisture off your body with a quality base layer will make your trip a whole lot better.
Finally, make sure you have a mosquito net to pull over your cap and head. If the wind drops there can be lots of small flies around. They don’t bite, but a mosquito net pulled over your head makes the fishing much more enjoyable.
The go-to rod for Greenland:
9’ #6 rod with a fighting butt
Possible back-up rods:
9’ #5 or 9’ #7 rods
#5-7 reel with 100 m 30 lb braid backing
#5-7 floating weight forward lines
Tapered leaders – 14-18 lb
0,25-0,33 mm tippet material – 10-16 lb