Salmon fishing in Norway has always been a dream of mine, hearing the stories of my grandfather chasing monster Atlantic salmon in years gone by planted the seed.
When the opportunity came up to visit the famous Gaula, the river of silver and gold, I jumped at it. Just a short three day trip to the middle reaches of the river, based out of Winsnes Lodge. The fishing here is quite unique in Norwegian standards as the lodge owns the fishing rights to both banks for 4 km of river and also operates a rotation that means that sections of water are always being rested.
I headed up on the direct flight from London Gatwick to Trondheim and headed through the mountains and up the beautiful Gaula valley. Evergreen trees fill the towering mountain sides whilst the valley floor gives way to farm land, the clean air emphasises the rich blue of the sky and the luscious green landscape.
My first morning I have a tour of the river, a brief introduction to each of the pools, where the holding spots were and the best wading lines. From here it was serious fishing time. As a relatively hopeless salmon angler, many days fished and not many landed, I had gone with the attitude that if I felt a fish I would be happy.
The first day resulted in very little action, aside from a brief swim for me and a couple of fish splashing around the scores were ultimately left untouched. This was put down to the stormy rains two days previous that had caused the river to colour up and rise sharply. As we left the water that evening there was a sense that the fishing would improve as the tea stained water cleared down.
The next two days were action packed, it all started with a confidence boosting boil at a stripped sunray shadow. Although I did not hook up I knew the fish were willing to take. A move towards small aluminium tubes proved to be successful. Fished on light hover or intermediate fly lines we fished the streamy water.
The next four takes resulted in two hook-ups, the first was a summer grilse, not the grand Norwegian salmon I had pictured but still, it was a beautiful fish and my first in Norway. With a quick picture it was returned to continue its journey.
The second fish, was much more powerful, anchoring in a fast run and moving slowly through the boulders. After a short time, the fish made a powerful dash and the fly came straight back at me. A humbling experience but one that left me wanting more.
The other anglers on the river for those few days, experienced much the same but some wonderful fish were landed, particularly in the evening session.
Having now fished the mighty Gaula, I have the Norwegian bug and the quest for a large salmon will continue.
For more information on salmon fishing in Norway please contact Aardvark McLeod or call +44 1980 847389.