WINSNES FLYFISHING LODGE
The Winsnes family have been welcoming overseas fishing visitors to the Gaula river since the year 1882. The tradition continues to the present day. The current owners are 17th generation while the 18th generation is growing up fast!
The Winsnes family have been landowners on Gaula since before medieval times when their presence in the area was recorded during the 1300’s. The tradition of welcoming overseas salmon fishers began in the late 1800’s and continues to this day.
The current owners are Anne Marit Winsnes-Hayes and Matt Hayes. Best known for making hundreds of fishing programmes for television and as an angling journalist, Matt has lived at Winsnes for 20 years and together with Anne Marit, has been running the fishing at Winsnes for 12 seasons. Today, the duo welcome guests from all over the world and summers at Winsnes revolve around salmon and salmon fishing. It’s a wonderful tradition that the family intends to keep going and in modern times, they are actively involved in the management of the river and the environmental issues that affect Atlantic Salmon.
HISTORY & TRADITION
The Winsnes Fly Fishing Lodge was built in the year 1882 although in those days it was known only as ’Storstuu Winsnes’, the term ’Storstuu’ meaning ‘Big House.’ Today, the Winsnes-Hayes family live in Storstuu, while guests stay in the Summer House and a smaller cabin known as Buret. Both buildings are, in fact, more historic than the big house, both buildings being at least one hundred years older.
The first English guests stayed in the Winsnes house in the year of its completion: 1882. Parties of Englishmen seeking prime salmon fishing in Norway were becoming established at this time and the Norwegians knew them as ’Salmon Lords’ because they were wealthy although many were not members of the aristocracy but successful business people, traders and industrialists.
Today, Winsnes Fly Fishing Lodge controls fishing on 4km of the river and on both banks. A fishery of this length and ‘joined-up’ nature is unique on Gaula.
CUSTODIANS OF THE RIVER
While Gaula has emerged as one of the greatest salmon rivers of all time, it is like all salmon rivers, in decline. We are fortunate that the rate of decline is much slower than on many major rivers but nonetheless if we are to enjoy fishing on Gaula in the medium to long term we need to take better care of it and the ocean which provides the food for Atlantic salmon.
There are many challenges facing salmon in the modern era from escaping farmed fish to pollution and mismanagement of the ocean and the salmon’s food stocks. We are committed to running our stretch of the Gaula as respectfully and harmoniously as possible. We aim to maintain good spawning stocks of salmon on our water and not to over-stress them by allowing 24 hour fishing.
We use catch and release as a management tool and try to adopt best practice when releasing fish. We expect our guests to treat the river and salmon with respect and we are very lucky to have so many close allies as customers!