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Hans van Klinken, The Netherlands website : http://www.flyfishinggazette.com/
Can you tell something more about
In 1981, I married Ina Stevens and my army job took me to the north of Germany where I stayed for several years. Now even closer to Scandinavia and with a partner who loves the outdoors, more time on the water was possible, and fly-fishing became an obsession. After nearly ten years of intensive fly fishing in Scandinavia and with more money in my pocket available we also began travelling to other European countries such as Ireland, the UK, Germany, Belgium, Luxembourg, France, Austria and Switzerland. The success of the large patterns that I had developed for my Scandinavian fishing was immediate. Around the mid eighties, after I had started my first fly-tying classes in Hamburg and Bremen I also became involved in writing about flies, tying techniques and my travels.
After hosting and guiding so many people in Scandinavia for so many years, and listen to their comments well, I think that I have build up a nice reputation as a fly fisher and that finally let me decide to start none-commercial workshops about river fly fishing and fly tying. Thanks to my sponsors I was able to do all these workshops for free and I still do today, at least when my work allows me! Since then and even with my extremely busy army job nowadays I taught more then 500 people all over the world how to wet and handle their flies in slow and fast running water. The number of people that I helped to use thread and feather must be far over a 1000 by now, and I proudly can say that many of them were children! A little sad for the Dutch people is that most of my workshop I do in my holidays and that means they are abroad! Since 1986, I have participated at many fly tying shows, and have presented several lectures, classes and workshops in the U. K., Holland, Belgium, Germany, Denmark, Norway, Sweden, Finland, Italy, Russia, Canada, Asia and the U.S.A.
In 1996 after I just did one
of my lectures about fly fishing in Scandinavia at a very large holiday
fair, I got the unique opportunity to travel to Canada to try and test
several of my patterns in Canadian waters and on North American species.
It was in Canada where I finally started with several larger fly fishing
projects, great promotion activities and helping lodges with marketing and
management problems. Thanks to my army background and education some of
these projects turned out extremely successfully, which of course opened
many doors for me and my wife to get involved with many other fly fishing
I have written articles for 18 international magazines, but also gave many of my photographs and fly tying articles to use freely to club journals and none commercial fly fishing magazines. I also contributes to books written by my friends, such as: "The World's Best Trout Flies" by John Roberts, "Fly Tyers Masterclass" by Oliver Edwards, "The Complete Book of the Grayling" by Ron Broughton, "The Complete Book Of Fly Fishing" by Malcolm Greenhalgh, "Modern Atlantic Salmon Flies" by Paul Marriner, the books of Mogens Espersen, "Tying flies with CDC The Fisherman's Miracle Feather" by Leon Links, Flytyers of the World by Steve Thornthon, and several more.
I had too many activities involved with fly fishing and fly tying and so I quit several over the last few years. One of them was my work in the editorial staff of “the Nederlandse Vliegvisser” (Dutch fly fishing Magazine), which I did for 15 years. The only one left is the Dutch Area Secretary for the Grayling Society, which I do since the eighties! Nowadays I only write columns and stories in magazines in Europe and Canada when time let me.
My best-known patterns are the large L.T series (stands for the Light Tan color of Fly Rite dubbing no 19) developed in Norway at Kvennan Camping in the early eighties. Of course the Klinkhåmer Special among them, further my Leadheaded grayling bugs, also developed at Kvennan Camping, the Caseless Caddis series, the Remerger series, my Flymph series, the Para-poly sedges (also designed at KVENNAN) , the Baetis nymph and dun, the Once and Away series, the Ugly Bugs, the Bonal series and the Culard series. Sadly less well known are my very productive streamers for Lake Trout and Inconnu and of course my large series of salmon patterns, of which many are dries. ”
How long have you been
a fly fisherman, and where have you been fishing among others ?
