Summer in Femundsmarka

End of July, summer heat in most of Europe. Oslo has not been so hot as other cities, however even 25 degrees and sunny weather can be too much here. So it was great to escape for a few days to colder wilderness and show Lukas our favorite Femundsmarka. We stayed in Engerdal and made several trips around. 

First destination - Hognsjøen, relatively small lake above Engerdal. There are big (3 kg) trout and artic char swimming and they are not easy to catch. 
The gravel road (Nysæterveien) that goes along the north-east edge of Østre Blakksjøhøgda to the parking 3 km from Hognsjøen, offers great views over Femund and Kvisleflået. 
Second destination - 3,5 km path along Gutulisjøen  towards Gutulisetra offers a taste of Gutulia national park, the smallest one in Norway. While Lukas was taking a nap, I managed to get a nice trout in Gutulisjøen. 
Third destination - a round 11 km hike from Gløtvola to the top of Vardefjell. Amazing forest in lower parts, a lot of wind and nice views above the forest. 

Fourth destination - hike from Galten to Galtåsknappen and back (7 km in total). Fantastic views all around. The brochure with the selection of 20 hikes to the  mountain tops in the area (topptur) can be downloaded here. It seemed that Lukas enjoyed the trips (except driving) and we are looking forward to coming back soon.

Summer Oslo

A family visit provided us a reason to explore Oslo little bit more. For a week, we did daily whole-day trips, each of them was like a small expedition. And Oslo was very welcoming to us. I was surprised how much I enjoyed a week in the summer city. Below a sample of a few highlights. 

Deichman Bjørvika public library. The concept of "open library" is amazing. Great piece of architecture. And very child-friendly.
Kistefoss museum of contemporary art. One hour drive from Oslo, situated along the river Randselva. The temporary exhibitions by Paulina Olowska (Her Hauntology) and by Do Ho Sun are really good. And again, it is great place for kids, because a lot of open space and various sculptures located in the nature. 
Island hopping. There are several islands in Oslo fjord and some of them are connected with public transport ferries. So it is great idea to use the regular public transport ticket and spend a summer day visiting a few islands and enjoy nice beaches. Water in Oslo fjord was 22 degrees, ideal for bathing (bathing shoes recommended).
Museums (especially Fram if you are interested in polar expeditions) that are located on Bygdø peninsula are "a must-see". You can reach them for example with this small boat (the white larger boats behind are regular public transport boats - fully electric).
Recently opened Munch and National Museums are just behind the corner.

Kalvøya island next to Sandvika - another great place for bathing. 

Grefsenkollen restaurant/terrace offers great views over Oslo and serves very good pizza as well.
Nordmarka is just behind the door and it offers countless possibilities for outdoor activities. One day we took a train from Kjelsås till Snippen and walked back to Oslo, following Barlindåsen ridge (photo stolen from google maps), that has good view over Maridal and Oslo fjord + berries and mushrooms in the forest.  

Walking from Kjelsås along Akerselva to explore colorful houses in Rodeløkka (photo stolen from twitter

I like boller

Orkla 2022

 I have been visiting Svinsjøen section on Orkla since 2017, fishing there for atlantic salmon. It is long (3 km) and variable part of the river, in verdant nature and with relaxing fishing atmosphere. During six years, I have spent there almost 40 days - this June I added three more. 

My first stop on all trips up north from Oslo is Bolleland in Espa.  Six-pack of bollers is essential. 

Along the road Fv607 next to Storsjøen stands this 16 m high den store stenen (The big stone). It is supposed to be the 3rd largest free standing stone in Norway...
As usual, I am spending a night near Kvikne on the left bank of upper Orkla.
In these parts of Orkla there are no salmon, just very nice trout

and sheep.
Early in the morning I am driving the remaining 100 km. I go straight to the river and after 4 hours I got a nice small male salmon (63 cm, 2,5 kg) in Handbaggan. 

It is great fish to take with and it goes into the freezer. It also means that I cannot fish more that day because of local fishing rules. I like it because i can relax.
Emilio came for a short visit and it was nice to see him after two years. He got a big salmon (almost 9 kg) a couple of weeks ago here, when the conditions were amazing. Now it is really hot (almost 30), but the water level is OK and the water is cold (10,5). Several fishermen are complaining that there are no fish in the river...hmmm, it is time to check that. Second day I walked all the way up to Melan. Older man from Lorenskog hooked a big fish there yesterday, but it escaped. I was there alone, casting and not thinking at all. Suddenly a kick and a big salmon (around 80 cm) on the hook, far away, on the opposite side of the river. It was riding up and down, fighting, getting tired, I had it near the land in a small bay, but there was no net nearby and i was not able to take it out of water. Suddenly, my spinner hooked out, the fish was free, a few lazy moves in front of me and went away. I was happy, because it was obviously a female a lot over the size limit and i would have to let her go anyway. Later I found out, that one hook on my triple hook broke when landing a fish. 

