Sign In Cart

Lapland Trout Flies – Fly Fishing Team Finland’s Recipes for Northern Norway


Trout fly fishing in Norway

Trout fly fishing in the rivers of Northern Norway is a highlight for many Nordic trout enthusiasts each season, and for good reason. Dense caddis pupa hatches typical of Finnmark along with the stunning, wild fish can provide unforgettable experiences with the right approach. Not to mention grayling exceeding half a meter in length as a bonus. We had a chance to interview competitive fly angler Juho Strandman from Team Finland about his keys to success in Lapland.

Text: Antti Kalske
Pictures: Juho Strandman, Janne Heikkinen

Although Juho Strandman is best known as a competitive fly fisherman and member of the Finnish national fly fishing team, he has also actively pursued trout and grayling in Lapland outside of competitions. His trout and grayling trips have mainly focused on Finnmark, Norway, sometimes also targeting rivers in Northern Sweden. Places like Skoganvarre, Kautokeino, and Masijoki are some of the best known areas for trout fishing, but as Juho points out, Finnmark also offers endless possibilities for the adventurous fly fisher who wants to find their own secret spot.

During these trips, Juho has not only caught great fish and made memories, but also learned essential lessons about fly fishing these latitudes. An impressive catch is by no means a given, despite the image many might have: fishing pristine waters where the fish eagerly take anything that comes their way. Sometimes, yes, but in reality, catching espcially bigger fish can be surprisingly challenging. That’s why we asked Juho for the most important tips to consider for a trout and grayling trip in Lapland.

Brown trout in the Lapland night
Juho shows the result of a nighttime session

Finnmark Trout Fishing Follows the Light

The Northern fishing season is short and intense. In June, rivers are still flooding, meaning fishing might not be feasible, or the conditions are at least very uncertain and challenging. “When the season properly starts in July, the fish are very active during the day. In the midnight sun, you have a good chance to experience high-quality fishing around the clock. Alternating different techniques throughout the day can lead to continuous action,” Juho says. “Day fishing is mostly about nymphing, and dry flies can also be effective. As the evening darkens, try streamers before the nightly caddis pupa hatches begin. And when the hatch is on, focus purely on pupa fishing.”

Come August, there is a clear change in activity llevels as the role of pupa hatches becomes even more pronounced. “Trout behavior changes increasingly towards the end of the season, and they seem to be less active in daylight. That said, grayling can still be caught during the day, so pursuing both is a good option if you want to have continuous action also in August. Trout fishing should focus between twilight and pitch black – when the experienced angler looks for pupa hatches in, for example, tailouts, heads of pools, and large mirror-like eddies. Look for rising fish and concentrate your fishing there,” Juho continues.

So, where to start looking for that pupa eddie of your dreams? If you don’t already have a list of honey holes, you can try to scout them in advance using online map services. “It’s relatively easy to find well-known fishing spots with a bit of googling, but during peak season, you probably won’t be there alone. If you want to find your own big fish spots, ‘big fish in big waters’ is a good guideline. You can of course run into trophy trout elsewhere, but it is more likely in the rapid areas between water bodies. So, look for habitats that offer food suitable for larger fish,” Juho advises.

The right time to dig out your streamers and foam pupas

Various Techniques for Different Situations – Nymphs, Streamers, and Pupae

You can get by with your standard trout gear. Juho typically has a couple of different setups with him, allowing quick transitions between techniques throughout the day. “To me, daytime fishing is mostly about euro nymphing, using only a long leader to dead drift flies upstream. My nymph rig usually has two flies,” Juho reveals, perhaps not surprisingly for a competitive angler. “For evening and night streamer and pupa fishing, I think a #6 weight rod is most suitable. It allows you to cast streamers a bit further and has enough power to firmly handle bigger fish.”

Things can get challenging when there are plenty of actively feeding fish rising. “If there are no significant insect hatches, it’s usually not that hard to get a take. Trout in Lapland are often under only moderate fishing pressure and less selective about their food. Therefore, I haven’t found a need to reduce the size of the fly drastically,” Juho describes the nature of fishing. “When the air is thick with a massive pupa hatch, it is easy to locate rising fish, but equally challenging to get them interested. With an abundance of food supply, your fly needs to stand out from the crowd rather than blend in to increase your odds.”

To stand out, there are several tricks you can try. For example, by actively varying the retrieve your fly will move differently than the dead drifting or naturally rising food options. “The simplest way is to cast across the current and then just let it swing the fly. Sometimes it’s worth stripping faster or mending the line to slow down the retrieve depending on the current,” Juho explains. In general, he encourages making repeated attempts to the same spot or sighted fish when the bite is tough: “Getting a bite may require several precise drifts on the right spot. Another tip is to significantly increase the fly size, which helps it stand out from the mass. If the emerging insect is about the size of a #14 fly, try a #8 or #10 instead of downsizing.”

Fellow Fly Fishing Team Finland member Janne Heikkinen with a beautiful wild specimen

Juho’s trout flies for Norway – which also work well for grayling

With techniques covered, what about the contents of the fly box? Juho uses pretty much these same flies for mixed grayling and trout fishing in Swedish Lapland, but the set is especially tailored for trout fishing in Finnmark, Norway. In some well-known spots, like above the Kautokeino river waterfalls, there are no grayling at all, but wherever grayling are present (which for example the Skoganvarre area is famous for), the same nymphs, dries, and pupae work well for them too. These are his picks.

  1. Green Foam Pupa – a specialty fly specifically for pupa fishing. Skated on the surface, the Surf Pupa stands out from the crowd and is fun to fish. Even an #8 is not overkill when aiming to get attention during pupa hatches. The same fly has also worked in pink for grayling.
  2. Musta Kostaja – or some other black 5-10 cm streamer for night fishing. Sometimes adding weight to sink the fly just under the surface current has produced good results, so it’s worth bringing along weights to attach to the leader or weighted flies, like a beadhead black zonker.
  3. Supertinseli in for example silver or gold. Sizes can be the same 5 to 10 cm. Trout prey on baitfish such as small minnows or young whitefish, which should steer fly size and color selection.
  4. Pink Squirmy Wormy – an almost unbeatable fly during day fishing for both grayling and trout. A few worm flies usually ensure you can at least have fish for dinner if you want to!
  5. Green Glue Larva, Pietu’s Pupa – or some other trusted green beadhead larva in size #10-12. This is also a reliable choice for daytime fishing at the end of a French leader rig.
  6. Orange Tagpink bead for grayling and silver for trout. The bead weight should be optimized according to the current strength and the depth of the fishing spot. An extremely effective all-around nymph for daytime fishing.
  7. Parachute Adams – or another gray mayfly imitation. Mayflies and caddisflies are the most important insects to imitate if you prefer classic dry fly fishing or modern dry dropper techniques.
  8. Parachute Caddis – a must-have dry fly here too. A competitive fisherman’s choice would be the barbless version designed by the Finnish national team, with an easy-to-follow indicator post color.

You can customize your own trout set based on these tips, or grab a ready-made Lapland Trout Flies à la Juho Strandman collection.

Superflies has been a long-time sponsor of the Finnish fly fishing team – since their World Championship gold year in 2021. The national team has tailored their favorite flies for our collection, keeping their fly boxes full on the way to the European Championships in Poland and other competitions. Now you also have the opportunity to fish with the same flies as the world’s top anglers!

More news