With the 2018 season now behind us, and thoughts drifting back to great fish landed, or dreaming of the monster that got away- hopeful to meet again next season, we wanted to give a recap of the backend of the season, which turned out to be the best fishing of the year! While all of Norway suffered through a challenging fishing season, with high temperatures and low water, on the Gaula, we were saved in August by significant amounts of rain- which turned the fishing on, and showed the volume of fish which we all suspected were in the river. And while 2018 was, as predicted, mainly a medium-size salmon year, there were some exemplary fish landed, including NFC’s Manager, Daniel Stephan, who reached his new personal best, with this fish of 18.5kg (over 40lbs)!!
While most come to the Gaula for the early and prime time chrome silver salmon, fresh from the sea- many overlook the extremely exciting backend fishing, and the magnificent specimens of colored up salmon, already in their spawning garb, which become quite aggressive as the summer beings to cool.
The last two weeks of August were not only good fishing, but the best of the entire season! The weather gods finally answered our prayers, rain dances, offerings and sacrifices, and delivered that much needed rain- and in droves. With each round of precipitation, as soon the weather cleared, and the water level began to drop, the sky opened up again, and it began to rain again and the fishing turned on once more. These are the moments we live for as salmon anglers- when the conditions finally all align, and our confidence that the fish are there and will take, are high.
As the rain continued to usher in great fishing conditions, NFC’s Daniel Stephan and Thies Reimers were able to take advantage of the situation, and both were able to continue to rack up fish on their season scorecards. So, the last two weeks started out with Thies who got a sealiced salmon on Beat G1 of about 7kg (15.5lb) and another good fish on Beat B1 of 6,5kg (14.5lb). Daniel had 4 salmon of 6,5 (14.5lb), 10kg (22b), 9kg (20lb) and grilse.
Daniel with his first first one of the day from Beat D2 – about 6,5kg (14.5lb)
Daniel’s fish of about 9kg (20lb) from Beat C2 – high bank!
And Daniel’s roughly 10kg (22lb) salmon from Beat A1.
On the next day, NFC friend and regular, Johannes Kahrs caught another 3,5kg (7.5lb) salmon on Beat C1. Also local Petter Dragvoll came back for the weekend to fish and just after arrival, as the darkness was spreading, he hooked and landed a salmon of 86cm on Beat BS1.
Petter with his salmon from Beat BS1.
A couple more grilse have been caught by Daniel and Thies and the next day we had our local day guest Erik Ericson who managed to land 2 fish – a grilse and a nice fish of about 7kg (15lb) on Beat BS1.
Erik with a nice salmon from Beat BS1.
Also Johannes Kahrs managed to land two more salmon of 7,5 (16.5lb) and 6,5 kg (14.5lb) on the same day on Beats BS1 and A1. On the next morning Johannes caught another 7kg (15lb) on Beat C2 while Timo Järvinen caught two grilse, as well as Petter Dragvoll who landed another grilse.
Since we had not as many guests as usual, NFC guide Simon Kitcher took the opportunity and fished quite a bit that week and caught 4 nice salmon of 8 to 8,5kg (17.5 and 18.5lb) on various Beats and managed a couple of grilse as well.
Daniel also continued his streak and caught two more salmon of 6,5 (14.5lb) and 9,5kg (21lb).
Daniel’s male salmon from Beat A1 – roughly 9,5kg (21lb).
And the 2nd fish of 6,5kg (14.5lb) from the same Beat.
Thies Reimers had another 4kg (9lb) on the same day, but that was only a warm up, as he fought and landed a big 103cm fish the following day. A beautiful “angry” male gave him a great fight on Beat C1 in quite high water for that Beat.
Thies holds his big fish of 103cm.
Those August salmon are so cool – look at that Tail of Thies’ big fish!
On the following Monday the Loop Tackle team from Norway arrived. They had a very good start after their meeting and were able to land 5 fish between 2 (5lb) and 7,5kg (16.5b) during the first evening session! The next evening would be even better for Trond Askildsen from the Loop team – as he landed two nice salmon on Beat B1. The first fish was about 7kg (15lb) and the 2nd salmon was his personal best of 101cm and about 10,5kg (23lb)- Congratulations Trond!
Trond with his 7kg (15lb) salmon from Beat B1.
Trond’s big fish from Beat B1 – 101cm (picture quality not great but the fish was superb!).
Then it was Thies again who continued his streak, he had his next big fish on the bank of Beat BS1. This time measuring 102cm. The fishing was absolutely on fire at times!
Thies releasing a 102cm salmon on Beat BS1.
The next morning proved to be a good morning for Daniel once again. After the guests left for fishing, he went down to the Lodge Pool and was able to catch and release a quite fresh salmon of about 6,5kg (14.5lb).
Daniel holds his fish from Lodge Pool.
