To damer som fisker
Photo: Ryan Marchese/Anglerpilot
Dame med fisk
Photo: Johan Wildhagen/Innovasjon Norge
Sjøørretfiske i Lenefjorden
Photo: Ryan Marchese/Anglerpilot
Fiske i solnedgang
Photo: Ryan Marchese/Anglerpilot
Big sea trout from Lista
Photo: Frank Hansen
mann med fisk
Photo: Visit sørlandet
gutt som fisker
Photo: Jan Kåre Rafoss

Fishing in Southern Norway

Southern Norway is a fantastic place for fishing! Nature is easily accessible to everyone, whether you are fishing alone, with a group of friends or the family.

Good reasons to choose Southern Norway as a fishing destination:

  • Unique archipelago
  • Varied fishing opportunities
  • Proximity to the continent
  • Many different types of fish
  • The climate makes it nice year-round activity
  • Easily accessible to everyone, regardless of age and prior knowledge
  • You can rent your own boat
  • Well-equipped fish shops where you can get good advice and tips


Carparks and paths for walks are being established, to provide easy access to the…

Laws and regulations

Fishing license
No one needs to buy a fishing license to fish in the sea, but anyone who wants to fish in salmon-bearing rivers must pay a government fee, the fishing tax.

The fishing fee (for those over 16) is paid at miljodirektoratet.no. In addition, a fishing license must be purchased to obtain fishing rights for certain rivers. You can buy it in a fish shop or at Scanatura. Fishing gear must be disinfected before fishing is allowed in Norway. All the salmon rivers have a disinfection system, more information about the rivers can be found at lakseelvene.no.

For non-conducting salmon rivers and fishing waters, you must have either a fishing license or permission from the landowner. You can buy it in a fish shop or at Scanatura.

Fishing in the lake

The minimum size for cod is 42 cm and the sea trout is 35 cm, otherwise there is no minimum size for other fish species. You must keep a distance of 100 meters from waterways carrying salmon and sea trout. If you want to export sea fish, you can read more at the Directorate of Fisheries.

Fishing seasons

Cod: February/June and August/December are the best months, but also all year round.
Mackerel: St. Hans - September.
Salmon: June 1 to August 31
Lyr and sei: May/September (sei preferably all year round).
Sea trout: Can be fished from land and from a boat all year round.

Boat Fishing

Boat fishing is a highly effective form of fishing. Whether it's trolling (moving slowly past coastal fishing spots with a lure, fly, or wobbler trailing behind the boat) or casting from a stationary boat, fishing from a boat opens up a whole world of possibilities. A boat is not only a means of transportation that quickly takes you from one spot to another, but it also allows you to access areas that are difficult to reach from the shore. Moreover, being in a boat provides more warmth and comfort compared to standing in the water. If you have your own boat on a trailer, there are many boat ramps where you can launch it into the sea.

Atlantic Salmon

Here in the magnificent region of Southern Norway, there are plenty of opportunities for those who want to try their luck at catching a wild Atlantic salmon (Salmo salar).

Norway’s southernmost region offers a range of salmon rivers, from the large and regulated rivers like Mandalselva and Otra that almost always have great water levels for salmon fishing, to the medium-sized rivers like Lygna (and many in between), all the way down to the intimate and precipitation-dependent rivers like Audna or Søgneelva. An overview of the salmon rivers can be found on the “Norske lakseelver” map.

The average weight of salmon in Southern Norway varies from river to river and depending on the time of the season, but it typically ranges around 3 kg. Salmon weighing up to 20 kg have been caught in recent years, and some rivers produce fish weighing 14-16 kg each year.

The fishing season in most rivers runs from June 1st to August 31st each year (local seasons may vary from year to year).

You will need two fishing permits, the annual fishing fee for anadromous fish, and a license for the specific river section where you intend to fish.

Don’t expect to catch salmon on the first try and maybe not the second and third either, but suddenly it bites, and all the waiting is forgotten in a cocktail of adrenaline and happiness!

Wild brown trout, American brook trout, arctic char, common whitefish and landlocked salmon.

