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A Danish fishing lodge
Lodges are found on many fishing destinations around the world, but in Denmark they aren't common. We have talked to the owner of the first dedicated fishing lodge in the prime coastal seatrout destination in the world.
When I was attending the sneak preview of a Danish fishing video in Copenhagen this summer I bumped into Omar Gade and soon realized that he was the owner of a Danish fishing lodge. I had read about the lodge and had wanted to hear more, but never gotten around to doing anything about it. The evening was the perfect opportunity to create contact.
Fishing lodges are found
all over the world, and some destinations are almost littered with them, but here in Denmark neither professional guides nor lodges are common. Omar and his girlfriend Valentina had started one, and I made an appointment to visit them on the beautiful Danish peninsula Helnaes located in some of the best sea trout water in Denmark.
You can find many other kinds of fishing close to the lodge. Lake fishing for pike, ocean fishing from boat (not fly) as well as stream fishing is available within a short drive. River fishing for salmon and seatrout is also within reach and in the height of the summer and early autumn the mullet will find their way to the coast of Helnaes too, and you can entertain yourself to some exciting sight fishing for mullet while your family swims and basks in the sun.
I had been
to Helnaes several times before, so the beauty of the area and the many fishing opportunities was no surprise. The lodge is centrally located, close to the water and close to the main road on Helnaes, so access to the lodge is easy, and from there on you have about 5-10 minutes by car to almost all coastal fishing locations on the peninsula. You can walk to the nearest water in 5-10 minutes.
The lodge is located
in beautifully restored buildings in the typical Danish style with red tile roofs and white chalked walls. Inside you will find guest rooms, a large dining room, which doubles as a restaurant with 16 seats. The reception also has room for a small tackle shop where you can stock up on flies, lures and even rods and waders.
Omar is an experienced coastal angler and offers paid guided trips as well as very sound and free advice on where to go if you want to fish on your own. The lodge offers access to a drying room for your gear as well as a place to clean and freeze fish you have kept for the pan. There's plenty room for non-fishing periods including a nice garden and a attic with a large fly tying table, some comfy furniture and a large TV for some evening fishing videos to accompany you during your after fishing time.
Omar has spent quite some time in Italy and he and Valentina have given the lodge a proper Italian taste - not least when it comes to la cucina, which serves proper Italian food as well as some Danish dishes with a light Italian touch. Sausage, dried ham and good bread as well as great Italian wine can always be found in the kitchen, and both the spinach cannelloni and the pasta with pesto and shrimp that we were served while there definitely called for a revisit.
You can book
seats in the restaurant even when not staying in the lodge, and prices are more than reasonable. But be quick, because the 16 seats are often taken.
My wife and I spent a weekend enjoying the lodge and the island. I fished and sailed my kayak while my wife had found a nearby place to go horseback riding. You can also walk, jog, ride your mountain bike or rent one of the kayaks that Omar has bought for the lodge. He also has float tubes for rent if you want to use one of those.
Altogether the hosts offer everything you expect from a good fishing lodge including great hospitality - and at very fair prices.
While we were there
I took the chance to ask Omar a few questions about the whole venture.
Q: Opening a Danish fishing lodge...
are you out of your mind!? Danish fishing lodges are very uncommon, and yours must be the first real lodge in the traditional sense. Whatever motivated you to open a lodge?
Yes, I have to admit that being a little (or more) out of mind is a fundamental ingredient of this project...
Joking aside, the answer to your question is contained in the question itself: the main motivation for opening the lodge is the lack of a fishing lodges in the traditional sense in our country. There are other motivations of course, like passion for fishing and others.
The lodge is a kind of an "obliged goal" for us, after the last years in which I worked with foreign fishermen, years in which I thought of what the ideal lodge in Denmark should be, and let me tell you: it is not a project that was invented from day one day to the other...
Q: Did the location "find you"
or did you go for the location? Did you look around for suitable places and houses or was Helnaes and/or Fyn a set goal from the beginning?
Fyn was the set goal from the beginning as the lodge is mainly focused on coastal seatrout fishing.
