A decent season in spite of the drought
The summer of 2018 will be remembered mainly for the heat and the drought. This affected the fishing heavily during the period from July 10th till August 6th. This is normally a time of the season with good catch numbers on the Orkla, so the total for the year was probably quite a bit lower than what would have been the case with normal water flow. The fishing on the Orkla did long benefit from the guaranteed minimum flow of 20 m3/sec that the hydro power company are obliged to observe. But because of the extreme weather conditions, the authorities granted the hydro power company to reduce the minimum with 50%. With only 10 m3/sec and water temperatures pushing 20 degrees Celcius on the lower river, the fishing slowed down considerably, and probably very few fresh fish entered the river from the sea. But even as low a water flow as 10 m3/sec could be considered a blessing in comparison with what some of our neighbouring rivers experienced. Both the Gaula, the Stjordal and the Verdal had to close the fishing for a period due to water temperatures that made playing and releasing fish hazardous. This was never necessary on the Orkla, as the cold water from the bottom of the hydro lakes made sure that the water temperature hardly exceeded 20 degrees Celcius at any stage for the greater part of the river.
In other words, it is good reason to believe that the salmon run on the Orkla in 2018 is higher than the catches indicate. More data to support this will be available from the fish counter at Bjørset in due time, and also the surveillance of the spawning activity will give useful information. The unconfirmed total catch on the Orkla for the season just finished is 3863, but would with high probability have exceeded 4000 with a good margin if the normal minimum flow of 20 m3/sec could have been kept.
At Aunan we were optimistic before the season started, because both the water flow and the temperature during the last half of May had been favourable for the salmon to spread up the river early. Unfortunately we weren’t able to get some sensible fishing done on the first 1 1/2 days of the season, due to landslide caused by heavy rain on the upper reaches of the river system. When the river started to clear up in the afternoon of day 2, it didn’t take long before the first salmon was landed, not surprisingly in Pollen. The fishing in June ended up with a total of 37 salmon landed, which is quite good compared to the 5 and 10 years averages.
The first two weeks of July were also quite good, but the following 4 weeks will hopefully soon be forgotten, with only 15 salmon caught. Thankfully we got some rain at last, and the final two thirds of August produced a lot of good sport on the Aunan waters. The total catch ended up at 122 salmon, where of 102 were safely returned to the river (84%). As a tradition we donate NOK 100 for every returned salmon to a fund raising event in Oslo hosted by the organisation Redd villaksen.
On a very positive note, the number of sea trout on the Orkla had a good development in 2018. At Aunan we caught 11 sea trout this season, with 5 estimated at more than 2,5 kilos, whereof 2 at around 4,5 kilos. The numbers were also good for the Orkla in total. 384 sea trout is an increase of 47% compared with 2017. The Orkla river board deserves credit for a lot of good conservation work for the sea trout in recent years.
The biggest salmon of the season at Aunan is often caught in August, and this was certainly the case this year. On the penultimate day of the seasons Erik Lier managed to land a salmon on the Lower Strupen pool that measured 117 cm in length. This converts to approximately 16,3 kilos (36 lbs). Before the 2018 season we improved the access to Strupen, and also put up a small hut and some benches to make it nice and cosy around the coffee kettle over the bonfire. We like to think that this has increased the attractiveness of the Lower Strupen, and hence contributed to this stunning fish being landed!
We would like to thank all guests who visited us this summer, and hope to see you again in 2019!