After lunch time, and tending to the guests, Daniel took a few casts at Beat B1 – and again a good fish took the fly, shortly later an 96cm male was landed.
96cm of pure power – Daniel’s salmon from Beat B1.
Also Thies was able to catch and release his next good fish of 6,5kg (14.5lb) on the very same Beat and he actually got another really fat fish of 99cm and estimated to weigh about 10kg (22lb) during the same session. Daniel and Thies seemed to be the “German Salmon Brothers”- and for each fish one caught- the other answered with another equally as nice fish!
Thies “smaller” fish of the day – 6,5kg (14.5lb) from Beat B1.
The next morning it was at BS2 where Thies landed a fresh and sea-liced 6kg (14lb) salmon. Incredible, that even in August, these fresh fish travel so fast from the sea all the way up to Kotsøy in a very short time.
The sealiced salmon from Beat BS2 – Thies had a few very fresh fish these days!
Thats day it started to rain heavily, and while most of us stopped fishing due to the high, colored water, NFC guide Nic Schwerdtfeger was still out there and managed to get a nice fish 90cm on Beat E7a!
The rain continued steadily, only increasing throughout the day, and the river started to rise quite a bit again. Our day guest from Canada, Jonah Finkelstein managed to land his first Gaula salmon in heavy rain falls, measuring 81cm- congrats Johan!
The next morning we woke up with close to 500 cubic meters flow in the river! Well, we knew this could be another great day of fishing- and our hunch was not a disappointment.
Daniel and Thies decided to fish Beat A1 – and it all started after 10 min fishing with a hook up in the upper part for Thies while Daniel was fishing the lower part of the Beat. After a short while Thies landed his next sea-liced fish of about 7kg (15lb).
Thies holds a beautiful fish – super fresh – Nr 1. from that session.
After Daniel helped Thies net his fish, he went back to the same spot where he stopped fishing. Just a few casts later Daniel hooked into a fish – and from the first moment, Daniel realized this was a solid fish. It took 25 minutes until they saw the fish for the first time from a distance, and they could confirm that this was no ordinary sized salmon.
But due to the water level of 440 cubic, the water pressure was enormous, there was no chance to force the fish to land, so eventually the fish left the pool into the side channel and ran downstream- taking lots of backing with it. There was no chance to follow the fish, but it was also too late to force it back to the main pool.
Thies and Daniel knew that crossing the river with waders would be too dangerous, so they decided to take off their waders and jump into the rapids! They managed to get to the island, soaking wet, but that much closer to the salmon downstream. But the monster was still showing no signs of giving up.
The massive fish had now settled and recovered while the guys scrambled their way across to the island. Well rested after 25 minutes, the fish slowly began to move. It was already down to Maela rock- another 150 meters downstream- and the water was too high to follow it into the next pool, so Daniel had no choice but to hold the fish now and hope for the best.
After 10 min of praying- the fish stopped and slowly- meter by meter came back out of the hard current into the slack water. Thies tried once to net the fish, but the salmon was not tired enough. After some more tug-of-war, the leader got stuck in a tree which must have washed down with the last flood and Thies decided to wade out deeper to try to free the line- then suddenly the he said: “I got it”!
The fish was in the net – and they both knew that fish was very big, the biggest caught at NFC this summer and for sure the personal best for Daniel ever!! What a relief after a long battle to know the fish was landed. Daniel reached into the net, and tried to wrap his hands around the massive tail on this gorgeously colored male salmon! They quickly took a few pictures, and measured the fish, before releasing the giant. It was amazing that the fish was still very lively after that fight and it took a very short time to recover and swim happily away to continue its journey to meet some large female Gaula salmon to help continue the genes of these massive fish!
Daniel had hooked, swam, fought, landed and released his lifetime personal record salmon- a fish most of us can only dream of, with his good friend and colleague Thies there to help motivate and land the fish for him- this is what the NFC and the Gaula are all about- making memories with the fish of a lifetime- one that will live on in infamy for years to come- well done!!!
There it is: 120cm – approx. 18,5 kg (just over 40 lb) – and Daniel without waders holding his huge salmon.
What a tail – that is a really big fish!
The best part is returning the salmon in good shape back into the water – well done, Daniel!
After releasing the big fish, Daniel and Thies had the problem that they could not return from the island to shore, so they had no choice but to swim over through the side channel in 9 degrees water, but oh well, nothing is too much for a salmon of a lifetime. After taking a hot shower they returned to the pool- eager to see what else was in store.
After 20 minutes Thies hooked into the next salmon – a good fish as well but this time it stayed in the pool and they landed the next salmon for Thies about 9kg (20lb). What a day – after that fish they decided to leave the river and just enjoy the moment.
Thies with a bent rod again in Beat A1…
Thies with his salmon of 9kg (20lb) after returning to Beat A1.
