At the first look, we can easily understand why a lot of anglers are fell in love with the Gaula, and why she was so popular with the British aristocraty during more than a century. For a passionate salmon angler, the Gaula is one of this place where we’re dreaming to visit with a rod in hand. 145 km long, she’s running, accelerating, stumbling on boulders and gives life to a postcard landscape.
With the NASF purchases of more than 80% of net fishing rights in the Trondheim fjord, no dams along its entire length, and no affects to its water quality, we can better understand why she’s officially classified as the very first European river for salmon fishing.
She displays some statistics which makes dreaming, both by the quality than the quantity. Located at half of the river, we find the famous Gaulfossen. Spectacular canyon which is the main attraction for tourist, but also a subject of chronic doubt for anglers. Indeed, in this rocky corridor narrow and steep which forcing the flow to a foaming acceleration, the Gaula roared and brews a monstrous water mass. With no doubt, we imagine that this obstacle on the migration road has selected the powerful strain of its salmon.
Winsnes lodge : fishing lodge since 1882 !
The Winsnes name comes from 13th century. Probably from Norwegian Vindade : water which comes from the Vindtjonna lake, where the Vinda river meet the Gaula, there is a headland (nes in Norwegian). It was originally a farm called Winsnes, but now it’s 6 farms. The original Winsnes farm is located to 1 km where the fishing lodge Storstuu Winsnes takes place today. Salmon fishing is a tradition since 19th century. Winsnes has received his first tourist anglers from England in 1882, the same year as the famous Green Highlander fly was invented in Great Britain. The visitors from the high British society has used with no doubt the Green Highlander and remains today, one of the best fly for the Gaula.
Storstuu Winsnes still belongs to the Winsnes family for years. Originally a farm, it’s today an inn and a fishing lodge which offers several hosting solutions and various stays of discovery. The house is open all year around, but it’s specialized in the reception of anglers during the fishing season. This modern place allows a hosting and fooding of very high quality, where it’s possible to drink something at the Lax-Café and buying some fishing gear to the Lax fishing tacklestore. The Winsnes family still living here, the lodge is managed by Ann-Marit Winsnes and her husband Matt Hayes.
The atmosphere generated by the lodge is an overview of what can offer Norway, in a real peace haven. Located on the Gaula river bank, Winsnes Fly Fishing Lodge offers the very best of European salmon Fly Fishing. To Winsnes, you can fishing 2 beats completely exclusives, Malum Winsnes and Flaskholen. For sure, they’re the very best pools on the river !
The pools profile mades a very favorable river for fly fishing during all the season. A short season between the 1st of June until 31th of August, 3 intenses months during the Scandinavian summer with endless days. Season can be cut by month :
- June : we can say, big river, big current, big tackle, big fish… The last ten years during a spring debacle, some big ice masses going down to the sea have planed and displaced some boulders, which facilitate salmon runs even by high current. From the opening, fish can get to the upper pools and the painful question : “have they crossed the Gaulfossen?” is less relevant today. Fishing the Gaula in June, it’s expect to handle a 14’ rod at least, for casting to 30m from you a sinking line with a 50/00 meter tippet and a heavy fly. A real man fishing ! But your catch will rarely be less than 10kg. Gaula monsters are at this price !
- July : Is the Gaula prime time on the upper pools. The water level drops, the tackle is lighter, the 5 to 10kg fish and a lot of grisles arrive. Big fish are still running on the upper pools.
- August : the river is full of fish. The big ones still present which are waiting in pools become aggressive with all this neighborhood. Other salmons of all sizes and some sea-trout which arrive, forcing them to move. It’s during this time that you’ll have the best luck to try the dry flies technics.
Pools and rules
From 2013 season, Winsnes Fly Fishing Lodge offer an exceptional beat, reserved only to fly fishing. 6 Fishing days, from Sunday 8:00PM to Saturday 10:00PM. 4km double bank with a maximum of 12 rods, but a 10 target will be preferred. Catch and release will be encouraged and imposed for all the female and the +9kg fish. Possibility to keep a single fish per day per angler. The beat consist of 9 pools : 4 on Flaskholen (Flaskholen, Railway, Old Bridge and Bottle Pool) and 5 pools on Malum Winsnes (Kjellflua, Oksoy, Roholen, Lillestrom and the famous Kroken). One pool will be a “free for all”, this mean that everyone can fish it when he wishes. The 8 other will be with a rotating system. During July month, every pool (except the “free for all”) will have 2 closing times from 2:00PM to 6:00PM and 2:00AM to 6:00AM, no closing time in August.
Fish and tackle
As we’ve tried to describe her, the Gaula is the river of superlatives, and her fish are not an exception to the rule. If we translate tons in catches number, it vary between 3000 and 12000 fish, with an average of 5000 salmon per season. The average weight is 7kg, a lot of 10kg, and some +20kg every season (20,1kg and 21,2kgin 2011 for the same angler…). Note, an interesting sea-trout population from the end of July.
Tackle is to adapt to the encountered conditions and especially in relation with the size of the fish. We generally use double handed rods between 13’ to 15’ for 9/11 lines. June is the best month for big fish. The water temperature is still low, so it’s the sinking lines time. It’s only from a water temperature up to 10° that we’re looking for fish close to the surface with lighter tackle : switch and light 2 handed rods. During low waters, we can use a single handed rod like a 9’ or 10’ for line 8. Reels must contain at least 150m of 30lbs backing. Lines are almost exclusively shooting heads, which allow to change quickly the fishing depth. In order to overcome to all the conditions, you’ll need at least 3 densities : floating, slow sinking, fast sinking. Flies are usually tied on tubes with a temple dog style. The most common models are Green Highlander, Flomfuggan, Black Fairy, Sunray Shadow, Red Frances, and some little ones tied on 4 to 10 double hooks and 10 to 14 triple hooks. Use tippet from 22lbs to 36lbs.
Location : One hour and a half drive from Trondheim.
Season : From 1st of June to 31th of August
Prime time : From 1st of July to 31th August
Accomodation : Winsnes Fly Fishing Lodge, half or full board, single or shared bedroom.
Clothes : Despite a relatively mild climate in summer, you’ve to bring some warm clothes and especially some good rain ones.
Disinfection : You’ve to disinfect all your fishing gear : waders + shoes, reels, lines… It can be done at Storen to the Gaula Nature Center.
Flight : To Trondheim. From France usually via Amsterdam is the best way.
Documentation and visa : IP or passport is sufficient
Currency : Norwegian Crown (NOK)
Language : Norwegian, but English is very well spoken.
Electricity : 220V
Driving in Norway : Driving in Norway is very strict. The highway speed limit is 80 KM/H, the BAC is reducted to 0, so take care before to celebrate your salmon !!!
Last edited: 2013-06-03