William Bilton

William BiltonEnglish anglers discovered the Namsen in the 1930-ies

One of the pioneers was the reverend William Bilton, who visited the Namsen in 1837 and 1839, and in 1840 published “Two summers in Norway” vol. 1 and 2. The following are excerpts from his experiences at the Moum/Heggum beat, but first, let us join Mr. Bilton as he is about to get his first view of the Namsen:

“It was therefore with a feverish excitement that I ran up a hill that overhung the Posthouse of Spillum, and promised evidently to command the lower course of the Namsen, near its entrance into the sea. The very first glance satisfied me I had at last reached the real river for an angler, a deep, broad stream rolled majestically into a beautiful bay, that in its turn opened into a noble fjord.”

Mr. Bilton established his headquarter at Mediå in Grong. He fished from Fiskumfoss down to Vaerum, a stretch of about ten miles.

W. Bilton 300“I did not move another fish until I came to the beautiful pool above Moum (called Speikan), where I rose two. One of them escaped in a moment, but the other appeared to be well hooked, and notwithstanding his impetuous struggles and immense size (for none of those present estimated him under 40 pounds), I had little fear for the result in so spacious and unencumbered as that where he was. I had played him for at least a quarter of an hour and had controlled his first and dangerous rushes, when to my inexpressible mortification I felt he was off, and eventually on drawing up the line. I found the hook fixed in a branch of a sunken tree, in which the fish had evidently entangled my tackle. What a trial for Philosophy!”

In the morning Mr. Bilton caught a 19-pounder at Speikan. In the afternoon on the same day:

“I then came to my favourite pool above Moum, where I had scarcely begun to fish, when I hooked and killed, after great sport, a beautiful fish weighing 26 pounds, and shortly afterwards, in the lower part of the same pool, I killed another of 14 pounds. It was now eleven o’clock, and I, therefore, out of compassion to my men, proposed giving up, but in rowing across the pool for that purpose, I hooked a fine salmon of eighteen pounds, which I landed after a long struggle, by the glorious twilight of an arctic midnight.”

On his return to the Namsen in 1839, in the morning of the twelfth of July, Mr. Bilton tried his luck at Speikan, where he caught 3 fish, of which the biggest was a twentyfive – pounder.

“The next day I started with the intention of paying my respects to Priest Soerensen at Vaerum, but was fortunately stopped by a storm of rain at Speikan pool, where the most glorious sport subsequently detained me till the evening. Fresh fish were continually running up from the sea, as was shown by the sea lice still adhering to many, they seemed to be exclusively of two sizes, small grilse, or salmon of about twenty pounds. In this single pool I rose sixteen (16) fish, and killed ten, of which five were from eighteen to twenty-two pounds, and gave me splendid sport. My total weight this day, with eleven fish, was 137 pounds, the highest figure I had yet attained on the Namsen.”