Third day, after fishing ca 6 hours, I was walking back to camp and decided to do a few desperate casts in Sagholen. My back was in pain, so just a few casts. Suddenly, a kick and a big salmon again...crazy. It was very well hooked (too well) and it took only a few minutes to land it. As it looked like a male and was bleeding, I killed it and carried it to the camp. Hard work. 
In the camp, both Karl-Heinz and Tobi thought that the salmon might not be wild one, but escaped one from a farm. Damaged fins indicated that. However, Johny, the main local authority, inspected the fish and his verdict was - wild fish. 90 cm long, 6 kg heavy. And gender? Unfortunately it was female. As the size limit 65 cm for wild female salmon was introduced this season on Orkla*, I was not allowed to keep it and it was delivered to a canteen in a local retirement home.     
*it is possible to keep one male over 80 cm during the season; all female over 65 cm must be released (if killed they must be delivered to local community), max 4 fish in total can be killed by one person during the season; salmon from farms must be killed (so they are not mixing their DNA with wild fish) and can be kept.  

Midnight in the camp...nights are very short in June. 

Resume - during three days of intensive salmon fishing I got 3 salmon on the hook and landed two of them. That is more than enough. But most importantly, as every summer, I met KarlHeinz and Margret on their regular 7 weeks trip across Sweden and Norway. It is a pity I had to kill that big female and I have a bad feeling about it. If I do salmon fishing ever again, I must be more careful

Femundsmarka weekend

Finally, my late-winter weekend in Femundsmarka. I was speculating a lot where to go to ice-fishing for artic char, and at the end I decided to visit the lake we were ice-fishing with Tobias in December 2020. This time, I was sleeping in the tent in Båtstø camp next to the Femund lake. Minus 15 in the night, plus degrees during the day. Great to have the possibility for hot shower after a long day on the ice. 
The view from my tent over Femund lake. 
I like early starts. Waking up 4:50, drilling first hole on Volsjøen at 6:50. I was the first one on the ice and I expected a busy day, as Båtstø camp had a special ice-fishing offer that weekend (cabin + scooter transport + lunch for nice price).  
It was nice to have some views, as in December 2020 we did not see much around. 
And 11 hours later, I was one of the last ones on the ice. 
This is the reason why people come here to fish. A possibility to catch a big beautiful røya. This one is not mine, another fisherman, who was sitting next to me, got it around lunch time. For sure over 1kg of beauty. 
I was not so lucky/skilled, but at the end I got at least one nice fish (around 400-500g). I must say, that compared for example with Savalen, it seems much more difficult to get a fish at Volsjøen. Last year we got only 2 char in two days in two people (the story is here), this year 1 fish in one day by myself.  And most of the others did not get anything. But the lake is beautiful, the weather was amazing and there are big fish swimming:) 

Icefishing near Oslo

I love icefishing arctic char (siven, røya). This winter we did not travel to our favorite destinations such as Savalen or Femund and instead I focused my effort on Nordmarka near Oslo. It is not so easy here as in northern parts of Norway, but it is still possible to get some nice fish. There are several lakes, especially near Hakadal, that are known for relatively good char fishing. Best time is right after the lakes get frozen (end of November till Xmas). It means that the days are short and early start is required. And it also requires to be familiar with the places where char are gathering (called "varp"). Luckily, local guidebook provides good maps with such places. 

My goal was to get at least 2 blank (not spawning) char. I made 5 trips and got 6 fish, max was 400g, which is OK. I also met David, a fisherman from Czech republic, on one varp, which was great. Otherwise, there are typically local old men fishing, riding to the lakes on their e-bikes. They usually got more and bigger fish . But I am satisfied, as now I know what to do better next season:). Here are some pictures...

Early morning on one of the varps on Elvannet

Varp on Langvann, where I met David (we spoke Norwegian and English and after a few moment we realized we are from the same region in the Czech republic)

blank char from Langvann. Super tasty
always good to be on the ice

artic char is so beautiful
always good to have a company
I tried also Øyungen lake and got a few smaller char there. It was very cold day...

I got them under this rock, on mormyska (unexpected) from depth of 7-8m
And after Xmas, it is time for perch (okoun, abbor). Here we are with Tobias on Store Skillingen

good lake with bigger perch and some pike as well

and I made a trip to Rottungen as well...very good lake indeed. And now I am looking forward March  trip to Femund!