After a very hard winter with huge amounts of snow the season had been expected to get under way later than usual. Due to the unexpected warm weather the snow has disappeared completely from the valleys and these conditions have led to the salmon running early from the beginning of may. The conditions on Gaula were just about ideal at the start of the season on June 1st. The water temperature was about 8 degrees Celsius and the river only 60 cm above normal summer level.
Everyone was looking forward to the first salmon of the new millennium. One hour after the midnight start, a fisherman had the first take on the water of the Norwegian Flyfishers Club but unfortunately didn‘t hook the fish properly. Mary Anne Sawada, wife of the well known Japanese flytier Ken Sawada, lost a very big salmon after a hard and dramatic fight on the Bridge Pool. Ken and Mary Anne saw the fish about ten times and Mary Anne said "It was the biggest fish I ever played on a fishing rod, I nearly had no chance at all".
The first salmon of the millennium was caught on June 2nd. This 18 pounder, as bright as a button, took a Sunray Shadow on a single hook at 10 am. It was caught by Norwegian rod Arnt Henning Brunberg with a single handed rod on the Lower Langøy pool. A complete 15ft Trident Outfit, which has been donated by Orvis, is the prize which the lucky fisherman received for his historic catch. The total value of this Outfit Trident rod, Vortex Reel and Wonderline was about £1.000.
After this, the fishing got underway fast. The dream water of the Norwegian Flyfishers Club produced a total of 13 salmon to 31 pounds up to June 5th . The average weight of the first ten fish was 20.5lb . These fresh run salmon were all real beauties. The fact that only three of them carried sealice proves that most of the fish had been in the river for more than a week. The biggest salmon so far is the 31 pounder caught by Ken Sawada. He said of this catch: "The fish which Mary Anne lost on the first day was much, much bigger". Ken caught both his salmon on a 2 inch Aquamarine tube fly. English regular rod Grant Foreman used a Green Highlander to catch his three beautiful June fish (22 lb., 21 lb., and 17 lb.). 16 year old Mathias Richter who learned to cast with a double handed rod in August 1999 on the water of the Norwegian Flyfishers Club caught two fish of 22lb and 19 lb.
Although the overall conditions were not very favourable with water temperatures of 5-6 degrees Celsius, nevertheless fresh fish with sealice were taken above Gaulfossen. The major changes in the Gaulfossen itself during the spring of 1999 seems to have resulted in an earlier run through the white water and up into the middle reaches of the Gaula where the Norwegian Flyfishers Club has most of its beats.
On June 3rd the water level rose about 15 cm and the Gaulfossen produced in an 8 hour spell, a total of 11 salmon. The guides there reported that during this period a minimum of 150 big salmon passed through. From this moment onwards it seemed to be certain that the "big fish" season which had been predicted is becoming a reality.
More of these wonderful June salmon were caught during week 23. As expected, they weighed between 15 and 21 lb. Regular Grant Foreman had another nice fish of 21 pounds and Manfred Raguse released the first Gaula salmon of the new millennium, a nice 20 pounder and lost another good fish shortly thereafter. The water temperature fluctuated between 6° and 10° Celsius and the water level was only 30 to 50 cm above normal summer level. At the end of week 23 the average weight of salmon from the Norwegian Flyfishers‘ Club water had decreased to 19.8 lbs. Heavy rain at the end of week 23 brought the river up and the cold weather lowered the temperature to 8° Celsius again. None of the fish caught in week 23 carried sealice.
In week 24 sealiced fresh run fish were caught once again. Two hours after the start of the week British composer Terry Oldfield caught a salmon of 15.4 lb. on a "Red and Silver" in Renna Pool. The following day a total of four salmon were caught between 13.7 and 25.4 lb. Ken Sawada had a great day, catching two beautiful salmon, one of 22.3 and the second of 25.4 lb. These fish from the Bridge pool took an "Orange Flame", his own pattern of Tube fly. His wife Mary Anne caught a fresh run fish of 13.7 lb. on a Gaula Parson. The water temperature was only 9° Celsius and therefore few fish were seen breaking the surface.
The average weight on the NFC water was still at 19.0 lb. at the end of week 25. Heavy rain and a rise in temperature turned the salmon into more lively takers. The water level rose to 180 cm at the Fröseth Bridge and hovered at a very high level for some days. Bridge pool, Renna, Langøy and New pool were the most productive on the NFC water at this time and week 25 produced 17 salmon and the first seatrout of 5.5 lb. which was caught by Phillippe Metzger from France.
A professional film crew, accompanied by Bernard Cribbins and Terry Oldfield, had a busy and productive fishing week and collected a lot of very useful material for the new NFC Salmon fishing video. On Midsummer’s night (23rd June) Manfred Raguse went out with the team and caught firstly a salmon of 10 lb. and later on a superb cock fish of 31 lb. Both fish were caught on camera. Three more takes proved that the fishing was still very good. Terry Oldfield caught several good fish and Bernhard Cribbins had a nice 12 pounder from the Bridge pool. Camera man John Waters caught a stunning fish of approx. 20 pounds in the tail of Renna and released him carefully. Other fantastic fish were caught; 25.4 lb. (Michael Werner) and 25.8 lb. (Valentin Maul). The first grilse of the season was also caught during this period.
Higher temperatures expected at the end of June will lead to more activity among the fish in the Pools. The remaining traditional fjordnets ("Kilenöter") have reported record catches. More and bigger fish than in normal years have been caught this year. The new week 26 has just started with four brilliant fish of 21.6 lb. (Dr. Peter Goodwin), 18.7 lb. (Dietrich Renken)
and a cock fish of 18.5 lb. (Yoshinobu Toide) and another one by Ingo Berlth 18.3 lb. which shows that the trend towards a season of big three sea-winter fish continues. The fishing at the Gaulfossen was very successful due to the high water situation. The bank limit of 18 fish was reached nearly every day after the high water arrived. These good catches indicate that there are large numbers of fish passing through every day.
Many more big 3 sea-winter salmon are expected to run the Gaula this year than for quite some time. There are still some rods vacant on the water of the Norwegian Flyfishers Club in June, July and August. Contact NFC: Tel: 47-724-31452, Fax: 47-724-31101, or Manfred Raguse on 47-91393498. /
Manfred Raguse/ Støren, Norway on the 27thth June 2000.
Update : Week 28 ended with 93 salmon caught. The
largest fish was a 39.3 pounder whilst the second largest was a 35 pounder.
On our Falls Beat this week yielded 14 fish up to 20 1/2 lb. This means a
weeks catch of 107 salmon on the NFC water!