Interview with a fisherman

Matt Hayes   

Interview:  summer 2008   

Can you tell something about yourself ?

“ Well, I am a professional fisherman ( a drop-out really!) I gave up a really successful office job to try my luck at writing and making fishing tv programmes and the rest is history. I have made lots of tv shows for Discovery television about fishing and I have travelled the world chasing my dream. I am married with two kids. My wife (I have re-married) is a Norwegian girl and between us we run the Winsnes fly fishing lodge on Gaula in the summer. We are on one of the best beats of one of Norway's prime salmon rivers so life is not so bad... ”

How long and where have you been fly fishing ?

“ I started fly fishing over twenty years ago but for many years I just dabbled. My casting was poor and I found it a little frustrating although I always loved the thrill of feeling or seeing a fish take a fly. About six or seven years ago, I started to do a lot more fly fishing and I really fell in love with it. Since then I have learned to tie my own flies, done a lot of fly fishing for saltwater fish and pike on the fly and currently I am learning the double-hand technique for salmon. Nowadays I fly fish for anything from trout and grayling through salmon and sea trout to pike, bonefish and tarpon (when I get the chance!) ”

Matt Hayes fly fishing river Glomma at Kvennan Fly Fishing

Matt fishing the Kvennan Fly Fishing zone 

What do you like about river Glomma and the Kvennan Fly Fishing zone ?

“ I think that it is a really beautiful place with lots of character. The river splits into many small side channels, bends a lot and flows around islands. Every step brings you closer to yet another great looking place and really there is so much water that it provides endless challenges. The fishing is great, too, of course, and the fish always seem willing to rise for a dry fly. I love the idea of the catch and release zone. So much of Norway is being ruined by over-zealous catch and kill fishing and none more so than Glomma, a river that should be at the top of Norway's fishing tree. Thanks to Kvennan, the river has a chance to show a new generation of fly fishers what made people like Hans van Klinken so crazy about it. Good luck to you and the enlightened local land owners - you get my full support! ”

Matt Hayes shows a nice Glomma grayling at Kvennan Fly Fishing

This nice Glomma grayling took a Klinkhamer  

Can you tell something about the old days at river Glomma ?
“Not really - only what I have read in van Klinken's book and hearsay from some of our salmon fishing guests. It is not difficult to imagine, when you fish Glomma and see the quality of the habitat and the diversity of fly life, just how great it could be for trout and grayling. It is a legendary river and certainly I was rather dismayed when I fished some of the public zones to see just how badly it has been abused and raped. ”

Did you catch any really big fish in Glomma ?
“ Well, I have caught grayling to just over one kilo and brown trout to one point five but it is all new to me - I have not spent so much time in the river, yet. I know that the river holds some hidden monsters and in the next few seasons I intend to make their acquaintance! ”

Matt Hayes fly fishing river Glomma just in front of Estuary - the Fly Fishing Lodge at Kvennan Fly Fishing

Matt fishing Glomma just in front of Estuary - the Fly Fishing Lodge at Kvennan Fly Fishing 

What is your favorite dry fly ?

“ I love Klinkhammers - I have caught some big grayling and trout on them and my one and only arctic char on dry fly. In recent years I am becoming increasingly convinced that CDC patterns are superior. I don't like elaborate flies - I like flies that look as if they will work if you know what I mean. I do all of my own tying and at the moment I am tying a lot of CDC ready for next summer. ”

What is your favorite nymph ?

“ Pink shrimp, tied with bright, fluorescent dubbing. Big grayling and trout love them! ”

Matt Hayes fly fishing for grayling on a beautiful autumn day in Norway

Great fly fishing on a beautiful autumn day - Photo HVA   

How long leader do you use, and how thick is your tippet ?
“ That depends. When I am fishing for pike, my leader is only six or seven feet long, comprising some heavy mono and a wire tippet while if I am buzzer fishing it can be six meters long. I tie leader according to the fly I am fishing, the mood of the fish, conditions on the day. When I am trout and grayling fishing with dry fly I make my own tapered leaders out of co-polymer (fluorocarbon sinks too quickly) and I taper the leader by joining together lengths of different diameters. Typically, the leader is 1.5 times the length of the rod. For nymphing I use fluorocarbon and I like the leader to be quite long - around 1.5 rod lengths usually.”

Do you loose a lot of fish when fishing without a barb on your hook ?

“ No. I don't think it makes much difference and at the end of the day if it is kinder to the fish, losing the odd big one is a reasonable price to pay ”

Matt Hayes fly fishing for grayling on a beautiful autumn day in Norway

got ya !  - Photo HVA  

What do you think about the new rules & regulations ?
“ Brilliant! I wish it would become a national law in Norway. The country has been raped an abused by greedy visiting anglers. It is sad that rules have to be introduced to curb excessive behaviour but they are.”

What should be your best advice for a fellow Glomma fly fisherman ? 

“ Enjoy the surroundings, enjoy the beautiful country and fish for the sport and the challenge - not the table. ”

Matt Hayes fly fishing for grayling on a beautiful autumn day in Norway

Matt shows a very nice grayling - Photo HVA  

What should be your best advice for river management ?
“ I think that river management should be left to professional people and based on careful consideration of the river and the environment. Too many rivers are managed by people with selfish motives such as killing pike in the mistaken belief that it is good for the other fishes or to allow the killing of too many fish when it is obvious that the fishing is in serious decline."

"Make no mistake, with the amount of fishing pressure being placed on Norway's rivers by visiting anglers the country needs water management. These pressures will only increase over time and for those of us who like to catch big fish, controlling the level and type of angling pressure will become increasingly important. ”

Matt Hayes and Hein van Aar fly fishing river Glomma at Kvennan Fly Fishing

Matt and Hein fishing river Glomma at Kvennan Fly Fishing  

Is there something more you want to share ? 

“ Only some more rod hours on a beautiful river, in the summer, with a Dutch man who wears a flat cap when he is fishing...”

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