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Salmon fishing in the Mörrum River

Do you like really big salmon and enchanting Scandinavian nature? Well, in 90 minutes you can get from Copenhagen, Denmark, to Mörrum, Sweden, by train. You can go from the big city and lose yourself in Troll County on the upper beats of the Mörrum River. But if you are not excited by the prospect of seeing and catching very big Baltic salmon, the following is probably not for you ...

By Sophus Marinus
All rights reserved

Although it took many years before I got my first Mörrum-salmon, the magical names of Rosendala, Persakvarn and Hönebygget from the very beginning had an almost magical significance for me. This year (2013) I have planned two trips to the river, and though I might not get another salmon this year, I will get offered a few takes on the fly along my way along Mörrum’s pools.

One of my former fishing buddies, Birger from Hvidovre, in 1996 caught the largest salmon in Mörrum. A silvery and deep bodied male of 26.5 kg, which took on a blue Flying Condom spinner right on the neck of the 16
th pool; the penultimate one before the Mörrum River empties into The Baltic Sea. He did so right in front of a bunch of local Swedish fly fishermen who otherwise did a frustratingly effective job of keeping the'' good'' piece to themselves, while they kept everyone else away. I was fortunate to experience all of the fight from the very first strike from the opposite bank, and it was almost as good as having caught the fish myself. But only almost, I must admit. In the more than 23 years I have fished The Mörrum River, I have seen several salmon above the 20 kg mark being caught, and of course I have witnessed even more fish between 10 and 20 kg coming towards the shore and the net.

But I have not seen a lot of salmon weigh in at less than ten kg, and that is perhaps one of the river's major attractions. The fish are usually huge, deep bellied behemoths, and if they are not, we are just talking about small fry when it comes to Mörrum. First and foremost, Mörrums compelling force for me is synonymous with my awareness of the lurking monsters beneath the tea-coloured waters. You wade or wander along the beech trees that line the banks of the shadowy upper beats, knowing that at any given instant a fish of 25 kg or more can hit the fly in the next cast. And we know these mythological by fish that are in the water, because we have read about in the Nap & Nyt catalogues from ABU since the 60’s, and then we read about the magic river in Hans Lidman’s ''The Salmon Eye'' and later the Danish fishing author Jan Grünwalds books on Scandinavian salmon and how to catch them were in the back of my car.

My biggest fly-caught salmon from Mörrum was landed (and later smoked) in August 1999 in the pool 31'' Persakvarn'', and of course the male took a ½ inch “wool sock'', the very popular local fly for salmon. The fish weighed in at 7.7 kg (17 lbs.) and was slightly colored like the water it came from. On my trips I have also caught a few of the seagoing trout that also inhabit the small river, respectively on both wobbler and fly. Otherwise I have caught fallout salmon at the premier fishing estimated at about 10 kg (of course carefully released back into the river) and some lovely hybrids (a mix of sea trout and salmon) up to eight kilos on spin. It worries me, however, that in recent years there seems to be a growing number of hybrids in Mörrum; one senses that perhaps something could be amiss ...

Except on a trip where I was fishing in ABU’s company waters up near the town of Svängsta, and a trip where I camped in the woods North of the golf course at the upper pools, I have stayed in in Mörrum Town or in a fishing cabin club house at Perstorp. It was about a mile from the river, and the place was perfect for club trips: The serious fishermen could take the annex or the cottage itself (depending on availability), while the more jolly types would drink beer and share exciting lies into the wee hours, where the former got up to rig their gear for the day’s fishing.

Mörrums Kronolaxfiske has the lowest (and best) six kilometers of this terrific but difficult salmon fishery, and compared with the prices on Irish beats and the Norwegian “valds” the prices for a fishing license in Mörrum is not an unreasonable for being able to peruse this lovely stream with a fishing rod. If you like to have a walk in the beautiful countryside, while you are fishing, this can be done from pool 19 to 32 or pool 8 to 12 If it is about seeing a lot of jumping fish - so keep near to the Laxens House (pool 1) and the stretch down to and including pool 4. It may not be the prettiest stretch, but it is easy to stroll and you can spot the action from a long way away. Actually most of the people on the paths will be the local Swedes taking inventory of their biggest resource: the fish and the people who will pay anything to fight them!

If you ever get a chance to go to Sweden – and Mörrum – you should try to book fishing for late May and early June. And when you get there, drive up to Laxens House in Mörrum, visit the museum and then go to the counter and ask for the booklet'' Mörrums alla pools''. It was originally a kind of a secret made on a photocopier, and was not in free circulation for many years. And of course that was for a good reason because all the pools with holds and wading paths were described meticulously in that little red booklet . But for the past ten years an emergence of '' Mörrum-Bibles'' have been on sale for next to bargain prices.

After ordering fishing licenses and accomodation (it can all be done at www.morrum.com) the fisherman will be sent a leaflet, which thoroughly determines all aspects about the rules of hook sizes, which pools you have to spin and/or fly fish in, and whatever else may be relevant.

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