It started long long time ago.. In year 2013 I think. Our fishing club (Shemeikan Kalakerho, later SKK) was founded with my friend Pasi, my father Asko and Pasi’s sons Toni & Teemu. Fishing has been part of our hobbies since childhood, but it hasn’t act very important role. Of course fishing with spinning rods, trolling, fishing traps and nets were familiar because all of us are from Ilomantsi, eastest county in Finland. Anyway somehow we decided to travel Kuusamo, Ruka and fish one week river Kitka. At this first time we created competition of biggest fish.
I’d have to confess that all of us had spinning rods and we had no idea of flyfishing. After few pikes and 1-2 graylings we started to think how catch graylings/trouts etc. I knew Mika since 2007/2008 - both of us worked at the Finnish Defence Forces at that time. I knew that he lived in Kuusamo and knew somewhat everything of local waters and about flyfishing. I phoned to Mika and we got information of fishing spots and flies that we put after float.. Float was hooksstripped floating wobbler J Anyway, we managed to fish graylings and the idea of flyfishing started to grow in my mind. Pasi was very sceptic towards flyfishing, even my father was much more open-minded about idea.
Next summer (2014) I agreed with Mika that we meet at the river and he will teach us how to use our flyfishing equipment. In wintertime my father and I bought flyrod set, waders, flies etc… Pasi, of course, stayed in spinning rod J After 3 hour session we (my father and I) learn how to cast flyline and how to presentate flies. Among teaching session we got many goodsized graylings.. In that day there was 2 new flyfisherman born at the riverbank of Kitka. After basics we fish that week in Kitka and we got lot of graylings.. Biggest fish was again pike to Pasi - so we had to change rules for the next summer
2015 SKK:s activity has incrased and our function was much more organized. In wintertime we kept annual meeting, created clubs rules, chose chairman (who is last year winner in competition), bought competition trophy, fixed competition rules (no pikes anymore, only salmon related fish).. Competition winner had to offer dinner after fishing week and he organizes next year trip & competition. And more little things, winter evenings are rather long.. I got some mental disorder - started flytying! I bought flyrod to Pasi, spinning rod was still no 1 in his thoughts. Again we traveled to Kuusamo, now we got time little bit over week and we fish river Kuusinki and Kitka. Of course we agree fishing day with Mika - that was fine day at ala-kitka. We got big graylings, found new fishing spots with guidance of Mika. Among fishing we enjoyed excellent food with refreshments. In flyfishing I think we were beginners then, but good guide in crowd produces activity in the end of fishing line. In that session I remember goodsized grayling which I got, nice fish in beautiful scenery. Eagle was spotted during the fishing session. That fishing day was first whole day trip with Mika, but not last. Days constitution and going was very pleasing, it was easy to focus fishing, information and guiding was near and it is very nice when somebody serves you lunch at the riverbank. Again, you can focus on fishing J. 2015 trip was hard to me as a flyfisher - Pasi got 2 trouts with spinning rod! And he won competition, I got one trout too, but I lost with 2 cm in size. Terrible.
2016, Pasi was a chairman.. Annual trip to Kuusamo wasn’t success when measuring hooked trouts. We got only graylings, maybe weather was bad. I prefer that fishermen were Highlight in that year was again daytrip with Mika. In that time we arrived nice small river in Kuusamo (ask further details from Mika). Amount and size of graylings were amazing. I think I hooked dozens of graylings in that session, there were so many fish and fishing pressure was low. In that year I started practicing to fish nymphing style and it was efficient. I and Toni share championship in 2016, grayling 36,5cm.
2017, club activities had grown again, we got icefishing competition in winter, own logo, t-shirts and caps. I started trip with Pasi in Heinävesi, Kerma rapids after then we went to Ilomantsi and took rest of members with us and we drove to Kuhmo. After fishing very high water two days we got one over 35 grayling and one fincutted over 50cm trout. Then we head towards Kuusamo.. That trip was best so far, when counting trouts. Pasi, my father and I got 2/guy over 50 fincutted. Pasi was winning until last day, 54cm. He made table reservation for winning dinner and practiced speech already. Unfortunately at last day I got first 55cm and about 10 min later 57cm trouts, that was a sweet victory. We are still best friends with Pasi In that year we went again to daytrip with Mika, of course. And again we went to small river (not the same as last). Place was again stunning. There was plenty of big graylings, Mika himself got trout in the end of his flyline. I broke my grayling record in that trip twice, 42 & 44 cm, what else can I say?
2018, another competition/trip, I started at Kerma rapids, got few trouts, biggest 42cm, I think. After that we went to Kuhmo, Änättikoski. After two days fishing we got several graylings, biggest was 44cm for me. Nice place, next stop was again Kuusamo. During the week we fish Kitka river, places are very familiar. We visited years 2016 small river again - and got dozens of graylings again. I had to stop fishing because almost every cast gave grayling eng of the line J Annual daytrip with Mika was very special. He brought us again to small river, weather was cold at the morning and wind was freezing. I thought that we don’t catch any fish, it was so terrible weather. And once again river, company and guiding were perfect. We started to fish spots, I got 42cm grayling after few casts. Then I got nearly 50cm trout and little after that another one. I think that was 49cm, it was fished at the spot what Pasi fished little bit earlier.. After delicious lunch weather was better and I saw that yellow mayflies started to hatch. I put yellow nymph in my rig and then I walked downstream. At the end of the stream I got 2 whitefish (49 &54cm) and very fat grayling(46cm). Again records were broken: Grayling and whitefish. That was trip I’ll remember rest of my life, river was just amazing, small. nice and there was very much big fish in small area. btw, I won the contest J I think it has been very smart to use Mikas services: He shows us great fishing spots, bring us to the river, fixes permits, gives advice how to fish and last but not least the maintenance during fishing session is excellent. Of course it won’t matter that Mika is very nice guy and we get along very well during those trips.
Chairman of the Shemeikan Kalakerho, Mika Mäkinen
Ps. I hope you enjoyed. Happy new year, Mika the legend from Finland