When I was eight years old, I discovered the power of more realistic bait instead of using bread, maggots or worms as anybody else. It was shown to me by an angler who always fished much different then most bait anglers did in those days. I knew him well and saw him often when he worked his way downstream and just following his float that he had thrown out in front of the wild moving weed beds. Sometimes he walked for hours and I easily could follow him for days. I liked it very much to peek at his secrets because he was catching a lot of fish. In a way he seemed to accept my sneaking after him because at a certain day he called me and started to explain everything about his secret baits. His favorite by far was the sedge larva and he showed me how they live and how to take them out their cases and put them on the hook. He also told me to search for them under the bridges because it was one of those places where they were abundant and easy to pick from the stones in the shallow water. When he had to say goodbye he gave me his little tin can full with cases and told me that it was not really hard to keep them alive for several days, as long there was a little water inside. That was my first experience with the cased caddis larva as a float angler. A little later that summer he explained me how to fish with living flies, beetles, ants, bees and even mosquito larva’s too. I mainly fished for roach, rudd, ide, dace, perch and pike but I was very lucky and was able to catch a few trout before the entire river system got polluted by some factories from Belgium in 1966. I was even a witness when it happened. Sadly the river never recovered since then as it occurs to so many rivers worldwide after a huge chemical pollution.
In 1971 at age 15 I tried my first fly-fishing experiments for Arctic char and Atlantic salmon, using my father's cane rod, but due to my lack of experience, and the fact that his equipment was very old and of poor quality, I wasn't really successful, and only caught a handful of fish.
By age sixteen, while my friends stayed behind to impress the girls with their striking motorbikes, I decided to travel alone to fish the beautiful rivers of Norway again. While camping out on the banks of the River Lagen, I met two pretty young ladies who taught me some tricks about fly fishing. I fished the area for eight full days, and when I finally had to leave that wonderful place, the oldest left me a fly rod and reel, while the other one gave me a big box of flies. It was their present for the nice time we spent together. I was so happy that I forgot my father’s old cane rod, which is perhaps still standing against that tree today. “The girls also taught me that if you have a good fly rod, you really don't need a motorbike."
As a student with plenty of spare time and with my father’s rewards for my help in his company, I spent most of my summer holidays in the northern part of Norway, Sweden and Finland where I also started to develop a strong addiction for the outdoor life. My greatest outdoor experience was in 1975 when I stayed for almost four months in the wilderness of Northern Lapland to enjoy my longest holiday ever. It was my last holiday as student also. Here I learned how to survive in the forest and on the tundra. My teacher was an old Lap and we mainly communicated with our hands and feet but for me it really was a once of a lifetime experience. How good schools might be I can’t deny that I learned more in these few months then any school was able to teach me so far and I realized quickly how much we estrange ourselves from wilderness regions during the last few ages.
Being among others wasn’t so important for me in my early days as a fly fisherman. Of course I learned a lot from other people and really watched more experienced people very often from a distance and learned well from what they did, but I feel so ashamed for my poor casting quality that I preferred to avoid people instead to fish with them hihihihi! Most important for me was to catch fish and prove myself that I was able to get a certain fish as well. My casting was so bad and most fly fishers fished all these nice stretches sometimes in big groups as well and that became the main reason why I took the fast broken water where hardly people fishing and made it to my favorite! ”
What do you think about fly
fishing in Norway
Can you tell
something about the old days at river Glomma ?
Why do you like river
Glomma and the Kvennan Fly Fishing zone ?
One of the real big
benefits of Kvennan’s early days was the fact that the tents were hiding
behind a thick layer of trees and it was impossible to spot them from
the road. This gave Kvennan its own particular privacy and very special
atmosphere. It still makes me feel a bit sad that one of the later
owners took these trees away and opened up the place more while this
action let lose Kvennan’s special old days atmosphere too! Once a week
we even had a big party with an excellent barbeque directly on the bank
of the river and my gosh… we had so much fun. Friends even came over
from Femundmarka and Trondheim to join our barbeque and party. In my
early days Kvennan was more like the centre for all our fly fishing in a
radius of 80km where friends just love to meet. Kvennan was our base
camp from which we often fished and organized our trips too. In those
days some of us were fishing 18 hours a day and I am NOT kidding because
I was one of them hihihi! While staying at Kvennan I really knew every
bigger rock in the river and we even had marked the water levels on
them, so we knew exactly when to go and where to fish and at what water
level the graying or trout would take the best. We camped out at Kvennan
for many years until the camping closed down and we found a very nice
cabin directly at the bank of the Glomma on the other side of the river
a little closer to Tolga. We still fished the same stretch for many more
years. The last long trip was in 1995 and since then I only fished it
for a couple of days. ”
What is your favourite nymph
How long leader do you use,
and how thick is your tippet ?
