Warm and cold ocean currents meet off the North Norwegian coast creating large quantities of microorganisms. Strict regulations over several decades have protected the stocks against over fishing, so there is plenty of fish out there. Coastal cod and spawning cod, coalfish (saithe), halibut, monkfish, Atlantic wolffish, redfish and haddock are the most important fish species.
Your encounter with the big one
After a few fish got away, you have learned to answer their bite by yanking your rod at the right time. You have to meet the fish, tire it out and reveal your intentions. The cod you have landed so far weigh about 3 or 4 kg. Most of them feel about that weight, but now… Now something bigger is on its way. Or is it a sly one? Is it a monkfish or a wolffish? Then everything becomes calm. You wonder if this one has got away too. Then it slowly starts to swim away along the sea floor 50 or so metres beneath you.
It feels calm and determined and heavy too. It has to be a big cod on your hook or is it a coalfish? They say that coalfish are like salmon, and that they don’t give up until they have put up a long fight, so you brace yourself for battle. Your heart beats faster as you feel the fish accelerating astern. Suddenly, the tip of your rod is jerked towards the surface – and the fish is gone. You reel in your empty line, confirming that the biggest fish are always the ones that get away.
Savour the excitement as you wait for the big one to bite. When it bites, it is equally exciting for young and old alike. Prolong the experience and enjoy a tasty dinner in the evening with your own fish as the main ingredient.
Weather and seasons
In spite of our northerly location, we have good weather, at least for fishing. If you find fishing in the open sea too tough, there are often calmer waters between the islands or in the fjords. Most anglers avoid the darkest months of winter (even though the sea is fullest with fish at this time), but you will discover wonderful conditions from March to October.
A number of fishing resorts specialising in deep-sea fishing are located along the North Norwegian coast. Fishing tourists normally stay in cabins, older rorbu (fishermen’s cottages) or more modern seaside apartments, generally sleeping a large number. You can expect friendly hosts who are knowledgeable about fishing, close contact with the local community and a fantastic landscape.
Rules and regulations
As long as you fish with normal angling gear, there are no limits for how much you can catch. If you want to take the fish overseas, a limit of 15 km fillet applies. In addition, you can take one large trophy fish. No fishing licences are required for saltwater fishing.
Winter’s most beautiful adventure
Experience the amazing atmosphere on the fishing grounds during the annual winter fishing for spawning cod in Lofoten. The excitement. Maybe you will see a white-tailed eagle waiting for a fresh snack? Or perhaps the steep Lofoten mountains that rise directly from the Vestfjorden? In Svolvær, the annual championship in cod fishing takes place.
The realm of the Big fish
The serious deep-sea anglers head out to the Lopphavet Sea or, more specifically, to the island of Sørøya between Tromsø and Hammerfest. The Lopphavet Sea requires a steady hand at the helm, but the reward is fantastic. Here, well off the beaten track, some of the biggest cod along the entire coast are landed. Experienced deep-sea anglers can head out on their own, but beginners and semi-experienced anglers should join a guided trip. Basic and medium range accommodation is available in several of the small fishing villages along the west coast of the island of Sørøya.
The halibut – the fish of the Gods
The halibut, a flatfish easily recognisable by the bewildering shape of its head, may be found on shallow sandy bottoms in Northern Norway. It can be extremely large, well over 100 kg. In the north, faith, superstition, myths and legends are associated with this fish and the two Norwegian names, kveite (of “white”) and hellefisk (“holy fish”), explain something about this North Norwegian Christmas favourite. At Skrolsvik on the island of Senja, where halibut records are often broken, you can study the popular belief associated with the halibut and the halibut fishery. However, it is essential to combine your visit with halibut fishing and a solid dinner of halibut.
Catch a fish in the strong current
If you want to experience something truly unique you should go to Saltstraumen, just south of Bodø – the world’s strongest tidal current. It is like a 150 m wide river that suddenly calms down, turns, and rushes back just as forcefully in the opposite direction. That in itself is a remarkable experience, matched if not bettered only by the enormous amount of fish that follow it. Here, you can catch cod and wolffish, not to mention the oversized coalfish that appear in large schools.
No catch today?
Don’t be disappointed, at least you won’t have to gut and clean any fish, and you will have no problem finding food. Arctic Menu is a network of restaurants in Northern Norway, which serve fantastic dishes based on typical local ingredients of the finest quality. Try a tomato-based fish soup of halibut, salmon and monkfish, and you will know what we mean. Bon appetite!
- Watch this safety film before going: http://vimeo.com/62443421
- A short film on the importance of life jackets: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lb6iW77u9CA&feature=relmfu
- Brochure on fishing in Norway: http://www.sjofartsdir.no/PageFiles/12474/Fisketurisme%20Engelsk%20PDF%20uten%20passmerker.pdf