Norway is a place every fisherman should visit once in their lives, and just for the landscapes and stunning scenery, let alone for the amazing fishing.
Both the freshwater and saltwater fishing opportunities in Norway are out of this world. With a coastline longer than the circumference of the world, Norway is a hotpot of fjords, lakes, and rivers that are teeming with every species you might want to catch in Northern Europe.
I am lucky enough to have a fishing buddy who lives in Olso and one summer we took his car on a long fishing road trip from Olso north into central Norway and then into the fjords, and wow, it was mind-blowing. Catching awesome sea trout in the fjords and drifting across lakes full of trout with mountain views are memories I will never forget.
With so many places to fish, planning a fishing trip to Norway can be very overwhelming but luckily I’m here to help.
Below I’ll run through everything you need to know about the species you can catch in Norway, the regulations, plus where, when, and how to fish too.
Top Fish To Catch In Norway
Between Norway’s seemingly never-ending coastline and its thousands of rivers and lakes, there aren’t many Northern European species you can’t catch in Norway.
I’ll start off with the freshwater species and then move on to the saltwater.
Best Freshwater Fish To Catch In Norway
The Atlantic Salmon that run into the rivers of Norway every year are world-renowned for being some of the biggest salmon on the planet. There was a fish of 64lbs caught on rod and line in Norway and other larger specimens caught in nets. It’s safe to say that some of the biggest Atlantic salmon in the world are in Norway.
The rivers are not just home to salmon, you’ll also find big populations of trout, grayling, and sea trout too. You can also fish for sea trout along the coastline so they are not just a freshwater option in Norway.
The further north you go in Norway the more opportunities you’ll find for catching Arctic Char. They prefer colder waters and you’ll find them in both high altitude lakes and colder rivers.
Best Saltwater Fish To Catch In Norway
With such a big coastline and so many beautiful fjords, the saltwater fishing in Norway is off the charts. You can choose to either target sea bass, sea trout, and pollock from the shore or you can go out on a boat into the fjords and search for big cod, pollock, halibut, and haddock.
Where To Go Fishing In Norway
If you were to throw a dart at a map of Norway, chances are you would hit a fishing spot, that’s how many there are but they aren’t all as good as the next. Below you’ll find the best fishing spots for each species mentioned above.
Atlantic Salmon Rivers In Norway
If you are looking to catch one of the huge salmon that frequent the rivers of Norway then there are only a few rivers you should focus on – Guala, Namsen, Alta, and the Orkla. Fishing on these rivers is about as expensive as salmon fishing gets, you have been warned.
The Guala sits just outside of Storen in central Norway and it’s known as one of the most famous Atlantic Salmon rivers in the world. This river produces large salmon every year with an average of around the 15-20lb mark.
The Namsen river is probably the second most famous salmon river in Norway and you’ll find its estuary north of Trondheim inland of the fjord town of Namsos and the river runs into the heart of central Norway.
The Namsen is the most productive salmon river in Norway and it’s also home to large fish too with 40lb plus fish being landed each year.
The Orkla River is another of the best salmon rivers in Norway and you’ll find it near the Guala just around Storen. The river is beautiful and full of good-sized salmon with some larger fish coming through too.
The Alta is Norway’s most famous and most exclusive salmon river and you’ll find its way up north in the arctic circle. You have to be extremely lucky to fish this river as you’ll have to apply for a license with around a thousand other people and only 75 are given out each season or pay the full price along with others like the king of Norway.
The reason the Alta is so special is that it sees salmon of 50 lbs caught every year and sometimes fish of 70 lbs are landed. If that’s not cool enough, these fish will also take a fly off the surface.
Other Freshwater Species
There are over 800,000 lakes and rivers in Norway that are home to brown trout and all the other species I mentioned above. With Norway’s awesome licensing system you can buy a license to fish an entire region for a day, week, month, or for the whole season.
The rule in Norway is, the further north you go the better the fishing gets and one of the best regions in Norway for trout fishing and arctic char is in Trøndelag.
Saltwater Fishing In Norway
The saltwater fishing in Norway is excellent along the entire coastline and particularly in the Fjords. You can literally pick anywhere and find success and you will never be far from a boat captain who will happily take you fishing for the day.
If you have your own gear it would be wise to walk along the shorelines fishing for pollock, sea bass, and sea trout. These fish are in Norway in abundance and they stay quite shallow too so your chances of success are high.
When To Go Fishing In Norway
The salmon fishing season in Norway is a short one and usually runs from June to the end of August but it depends on the river you’re fishing on. The trout season runs from May to September as does the season for the other freshwater species.
You can fish in the sea all year round in Norway but if you want to be warm while you’re on the sea then it’s best to be there during summer between May and September.
Best Ways Of Catching Fish In Norway
When it comes to freshwater fishing in Norway you have two options of legal fishing methods, either fly fishing or spinning. Some of the rivers and lakes and all of the salmon rivers mentioned above are fly fishing only.
When sea fishing in Norway you can also fly fish or spin off the shore for pollock, sea trout, and sea bass, or you can go in a boat and use methods such as jogging and trolling for other species.
How To Book Your Fishing Trip To Norway
Norway has a Wild Camping rule which means you can camp anywhere in the country for free, even on private land. This makes it the ideal place for DIY fishermen as you can literally hop in the car and drive around for a month camping and fishing, how awesome is that!
The DIY method works well if you’re fishing for any of the Norwegian species bar salmon and you should get in touch with Fish Spot who can arrange permits for all the regions in Norway along with accommodation options and guides.
To fish on most of the salmon rivers such as the Guala, Orkla, and Namsen, I strongly suggest checking out where wise men fish website and you’ll be able to book a lodge with guides on your preferred river. If you want to fish on the Alta, then you’ll need to apply and register for the draw which can be found here.
For sea fishing in Norway, you can either book fishing charters in the fjords, DIY fish along the shores, or rent your own boat, the choice is yours. Every fjord town has a group of fishing captains waiting to take you out into the seas of Norway to catch the biggest cod and halibut you might ever encounter in your life.
Fishing Regulations In Norway
If you plan to go fishing for salmon, sea trout, or sea trout in watercourses or with fixed gear in the sea, you must pay the state fishing fee. Children and young people under the age of 18 do not have to pay a fishing fee.
Other sea fishing in Norway is 100% free for everyone in the country so you will not need a license for that.
If you’re going freshwater fishing then you’ll need to buy a fishing license from here and then permit for the lake or river you’re fishing on top of that and you can find them from Fish Spot mentioned above.
Thanks for reading my article about fishing in Norway, I hope you enjoyed it and now know everything you need to about fishing in Norway and how to book and plan your trip.
It truly is a country everyone in the world should see as it’s just so beautiful and you have the added bonus of being able to catch some incredible fish there too.
Growing up fly fishing on trout streams in Kenya and the UK, Jamie has traveled the world in search of fly fishing nirvana. From his time managing bonefish lodges in the Bahamas and running fishing safaris in East Africa, all the way to guiding on the flats of Seychelles, there aren't many species or environments he hasn't experienced firsthand.