Author Topic: 2007 World Fly Fishing Championships - Kemi, Finland  (Read 1640 times)

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Todd Oishi

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2007 World Fly Fishing Championships - Kemi, Finland
« on: May 09, 2017, 03:25:18 PM »
My article on the 2007 World Fly Fishing Championships...

The 2007 World Fly Fishing Championships - Kemi, Finland

The 27th World Fly Fishing Championships & Conservation Symposium
by Todd Oishi

The 2007 FIPS_MOUCHE World Fly Fishing Championships and Conservation Symposium were held in Kemi, Finland, from June 13th to the 20th. There were twenty-three countries in attendance with a total of 117 competitors for this year's competition. Being this year's competition was held in the Northern region of this Scandinavian country, we were fortunate enough to have had the opportunity to experience and witness the wonders of the "Midnight's Sun". The days we spent fishing in Finland were definitely long as the inability to distinguish between night and day - at times made them seem even longer.

 Finland was an extremely beautiful country with countless lakes and rivers, which makes it a Mecca not only for anglers but for all who enjoy the outdoors in general. It was very reminiscent of the time that I spent in Sweden's Lappland, which hosted the championships back in 2005.

 The competition river, the Simojoki (Salmon River), is a wide and fairly slow flowing river that meanders through the country's farmlands and forests of pine and birch towards the shores of the Baltic Sea. Although it possesses small numbers of grayling and brown trout, it is better known for its pike and salmon fishing.

 Overall, the Simojoki is dark and fairly deep, which makes the majority of its waters unwadable. The shallow riffles with their slippery, basketball sized boulders made wading a task not to be taken lightly. A sturdy wading staff and felt soled boots with studs are pretty much standard equipment for this river.

 During our unofficial practice session, we drove the river from top to bottom to view as much of the competition waters as possible. The sectors were well marked, although the beats were yet to be defined with sign posts until the night before the first day of competition. We were quite concerned about the lower competition water, as it seemed to lack quality moving water and riffles, and in many places it closely resembled a wide slough or lake.

Without a single rise to be seen and with so much water to cover, locating and catching a fish within a three hour session would not be an easy task. We discussed possible tactics and approaches to such still waters, but I was certain that the organizers would surely have selected better water than those which we had seen.

 After several days of experimenting and practicing in the Simojoki's practice waters, we had some fairly effective tactics, techniques and patterns, which produced small numbers of fish on a fairly consistent basis. Czech (short-line) nymphing and long-line nymphing seemed to be the two most effective methods for producing grayling and brown trout in the riffles and pocket-water.

 Once the competition began, it became clearly obvious that one of our greatest obstacles and adversaries would be the obvious lack of countable fish in many of the competition beats. With such erratic fish populations being recorded in the beats, the "luck of the draw" definitely came into play and would be a deciding factor for many competitors and their respective beats. The ability of the individual competitors to catch the few and precious fish within their beats was no small achievement and drew the utmost of respect from their peers.

 Several of the beats on the Simojoki never produced a single fish during the competition (fifteen hours of fishing), which meant that the lack of scoring was not necessarily a reflection of the angling abilities of those competitors. On the other hand, some beats consistently produced decent numbers of fish, which meant top placings for those lucky enough to have drawn those prime waters. For example: in my group, an outstanding Slovakian angler named Miroslav Antal -- individual gold medalist from Slovakia's 2004 WFFC -- blanked (zero fish scored) during three of his sessions, but placed 1st for two of his sessions, when his beats actually possessed fish!

 Many competitors agreed that the lake was an extremely poor venue for a lake competition, as it possessed no natural trout as it is extremely prone to "winter-kill" (iced-over for six to seven months of the year). And the only trout that were present for the competition had been dumped into the lake only a week or two prior to our arrival.

 The lake was extremely challenging and a complete mystery for our Canadian team as we had little understanding of these foreign trout and their feeding habits. In hind-sight it is clear that locating, understanding and predicting the movement of the pods of fish was the key to successful angling. The lake definitely fished better during the earlier minutes of each session, before the crowding and pressure from the anglers shut the fish down and dispersed them into the deeper waters.

 For those competitors who missed-out on those "golden minutes" of prime positioning experienced blanks or poor numbers of fish during their sessions. During my session on the lake, the majority of the fish were caught during the first ten or fifteen minutes of the session and very few were caught there-after. The Irish and English competitors in my group told me that they each caught their single trout within the first ten minutes of the session (as did many others) while those of us who arrived late blanked during that session. Six trout recorded, was the top catch for my session.

The people of Finland were extremely friendly and the organizers and volunteers did an outstanding job of keeping things organized, on track and without incident. When the dust had finally settled, the results of this year's competition were staggering, as so many of the competitors recording blanks per sessions. 33.8% of the competitors blanking per session was the overall average. On day three, 42% of the competitors blanked during the fifth and final session of competition. There were so many blanks recorded on the river sessions that Finland's competition made Portugal's seem like "a walk in the park".

Top Ten Team results:

 1. France             -Gold
 2. Czech Republic - Silver
 3. Finland             - Bronze
 4. Portugal
 5. Spain
 6. United States of America
 7. England
 8. Italy
 9. Australia
10. Slovakia

Individual medals:
Gold, Marek Walczyk (Poland),
Silver, Eric Lelouvier (France),
Bronze, Antonin Pesek (Czech Republic).

 When I think back on Finland's World fly Fishing Championships, I think I shall always remember the tale told to me of one competitor having to be rescued by a boat, since he was unable to safely wade back across the deep and treacherous river. For most of us, this scenario pretty much summed-up the difficult conditions that we were all experiencing while wading in certain stretches of the Simojoki, and more importantly; symbolized how desperate we all were to search-out our beats and scour their waters in attempt to find fish and avoid the dreaded blanků
« Last Edit: May 09, 2017, 04:40:54 PM by Todd Oishi »
For me, the quality of a trout is not measured in inches or pounds, but rather by the journey and circumstances that allowed our paths to cross...