Ten Rivers Trip

"There's more to sustainability than Patagonia clothing"


Half awake, half asleep on the couch at our wooden family cabin in Trysil (Norway) my son suddenly awakes me. «Dad, what are we doing wrong», he spontaneously cries from the chair on the opposite side of the coffee table. «On Facebook all fish are big. We must be doing something wrong», he says.

Rewind to fall of 2009

The summer is long gone, and fall has a firm grip on the beautiful Norwegian nature. The fall air is transparent, razor sharp and cold. Comfortably warm during the day, but at night the gates of winter opens slightly to let in some frost. Just to remind us all that winter is just around the corner.

The conserving nature

The beautiful heathery moors flows like airy waves of floral blankets around and beyond our safe wooden cabin. Just a few weeks ago, the mountain plateau was at her most beautiful. The heather painted the hills and moors with pink. Now they’re faded, and the withered small bushes are gently covered in transparent white carpet of frost. Nature is conserving, pending a new spring and summer.

Fall is cleansing the sole of an middel aged fly fisher, like myself. The clean mountain air brings fresh air to the lungs and time for contemplation and reflection.

I turn on the sofa and gape at my eager son, waiting for a qualified answer to his question. I instantly understood his quiestion, but ask for the iPhone to look at the Facebook post he is referring to. It’s just like any other post on any arbitrary fly fishing group on Facebook this time of the year. They show pictures of memorable trout and stories about hatches for the history books. Several of the posts tell stories about my rivers, where I fish at least 50 days a year and take careful diary nots.

Very often, the bragging on Facebook does not compare to the notes in my fly fishing diary

The birth of Ten Rivers Trip

«Dad, can you teach me how to fly fish»

Lukas had scrutinized my fly fishing on our fishing trips.  At the time of the question, he was just eight, and about to be possessed the way only trout fishers and fly fishes can understand. The silent hypnotic humming from spring creeks or mystical still waters, the promising rises from the local pond in the forest, was about to inhabit the sole of a curious your fisherman.

His entry into the fly fishing universe, became the starting point for me re-visiting the reasons and motivation for my initial interest in fly fishing. The amusement of watching outright lies on Facebook about fish size and memorable hatches, forced me to ask some fundamental questions:

  • Is the Facebook culture of bragging and exaggeration the kind of fly fishing values I would like to pass on to Lukas, or should I try to motivate him to explore the mystery of the waters for himself?
  • Is the fly fishing I am doing now respectful of the true values of the outdoors and fly fishing culture I was given?
  • How does social media influence me as a fly fisher and nature enthusiast – are those values consistent with my true beliefs?
  • Is trophy hunting the right way to introduce fly fishing to a young enthusiast?
  • Is it possible for me to make Lukas appreciate a fly fishing philosophy where there is a greater virtue letting a large trout rise in peace rather than catching it?


A step back

The end of the line to all these questions, and amazement,  was that I decided to exit the trophy bubble and re-enter what I believe to be a better and durable tradition of fly fishing.

That fall I wrote down the rules for all future fly fishing in the Rakkenes family. I felt a strong urge to take a step back, look at my fly fishing from a distance and re-invent myself as a fisherman. I needed to revise my values so that they were worth passing on to the next generation.

I decided that the only sensible way ahead is to accept that sustainability must govern all the choices we make as fly fishers. We must act, not just talk. We need to focus on the well being of the ecosystem, and we must accept that a robust stance on animal welfare is key to a sustainable approach in fly fishing.

The Ten Rivers Trip project was born.