I’m standing on the doorstep, ready to (well, not at all, but mentally) to head north to fish the Gaula. And it’s roaring - big time! A few days ago the water peaked at 1300m3/s. That’s 1.3 million liter of water - per second! 78 million liters of water pr. minute. 4.6 billion liters of water pr. hour. Keep doing the math - or don’t, it’s just A LOT! The rain caused maybe not a 100-year flood, but at least a 10-year one. A few kilometres below where we are to fish, a camp site had cabins and campers destroyed and nearly flushed into the river.
Roughly speaking, in the early season, water levels depend mainly on temperature. The warmer it is, the faster the snow in the mountains melts and it goes only one way - down! And at the bottom of every gorge is a river. Depending on the temperature development, ice melts slower or faster and a slow, steady melt is perfect, because that keeps the water level fairly steady. The further the season comes along, the more volatile the weather becomes. As a trip draws near, I keep an eye on the forecasts and the water level two-three places in the river where I am to fish. At this time of year, the moor lands in the mountains are usually soaked with water. On a wild, untamed river as the Gaula, just a little rain will cause an increase in water level. A little bit of up and down is good, perfect in fact. But it says a lot than a single day with (really) heavy rain can cause a major flood. As long as it’s running with say 250m3 or less, fishing is possible, depending on where you are on the river.
This also means that late in the season, a wider range to tackle can make good sense. You might end up in a run of grilse, which are just as fun to catch as the bigger ones. But no so much fun on a 15’ rod. But the water might require it. A river like Gaula can also drop so fast, that where you were casting 10’wt two hand, fast sinking lines a few days ago, you could have conditions for a single hander and floating lines. But still - my one rod recommendation is a 14’ 9-wt. You should however invest in lines from floating to fast sinking. That might sound daunting, but it really isn’t. Run a nice to have-need to have and buy a floater, a sink 2 and maybe a 4 (maybe even a 5). That is a good starting point. Then add a few next year. An intermediate is a great choice.
But enough of the tackle - the flies. The flies really matter in the late season. With the extremely volatile weather, I like to be prepared with everything from minute hooks and tubes to big, black and blue tubes. I probably have enough flies to last last for years, but even though a handful of patterns basically is enough, I can’t stand being there, really wanting to fish a specific fly in a specific size - and not having it. Travelling a long way, the fies are probably the cheapest things you bring (apart from every fly fishers smelly socks and worn undies), so I bring a lot. Even after a little nice-to-have-need-to-have, I have way too many. That has its downsides as well, because a well stocked box tend to attract a lot of people, who think they can always have a fly to two, because there are so many. Which is why most of the boxes are kept deep in bag and used solely - and secretly - to re-stock the ones I have on the river.
Last minute changes - yes, always!
Have a great week!
PoD: These are just (most of) the Subrays in different variants.