Warriors of the North in Kratland

Like hvileløst
og fritt
som menneskets tanker
vandrer reinen...*

*Neúnavně a svobodně, jak lidské myšlenky, toulá se sob... from "Villmark og mennesker møtes" by Terje Mathisen

When Mr. Louka and I saw Litle Vonsjøen in september 2022, we immediately liked the lake and the area around. We fished two hours in its crystal clear water, did not catch anything and decided to come back in winter to fish arctic char. I contacted Bente from Haugen gård later in 2023 and tried to book a little cabin next to the lake but it has been  fully booked. However, she offered me another cabin that is relatively nearby - Grøtådalsætra. I did not hesitate, booked a week in March 2024 and hoped, that Mr. Louka and other Warriors would join me. And indeed, Louka agreed to come, even though he didn't catch a fish during our last (and his only) ice-fishing trip. Later also Vlado said yes, so we were 3 men ready to go. 

Finally, March is here and on a rainy Friday afternoon I am picking up the equipment in Nittedal's BUA (3 x fjellski, 1 x pulk, 2 x fjellsko). At the same moment, I am getting SMS from Bente that it is not possible to drive snowscooter  from Haugen gård till Elgå, where we were supposed to meet. There is a lot of water on the ice on Femund lake....Cancelling the trip is not an option, because the boys are already in the air. We agreed that we might give it a try after the weekend, if the conditions improve. 

It's time to improvise. We booked a small cabin in Isterfossen Camp & Fritid till Monday, hoping for colder weather. On Saturday we skied 8 km on Isteren lake, fished on several places without a single bite. Highlight of the day =  grilled reindeer. 
On Sunday we skied to Krokåtsjøen (7 km one way), following a snowscooter track. There was a lot of water on the ice, but we managed to drill some holes and catch a few smaller arctic char for dinner. Louka's first! 

In the evening we agreed with Bente, that she will pick up us on Monday at Femundshytta, because the conditions are better there and the route across the lake is much shorter then driving to Elgå. This was great news! Also the weather forecast improved a lot - it should be sunny and cold in next few days, so we are ready to go. 

Quick shopping in Drevsjø, slippery driving to Femundshytta and at 10:15 we meet Bente, her father and their two scooters. They are not sure how long it would take to drive to the cabin, as there is lot of snow, that might be soft on some places. "It could take an hour or whole day". 
Snowscooter route from Femundshytta till Grøtådalsætra is circa 17 km long. Crossing Femund and other lakes was OK, but soft deep snow in the valley was an issue. 
3 km to the cabin. It is time to unpack the skis, as we are too heavy for the scooters. Actually it was really nice to ski the last part of the route. 

Grøtådalsætra is an old farming/fishing place (with one cabin dated back to 18th centrury). 

After quick lunch (fried arctic char) we decided to explore the route to Kratland and drill some holes. Kratland is a system of smaller lakes  under the mountain Kratlvola, with good population of arctic char, trout and perch. We skied 2,5 km to the first lake (Storsjøen) and fished little bit without a bite. At least we made a good track for skis. 

The plan is to explore some other lakes in Kratland. We fished in Djuptjønna and Langtjønna and got big perch and very nice blank røya. 
On the way back to the cabin - it seems that we will see sun tomorrow
Louka had an amazing idea - instead of challenging skiing in the valley, he found a perfect route along the ridge. Since then we skied only there and called it "Louka's ridge". 

The plan is to reach Litle Vonsjøen (9 km), fish whole day and get a lot of røya. 

Early lovely morning, frozen trees and blue sky above the foggy valley. 

It was truly magical morning trip...

Last part of the route (from Store Vonsjøen till Litle Vonsjøen) goes through this boulder field. It looks almost impossible to cross on skis, but it was surprisingly nice. 

After 2 hours we finally see the lake. Where to fish? I did my homework and studied satellite images to find places with interesting depth profile, so without hesitation we skied to one of such place. Of course it was on the opposite side of the lake. We drilled the first hole, I put down the line just to check the depth, the line went crazy and I got a big røya (ca 800g). After 20 minutes, another big røya on the hook, but we did not manage to take it up through the hole, because it was hooked by the fin. And another nice røya on the ice. What a start! But it was also the end. Obviously, the fish were active in the morning. 

Evening and it is time to ski back
and eat some great fish!

Another sunny day! We did a morning topptur to Sylfjellet (1335m). Louka reached the top, me and Vlado stayed little bellow. Fantastic views and skiing. What a morning!
on the way up

and up.

We came back to the cabin around 13:00, so we still had time to go to Kratland and try some late afternoon fishing. 

First we fished on Grunnkratslane, but after a couple of hours without a bite we moved to Titjønna. Here we fished a while in deep part of the lake (5-6 m) and Louka got his big røya (1 kg) and big perch as well. What an evening! I was so happy for him. 

Friday - last day in paradise
The plan is to reach Litle Vonsjøen early, fish there in the morning and on the way back fish in Kratland in the evening. We started to ski at 6 and already at 8 we fished on the same place as last time. 

Another magical morning trip. I really enjoyed skiing in this unique landscape. 

