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My personal best and this year’s Atlantic spring salmon in Skjern river, about 1 m. So stunning. (photo by Tobias Park)

Chasing big dreams: Denmark’s River Skjern

People often ask me, why fly fishing? What is it about fly fishing that is so special? And I actually find it a bit difficult to answer.  Why? Because fly fishing has changed my life. And with such a statement, I need to paint a picture that justifies it.

I could start with the places it has taken me and the people I’ve met. Fly fishing has brought me to the most desolated and most astonishing places I’ve ever been.

I have spent years in Patagonia, living out of a little jeep for 16 months straight on the Argentinian pampas, overwintering on a farm in a Chilean valley with the snow covered Andes surrounding us, and working on Isle Of Lewis, the Outer Hebrides on a historical fly fishing estate. It has all been together with my boyfriend, since he was the one who introduced me to the beauty of fishing. All these years surrounded by nature, and with the urge to perpetuate our adventures, my passion for photography has constantly grown.  

One of my favourites, Tobias on an early morning. One of the last days of the season.
Drone view of Skjern River and our little jeep (photo by Tobias Park)

And 11 years later, my love and addiction to fly fishing has shaped me into the person I want to be. Where the constant urge to feel free is the biggest motivator to keep chasing my dreams. I have also realized that in order to be my most creative and truest self, I need to be surrounded by nature.

The past years I have been in Denmark, due to the COVID-19 pandemic, which has allowed me to explore my own land and find adventures close to home. As a result, we emerged ourselves into getting to know River Skjern. With our old jeep and a roof top tent, we have spent months along the river, our home waters. 

The last cast at sunset.

The beauty of the River Skjern is partly its story. It has been straightened out due to agriculture and industrialisation back in the 1960’s and was put back in its natural form some 30 years later. Nature, birdlife and salmon have all been thriving ever since. And now it is possible for everyone to go out and catch the salmon of their dreams. 

You can be lucky enough to spot white tailed eagles, cranes, the shy kingfisher all while fishing for salmon that can easily be 20 to 25 pounds (some upwards of 50 pounds). There is a quota system that will tell you if you can take your catch back home. I prefer catch and release, but there is a beauty in bringing home a fish, preparing a meal and sharing it with your loved ones.  

When I’m not fishing or shooting photos, I have restored my love for foraging. And on that note, River Skjern is a Mecca for a forager! You will find peppermint and water mint, ground ivy, use it for tea or mojitos.. There is wild garlic (eminent for pesto), rose hip, black berries and elderflowers, just to name a few!

Right now here in Lapland, I am waiting for the blueberries and elderberries to appear. I’m going to eat so many pancakes with fresh made blueberry jam. To be connected with nature on so many levels brings me the absolute joy in my life. 

Salmon/grills being prepared (photo by Tobias Park)
Filleting Freshly caught fish (we only take home the salmon under 73 cm).
Early morning in Vejle River.

“With our old jeep and a roof top tent, we have spent months along the river, our home waters. “

Here in the most northern part of Swedish Lapland under the Midnight Sun, I have been awake for 24 hours. And maybe it’s the lack of sleep that makes me a bit exalted, but if someone would have told me all these years ago that fly fishing was the “point of no return”, I’m not sure I would have believed them. Yet here we are.

Fishing for Baltic salmon (patiently waiting for the big run to arrive). Sitting by the fire and watching the double rainbow, while the sun never sets. It was never just a trip or a holiday, it was never just a phase or something to check off the list. It is my life. It is our life. 

Getting ready to fish the night for sea run browns in the Karup River.
Summer Starry nights and salmon fishing, it doesn’t get much better than this.

Contributed By

Sarah Ronholt

I’m Sarah, 34 years old and as I’m writing the sound of the river Kalix keeps distracting me. The salmon run has begun and I’m ready for my first season in Swedish Lapland. Last year, together with my boyfriend Tobias, I spent months  living in our old jeep along rivers in Jutland. With the roof tent pitched, fishing rods and camera. My passion for photography goes beyond anything else (besides from fly fishing) and when I look through a camera lens, my world just gets bigger. It sparks my creativity to constantly be surrounded with nature- and I love to play with the magic of natural light. Besides nature and wildlife photography, I love to portrait people. 
I especially love people who fly fish because in fly fishing, big feelings are part of the sport. I aim to capture those feelings in a photo because that is the ultimate and most satisfying goal as a photographer. Together, fly fishing and photography go hand-in-hand. And it’s become my life.

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