Do you loose a lot of fish when fishing without a barb on your hook ?
“ Well I think every fly fisherman loose fish now an then. I don’t see any disadvantages using barbless hooks, except loosing them from my fly path. For me it simply is not a point of discussion at all. If you fish catch and release use barbless hooks. Use curved hooks too and you will not loose many fish either! ”
do you think about the new rules & regulations ?
I also prefer working with a kind of bonus set to price. Most people are very vulnerable for prices anyway. I would love to see a license for Catch and Release as the cheapest license. It works well I have seen it in other countries with great success. I fished the Secret River (another river we renamed in Norway) and fished it catch and release only for nearly 15 years. We never discovered any disadvantage of catch and release fishing in this particular river anyway! ”
What should be your best advice for a fellow Glomma fly fisherman ?
“ For newcomers to this Norwegian grayling (and trout) paradise the fishing will be extremely difficult but for those who found a way it seems very easy. Most rivers and lakes around Kvennan have grayling, trout, whitefish and even perch and pike. The distances will be the greatest problem and today most fishermen don’t like to walk with backpacks anymore. Most tributaries flow through large lakes or just have many little ponds or deep-holding pools in their watercourse but that can make the fishing much easier, at least if you are not afraid to walk. I usual start at an easy access point where I can park my car and prepare myself well. I never will travel without a backpack filled up with extra fishing equipment, clothing, food and even some emergency stuff.
Also see this page on my website that will help you a lot too when you get in problems!
Drinks are not necessary because the crystal clear water will supply you well. I just start walking sometimes even 2 or 3 kilometers before I go fishing. I just look around and watch out mainly for human tracks. I know most people don’t walk very far anyway. As soon as there are no human tracks anymore I start fishing. Those are the areas where you have the best changes for the bigger fish. Often I passed a few fishermen and ask how they are doing. They usually are enthusiastic about their catches so I just leave them stocking in their pools. They don’t know what other pools can bring up anyway.
I learned that when a river runs into a small pond or big pool you hit a hot spot. I also learned that you mostly have only one or two changes to get a real good size grayling. Never walk into the water before you explore it well and know what you are doing. Look at the feeding line first and if there are no rises don’t worry. Try to analyze the best place for your cast and where exactly you want to land your fly. Be sure the fly drift without any drag. Always start with a huge dry fly and let it float in the edge of the current into the pool. Make just a few casts and if there is big grayling in a feeding mood he or she surely will take it. If success stays out try to do the same with a weighted nymph. In this case cast upstream and use a bite indicator to present the nymph at the right dept and without drag. It has to drift with the bottom current into the pool and not with the surface current. Safe a cast with a smaller fly for the way back. Depending about the size of the pool I never made more then 10 unsuccessful casts. Then I walk further and try the tail of the pool or I just walk to the next pool. If I succeed I only take 2 or 3 fish out of the pool release them and try again on the way back or at one of the other days. This way of fishing leads me to some real nice fish and for years I still got several 50 plus grayling while fishing catch and release of course. This is the technique I use to catch the big ones and it works as I proved to many of my friends who joined me in Scandinavia. Most of them got there biggest ever grayling in this way too.
Sometimes when you walk from pool to pool the fish start to rise all over the place. You can start fishing or just try to recognize the feeding lies. I prefer to do both for those moments the weather changes and you have to grab back to nymph fishing only. Make notes and write down as much information as you can find. Times of feeding, weather conditions and insect life will be a good source for the next time.
Places where rivers
run out of lakes are another hot spots. Sometimes the current is very
smooth and even if you try hard it seems impossible to catch anything.
At such a moment you surely should try small emergers or midge
What should be your best
advice for river management ?
Is there something more you
want to share ?
I also want to share
with you a few of the special secrets behind the Klinkhåmer Special.
These tricks you can find at:
© Hein van Aar