The brown trout (Salmo trutta) is the most common freshwater fish here in Southern Norway and you will find them in most waterways both in the lowlands and in the mountains, often surrounded by beautiful nature. The average in most waterways is relatively small, but there are some places where you can catch fish with an average of around one kilogram, and up to 6-7kg! Here in the Setesdalsvassdrag there is also an internationally unique brown trout with markings like a marble trout (Salmo marmorata). There are no other examples like this in the whole world!

In addition to the trout, there are four other salmonids such as the common whitefish (Coregonus lavaretus) and two salmon species from the last Ice Age. The landlocked salmon Bleka (Salmo salar) and the arctic char (Salvelinus alpinus). And we must not forget the American brook trout (Salvelinus fontinalis). One can find this fish in some areas still surviving from the acid rain era and it harbors beautiful colors.

European Pike

Southern Norway may not be a well-known destination where one goes to catch pike (Esox lucius), but did you know that some of Europe's largest pike have actually been caught in Southern Norway?! Worth mentioning are pike of 19.46kg and 135.5cm caught in 2023, 18.7kg and 122cm caught in 2006 and a pike of 17.7kg caught in 2022, all caught in Southern Norway! Apart from these large specimens, although somewhat smaller, that can be caught in beautiful surroundings.

Carp and other coarse fish

It is perhaps surprising that there are certain waters and rivers with a healthy population of different coarse fish in Southern Norway. The common carp (Cyrpinus carpio), tench (Tinca tinca), goldfish (Carassius auratus), golden orfe (Leucisus idus) and rudd (Scardinius erythrophalmus). Carp here in Southern Norway do not grow as large as on the continent, but the other carp can grow to respectable sizes. There are many who think there is little that beats sitting in calm and beautiful surroundings while you expectantly wait for a nudge to disappear beneath the surface.


The cod (Gardus morhua) is one of the most desirable and well-known fish species we have in the sea and here in Southern Norway is a great place to fish for them. Cod fishing in Southern Norway cannot be compared to cod fishing far up in Northern Norway both in terms of size and number but is still very productive. In Southern Norway we have two species of cod, fjord cod and North Sea cod. The first stays both shallower and close to the coast, while the second prefers significantly deeper water further out to sea. The average size of the fjord cod is around a couple of kilos, but the North Sea cod is significantly larger with many fish over 10kg being caught every year.


A very underrated fish species is the pollack (Pollachius pollachius). This fierce predatory fish is perhaps one of the most fun things you can catch in the sea, especially when they reach 2kg or more in size. There are many of the Southern Norwegian pollack and they are rarely picky. There are many of opportunities to catch them from land, but access to a boat will provide both more and bigger catches. Every year, many over 6-8kg and 70-80cm are caught. On balanced fishing gear, lure fishing is one of the most exciting ways to catch them and expect fast, determined runs towards the bottom.

Ling and cusk

For those who try deep sea fishing, a large ling (Molva molva) or cusk (Brosme brosme) can be two of the many species who could gobble up the bait. Often seen as some of the best tasting fish we have in the sea, the motivation to catch such is high. You have a significantly greater chance of catching these fish from a boat, but it is possible from land where it is deep enough. A whole mackerel or fillet served at the bottom of a deep slope is often the recipe for success.

Mackerel and garfish

There are some years where it almost bubbles over with mackerel (Scomber scombrus) and hornbill (Belone belone) here in Southern Norway. The mackerel is a wonderful food fish which gives a real strong fight on lighter fishing gear, is easy to get to bite and is fun to catch for both young and old. The mackerel is also one of the best baits you can use to catch larger fish.


Turbot (Scophthalmus maximus), plaice (Pleuronectes platessa), flounder (Limanda limanda), brill (Scophthalmus rhombus), sole (Glyptocephalus cynoglossus) and, just sometimes, halibut (Hippoglossus hippglossus), are just some of the many different flounder species who swim in the sea in Southern Norway. Most are very tasty and can usually be found along the beaches or anywhere there is a sandy bottom. A thin strip of mackerel or a small shrimp dragged slowly but surely over the bottom will often make them bite. Another exciting method is wading along the clear water beaches or sandy bays at night sight hunting them, before offering a tasty morsal in front of their nose and watching them bite!

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Combine Southern Norway’s natural beauty and great fishing, with a guiding service based on a ’natural experience of quality'. Be guided by some of the World’s most experienced and qualified fishing guides who prize themselves on tailor making your…