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Fly-fishing in Hemsila, Hemsedal Fly-fishing in Hemsila, Hemsedal
Fly-fishing in Hemsila, Hemsedal.
Photo: Yngve Ask - Visitnorway.com

Good things come to those who wade

It is no secret that you get top conditions for freshwater and fly fishing in Norway. You are spoilt for choice with secluded, clear lakes, rivers and streams.

There’s an abundance of freshwater fishing spots in the forests, mountains and national parks – in fact, pretty much all over the country. Compared to many other countries in Europe, Norway is exceptionally clean with fresh air, clear water, and lots of happy fish. And if it’s peace and quiet you’re after and love spending time outdoors, you will not have a hard time finding a place all to yourself. Just remember that you will need a fishing licence (see more below).

Those who are hooked on fly fishing will be pleased to hear that Norway’s cold water lakes are chock-a-block with brown trout, pike and perch. Other common species are grayling, common whitefish and Arctic char. Salmon fishing is a chapter in itself. Thanks to the cold climate, Norway has also established itself as a premier destination for ice fishing in Europe.

A Norwegian fishing adventure is a good option if you're on a budget. Renting a characteristic wooden cabin lodge can offer great value for money – especially if you get together with a few friends, as they are often priced per cabin rather than per person. Many cabins have self-catering facilities, so you don’t have to eat out all the time. Instead, take the opportunity to refine your cooking skills and turn your catch into a feast.

In most places, the high season for freshwater fishing starts in May and lasts until the end of the summer. The months of September and even October, before the mountain lakes freeze over, are especially good for grayling fishing. In the winter, you can try ice fishing.

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Salmon fishing in Norway

Ever since British upper-class anglers discovered the rivers in Norway in the mid-1800s, thousands of foreign fishermen have come to fish salmon here each year. It’s also very popular with the locals, and tens of thousands Norwegians take part in salmon fishing every year.

Wild salmon was traditionally harvested as an important food source, but today it is more of a prized fish species for recreational anglers. Due to a slow decline of salmon stock in the last few decades, strict daily and seasonal bag limits have been introduced and more and more anglers are practising "catch and release".

The salmon fishing season is short but exciting, lasting from the beginning of June through to September. Atlantic salmon migrates between freshwater and seawater. It spends its first years in freshwater, before it migrates to seawater where it spends 1-3 winters before returning to spawn. The fishing takes place during the spawning period.

Local knowledge is crucial when it comes to salmon fishing and we advise visitors to use a good guide. There are fishing opportunities for all styles, from the purist who wants to cast small flies on a floating line to harling with a Rapala minnow.

License to fish

Rules that apply:

  • You need a fishing licence (“fiskekort” in Norwegian) to go freshwater fishing in lakes, rivers and streams in Norway. This is important as regular checks are carried out and you can get fined without one.
  • Fishing licences are issued by local land owners and fishing organisations. You can buy your licence online at inatur.no. You can also get one in selected sports shops, convenience stores and at many campsites. Some fishing guides can also help you to get a licence.
  • Fishing licences are valid in specific areas – this can be a lake, a group of lakes, or just a part of a lake (or river, stream etc), so be sure that you know where you’re going before you buy a licence.
  • Fishing licences are valid for a specific time period.
  • The price for a fishing licence varies, but it is generally inexpensive (from around NOK 100 per day).
  • There may be local restrictions on the amount of fish you are allowed to catch, and you may need to report your catch to the landowner in order for statistics to be produced. There is a total ban on eel fishing in Norway.
  • If you want to fish for salmon, sea trout or Arctic char, you must pay a small fishing fee in addition to having a fishing licence. This does not apply to children under 16 years.
  • You do not need a fishing licence for fjord and sea fishing in saltwater.
  • You can read more about rules for freshwater fishing in Norway at miljodirektoratet.no.
  • Another good resource with information in English is fishspot.no.

See for yourself

Safety on the water

Safety tips to leave you high and dry

  1. Think safety, and keep that uppermost in your mind. Planning reduces risk and gives you more worry-free fun.
  2. Bring the necessary equipment. It should be in good condition, and easily accessible.
  3. Respect the sea and the weather. Only go out in your boat when it is safe.
  4. Follow the rules of the sea, and make sure you know what they are.
  5. Wear life jackets or other flotation devices.
  6. Make sure you are rested and sober. Do not drive a boat while under the influence of alcohol or drugs.
  7. Be considerate, and remember that safety, the environment, and the well-being of everybody is a common responsibility.

Fishing offers

No need to wait until you get here to start planning your trip.


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