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Fly fishing in Southern Norway

Flycasting for Atlantic salmon in Mandalselva
Flycasting for Atlantic salmon in Mandalselva.
Photo: Anglerpilot
Fly fishing is often referred to as an art, the pinnacle of fishing if you’d like. Here in wonderful Southern Norway, we have a kaleidoscope of opportunities for those who want to practice the art of fly fishing. With a mixture of different wild fish to catch, in a variety of untouched waters and both qualified fly fishing guides and instructors, Southern Norway has so much to offer the fly fisher.

Fly fishing for Atlantic salmon (Salmo salar)

Norway’s most Southerly region can boast an array of rivers from the large hydroelectric power water controlled like the Mandalselva and Otra rivers which are always fishable, to the medium sized spate rivers such as the Lynga river (plus many in between), all the way down to very intimate smaller spate rivers such as the Audna or Søgneelva. A river overview can be viewed via the ‘Norske lakseelver’ map.

The average salmon size of Southern Norway varies from river to river and when you fish during the season, but around 4kg (9lbs). Salmon of up to 20kg (44lbs) have been caught in later years and each year some rivers produce fish up to 14-16kg (31-35lbs).

The salmon fishing season: 1st of June until the 31st of August

The season in most rivers spans three months from the 1st of June until the 31st of August each year (local seasons may vary from year to year). You will need two licenses, the yearly national fishing license for migratory fish and a license in the river section you want to fish.

Fly fishing for migrating Sea Trout (Salmo trutta)

It’s not only the salmon that migrate into our rivers to spawn each year, but they’re also accompanied by the sea trout which is the migratory form of the brown trout. They average a size of around 1kg (2.2lbs) but have been caught up to 10kg (22lbs) and specimens of 6-7kgs (13-15lbs) are caught each season. The same licenses and rules as for the Atlantic salmon apply though in some rivers the season for fishing sea trout are longer than for the salmon.

Fly Fishing for Coastal Sea Trout (Salmo trutta)

Outside of the period where some of the sea trout population migrate into our rivers to spawn each year, the sea trout can be fly fished for all year round along Southern Norway’s coast. The hunt for this silver prize often takes us to some naturally picturesque places and gives us nature experiences to remember. Sea trout fishing along the coast is both free of charge and highly accessible for all. 

For more information about this form of fly fishing, follow this link.

Fly fishing for non-migratory trout

Lake upon lake, they are everywhere, and the vast majority are inhabited by the brown trout (Salmo trutta), some the artic char (Salvelinus alpinus), others the American brook trout (Salvelinus fontinalis) and not forgetting the common whitefish (Coregonus lavaretus) or better still a combination! We mustn’t forget the streams and rivers which meander through the countryside from lake to lake, or out to the coast. The average size of these fish are generally smaller at around 250g (1/2lb) but there are always larger individuals inhabiting the waters with fish being caught up to 6-8kg (13-18lbs) in later years. Some lakes are more cultivated than others and these will generally have a larger average size of fish. Basically we have so many opportunities for fly fishing here, they’re too many to list!

Something very exciting are two salmonoid species which are internationally unique to Southern Norway. One being a strikingly beautiful brown trout with its very similar markings to the marble trout (Salmo marmorata) only found in the Balkans, and the Bleka (Salmo salar) which is a landlocked Atlantic salmon from the last Ice Age.

The best chances of catching our ‘Marble trout’ are either in the more Northerly parts of the river Otra or in many of the lakes in the Otra water catchment area. They are quickly recognized by their ‘squiggly’ lines as opposed to spots.

The Bleka lives its life the more Northerly reaches of the Otra some kilometres south of Evje all the way North through Byglandsfjord and North. Their average size is generally small, but they fight often stronger than the trout and are more than happy to take a fly.

Fly fishing for European Sea Bass (Dicentrarchus labrax)

Since this sought after gamefish started appearing along our coast around the 1990s, most probably following the warm gulf stream up from mainland Europe, its numbers have risen year by year. The bass is an aggressive fish that strikes hard and fights equally as hard. Even though we can catch them all year round they appear in larger numbers from June onwards until September or October all depending on sea temperatures. Fly fishing from shore is equally as effective as from a boat and we catch them from their smaller sizes of around 500g (1lb) up to 4-5kg (9lbs-11lbs) each year.

Fly fishing for European Pike (Esox Lucius)

The eastern part of Southern Norway houses some lakes where in the past pike were artificially introduced and have after thrived. They average a size of around 4kg (9lbs) but have been caught up to a crocodile size of 18kg (39lbs)!

The lakes can be fly fished from the shore. Though a boat is without a doubt the best way of reaching all of the good spots and fishing them without getting your fly continuously stuck in a tree! Each lake has a boat ramp for launching a boat if you have one.

Where to buy equipment and get local tips

In Southern Norway we are lucky enough to have a few specialist fishing shops with very knowledgeable staff and a relevant stock of essential sea trout fishing equipment. Beginning from West then to East, Lyngdal Jakt of Fiskesenter in Lyngdal, Grønberg Sport in Kristiansand, and lastly Arendal Jakt og Friluft in Arendal.

Other ways of finding promising spots are with the mobile phone app Fiskher but also the book ‘Sjøørret’, though written in Norwegian also has many fishing maps with magical spots to try.

If you need further guidance with either where to fish, which techniques to use or developing your fishing skills, maybe a professional fishing guide is something for you?

  • AnglerPilot - Professional guiding for sea trout along the Southern Norway coast (based in Kristiansand)
  • Sørlandet Fiskeguiding - Guiding for sea trout in southernmost Norway (based in Grimstad/Lillesand)

Pack your bags with food, here’s an interactive map showing good spots where you can spend your day on the hunt for sea trout.

If you need further guidance with either where to fish, which techniques to use or developing your fishing skills, maybe a professional fishing guide is something for you?

Fishing Guide - AnglerPilot

Combine Southern Norway’s natural beauty and great fishing, with a guiding service based on a ’natural experience of quality'. AnglerPilot individually cater their service to all ages, abilities, fishing experience and fishing goals.

Ryan Marchese, the owner of AnglerPilot is a EFFA and FFI certified professional fishing guide and passionate fisherman. AnglerPilot is based in Kristiansand but deliver guided trips all over southernmost Norway.

Please get in contact regarding your needs:
Tlf. no: +47 909 15 846

Read more about fishing and outdoor life in southernmost Norway

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