The Gaula is one of those Atlantic salmon rivers that needs no introduction. It is regarded as one of Norway’s finest on account of the size of the salmon that it produces (the average size is between fourteen and eighteen pounds) and because it has spectacular fly-fishing water. Full of majestic character, when the Gaula runs clear it does so with a mesmeric emerald tinge. The dominating surrounding scenery is one of thickly forested slopes interspersed with charming rural smallholdings; it is as idyllic a location to fish for salmon as that portrayed in the pictures and as a ‘Big’ salmon river it has substantial pedigree!
New for 2013, under the direct management and control of Winsnes fishing lodge, two of the most productive beats on the Gaula have now been combined to form 4 kms of exclusive double-bank fishing, limited to just 10 rods. The result is an unrivalled fishing experience on the Gaula where guests will have a chance to enjoy some, if not the best fly-fishing only water, covering a number of the most productive pools on the river.
Unlike many Norwegian salmon beats a policy has been introduced that strictly controls fishing hours to the direct advantage of the angler. It is common practice for Norwegian salmon beats to be fished 24hrs/day, 7 days a week, every day of the season - pools are never rested and the fishing consequently suffers. At Winsnes lodge across the 9 beats available only 5 are fished at any one time, in rotation, and with no fishing allowed from 2-6am and 2-6pm. Anglers have a chance to relax without feeling they are missing out on a key beat, the pools are rested and subsequently numbers of fish caught improves. If catch records are a measure of success then it can be considered a triumph; last year on the Flaskholen beats where this policy was implemented, it resulted in it becoming the most productive stretch on the Gaula!
Besides the salmon fishing Winsnes lodge can offer a range of alternative fly-fishing options for trout and grayling on a range of rivers, streams and lakes. Norway has some excellent light-tackle fly-fishing, all of which is complemented by a backdrop of spectacular scenery. Flexible fishing packages can be arranged ranging from local excursions to overnight accommodation using rustic log-cabins accompanied by local guides.
Sport fishing for salmon has been a tradition at the Winsnes Farm since the nineteenth century with visiting anglers from England first coming to fish this stretch of the Gaula in 1882. The visitors, known by the Norwegians as ‘salmon lords’ on account of the sporting manner in which they fished, were the first in a long and distinguished lineage of visiting salmon anglers. The Winsnes fly-fishing lodge is still owned by the Winsnes family and is run by Anne-Marit Winsnes who married dedicated and superbly passionate angler Matt Hayes, renowned for his TV fishing shows. Together they are at the forefront of measures to preserve and enhance the fishing on the Gaula.
Traditionally a farm with buildings dating back several hundred years Winsnes lodge, situated on the banks of the Gaula, now provides high quality guesthouse accommodation for anglers and their families over the fishing season from June-August. Seven bedrooms allow for both shared accommodation and for those who would prefer an individual room. Food is of a high quality and the addition of the Lax Café and pub makes for a very convivial atmosphere. It is used by anglers and locals for lunches and socializing with the main evening meal being held in the lodge dining room. Anglers can stay at either full board or B&B only rates.
Families and non-fishers are very welcome. The area is exceptionally beautiful with the Gaula being flanked by the Forrplogna National Park. This area is affectionately referred to as ‘Little Norway’ because of the variety of landscapes encapsulating much of Norway’s beautiful scenery. Whilst relaxing in the wonderfully fresh environment may be enough for some Norway is particularly suited to those with an inclination for outdoor activities. Mountain excursions, photography, horseback riding, dogsledding, moose safaris and hunting are all possible.
A guide is on hand to assist anglers up and down the beats. Typically referred to as light-guiding he will be able to provide assistance with tackle and equipment, show anglers the pools and will spend time with each angler at least once during the day. An individual guide can be arranged on a daily basis should you want extra guiding, assistance or casting tuition.
Winsnes Lodge is located about 1½ hrs drive from Trondheim airport, which can be accessed directly by some UK flights although there are more frequent connections if you connect via Oslo. Direct flights are available from Stanstead that can be booked cheaply with Fly No. Most anglers find it useful to have a rental car during their stay but all salmon beats can all be accessed by foot, and the guide can provide assistance with transport.
The season runs from 1 June- 31 August
- B&B/shared room: 20 - 24,00,00 NOK
- Full Board/Shared Room: 24 - 27,500 NOK
- Private Guide: 3,500 NOK/day
Please be aware that openings at Aunan are very restricted and as much advance warning as possible should be given to fish here.
- Full Board/shared room: 17 - 22,000 NOK
- B&B/shared room: 13-18,000 NOK
- Seven (x7) nights.
- Six (x6) days fly-fishing.
- Fishing License & Disinfection certificate
Price does not include gratuities. Lodge capacity is 10 anglers.
The season on the Gaula runs from 1 June - 31 August. During the opening days of the season the passage of fish to the middle and upper sections of the river can be restricted in the event of high water however this is also the period when some of the biggest salmon run the river. Prime weeks are from mid-June to mid July and demand is high over this period. As with all salmon fishing water conditions will play a dominant part in how successful a week is so whether you fish early mid or late season all weeks have the potential to deliver an unforgettable fish.
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The great salmon rivers of Norway such as the Alta, Gaula, Namsen and Orkla were probably responsible for the earliest breed of travelling anglers. Primarily it was sportsmen from Great Britain who travelled to Norway in pursuit of the finest salmon fishing available. Not only were the numbers of fish high but maybe more ...