Sanctuary for birds
Birds of pray
The young saithe is a very tasty fish and bites eagerly - perhaps too eagerly,
especially if you are after the large fish beneath the shoal. A good tip when
the invasion of small saithe is at its worst is to tear out a page of a
telephone directory, roll it together and fasten it to the hook. In this way the
small saithe will not be able to bite as the hook sinks down. When the hook is
below the small fish, a couple of strong jerks will release the paper. You can
also fish for saithe from the shore. Try slightly heavier shiny tobis lures or
pirks (20 - 40 g), with a tandem or two attached to the line above. It is worth
watching out for groups of diving gulls. They will be hunting for the small
herring that are being chased to the surface by fish such as saithe and
mackerel. Evening and morning are generally regarded as the best times to catch
saithe. Grey, drizzly weather is also supposed to be good.
Haddock is plentiful both in the fjords and the open sea and is found along the
whole coast. It can be caught on most tackle. It usually keeps to somewhat
deeper waters and it is generally easy to get to bite. Haddock typically lives
close to the seabed, so we would recommend you to fish about a metre above the
bottom. Bait such as herring, mackerel or mussels works well, but haddock will
also bite on small pirks and tandems. The usual weight for a haddock is about
The cod is a common catch - all year round. The cod too swims just above the
seabed, so make sure your tackle keeps contact with the bottom! This species is
no rocket, but puts up a tenacious fight.
Cod can grow big. They normally weigh 1-4 kilos, but 10 kilo specimens are far
from being a sensation. The cod appreciates shiny pirks, but also likes
fluorescent colours, particularly in the summer when there is a lot of algae in
the sea. Tandems above the pirk are a natural part of your tackle when angling
for cod. Red and yellow are good cod colours. Jerk your pirk up and down
regularly above the seabed, occasionally allowig the tackle to remain still. The
cod often bites on the pirk when it is on its way towards the bottom of the sea,
or while it is momentarily still.
Cod can easily be fished from the shore, both with jigs, smaller pirks, and
artificial lures. The bigger specimens usually frequent deeper waters, but may
swim into shallower waters in the winter. They may even come right up to the
waters&039 edge while hunting for crabs and ragworm. Take a cast and let your
lure sink to the bottom. Reel it in, jerking it and jumping it above the bottom,
making sure you keep bottom contact with the bait right up to the shore. If the
cod is after the bait, let it sink to the bottom. This may make the cod extra
curious, and then when you make the bait jump up from the bottom there is a good
chance of it attacking.
The period from March to May is the traditional big fishing season for spring
cod. These fish come from north of the Arctic Ocean to feed and spawn. The coast
of Møre is the place to try for these fish, which can grow very big.
The pollack is a common fish - all over - and provides the angler with an
exciting challenge. It can appear anywhere in the sea and often approaches the
shore to find food. It can be found both at the bottom and near the surface.
With its has big eyes it spots the fish and makes sudden attacks on it prey.
Places with plenty of current are regarded as particularly good for pollack in
the summer. In the winter this speedy hunter goes deeper. Small pirks and other
artificial lures are the normal bait for this fish. Different tandems and jigs
are also effective. The pollack is a fast swimmer, so move the tackle faster
than you would with cod. and try at all levels. You can also try bait, such as
boiled prawns, mackerel, herring or shellfish, but then it is best to fish from
a boat. A pollack normally weighs between one and three kilos.
Ling is found at somewhat greaterdepths, often 50 to 100 metres. The big ling
swim even deeper. Herring and mackerel are regarded as the best bait for this
greedy fish, which will also bite on pirks and tandem lures. The ling is a
typical bottom fish, so keep contact with the bottom! A trick that is often used
is to bait the hooks on the pirk and then make small tugs and let the ling help
himself. In recent years a lot of large ling have been caught in Hjeltnesfjorden
in Hordaland. Late winter and early spring is the time to fish and the best bait
is herring. Fish at depths of 150 to 200 metres. One angler caught three ling in
this fjord (weighing 14, 28 and 31 kilos) on one single day! When you feel the
fish bite, wait a while to give it a chance to swallow the bait. Then one strong
tug and the fish is yours! A ling normally weighs between one and five kilos,
but larger specimens are not rare.
