Gone Fishing

Usually when I go to the mountains it’s all about photography and filmmaking but on mine and Petras recent 10 day outing in the mountains of Lapland we packed a fishing rod with the hope of catching arctic char and trout in the high mountain lakes.

I brought my camera equipment just in case that there would be some great light. Did I use it much? Nope. Light wasn’t great and fishing took up to much time and interest.

But I’m pretty sure that if I would have left the camera at home I would have experienced some once in a lifetime light conditions. I happily carried my heavy camera gear just to be on the safe side.

High lakes in Padjelanta National Park.
A beautiful area with good fishing. But not for us!

Weather was cold and windy the first days and although we were fishing in what was supposed to be good waters we only catched one small arctic char. We were trying different spots but no luck.

A few days in it struck me how I began to see the landscape differently. As a photographer I constantly look for interesting perspectives, compositions, light and mood. Now I was concentrating more on the water and what’s below the surface. My focus had changed.

There are definitely similarities between photography and fishing. I get into the same state of mind when I cast as when I look into the viewfinder and I get the same excitement and satisfaction when I catch something on the hook as when I capture a photograph that I’m pleased with.

And you need patience for both disciplines!

A hiker in Padjelanta National Park.
Petra enjoying the surroundings.

Weather turned and it became warmer, sometimes really hot. The following days we were hiking through barren terrain with less water. We did some attempts to fish in smaller lakes but no luck there either.

Hiker among large boulders in the mountains near Kvikkjokk.
No fish here!

As we approched the last of the higher mountain lakes we had almost lost hope of getting anything. But the fish finally started to bite. In one lake we catched four smaller arctic chars.

As we got to the very last of the mountain lakes on the route the fog had rolled in and there was a somewhat eerie feeling to the place.

Lakes and fog in Padjelanta National Park.
The fog rolled in over the lakes.

I remember saying to Petra; “There’s larger fish in this lake”. We tried a few casts in one place, but nothing. Switched spot and then immediately – bite!

We lost it.

A few minutes later, bite again! We got the largest one of the trip. A beautiful trout.

It was tempting to keep on fishing but we had already got what we needed for a meal and had a couple of hours hike to our next campsite so we decided to leave it there. Cooked only minutes after it was catched it was the best fish we’d ever tasted.

The next days we continued our hike down into lower terrain and the birch forest. We tried some more fishing without luck. Honestly, we were a little bit to tired after each day to give it a real try.

I’ve learned a couple of things on this trip: 1) Fishing is great fun but very time-consuming. 2) Choose between the camera or the fishing rod. It’s hard to have time to do both on a hike.

As someone doing mountain photography full-time it’s probably wise to make at least one trip each year without the ambition to create to have some time to recharge ones creative batteries.

I might even dare to leave the camera at home on a trip in the future…

… hmm … no, I probably won’t.

/ Magnus

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