Trout fishing with bare hands in Qooqqut, Nuuk

At first I thought it looked like some new-fangled yoga move people were trying in Qooqqut: people lying on large flat rocks with their feet kicked upwards in the air and head faced down toward the water. Although the move wasn’t downward dog, some would say it’s another calming form of exercise – trout fishing with bare hands! 

A warm, sunny Sunday afternoon was the perfect time to learn the art of fishing without a rod. We sailed out to Qooqqut, about an hour from Nuuk and a popular summer hut area. Our target for the day were trout who were swimming upstream from the ocean to freshwater to spawn eggs.

Well I don’t know if you guessed it already, but it is a funny sight. You can end up looking like this:

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And this:

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And hey, you might as well do some push ups while you’re at it!

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It’s hard work swimming against the current, but it’s in the sexual nature of many types of trout and salmon to do this each breeding season.

Animal Questions say it’s because they were originally freshwater fish, so their eggs can only survive in this environment. While some live in freshwater lakes and rivers all of their lives, some subspecies like the steelhead will spend years in the ocean before migrating back into the freshwater to spawn.

During this season, the fish who are most vulnerable are resting under rocks where the water is more still. They are taking a break, if not having a Kit Kat. With nerves calmer than mine, it’s possible to slowly but surely put your hand under the rocks to feel if there is a fish there. If there is one, you can touch it, and they won’t swim away. The tricky bit is to then move your hands to where the gills are and then in a pincer-like action, firmly pull it out of the water.

Our friend said that he’d caught many fish like this but unfortunately we weren’t successful with this method today. It was so fun though, and with the sun shining, it was so refreshing to put half your body (or in my case accidentally fall completely into) the cool water!

We tried our luck with rod fishing off the boat next. Within 50 seconds of dropping the line down to about 80 metres deep, I caught my first fish. In four line drops in about 20 minutes, we caught 4 red fish and 2 codfish. The hardest and most time-consuming bit was pulling them back up.

They say Greenland is the place for fishermen who love fishing. I would also say it’s a place for people who don’t really like fishing as the experience can be so quick and efficient! All the gain without the pain of waiting. As a girl whose knowledge of fishing is restricted to a few houseboat fishing escapades and watching ‘Salmon fishing in the Yemen’, I’d say that this place is perfect for me. =)

More photos from the trip, using the smart phone (which luckily survived a drop in the water when I fell…):

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