And fish were very active in the morning as predicted. 

On the way back to Kratland Louka suggested an alternative route, so we did a round trip and reach Kratland from west. We fished little bit in the evening, fish were biting, but we did not manage to pull any on the ice. But we were happy and tired. What a trip!

We skied a lot, we fished a lot, we had great weather, we ate fish every day. The cabin was perfect, thanks to Bente and her family for all! All at all, it was amazing time with my friends! A few pictures from Louka are here

This map shows where we skied. In total almost 100 km. 

And most of fish we got. 13 røya (average size around 500g) and 2 big perch. In Kratland, we had success in deeper waters, using røyablink combined with mormyschka, on Litle Vonsjøen the fish were biting in 2-3 meters and red light + røyablink was the best. Early mornings and also evenings were best parts of the day to fish. 

Start of icefishing season 2023/2024

Motivated by all the trips I am reading about on the facebook group Røye-fiske østlandet, I decided to hit the road already in November and drove for a weekend to Elgå. I did several adjustments to my fishing gear (smaller hooks, longer lines under the lures, installing a fly instead of hook, buying a floating suit), so I was very eager to test it all. And it was a good test! I cannot wait to be back again. Here are some pictures:

On Thursday night I arrived to Engeren lake, where I spent a short night in the car. That lake was not frozen. I felt asleep at 2, woke up at 6 and drove up to Søndre Røåstjønna. There was already a lot of snow, so reaching the lake took some effort. 
There is very nice gapahup, so it was very comfortable to change into the new suit. 
I have never been there before, so it was challenging to decide where to fish. I was getting just small fish, but after lunch i finally got one nice røya. 

Evening came fast (sun goes down a few minutes after 15:00)
so it was time to reach the car and drove to Elgå to Båtstø camping, where I stayed in a cabin for the next two nights. 
The plan for Saturday was clear - Volsjøen. It took me an hour to reach my favorite spot on this nice lake. 

I started to fish at 8 and røya were biting! After 5 minutes, I got a beautiful male char over 50 cm, after that 2 nice blank røya and I lost one big fish in the hole. And at 11 the fest was over. I was very lucky, as two other fishermen that were fishing nearby did not get a fish. It was very nice to practice my Norwegian with them and I hope they got some fish later (they were staying in a lavo next to the lake, so plenty of opportunities)
After the long and windy Saturday on Volsjøen I was tired and on Sunday I decided to take it easy and fish only in the morning near the road. I walked across Hammarsjøen to Storsjøen. I have never icefished there before, but it looked nice in the summer, so I wanted to try.  
It was cold (minus 18), but sunny no-wind morning. I tried a few holes around the island, no bite at all. So I visited a couple from Hamar who started to fish in the middle of lake. It was supposed to be a good spot, but no fish today. I left after an hour, drilled a few holes on Hammersjøen and at 13:00 I drove back to Oslo. 
And the last picture i took - ice is forming on this part of Femund lake. 

Warriors of the North on Sølensjøen

The third mini-expedition of Warriors of the North is successfully over. After canoeing on Rogen (2019) and hiking in the north of Femundsmarka national park (2022), we decided to return to the water. We explored Sølensjøen lake and its surroundings, using our muscles and two canoes rented from Femund Canoe Camp

Our team is well balanced, covering all the skills needed to survive and enjoy the nature
We spent five days in the nature, paddled 55 km and hiked 30 km. It was necessary to use trolleys to transport the canoes from the road to the lake (7 km on gravel road; went very well). 
Sølensjøen is a medium sized lake (14 km long, 3 km wide, max 58 meter deep) in Rendalen region with good population of grayling, sik, abbor and trout. 
Along the gravel road
First day the lake was not very calm
and big grayling were hunting in the waves. We got two amazing 55 cm males during our first stop. 
Fillets from 2 grayling...
Our first camp.
Second day we arrived to the northern end of the lake, where we stayed for two nights.
Obviously, we had fish for the dinner.
Fishing in the mount of the Sølna river was very good. We got many perch , one nice grayling and one big pike that escaped because we had too small net. 
Third day we paddled and hiked upstream the beautiful Sølna river
and got some nice fish for the dinner. 
Forth day the weather improved a lot and we headed south, along the west bank of Sølensjøen. We visited Fiskevollen, biggest and oldest fresh-water fishing village in Norway. 
There are big pike in the water....
It is time for a lunch break! According Louka's schedule, we had to eat every third hour.
This beach at Mefurua is an obvious place to stop.
But just for a while! We have continue further south, to catch IT!
Stollvika - here we spent our fourth night. Sandy beaches, observing an osprey catching a fish, getting some grayling for dinner - fantastic place!
Just a fire....
Next day, the water surface was like a mirror. 
We did a short trip up to Nordre Ørsjøen lake and got some trout there as well. 
In the afternoon we continued further to the south...
and found our last camp in Håbudammen, under the Sølen massive. Its highest peak has 1775 m and we were discussing hiking there, but decided not to. 
Last evening offered a spectacular sunset and the next day we drove back home, full of energy and already planning our next trip.