Not only Daniel and Thies caught fish during that day, our Norwegian guest Niklas Zellin caught a very fresh fish on Beat BS1 of about 5kg (11b).
Niklas’ fresh one from Beat Bs1.
Also Nic Schwerdtfeger was able to catch and release a good fish on the E-Beats of 92cm.
Nic holding a nice one on the E-Beats.
The next day started a bit slow with only a grilse caught during the morning by Italian angler Sergio del Lago on Beat Bs1. At noon it was again Thies with another grilse from Lodge Pool.
That evening it was time for NFc’s Erlend Granøien to break his personal best! Erlend fished our Lodge Pool and on his 2nd run through he hooked into something big. After only 5 to 7 minutes he was able to land his biggest salmon ever, measuring 112cm and probably weighing about 14kg. One of the most beautiful fish which we ver have caught on our Beats.
Erlend holds his massive male salmon from Lodge Pool – 112cm and super fat, so probably around 14kg (31lb). Congrats!!
On the next day Daniel tried fishing the hot spot in Beat A1 from two days ago again, but with much lower water. Anyway, on his first run Daniel hooked into his next good fish – a strong fight followed and another great fish for him on land – this time 103cm and about 10,5kg (23lb). Daniel continued his red-hot fishing streak!
Daniel two days after his big one at the same spot with much lower water but still a big fish in his hands – 10,5kg (23b).
Another great male of 103cm get’s returned.
These weeks really came together with some of the best fishing of the season, if not for many years past.Throughout the river, from the lower to the upper stretches you had always the chance to hook into something really big and even into super fresh fish – it was simply a great time – we all knew how good the August fishing can be, but this 2018 August was something special – absolutely a wonderful time for everyone who was able to wet a line. But we still had few days to go until the season ended on Friday the 31st of August. Of course Thies mange to catch a few more fish like the one from B1 about 7kg (15lb) and another 4,5kg (10lb) from the Lodge Pool.
Also Simon Kitcher got a few more grilse and a nice salmon on Beat E2 about 6,5kg (14.5lb).
Simon releases his salmon from the Beat E2.
As well as Nic who had a great day and was able to catch and release 3 salmon on one day starting with a good fish of 86cm at Beat BS2 and ending with a 95cm on Beat D2.
Nic with his first one of the day from Beat BS2 – 86cm.
Nic and fish Nr. 2 from Beat A1.
And Nr. 3 from Beat D2 – well done Nic!
While Nic was playing fish in various Pools Thies hooked into something big on on our Beat M2 – high up at the Beat- but sadly he lost the fish- but we got a quite cool picture of the fight.
A kind of tricky place to hook and land salmon…
Daniel caught his last salmon of the season on Beat G1 – another typical salmon for this summer, measuring 85cm and just over 6kg (13lb) – a nice way to wrap up the season!
But of course, the one who got the first fish of the season, Thies Reimers would be the one to get the last one of the season – and what a great fish it was! Thies season farewell was a 114cm female from Beat G1 – estimated to weigh about 14,5kg (32lb)- and a new personal best for Thies as well!!
What a way to end the season!
What a great way to end a season for Thies – 14,5kg (32lb) – a massive fish!
Thies holding the last salmon of season 2018 – 114cm from Beat G1.
This season has been in many ways very unusual – starting with quite low water levels, fish above Gaulfossen from day one, then all the low water from the 2nd week of June until the river was even closed in end of July/beginning of August for 5 days. Then with the re-opening following the rain, and maybe one of the best August’s in the Gaula’s history.
At least on our Beats we caught more fish in August than in the month of June and July combined! But what we can say is that over all, by looking at the total catch we had another good season on the NFC Beats. And with this season, we truly can recommend August fishing – it seems people are not aware that the last month of the season can be as great as it often is. Fish of all sizes and colors are often landed, and often the biggest fish of the season gets caught in the month of August on the Gaula.
While the whole of Norway has been struggling – especially famous west coast rivers and up north in the Finnmark (even the Alta river had a terrible season), but the Gaula has experienced a great back end – so one should really think about where to go in the late season. The prices are close to half of prime time – and fishing can be really great – maybe we will see a few more of you in August 2019!
So, now the season is over – we are packing up, the Lodge is closed for fishing but open for the off-season business in few days. After a couple of days, when we have all settled back home in our “off season homes” in US, Germany, Argentina, and England- we will be starting the process of booking for the 2019 season again – a good number of rods are already confirmed – so in case you are thinking of coming to the Gaula in 2019, please get in touch now – it is the right time to secure your rod for the coming season!
Thank you to all of our guests and friends who joined us once again on the mighty Gaula, and at the Norwegian Flyfishers Club- we look forward to welcoming you back in 2019!
Your team at the
Norwegian Flyfishers Club