The torsk is a typical bottom-fish belonging to the cod family and frequents
deeper waters. It resembles a ling, but has a squatter body. Contact can be
established at a depth of 50 to 60 metres, but you should try even deeper if you
are after the big fish. The torsk lives along underwater inclines with cracks
and holes, from which it emerges to bite on your hook, particularly if it is
baited! Angling with bait and ledger tackle is regarded as the most certain way
to attract this tasty fish, but it can also be caught with tandem lures and pirk.
When angling with a pirk, you can put a bit of fish fillet on the hooks. The
torsk appreciates that. It is not a fast swimmer, so be careful not to fish too
fast. It is best to move the rod with small jerks, keeping it still at regular
intervals.The usual weight for torsk is 1-3 kilos, but bigger fish are fairly
The whiting, which makes excellent eating, is often called the «chicken of the
sea». The whiting moves in shoals, so if you catch one you can generally reckon
on several more bites. Once you have found a shoal of whiting, it is important
to stay in the same place. If your boat drifts out of the area, you will find
the number of bites dramatically reduced.
Bait is regarded as the very best method of outwitting this greedy member of the
cod family. Try with prawns, herring and shellfish. As whiting do not grow very
big, it is best not to use very big hooks. Hook size 2 is appropriate. Small
pirks/lures and tandems are also effective. The whiting stays near the bottom,
so 1-2 metres above the bottom is a good depth to fish at. As the saying goes
«the early bird catches the worm» - or, as the case may be, the whiting. The
early morning and evening are definitely the best times to fish for whiting, and
you will not be alone - for this is also the time the big fish are after the
chicken of the sea.
Flatfish do not just live near the bottom - they actually live on the seabed and
never move far away. Flatfish are to be found in close proximity to shore as
well as in deeper waters. There are many species of flatfish in Norwegian
waters: plaice, flounder and dab are the most common types. Catching flatfish on
a baited hook is usually no problem. The fish generally rise to bait such as
prawns, earthworms, mussels, lugworms or bits of mackerel and herring, best
taken from the belly skin of the fish.
Flatfish do not have very big mouths and you should be careful to select hooks
that are not too big. Mustad&039s long, thin Aberdeen hooks, size 2-6, are a
good choice. You can, of course, use other hooks too. Look for a bay, headland
and shallows with plenty of current. Fix a sinker to the end of your line and
tie two hooks to a leader with 50 cm between them. The leader should be 15-20 cm
in length. A shirt button or plastic mother-of-pearl (or other coloured) bead
suspended above the hook has proven effective in combination with the bait.
Allow the bait to lie at the bottom a while, then reel in a metre at a time,
right up to the shore. When you feel a bite give the fish a bit of time to
swallow the bait.
Try frying the fillets of these fish, served with fried bananas and curried
rice. It makes a simple but tasty dish and is excellent summer food for adults
and children alike.
Halibut (meaning «holy plaice») is a much sought-after fish and many an angler
has tried to lure one onto his hook. The halibut can grow big - very big.
Fishing with bait and ledger tackle is regarded as the best way to catch
halibut, especially if you bait the hooks with squid, herring or mackerel.
Remember to use a strong leader, wire is a good choice, as the halibut is
renowned for its sharp teeth.
Why not try for a halibut in Nordfjord? Big fish are not a rare occurence in the
fjords and you can fish there in almost any weather. I personally know of two
halibut caught on a ledger line in the inner part of Nordfjord (Stryn district).
One weighed about 100 kilos and the other about 115 kilos after gutting.
Halibut appear when you least expect them, which takes its toll of your line. It
is, however, possible to catch a big halibut even with simple tackle.
In the summer halibut sometimes venture nearer the surface and that is when you
suddenly feel something heavy on your line. Sea anglers all dream of landing a
halibut and this dream can come true - with line and bait in the fjords and the
The mackerel is the torpedo of the sea. This typical shoal fish is virtually
unequalled in strength, speed and unpredictability, and it puts up a harder
struggle than the even sea trout. When the mackerel is in the midst of a herring
feast it bites uninhibitedly. If you come across a shoal of mackerel and manage
to stay with it, you can get a dream catch. Early morning and late evening are
regarded as the best times to fish for mackerel. The best season is from May
onwards in the open sea, and further up the fjords later in the year. They can
be caught on all types of tackle, but shiny lures, with a couple of shiny spoons
or tobis in the form of sea flies or tandems are recommended. It is not unusual
to get a fish on every hook, but remember to use a thick enough line. Special
hand-lines have been developed for pirking and trolling, with several rubber
worms and shiny spoons. You hang a heavy lead sinker on the end or a heavy pirk.
