Norway has been synonymous with fabulous salmon fishing for a long time. The salmon fishing season is a short but exciting one, lasting from the beginning of June, when the last snow has melted above the treeline, through to September. In these few short weeks a staggering number of fish are caught and a very high percentage of them are big ones.
Catch statistics show that every year, thousands of anglers catch a Norwegian salmon weighing over 9 kg (20 lbs), hundreds exceed the 13.6 kg (30 lbs) mark and many rivers produce good numbers of 18 kg (40 lbs)+ salmon every year as well.
Sport and tradition
It is estimated that 600,000 Atlantic salmon enter Norwegian fjords and rivers every year and with such a bounteous run, the majority of fish caught have, historically, been taken for the table.
However, in recent years there has been a dramatic change in attitudes amongst Norwegian fishermen and policymakers. A slew of new regulations adopted from 2008 onwards reduced the share taken by nets men by a quarter. Strict daily and seasonal bag limits have been introduced and more and more anglers are fishing "catch and release". The result has been a dramatic increase in the numbers of salmon caught by rod and line fishermen.
The fish and the chances of catching the fish of a lifetime are of course central to any angling holiday, but a sense of history and comfortable surroundings play a big part too. When fishing in Norway, with its yellow and red wooden farmhouses, its grass roofed fishing huts, its swiftly flowing rivers and steeply carved pine-covered valleys, you step into a centuries-old tradition and join the pantheon of anglers from all over the world who have made the pilgrimage to Norway in search of salmon fishing nirvana.
Salmon fishing areas
Where to go and when, will depend to a great extent on your individual preferences. Local knowledge is crucial when it comes to salmon fishing and we advise the use of a good guide, but there are opportunities to suit all styles, from the purist who wants to cast small flies on a floating line to harling with a Rapala minnow. Norway has so many productive salmon rivers that there are too many to list, but most of the better known ones are situated in Central Norway and Northern Norway.
You may have to wait a lifetime for a chance to fish the famed Alta River, where salmon exceeding 22.7 kg (50 lbs) are caught each season, but there are plenty of others capable of producing fish in this size class. Check out for example Namsen, Gaula, Surna, Stryn, Flåm, Suldal, Lakselv, Beiar, Stjørdal and Verdal.
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