Pål Krogvold’s advise to spring- and summer fly fishing:
“USE TIED-UP HACKLE WINGS FOR YOUR OLIVES”
Very few fly fishers become household names. Pål Krogvold has. His experience from a life long journey with his fly rod and a canoe has resulted in several books and articles on both fly fishing and canoeing. He is the undisputed king of Norwegian fly fishing and fly tying, and he loves his mayfly duns with tied-up hackle wings.
His books and articles can be found in any bookshelf of any given Norwegian family that owns at least one fly rod. Pål Krogvold has made a life from fly fishing. Titles like “Vi binder fluer/Let’s tie flies”, “Fluefiske fra A til X/Fly fishing from A to Z” and “Innsektslære for fluefiskere/Insects for fly fishers” has formed the Norwegian encyclopedia on fly fishing. In fact, his writings are the syllabus for high schools and colleges teaching fly fishing and hunting.
Pål Krogvold is the Viking king for Norwegian fly fishers. He has become Pål, the fly fisherman for most of us.
But it hasn’t been all fly fishing. With his wife Laila they have been living a life in the canoe as well. While canoeing both domestic and foreign waters, they’ve published how-to’s and titles on the sport and paddled themselves right to the dean’s office at the University of Canoes. For those interested, their books have become the gold standard for owning and using a canoe. They have together become the Canoe Krogvolds.
Having read all their teachings on fly fishing, and some canoeing, it is obvious that their systematic, practical and down to earth approach is unique. No stiff upper lips, just a burning desire to tempt all of us into either fly fishing or canoeing.
For decades he has travelled the world with his fly rod and a curiosity to gain insight, but also to share his hard-earned knowledge. Pål Krogvolds respect for tradition and urge to improve has pushed the fly fishing sport forward and in new directions.
We that are fishing the “Ten Rivers Trip team are loyal believers in Pål Krogvolds theories and reminders to fish the old no-hackles and the “Jacob Flies” as well. His tactics are always in our heads when we’re approaching a rising trout, and his patterns are regulars in our fly boxes.
A good fishing fly must last
The hunt for the perfect fly is vital to anyone fly fishing. Most importantly the fly must look like a chunk of relevant food for the fish. But that’s not enough. Most of us demand more from the fly we choose to place right in front of the feeding window of an easily spooked trout. The fly should behave as you’d expect it to – consistently under all conditions.
“My demands vary whether the fly is a dry, a nymph. The dries must comply with the size of the hatch, the profile of the naturals and the aerodynamics of the fly must be perfect. The fly must land softly, and the footprint must be like the natural. To me, the exact color is not that important”, says Pål Krogvold to Rakkenes.com.
These characteristics are also relevant for nymphs and streamers, but with a few added criteria.
“The nymphs and streamers have to sink at the right speed. In addition, the streamer materials must give life and motion when the fly is presented under the surface”, he says.
I Scandinavia the long and dark winters results shorten the fly fishing season down to five months but also serves an opportunity to tie flies for seven. But Krogvold doesn’t need that extra time to finesse his ties. He believes in simple and durable flies that can stand more than a few sharp teeth from trout.
“A dry must keep floating, even after several fish”, he underscores.
Through his titles on fly fishing and fly tying, he has presented a vast number of patterns he turns to when fishing gets difficult. In early spring, before the rivers and streams come to life, he opts for the low land forests and lakes with simple Sepia Dun nymphs and emergers. And the ants of course – often used as the indicator fly with a nymph or emerger as the dropper.
On the really difficult days Pål Krogvold still use his Dynamite streamer, one of his early patterns for trout.
When challenged by Rakkenes.com to choose the three most important flies for spring- and summer fly fishing, the Dynamite or the ants doesn’t make the cut. There are other flies he has used for more than four decades that climbs to the top of his most attractive list.
“My three favorites are all dry flies. It’s an olive no-hackle tied with wings of tied-up rooster hackle, a rusty spinner with tied-up hackle and the brown Rackelhanen”, he says.
In theory, the olive no-hackle is an easy tie, but you need to practice completing a fly that is well balanced and floats evenly on the surface.
The spent spinner is tied just like the no-hackle dun. The only difference is that the wings of the dun are formed in a V-shape, while the spinner wings are flat like the spikes on a cross.
“I use the olive no-hackle when the may flies are on. The most usual sizes for Scandinavian waters are size 12, 14 and 16. Color varies with the hatch. The spinner is of course used during spinner fall, but its also a great searching fly for the evenings or when you don’t know what the fish is rising to. The Rackelhanen is a fantastic caddis imitation. It floats like ship and can be used both as an indicator fly and an attractor”, he says adding that the fly must be fished with movement and motion in the water.
“The no-hackle and the spent spinner is tied with wings from a blue dun rooster hackle. Tails are form mink, cock de leon or micro fibettes. Bodies are dubbed with superfine polydub on sizes 16 or smaller. Size 14 is tied with superfine in the body and Fly Rite as the thorax. From size 12 its Fly Rite all the way, but with an Antron mix in the thorax”, Pål Krogvold concludes.
The No-hackle dun
Hook: Standard light dry fly hook such as the Mustad R30 for sizes 10-20. Mustad R50 if you’re fishing for the big hog.
Tying silk: Danville 6/0 matching the body color.
Tails: Fibers from gray mink, or fibres from Coq de Leon or blue dun rooster
Body: Match the hatch. Fly Rite #10 is a good starting point for the most common mayflies in Scandinavia.
Wings: Tied-up blue dun rooster hackle – alternatively CdC or Comparadun hair
The Spent Spinner
Hook: A standard dry fly hook such as the Mustad R30
Tail: Gray hairs from the mink’s tail, or fibers from Coq de Leon or blue dun rooster
Body: Fly Rite #5 og #6, equal parts mixt by hand
Wings: Blue dun rooster – tied-up
Hook: Standard dry fly hook such as the Mustad R30 or R50. Most common sizes are 10-16
Body: Brown Poly yarn for sizes from 16, Fly rite #6 for hook sizes smaller than 18
Wing: Brown Poly yarn