If you are type that goes round for nine months of the year waiting for June to come so you can test all the new flies you have tied to get through the winter darkness, then you are probably a pretty eager salmon fisher. You would use to yearn to let your fly touch the surface of the river Gaula, Orkla or Namsen to imitate an elusive fly so that the salmon builds up its appetite enough to bother to open its mouth for its small but delightful meal. In all likelihood you think the sound of deep-sea fishing with an echo sounder is partially or completely uninteresting. Boring in fact.
If, on the other hand, your biggest desire is to get so far out to sea that you can barely see land then let the echo sounder tell you that there are fish at great depths in the deep blue sea below – perhaps even a fat halibut that may present great struggle – then you are probably a sworn sea angler. Half asleep, you imagine assembling the right hook and getting it down, down and down before the big fish disappears. In all likelihood, you think that playing with a salmon or the puny worm and flimsy rod of the freshwater anglers is almost unenterprising.
If you are dreaming of going on a hike, deep into the forest, feeling the fresh air, imagining that your small bucket is full of worms, and you are on your way to the lake you would barely dare to mutter the name of out loud, it would indicate that you are an experienced freshwater angler. You think the hysteria surrounding the gear of salmon and deep-sea anglers has taken off completely, and that they should learn to calm down a bit and enjoy the scenery while they are waiting for a bite, perhaps while taking a brief nap.
Well, here in Trøndelag we have experiences to suit all three, and several of the places offer conditions that are among the best in Europe. As good luck would have it, we don’t have to mention this to the tourists because they mention it to us first.
Ever since the English salmon lords started visiting Trøndelag in the early 19th century, several of the rivers in Trøndelag have become just as well known in international salmon fishing circles as they are among Norwegian anglers. For the salmon fishermen it has a lot to do with reputation, about knowing the river or more precisely the beat or even the pool they tend to fish in. In that sense, salmon fishermen are a loyal breed, they don’t travel around much, but instead prefer to develop a relationship with the place and its whims.
The aforementioned rivers Gaula and Orkla in the south are both among the better salmon rivers in Norway, while the Namsen in north is probably a few notches above them. Any brave soul who tries to say otherwise will soon be argued down. Steady salmon stocks, good pools and good water quality are among the factors that mean owning a salmon beat in these rivers is a relatively enjoyable affair. Knowledge of the river, which reaches a new level every year, means that many are regarded as experts within an extremely limited geographical area, but often it is just that which makes the big difference. Knowing how the salmon runs, where the fly should land and how long it can flow in the water before it needs to be raised into the air and cast again is all a science that is part of the sphere of which salmon fishers are a part.
In the same way that a salmon fisher feels a pull on their rod, Germans in particular become dreamy-eyed at the bare mention of the islands Hitra and Frøya, at the southern end of the Trøndelag coast. “Hiitra und Froya,” they say, while imagining that their lure is already on its way down into the depths.
Every year thousands of Germans and other Europeans come to the coast of Trøndelag to take advantage of the first-class coastal fishing. Although they may not all admit it, there is little doubt that they have halibut at the top of their wish list every time. Just ask them and if they don’t answer ask them again. If you catch a halibut, you gain automatic membership to a sort of club. The name of the club is nothing more exciting than “we who have caught a halibut”, but the intense battle with the beast that may be up to two metres long and weigh up to 300 kg is not something you can understand simply by imagining it. It’s something that has to be experienced. For many, it is viewed as a mandatory part of entering manhood, but fortunately this is not absolute.
For those who don’t catch a halibut, it comes as a consolation that the Trøndelag coast is extremely rich in species. In this sense, there is considerable anticipation linked to what is coming up from the deep, although the most experienced ones know that long before the fish breaks the surface.
Among the many tourists who come to Trøndelag every summer to fish at sea, some believe that the Namdal coast is best, others think that the Fosen peninsula offers the best spots, while yet others swear by the islands of Hitra and Frøya. It matters little who is right. The beauty is that you can feel confident that wherever you go along the coast of Trøndelag, you will find a host who will ensure that you can experience deep-sea fishing of the highest quality with an exciting catch as part of the experience.
The fishing group with the most myths and secrecy associated with their activity is almost certainly the freshwater anglers, those who fish in mountain lakes, secret mountain lakes, lakes located “up there”. Let’s put it this way, if they are happy to tell you the name of the lake and how to get there, you can be extremely confident that it's not the place where the big trout are jumping. But storytelling aside, the truth is there are countless wonderful fishing lakes in Trøndelag. Among other areas, you have seven national parks and two nature reserves at your disposal, so there is no shortage of places on offer in this region, and most have wonderful lakes with stocks of fish. The river Nea, which runs between Tydal and Selbu, has a reputation for being a first-class trout river – also on a European scale – so if the fishing is more important than the nature-based experiences on the way, this is a hot tip.
And as always: if you are heading into the mountains, remember the mountain code; if you are heading out to sea, remember the boat safety rules; and if you are planning to go salmon fishing from the riverbank, remember to fill your thermos with coffee before you set off.
Right since the English "salmon lords" started visiting the region in the early 19th century, local rivers such as the Gaula, Orkla and Namsen have continued to attract salmon-fishers from across Europe.