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A man freshwater fishing on a sunny day in Femundsmarka National Park in Eastern Norway
A man freshwater fishing on a sunny day in Femundsmarka National Park in Eastern Norway
Freshwater fishing in Femundsmarka National Park.
Photo: Thomas Rasmus Skaug / Visitnorway.com
Freshwater fishing in Femundsmarka National Park.
Photo: Thomas Rasmus Skaug / Visitnorway.com

Freshwater fishing

Good things come to those who wade
Norway offers top conditions for freshwater fishing and fly fishing. Here, you're spoilt for choice with secluded clear lakes, rivers, and streams teeming with fish.

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 you're looking for peace and quiet and love spending time outdoors, you won't have a hard time finding a place all to yourself. Just remember that you will need a fishing licence.

Those 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 for itself. And thanks to the cold climate, Norway has also established itself as a premier destination for ice fishing in Europe. So grab your fishing rod and go!

A Norwegian fishing adventure is a good option if you're on a budget. Renting a characteristic wooden cabin 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.

Fishing destinations

The Northern Norway region is best known for its cod, but the many rivers and lakes up north offer equally great freshwater fishing possibilities. There are numerous fishing spots in the wilderness where you can fish for trout, Arctic char, pike, and perch under the midnight sun.

In Oslo, you can get on a tram in the city centre and enter the Oslomarka forest just 20 minutes later. You have around 500 large and small lakes to choose from up here, as well as several cabins where you can spend a night or more.

A few hours from the capital, still in Eastern Norway, you'll find the Hallingdalselva river with around 20 kilometres of rapids, waterfalls, and a lot of trout.

Also highly regarded are the Glomma river's upper reaches, where Hans van Klinken created the Klinkhammer, a pattern familiar to all keen fly fishermen.

In Trøndelag in central Norway, you'll find thousands of lakes, rivers and streams. The Guala, Orkla, and Namsen rivers are three well-known salmon rivers in the area. The region offers endless possibilities for trout and Arctic char fishing in rugged mountain terrain, or grayling and pike fishing in forested valleys with no fewer than seven national parks.

Whilst these destinations are good places to start, there are thousands of other fishing spots across Norway, particularly in more remote areas which remain pretty much undiscovered by visiting anglers and possibly even by local fishers.

Salmon fishing

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

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 the 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 to September. Atlantic salmon migrates between freshwater and seawater. It spends its first years in freshwater before it migrates to seawater where it stays for one to three winters before returning to spawn. The fishing takes place during the spawning period.

Local knowledge is crucial for 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 those who want to go harling with a Rapala minnow.

The freshwater fishing season

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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The freshwater fishing season

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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