Gudmund Nygaard is a network builder of legendary status, and he prefers staying out of the spotlight. Now the founder of Fishspot has decided to take a sabbatical, but first…a trip to Finnmarksvidda with the fly rod!
Written by Lars Reitan
«Gudmund Nygaard has worked super hard for several years in developing and marketing good fishing destinations through Fishspot, and working towards greater accessibility to the public. He has invested an enormous amount of time with landowners, river owners associations, and other parties in building up freshwater fishing tourism. Gudmund has lifted this to a whole new level.“
Gudmund Nygaard was chosen as the enthusiast of the year during the Norwegian fishing awards “Gullkroken” in 2013. This is where it all started.
After 10 years as the leader of Fishspot, he is now taking a sabbatical, and he will begin on a new path with the Norwegian Health Archive in Tynset.
-I think it is healthy with a change, and I am happy that Inatur is allowing me to do this, says Nygaard.
-After 15 years in this industry I had the opportunity to try something new, right in my backyard. When your passion and hobby becomes your work, you can get a bit tired of it. Now I am looking forward to a bit of a break, and to allow myself to disconnect.
Building value locally
It has been a rich journey for Nygaard, who remembers when the whole thing began. After having lived in Lakselv for ten years, he decided to move closer to his family in Tynset.
-Here I found out that we had incredible fishing resources, which were underappreciated and undervalued. I decided to get in touch with Nord-Østerdal land services, Hedmark County, and the governer, and proposed a project around fishing access and tourism.
Gudmund was hired as the project leader. In 2010 he started out with what was then to be a 3 year “fishing tourism project” for Nord-Østerdal. He chose the name Fishspot, which is internationally identifiable.
– The concept was to develop fishing resources in a way that built up local economies. By creating a channel for relevant information, growing accessibility, increasing fishing tourism, the goal was to increase the overall value of fishing tourism to local economies, explains Nygaard.
From a project to a business
What began as a test project was eventually established as a business, where the landowners in the project bought themselves in. In 2015 Fishspot AS was established, and Fishspot is now owned by Inatur.
Fishspot has now grown far beyond its core area of Nord-Østerdalen, and consists of fishing areas from Kongsvinger in the south up to Terråk in the north.
The goal was never to get as many fishing destinations as possible under Fishspot, but instead to focus on only the best fishing destinations in Norway, explains Nygaard.
-While most of the fishing offers in Norway can be found on Inatur, only the cream of the crop is found on Fishspot. The offers are more “niche”, for the distinguished anglers who require a better alternative.
Before Inatur took over, Fishspot sold fishing licenses for over 8 million kroner. Their website had over 150,000 unique users last year, whereof 60 percent of the traffic comes from outside of Norway.
Despite the marketing and “blowing up” of fishing spots through social media, Nygaard looks past potential conflicts.
-Anglers of the future will likely group together, and can be compared to the popular tourist attractions in Norway. This means more room for the people who want to get off the beaten path.
Developing area management
Over the past decade Nygaard has seen an obvious development in the way that freshwater fishing is managed. While Fishspot was met with criticism in the beginning due to bag limits, catch and release regulations, etc., there are now more and more that are starting to grasp these concepts.
-If you are going to have good fishing, you simply cannot take out more fish than the fishery is able to produce.
Nygaard believes there has been a change of heart in many Norwegian anglers.
-Anglers look at the fishing regulations, and realize they have a responsibility themselves to maintain the fishery.
While salmon fishing offers are on the backburner at Fishspot, the sister company Huntspot was also founded by Nygaard, with exciting things around the corner.
–Huntspot has been a super fun project, and the pilot season went very well. For those who prefer the finer things in life there are exclusive new hunting offers coming soon!
Gudmund is always cooking up new ideas, but first of all he is heading on a two week fishing vacation to Finnmark, with big trout (and of course salmon) in his thoughts…
Name: Gudmund Nygaard (45)
Civil status: Married, two sons aged 10 and 13
Favorite fishing method: Dry fly fishing for trout
Fish spot: Finnmark
Fly choice: A mayfly pattern
Dream destination: New Zealand
Best tasting fish: Trout (always best outside)
In the glass: Beer!
Inspiration: Bård and Lars on TV were a huge inspiration