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River Glomma - introduction

Glomma, also known as Glåma is the longest and largest river in Norway, 598 kilometres long. Its drainage basin covers fully 13% of Norway's area, all in the Southern part of Norway. Because it flows through some of the richest forest districts, it has historically been Norway's leading log floating river. The combination of raw materials, water power, and easy transport has over the centuries encouraged industry along the Glomma. Some of the country's largest manufacturing and processing concerns are found around its mouth, where supplies of timber and hydro-power have been backed by excellent port facilities. Since 1985 the log floating has stopped, but the river has been changed by the log floating. Large rocks in the river bed were removed to ensure an steady drift.


Long time ago in winter time the river was primarily used for transport. The area around Tolga was not warm enough to grow corn, if the people needed flour, they had to buy it in Elverum, ca 200 km to the south. It took them three to four weeks, traveling with horse and carriage over the ice of frozen river Glomma, to complete this journey.
In the old days grayling did not inhabit River Glomma. During the 1700's a channel for log floating was constructed between Lake Femund and Lake Feragen, resulting in the spreading of several species of fish: grayling, pike, mountain whitefish, minnow and burbot. Earlier there was only brown trout and arctic char.
A big river like Glomma can cause problems for local people, especially when it floods. In 1995 there was a massive spring flood. In the months before there had been a lot of snow, and spring came late. The sudden warm days made the snow melt in a short period, and the worst flood in 100 years occurred.

There are several power plants in River Glomma. There is one at Glamos near Lake Aursund, another one just upstream of Os, one at Hoyegga just downstream of Alvdal, and a few more further to the south. All of them have fish ladders installed, but it is obvious that in a river system massive disturbances like this have a negative effect on fish population. For this reason the electricity companies stock the river with small brown trout. The adipose fin is removed, so these stocked fish are easy to recognize. Until now it is very rare to catch one, it seems they all disappear. The power plant at  Glamos regulates the water-level in the upper part of Glomma. In winter time, when there is no supply of fresh water, the water-level in Lake Aursund falls dramatically, so in spring a lot of the melt-water is used to fill the lake. Of course this is quite positive for us fly fishermen: in the last 15 years I was always fishing Glomma from the end of May until the last week of June, and there were only a few times when the fishing was hard (or impossible, as in '95).


At Hoyegga dam a large part of the water volume is transferred to River Rena in the east, also to produce electricity. Water-levels in Glomma below Hoyegga dam normally are very low, and they can change fast. This can be positive for the fly fisherman, when water-level is very high in Glomma, there still might be nice fishing downstream Hoyegga. However, the result of taking away so much water, and the hefty fluctuations in water-level, is normally lousy fly fishing.

River Glomma falls from about 700 meter altitude at Lake Aursund to 178 m at Elverum, 275 km to the south. This fall is not uniform, especially between Tynset and Hoyegga Dam the river is like a big lake, it is deep and the current is slow at most places. Between Tolga and Tynset there are fast rapids, and over long stretches the river is a free-stone type.

See illustration below.
 

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This variation in depth and current results in a varied river bed: large stones in the stretches with fast current, gravel bed where the current slows down and a sand bottom in the slow stretches. This means optimal conditions for aquatic vegetation and insect life.
 In the last 15 years I fished river Glomma from Røros down to Elverum. This is about 300 kilometres ! Of course I haven’t seen every interesting stretch, but I can say the whole river is great for fly fishing. There is simply so much fish in it. But it can be difficult to find places where you can wade. The more downstream you go, the bigger, deeper and faster the river gets so I recommend proper preparations if you are planning a fishing trip. You can order for a perfect map of the whole river with an indication of water depth and speed, completed with aerial pictures at www.glommaguiden.com

What makes the Kvennan Fly Fishing zone special ?
You have to realize that Glomma is a popular destination for fishing, and fishing pressure can be high at some river stretches. Kvennan Fly Fishing is (until now) the only stretch in Glomma with strict rules and regulations, a decent minimum size, a maximum size and a bag limit.
There are several fishing inspectors checking if the rules are observed, and violators are prosecuted. All this means you can expect to have a real chance to catch grayling measuring about 45 cm or more. Not only one but several a day, and this will only improve the next years: more big fish will be in the river, and they get the chance to grow bigger and bigger because it is definitely not allowed anymore to kill them !!


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contact : kff@kvennan.com

© Hein van Aar