A tanked-up car, tough rod holders and a few intensely driven salmon fishers as company is a great start if you’re going to do some serious salmontrippin’ in Swedish Lapland. This is the story of three high-pitched days in four wild salmon rivers in what sometimes is referred to as Europe’s last wilderness.
– One hundred seventeen, one hundred twenty-two, one hundred twenty-nine…
Ronny Landin and Erling Holmström are scrolling through the last fishes registered by the camera in the fish-path in the Kalix River during the recent days.
– Shit, I comment without even saying hello. That’s some big fishes.
Ronny hums as a response without taking his eyes off the screen. Erling, who is in charge of the fish-path project, says nothing. Minutes pass. We are spellbound by the screen. One after the other large salmon is scrolled by.
– The largest one, I say and clear my throat. How big?
Erling doesn’t respond, but I can tell he’s looking for something.
– There, he finally says. 137 centimetres. Largest so far. But it’s only July and the salmon is late this year. Surely someone bigger is going to come along before the ice sets.*
He clicks one the 137 fellow and a short film sequence with a gigantic salmon appears on the screen.
– And it measures correctly, I comment with scepticism in my voice.
– What we’ve reckon, Ronny responds, is that it can be one or a few centimeters on the small side on really big fishes.
– 137 plus a few centimeters then, I say and let my imagination get the better of me.