2020 will be the last season for Aunan Lodge
Aunan Lodge was established in 2004, and the coming season will be the 17th in a row where we offer our guests a salmon fishing package complete with guiding, accommodation and full board. Since I moved back home from Liverpool in 2003 and took over the family farm Aunan in Rennebu, the majority of my time has been consumed by the wild salmon. First and foremost as the manager of the salmon fishing destination Aunan Lodge, which is more than a full time job during the fishing season, and also demanding a lot of attention and planning during the winter and autumn. In addition to this I have been very active in conservation work for the wild salmon, both locally and nationally. After more than 15 fantastic years with Aunan Lodge, I have found that I want to make space to do something different during my remaining years in the workforce.
Exactly what this is going to be has not been finally decided, but I have some thoughts and ideas that have matured over some time now. The 2020 season will go as normal, with total focus on delivering the concept with the quality that Aunan Lodge has become known for. At the same time I will have my eyes open for a new model for leasing out my fishing right and buildings from 2021 onwards in a way that will tie me up to a lesser extent than now.
It is not an alternative to just hire someone to handle the administration and the role as a host at Aunan Lodge on my behalf. Firstly it will not be an economically sustainable solution, and secondly the relationship I have with the brand Aunan Lodge is of such a personal nature that I would struggle to detach myself sufficiently from the day-to-day running of an operation carrying that same name in the future, no matter how much I really wanted to.
Even though I’ll be stepping down as a close to full time salmon fishing entrepreneur I will still very much be an active river owner, and last Tuesday I was elected to serve on the Orkla River Board. It will also take a good chunk of my time to maintain my salmon beat and the buildings properly in the years to come, and this is a job I am only looking forward to continuing with.
The decision to take a step back has not been made due to pessimism about the future of wild salmon. The trend curve has indeed been negative for the wild Atlantic salmon over the last 20-30 years, but I still think that we will experience some great salmon fishing seasons in the future, and that there will be solutions to some of the major problems that the wild salmon is facing today. But with that said, I can’t hide the fact that ever since I decided to establish Aunan Lodge I’ve been constantly frustrated with how little effort our politicians display in order to conserve our unique stocks of wild salmon, and Norwegian nature and wildlife in general, for that matter. Our leading political parties have priorities that can leave people who dream of creating a livelihood based on intact ecosystems and robust biodiversity totally discouraged.
As it stands at the moment, it’s unclear how the fishing will be branded and managed in 2021. Two things that however is clear, is that the concept will not be called Aunan Lodge and that Vegard Heggem will be less involved than before. For all I know, the new concept that emerges will be even better than Aunan Lodge ever was! Those who might be interested in operating a fishery based on the Aunan salmon beat and the surrounding buildings are welcome to contact me for more information.
But before we get as far as 2021 we have three exciting months of salmon fishing to enjoy in 2020. We still have a few open rods both in June, July and August, so for the very last chance to experience salmon fishing at Aunan Lodge I encourage people to contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org as soon as possible.