Chris Hendriks: Tenkara in Norway.


As a typical city slicker Tenkara  has a specific meaning, which is best described as followed:


Fly-fishing in its most pure and simplified form.

So simple it can become complex in a stressful society

                        where we tend to make things more difficult than need be….

I moved from a big city in the Netherlands to a small village in Scandinavia. At the beginning I had to adjust to all the quietness that nature offered and  having to live at a slower pace in this new society. You see, the Netherlands has a very fast and stressful pace of life. But I really started to feel more and more at ease in Norway and its culture. I absolutely love everything that the Norwegian nature has to offer. For me, this country with its wonderful nature, combined with the Tenkara philosophy personifies simplicity in all its aspects. This is  what I  truly love and need.

This is principally why I am so passionate about Tenkara.

It is difficult to speak for all of Norway, but this country has many great rivers in the valleys with lots of tributaries from the surrounding mountains. The absolutely perfect surroundings for Tenkara! And to make things even more interesting, the first type of fly-fishing was practised  in Trysil - the place where  I actually live and provide guidance in Tenkara.  


Here in Trysil they used to fish with long bamboo rods and three to five wet flies and with actual no reel.  The reel was introduced at a  later stage. As also happened with other different fly-fishing methods. But even now, when I try to explain what Tenkara is, people say, “ Oh but that is the way my grandpa used to fish!”. Or when I talk to some of the older people, “ Ha! That's nothing new. I did that when I was young!” When I show them the equipment we use,  they become intrigued and anxious to give it a try - both young and old!

But anyhow, let’s talk about Tenkara in Trysil, Norway. Trysil is a place where timber-floating was still full in use in the eighties. To be precise, they stopped in 1989. This had a certain impact on the creeks and the  principal river - the Trysil Elva.

Why do I mention this? Timber- floating was a common thing throughout the whole country . The impact it had on the rivers and tributaries is that they  had removed many large boulders from  the  rivers and the  tributaries for improved transport of all the timber. This was bad for the trout in the Trysil Elva because they required the different currents within the  river itself. Grayling did not suffer such a big problem with this. That is why Grayling is the dominating fish in the Trysil Elva. This is also the reason why most of the tributaries are quite deep now compared to what they used to be. A metre is not uncommon. Not all the tributaries are like this of course, but a lot are like that. The good thing is that they have still  kept their natural character; lots of bends, rapids and sudden slow-flowing areas that end up in a beautiful ripple! When it comes to the amount of Grayling and trout in the tributaries  themselves the numbers even up.  They are both there. And definitely not only small ones! Trysil has an average size of 35 cm when it comes to grayling, both in the river and in the tributaries. And believe me, a grayling is just as big a trophy as a trout..... and they also put up a good fight! Because grayling is the dominating fish on the Trysil Elva it can grow quite large.  Fish between  40 and 50 centimetres are not uncommon during a season. And they present quite a fight indeed! The trout is absolutely beautiful on the tributaries. They provide you with a real challenge.  You get only one chance. If you pass it up…. Then move on to another spot and try again. Even the small ones can be like that. And yes, they also reach a good size of  35 -40 centimetres.  And sometimes even bigger….

The Trysil River and its tributaries are not easy fishing. The right presentation and  technique under the right circumstances are crucial and a challenge to even the most experienced angler! But this is what makes the fishing in Trysil so attractive: beautiful surroundings, different water types, the challenge of catching a fish and of course the feeling that comes with knowing that you rose to the challenge and landed that most beautiful fish!

To be continued...

Dave Southall: High Dartmoor Tenkara. >>