The Reisa 20/40 Pound Club will offer its members fishing from the start of the salmon season in June 2013, throughout the short nine week season, until the end of August.
Although this is a new name and format, Stein Arne Ranes has been offering fishing on the Reisa for the past two seasons, learning from his experiences and substantially extending the private fishing available to his Club. His early guests told him that what they really wanted was more exclusive fishing where they could enjoy the wonderful River Reisa in peace, without having to rush to get to the popular pools.
Stein Arne set about making this possible by spending two patient years building collaberative arrangements with the the other Reisa landowners so that they could pool their various fishing entitlements during their Closed Zone weeks to make private fishing available to visiting Club members. This facility is soley available to the Reisa 20/40 Club and is directly attributable to Stein Arne's ability to share his vision for the development of the sporting salmon fishing with his fellow landowners.
The main site of the Club is situated on Nyvoll Farm, where Stein Arne lives, located near the river in Zone 4, and right next to some of the best pools in the Reisa river.
The old country house on the farm, together with a similar house on a neighbouring farm, will accomodate up to 8 anglers per week, each with their own bedroom. Both houses are currently under renovation and will be ready for the start of the season in 2013, providing a good and comfortable living standard so that people can feel relaxed and enjoy their stay in the Reisa valley as well as the fishing.
One of the problems that visiting anglers to the Reisa have faced in the past is that there has been next to no suitable accommodation available for them to stay in. Many Scandinavian visitors were left with no alternative but to drive many long and expensive miles in their campervans, just to secure a place to sleep whilst they fished. The cost of getting a campervan to the Reisa would very often be more than what it would have been to rent a house for the week, if one had been available. In addition campervans are not renowned for their off road capabilities, so are often of no utility when it comes to providing motorised access to pools. As a consequence of this, a lot of walking, or occasionally bicycyling, is also required to reach the fishing, whilst the campervan sits in the car park.
Obviously the campervan option is only available to those who have land or ferry access to Northern Norway and does not suit visitors from further afield. This constraint is especially relevant to anyone wanting to travel to, and fish the Reisa, who lives in the UK.
When Stein Arne decided to take on the task of organising fishing for visiting fly fishermen on the Reisa he first gave consideration to what people really wanted from a fishing holiday. Of course everyone wants to catch some salmon and especially here on the Reisa, a big salmon. That would be a cause for celebration. But a fishing holiday needs more than this.The accommodation has to be comfortable and the facilities of sufficient standard that people can feel relaxed and unflustered. There is no point in having a problem with the 'digs' that spoils the rest of the experience.
So he knew that people wanted space and privacy both in their lodgings and on the river and set out to create the circumstances where they could be offered.
If you put all of these characteristics together you start to engender a sense of belonging that generates its own ambience and the comfort of familiarity.
This is exactly the kind of thing that Ednam House in Kelso engenders, as did the Altnaharra Hotel or the Loch Maree, Scourie or Lochboisdale Hotel and many others.They were all places that people would go to year after year, to fish in places, some pretty remote, in a degree of comfort that was in keeping with the environment and the ambience of the place that they had travelled to. This was all part of the experience and added to the pleasure of being there. Many of these guests felt that they took a part of that environment home with them each time they left and thought about it often before they returned the following year.
Alastair Brooks of Ednam House once said of his hotel that it was:
'like a club with a rotating weekly membership'.
Stein Arne believes that by listening to his early guests and by working hard to provide the fishing and the facilities that they asked for, the Reisa 20/40 Club will become a regular fixture in many people diaries as well as in their affections. The potential to catch 'the fish of a lifetime' is not the only reason that people will fall in love with the Reisa.