Sunday, May 17, 2015

An introduction to freshwater fishing in Norway

Fishing in Norway’s lakes, rivers and streams for wild trout, grayling, pike, powan and Arctic char is inexpensive and largely under-exploited.

Compared to deep sea and salmon fishing, much of Norway's freshwater fishing remains a well-kept secret. All over Norway there are places where, for just a few pounds (euros) you can explore endless lakes and streams and probably have them all to yourself.
Fishing season

The best times to fish vary from region to region and depend on both latitude and altitude, but as a rough guide fishing for most species starts in May. September, and even October, before the mountain lakes freeze over, can be spectacularly good.
Fish species

Brown trout are distributed widely. Other species include grayling, powan and Arctic char. The ecology of Norway's cold water lakes is also well suited to pike, which provide exciting sport for anglers equipped with lures or specialised fly-fishing gear.

Most of the big salmon rivers produce trout (and sea trout) too, and typically thetrout fishing on these waters is neglected. That's not to say that it's easy fishing. There are places where, at times, big trout swimming in crystal water flowing through lush pastureland can be taken on big streamers, but at other times they will ignore everything except the tiniest of dry flies perfectly presented on the thinnest of tippets.

At the other extreme, there are many high mountain lakes and tumbling freestonestreams where every pool seems to hold a few fish that are willing to hit almost any reasonably well fished fly.
Fishing areas

Some of the better known areas include the Hemsedal Valley, where the Hemsila River and its tributaries are considered some of the best waterways for trout. Also highly regarded are the upper reaches of the Glomma, where Hans van Klinken created the Klinkhammer, a pattern familiar to all keen fly fishermen.

Just 90 kilometres north of Oslo you'll find the inland fishing area of the Gjøvik region. Lakes large and small and all sizes of rivers and streams offer opportunities aplenty for catching a multitude of fish species. Lake Mjøsa is Norway's largest and has 20 species of freshwater fish. Here and in the other lakes and rivers in Gjøvik region you can find large trout and pike, as well as perch, carp, burbot, grayling, bream and whitefish, to mention but a few.

Trøndelag, in Central Norway, is a region with thousands of lakes, rivers and streams, and with no fewer than seven national parks it offers endless possibilities to fish for Arctic char amongst rugged mountain terrain, or grayling, trout, pike in forested valleys. As one travels further north, Norway is better known for cod and salmon fishing, but the rivers and lakes of Troms and Finnmark (about as far north as you can get in Europe) are full of exciting surprises.

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

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