Fishing in Sweden – A Midnight Adventure

Arguably one of the best things about the Swedish summer is how light the nights are. A great way to take advantage of them is to head to the nearest rapids with a fly rod in your hand for a Swedish fishing adventure. Come with us on a to the magic river Ammerån in Ragunda where char and trout teem in the streaming waters. Hopefully you will taste the tender meat of a freshly grilled fish before the evening is over – this is fishing in Sweden, as good as it gets.

Öringfiske vid Ammerån | Foto: Tina Stafrén

Char Fishing in Sweden

You don’t have to be a practiced fisherman to feel there is something about fishing in Sweden that take a hold on you. As if there’s an unspoken agreement between nature and fisherman, as if a game is being played and you’re constantly being challenged. And the winnings go straight to the person who plays the right cards. The excitement builds as you search for the perfect cast and read the conditions. This is why so many are full of anticipation when heading of for fly fishing in Sweden.

Back your gear and head out one afternoon during summer. Drive towards Ammerån and park the car not too far from the river, and walk the last bit down to the streaming waters. The sixty-kilometre-long river flows from the mountains, down through the forested landscape and finally empties into the river Indalsälven. There are many spots where the fish teem. Use a map and try out a few different spots – maybe you are lucky enough to find a secluded spot for fishing where there is no other sound than the streaming waters of the river.

It takes a few casts, but every cast challenges you to do better next time, to reach further out and turn the rod at just the right time. The Swedish summer evening starts to show its best side and evoke the feeling that one of the mythical beings, drawn by John Bauer, could appear at any time.

Öringar | Foto: Sandra Lee Pettersson
The waters in Ammerån teem with fish | Photo: Sandra Lee Pettersson

Fishing in the Ammerån River

The Ammerån river was used for log driving until the end of the 1960s. In order to collect the water in an even channel with a fast current, the river’s tributaries were blocked and stone caissons were built. The changes affected the fish population and both grayling and trout need a varied habitat for hunting and protection, which declined during the 1900s.

However, the river has never been harnessed for hydroelectric power and, as one of Sweden’s few unregulated rivers, Ammerån has been the topic of research projects and doctoral dissertations. This has resulted in an attempt to restore the rapids to how they were before the log driving era, so that the fish will thrive… yes, like fish in the water.

Standing along the rapids one feels there’s something special about running water. It leaves no one unaffected. The sweeping, rhythmic gestures of the rod are reasons why fly fishing in Sweden is so beautiful to watch. Getting the line to cut the air in an even arch and landing the fly correctly on running water is about “Fingerspitzengefühl” and timing.

Grillad fisk, Ammerån | Foto: Tina Stafrén

Grilled Fish – Simple but Tasty

The rapids team with fish and hopefully you return to the wind shelter to cook your catch. Food should be simple but tasty. Once the fire has burned down to the perfect barbecue coals and the fish is gutted and cleaned, put it skin-side down on the grill rack. As soon as it’s cooked, remove the rack from the coals and throw on spruce twigs that quickly ignite and form dense white column of smoke. The grill rack goes back on the coals, but this time the fish is flesh-side down to give it the flavour of smoked spruce. A few minutes are enough for it to cook.

The fish is cleaned and put on soft unleavened bread – and the result is so delicious! The smoked fish flavour marries well with a sauce based on crème fraiche combined with chopped chives, caviar, salt and pepper. The hearty meal around the fire, with the June sun glittering on the rushing Ammerån after an unforgettable experience of fishing in Sweden leaves nothing to be desired. The night is here but the light hasn’t left. It is a Swedish summer night and it is absolutely delightful – just as it should be.

Fly fishing in Sweden, Ammerån | Photo: Roger Strandberg

More about Ammerån and other protected areas of Jämtland Härjedalen, Sweden

HERE’S THE SKINNY

ACTIVITY

Fishing

SEASON

Midsummer – August

START

There are plenty of good spots along the river. From road 344 there are marked rest areas with information signs in the villages Gravasund, Skyttmon, Överammer and Ammer.

PACKING LIST

Fishing gear – decide how advanced you want to go. A lemon, salt, lemon pepper and BBQ foil is easy to carry with you if you want to fry the fish over the fire, and chicken wire works well as a grill rack.

BBQ TIPS

Mix a sauce using crème fraîche, chopped chives, caviar, salt and pepper. A variation is to mix in lime zest, runny honey and salt. Both sauces go well with fish. If you want to broil the fish you can put sesame seeds on it, but then no spruce twigs are needed.

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Öringfiske vid Ammerån | Foto: Tina Stafrén

Tips for Fishing in Sweden

  1. Don’t stress, wind down, enjoy the surroundings and feel the harmony. Stressing does you no good in Ammerån.
  2. Choose a good spot and have the patience to remain there. Of course, if you want to get to know the river its best to move around, but staying in one place gives better fishing. A strike period lasts for about ten minutes. Ask local fisher-men and try to get their advice.
  3. If you don’t think you’ll catch any fish then you probably won’t...