Giant 58lb Salmon Falls for a NASF Director´s Fly
A magnificent Atlantic salmon 130cm long and weighing 26.2kg (58lb) has been caught by Chad R Pike, an American living in London.
The North Atlantic Salmon Fund (NASF) report:
The huge fish came from the Bolvero pool on the Sautso beat of Norway’s river Alta near the dam and fell to a Jorra Gold fly fished on a 25½ lb leader.
It was a just reward for the generosity and fund-raising help of people that give to the North Atlantic Salmon Fund as the Alta is one of the principal rivers that benefit from the closure of high seas exploitation.
Thanks to the excellent river management of the Alta Laksefiskeri Interessentskap (ALI) and moratorium agreements brokered by NASF and its partners more and more big multi-sea-winter salmon have been returning to their native rivers. Unfortunately, the Norwegian government continues to follow the bad management practices that have ruined many of the country’s rivers as confirmed by Norway´s national science council.
The two boatmen were Svein Suhr a veteran Alta farmer, who has been fishing the Alta for 55 years, and Rolf Heitmann a young guide and son of Jann Heitmann, who for years has guided on the Alta river. A local Alta artist, Paul Hansen, designed the Jora Gold fly and its dressing is detailed below.
Surprisingly for a nation that boasts of its dedication to environmental ideals, Norwegian politicians have failed to appreciate the decline of their wild salmon and ignored national and international warnings. They have failed to make efforts for a full restoration programme to return Norway to its former pre-eminence as the leading Atlantic salmon nation. To the intense irritation of Russia, Norway continues to allow salmon netting on a large scale which kills far too many returning Russian and Norwegian salmon.
Most sport fishers dream of catching a salmon as big as Mr Pike’s fish but few of them ever land a giant salmon or get the opportunity to do so. Fred Buller is the world’s authority on large salmon and has published two books that detail the history of the greatest ‘big’ salmon rivers which include the Alta, Namsen and Vosso in Norway, the Restigouche and Grand Cascapedia in Canada and the Tay in Scotland.
In their heyday between 1880 and 1930 huge salmon were not uncommon according to Buller. Since the Second World War, however, only nine giants, over 57lb, have been taken on the Alta. The largest, weighing 60.8lb was caught by Ole Andreas Mosesen in 1948. Perhaps only the Alta has successfully maintained the giant salmon population but with huge mixed-stock netting in the Alta coastal area and poorly regulated fish farms the Alta’s giant-salmon gene pool may not be sustained for much longer.
Of all the classic Atlantic salmon rivers the Alta in northern Norway is, perhaps, the only one that can be said to be a ‘first amongst equals‘. The Alta´s primeval gorge setting, its legendary monster salmon and its exclusive status have given it an almost mythical reputation in the angling world. The dream certainly came true for Chad Pike last week as it did for Jan Ekman, a Swede whose wonderful diary book Seven Nights on the Alta from 1983 described his visit and successes.
As detailed elsewhere on this website the book has now been translated into English and is published this month by NASF with copies available to order HERE
All costs are paid by the Ekman family so that all the proceeds will be used to fund NASF´s work to safeguard salmon at sea and return them to their rivers of origin.
To access the Alta is extremely difficult. A good approach is to attend the annual reception of NASF (Norway) where in most years an opportunity arises to make a bid for the Alta. This year the event will be hosted at the Museum of Modern Art in Oslo on October 24, see www.reddvillaksen.no/ for details
Orri Vigfusson, the NASF chairman, is seeking more help from fishermen themselves. “The message we are sending out to salmon fishers all over the world is: ‘Can you help us?’ " he said.
According to Dean Armstrong, the dressing of the Jora Gold fly pattern is as follows:
Butt: Copper flat braid
Tail: Yellow fluro fibre
Body: Half yellow flat braid/half pearly gold dubbing
Rib: Twisted copper flat braid
Body hackle: Light ginger/sunburst badger
Wing: Peacock herl over Fiery brown TD over sunburst TD
Hackle: Light ginger/sunburst badger
Flash: Gold krinkle flash
Eyes: Jungle cock
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