Fyn is also where I was born 34 years ago and is my fishing "homeland". Moreover, the existence for many years of a project like "Havørred Fyn" (Seatrouf Funen) was an added incentive for choosing this area. Last but not least Fyn is also in a strategical position, in the center of Denmark. The ideal location for a lodge requires special needs: Helnaes was one of the options, and different circumstances have led us to choose it as the site of the lodge.
Q: Can you introduce us to the area
and the possible activities - fishing and other things?
As mentioned before the coastlines around Helnaes are a great place for fishing seatrout and the fact that it is a small "island" permits our guests to fish almost with all wind conditions. Just a few minutes walk from the lodge we have some of the best seatrout fishing spots of Fyn.
Helnaes is a very beautiful place to stay, connected to the land by an enchanting isthmus.
The area offers different activities, such as birdwatching, kayaking into the calm inner Helnaes bay or on the west coast where it is possible to paddle nearby curious purposes or - if you are lucky - to see a seal.
Helnaes is also famous for kite surfing: the isthmus is a paradise for this sport and with wind coming from west it is spectacular to see the many coloured sails in the air.
Helnaes is a place for nature lovers. It is possible to enjoy sandy beaches during summer, or photograph wild animals in the inner part during spring or fall; walk along long stretches of coast while watching one of the most beautiful sunsets you can enjoy. The main island Fyn itself also it's worth visiting.
Q: Your girlfriend is Italian
and obviously does the cooking. You guide. What other tasks have to be done in a lodge and who does them?
Yes my girlfriend Valentina is from Italy and does the cooking and many other fundamental tasks. Without her beside me, the lodge would not exist today.
I guide on the coast and I love it. But guiding is not the main job, as living and working in a newly started fishing lodge requires a lot more hours and effort than many other jobs. There's something every day, believe me: a lot of maintenance work to do both inside and outside, cleaning, working on marketing, public relations, etc...
You are the first one up in the morning and the last person that goes to bed in the evening. Running and managing a lodge is 360 degrees. It's not a job for everyone...
Q: Tell us about the reactions
to the lodge and how it has been received by the guests and the locals. And how's business if you don't mind me asking?
The reactions have been very positive, many find our lodge an exciting and great idea. We are happy for the welcome we got by locals and neighbors and we are very happy for the first season where we hosted different guests from all Europe (and USA also). Regarding the business we are happy with this beginning, and we are working on partnerships and interesting projects for the future. But we are a newly started business and the first years are always a delicate phase for any kind of new business… we do our best.
Q: Are you an angler yourself?
Tell us about yourself and your background.
Yes I am an angler myself - of course!
I fished since I was a little child, maybe since the age of 5 or 6. In my life as an angler I went through different techniques and fishing phases: Spinning, Coarse fishing (I did a lot of coarse competitions in Italy, where I lived for several years), sea fishing...
Then one day, years ago, as it has happened to many other of us, I fell in love with a fascinating world called "fly-fishing", and since that time my fishing has always been with a fly rod (I use spin or jerk rod if fly-fishing is not practicable).
I fished (and still do) in different places around all the world such as Greenland, British Columbia, the Caribbean sea, Slovenia, Austria, Italy, and other places... but my daily and "heart" fishing is of course seatrout from the coast of Fyn... and then our pike.
Prices vary depending on season and room configuration, but expect one night to run about 50-60 Euros per person including breakfast. You can get half board (breakfast and dinner) for an additional 20 Euros per night and full board (lunch too) for an extra 10.
Unlike most other places, the price is actually lower in the "high season" - midsummer - because anglers prefer the "outside season" which offers much better fishing. You can get reduced rates for longer stays or family stays. Contact the lodge for more information.
Guiding on a daily basis can be arranged upon request - for coastal sea trout or lake fishing for pike. The price is 340 Euros per day. Half a day is 200 Euros. Up to four persons can share.
The lodge also offers some really attractive fishing packages like 6 full days of guided fishing, 7 nights accommodation with full board for 1190 Euros per person with a three person minimum.
Being a dog owner, I also appreciate that you can bring your dog for a small extra fee.