«Harp» is what we call the traditional tackle here in Western Norway. Let the
sinker down to the seabed and jerk the tackle upward while drawing in the line.
Mackerel and saithe frequent all levels of the sea, so it is well worth trying
at different depths, and you might find cod underneath. You could also try
trolling with the tackle, varying the depth of the sinker. That way you can fish
at different depths. You will usually find mackerel between 10 and 25 metres.
It is not easy to predict where the mackerel will be. Trolling is therefore an
effective way of tracking down the fish. You can try along the shore or out at
sea. Mackerel often collect around banks, skerries and off headlands, where
there is strong current. Once you have found the fish, turn your boat
immediately and return to where the fish bit. Another way of finding mackerel is
to watch out for diving gulls. Where the ulls are feasting, mackerel, saithe,
cod and pollack could all be chasing the small silver herring up to the surface.
Eels - the fjord and the open sea
This species abounds in most places, and can be fished both in the sea and in
freshwater. It grows big in fresh water, where it stays until it reaches sexual
maturity, when it migrates back to its place of birth - the Sea of Sargasso.
Eels are caught with bait along the bottom. Herring, mackerel and worms are all
good bait. If you can get hold of it,finger-sized small herring is considered
the best bait. Use Aberdeen hooks size 2-4. The gut should not be too thin (0.40
mm is considered suitable). The eel is a master in wrapping itself around
plants, twigs and roots sticking up from the bottom. If it manages to do this,
it may be difficult to reel in on a thin line.
When holding the eel, it is a good idea to use a towel. Eels are strong and
slippery and almost impossible to hold with your bare hands. The eel is also
very tenacious of life. Kill it by a knifing it between the eyes. The best
fishing is in the evening and at night, when the eels are most active. To
prevent the eel feeling the resistance when it takes the bait, you can use a
sliding sinker (sinker with hole). Cast out your bait and enjoy the summer
The catfish is highly prized by many sea anglers. It is also valued as food, but
can be very difficult to catch. Fishing with bait along the bottom, perhaps with
ledger or pirk on a 20 cm leader with hook and bait is the number one method for
this demersal species. Herring and mackerel are both good bait, but crushed
shells/snail shells are regarded as the best bait, being part of the natural
diet of the catfish. Crush the shells and put the crushed mass into a
large-meshed finger bandage net (on sale at the chemist&039s). This will allow
you to fish with this loose bait without it falling of the hook. When the
catfish bites, give it some time to chew its tasty morsel, allowing the hook to
get well back in its mouth. Then give a powerful tug.
During the summer months the catfish may frequent shallow waters, but in the
winter it goes deeper. Steep inclines and shelves are the haunts of this
exciting fish with its powerful jaws.
The catfish is renowned for its size potential and specimens of 3-5 kilos are
common. The areas around Fedje, off Bergen, are regarded as a very good starting
point for catfish angling. Several specimens of over 10 kilos have been caught
here! In the course of a single weekend, one angler caught 120 kilos of catfish.
May and June are normally the best time to angle for catfish on Fedje.
Anglerfish (monkfish) and
conger ell - two strange fish
In appearance these two fish contrast sharply with each other. The conger eel is
long and thin, resembling a normal eel. The anglerfish is short and wide with
awesome jaws and head accounting for almost half its total body length. They do,
however, have something in common: they are both voracious predators and
(particularly the conger eel) relatively rare.
The conger eel is to be found along the whole coast of Western Norway, but in
small numbers. The females can grow up to two metres and weigh as much as 65
kilos and the males about half this. They live mainly on stony parts of the
seabed from the tidal zone and out to depths of 250 metres and more. If you are
lucky enough to catch one of these, report your catch!
The anglerfish is more common and is found along the whole of the Norwegian
coast. It is a demersal fish, so bottom fishing with bait is the best method.
Like the conger eels, they live mainly off fish, but also eat crab, lobster and
squid. They live from the tidal zone down to depths of 1000 metres and more.
