A few words about Bjerkreim
Hi, I'm a Brit who lives a "stone's throw" from the River Bjerkreim in southwest Norway, just about one hour's drive from Stavanger and Sola Airport.
I am often asked about choice of equipment for the Bjerkreim. http://www.bjerkreimselva.no/ This is essentially a small salmon river, although a few bigger fish are caught. As regards choice of double-handed rod, I would always opt for a rod that is 12'6" - 13' and either 7/8 or 8/9 for most of my summer fishing, and would usually go up to a 14' rod and #9/10 for the back-end and high water. For a single-handed rod, I would nearly always opt for one of 9'6"-10' and #7. I must admit to having conquered scepticism in one respect, and have even added a couple of #7 switch rods to my collection.
Incidentally, although the fish are smaller than the "known" rivers in mid- and north Norway, I would honestly say that the chances of getting a fish are greater here. Another point: you should be aware that basic skills with overhead casting will not be enough in most parts of this river. This is not Scotland, with manicured river banks. There are a lot of trees/bushes and with close banks, so in order to avoid dangerous wading, reduced fishing chances, hooking sheep and frustration, you should be able to use either a spey cast (airborne or waterborne) or underhand cast. The river can rise extremely quickly when it rains, so you have to be aware that you may suddenly find yourself unable to use the single-hander rod that you were using the day before. If you can, contact a competent fly-casting instructor - one who has fished in similar conditions - prior to travelling. If you need assistance when you get here, please contact me, and I will help you with the casts that you need for the prevailing conditions.
So, which line? While a limited number of us who fish here are medium/long line enthusiasts, the commonest and, on occasions, the most versatile line is a balanced shooting head with a set of polyleaders of varying sinking density. I'd say that this also applies for single-handers as well, even though I also use a long line where I can - on both single and double handers - simply because I enjoy the challenge and that fishing style.
Which fly? Yes, of course, being cynical, you must try the latest fly and only this fly because it is catching so many fish! For the first, the fly fishing industry is an industry and it has an interest in selling new flies. For the second, if everyone fishes with the same fly, they are bound to catch fish? Like many anglers, I carry too many flies. However, whenever someone says, "You must fish with this fly," by nature, I would find something else! That said, I do believe in flies that are black, orange, red, silver, and I also like blues. I have not yet caught a fish on a purple fly!
When is a lodge not a place to obtain accommodation? When it's a fly! Sometimes people contact me asking me about accommodation. I have a spacious garage, but unfortunately no other accommodation. When I had to find a name for my operation, I ruled out names that were too Norwegian. I then discovered that the Mar Lodge fly had been used by one of the best-known Norwegian anglers on the Tengs river during the early part of the last century. I also have used this fly to good effect.
* Mar Lodge tied by my friend Thomas.
Since June 2004, a farmer friend has let me use his 850 meter-long beat at Hellandsmoen on the right bank of the River Bjerkreim (between zones 2 and 3). I use this for instructional purposes, and for fishing with friends and known contacts. On occasion, I do sell some few tickets, but I never have too many people there. The atmosphere is important there. It is part of an active farm with sheep on this stretch, so no dogs are allowed other than Oscar, my flatcoat: I can answer for him! Similarly, as far as I know, sheep shouldn't consume cigarette butts and other litter, so everything brought to the riverbank should be removed.
I like to think that we have managed to create an atmosphere where those who come are fully conversant with the "normal" rules of international angling etiquette. The usual quest to kill the catch limit is not the prime motive for fishing here! I never overcrowd this zone, as I sincerely want anglers to have an enjoyable time, and to show consideration to others! There is more to fly fishing than catching fish!
At the right time, this is good fly water, and wading above the knee is not often required. It is possible, and advisable in higher water from a safety point of view, to fish much of this beat from the bank.
* Safety tip: one needs to be careful in high water when walking along the bank, both with respect to undercutting of the bank by the river during flooding and because of holes, particularly at the top end. At the bottom end, along the road, all anglers need to exercise extreme caution before getting down off the bank into the river. When the river has risen significantly, extreme caution should be exercised at the bottom end along the road. Even thought I cut back vegetation, the high banks, residual vegetation/trees and current can make this a challenge.
Increasingly, anglers are asking me about hiring equipment and that is an option for those who fish at Hellandsmoen or in connection with any event that I arrange. Any breakages must be covered.
Second-hand rods / new and discontinued equipment
I used to sell tackle and still have some new and discontinued rods, reels and lines for sale. Please contact me if interested.
If you would like some advice, please don't hesitate to call me in the evenings, or send me a text message or email! For Norwegian speakers, I speak Norwegian more often than I do English.