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The Byske River, Sweden

Category: Fly Fishing Destinations | Author: Lubbe Ferrysson

Learn more about this popular Swedish salmon river.

The Byske River is a popular Swedish salmon river, starting in the Kilver Lake near the city of Arvisdsjaur. This 140 km long river flows southeast and enters the Baltic Sea at the town of Byske, about 900 km north of Stockholm and 30 km north of the city of Skelleftea. The average flow rate is 40 cubic meters per second. Both banks of the river are easily accessible - the Byske-Rallfors-Arvidsjaur road runs along the north bank, while the south bank can be reached by a passenger car on forest roads. Two licenses are sufficient for the whole river, and fishing sites (beats) are well-marked and have parking lots. The lower half reaches from the sea to the border between the Vasterbotten and Norrbotten regions, while the upper half continues up to the Kilver Lake. In the village of Fallfors, about 35 km from the sea, there is a waterfall with well- functioning fish ladders on both the north and south banks. The valley is sparsely populated, so one feels as if they are fishing in the wild. This feeling is strengthened by the fact that there aren't many fellow fishermen around.


Byske

Salmon, sea trout, brook trout, grayling, pike, perch, whitefish and burbot can all be found in the river. Even though these fish are present along the entire river, the Vasterbotten stretch can be considered to be more of a salmon river, while the Norrbotten section is a trout and grayling river. About 200-1000 salmon and a couple hundred sea trout are caught here each year.

A fishing license can be purchased in the town of Byske (at a small store), the campground in Fallen, in Selet, Fallfors, or Arvidsjaur, as well as from a few citizens along the river marked by the label "Fiskekort". The licenses are inexpensive - 120 SEK/day, 500 SEK/week, and 1200 SEK/year in 2008.

Accommodation can be found at the campground in Byske (cottages, caravans, tents), in Fallan (a couple of cottages, tents, caravans), and the campground in Fallfors (cottages, caravans, tents). In the town of Selet, there is a simple camp for tents and caravans available for a small fee. Camping along the river is also allowed, and in some places there are rain shelters and toilets. All can be found on the map which is provided with the license.

In the middle of May after spring runoff, the sea trout season begins, while the first salmon arrive around the end of May. The average fish weighs around 5-7 kg, and every year fish up to 20 kg are caught, with the record being 22 kg. This continues to the end of June, after which the grilse run starts, with fish around 1.5-3 kg. This peaks at the end of July or beginning of August. The season ends the last day of August, and the river is closed to fishing until the 15th of October. If the autumn is warm, sea trout can then be fished, but the river is usually frozen by this time.

Wading can be quite difficult and waders are indispensable. A two-handed 13-15 foot rod is best, with sinking line at the beginning of the season, later with floating or sink-tip line. The water is tea-colored, so red and orange flies are used at the start of the season; in summer, black flies, Ally’s Shrimp, GP, Cascade, Thunder and Lighting, Munroe Killer, and the Black and Silver are all popular. Sizes 2-4 are used at the beginning of the season, and sizes 6-12 later on. The local fishermen are glad to give advice. In summer there are 24 hours of light, but the best times for fishing are considered to be evening, night, and morning.

Several smaller streams and lakes are also included in the catchment, and are marked on the map. There are also two smaller salmon rivers in the area, the Aby and Kage, so there’s plenty of choices of where to fish.

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