Anglerfish venture into shallower water in the summer. This monstrous fish has a
very special method of fishing for its food. It lures its prey by means of
«bait» on a filament on its front dorsal fin - and then gulps it down through
its huge mouth.
Brown trout, sea trout, arctic char and salmon are common freshwater fish in
Western Norway. There are many famous salmon and sea-trout rivers that attract
anglers from far and wide. Others rivers are less famous, but can nevertheless
provide good fishing when the conditions are right.
The silvery sea trout that has just entered the river from the fjord is a sight
for sore eyes - clean and gleaming, plump and shapely, with red meat; a real
treat on the table. But the sea trout is a capricious creature and may prove
difficult to catch. It is difficult to find a more cautious fish. You can see
the shoal in the river without getting a single bite. However, with plenty of
patience, it is possible to outwit the sea trout, which can grow very big in
this area. Many rivers in Western Norway are famous for their big sea trout,
which can weigh as much as five or even eight kilos. They usually weigh between
0.7 and 2 kilos, so if you catch a 4-kilo specimen, you have every reason to be
The sea trout can be caught with many different types of equipment. In Norway we
usually use worms and flies. Flies such as March Brown, Peter Ross, Thunder and
Lightning, the Norwegian Heggeli and Sunray Shadow are favourites. A double
hook, size 8 -12, is normally used. Evening and night are normally regarded as
the best times for fly-fishing, but sea trout may also bite during the daytime,
especially after a heavy shower when the river is murkier.
Worms are effective in most conditions. Choose your hook according to the size
of fish you reckon you will catch and the amount of water in the river. Big fish
and/or a full river need larger hooks than when the river is low, warm and
smooth-running. Size 8 to 4 hooks are suitable. The hook should be twisted and
barbed to keep the bait in place. Choose 0.25 - 0.35 mm gut.
Farmers are sure to let you dig for worms if you ask for permission. A lot of
angling tackle shops also sell worms. These are expensive, but stick very well
to the hook and are effective! You use a small, free-hanging bead on the gut
above the hook - Try a small red one in the daytime and a slightly larger white
one in the evening and at night.
Even if salmon fishing is not what it once was, the dream of the big salmon is
still very much alive. Catching a 10-kilo silvery salmon that has just come up
the river is an unforgettable experience. The salmon is considered by many to be
the most beautiful of fish. Salmon fishing is generally easily available in the
whole of Western Norway and many of the rivers are know to be the haunts of very
large salmon. It is possible to buy a fishing permit for a day for between 50
and 400 kroner. Salmon are usually fished with worms and flies, but artificial
lures can also be used in the larger rivers and when the rivers are full. It is
worth noting that there are many smaller salmon rivers, where fishing is cheap
and salmon plentiful, and with luck you may get some fantastic fishing. The
weight of the salmon in these rivers varies between one and three kilos. After a
long period of sun and little rain, you should make sure you are there when it
starts to pour down. The best fishing is when the water level is sinking, often
a couple of days after the rain. This is also a point worth noting when fishing
for sea trout. The normal fishing season for salmon is June and July.
Brown trout and arctic char
The brown trout and sea trout really belong to the same species. However, the
brown trout lives all its life in the same river or lake. The brown trout is
common all over Western Norway. In some places it grows big, for example in the
Oldenvatn lake in Stryn, where there are fish weighing several kilos. The reason
why these fish grow so big is that they start eating fish at an early age. The
normal size of these attractive and exciting fish is 200-500 grams. In some
places there is a large population of small fish of 100-150 grams - and filling
your frying pan with trout is an easy matter.
Flies, worms and spinners are used for fishing trout. Try flies such as March
Brown, Heggeli, Olsen, Zulu, Butcher, Jungle Cock, hook size 12-14. If you do
not own a fly rod, you can buy a casting plug that is designed for flies. On
days when the wind ripples the surface of the water, in the late evening and at
night casting floats and flies is an unbeatable combination.
Spinners with 4-8 gram weights are also frequently used, often copper or brass
with red spots on the spoon. Small spoons are also effective. Try with a tandem
fly about 50 cm above the lure. The combination of fly and metal lure is real
poison to the trout.
Worms make very reliable bait, used with either float or sinker. Try where the
rivers run into or out of the lakes. With the right flow and temperature the
fishing can be really good. Use size 10-12 hooks and 0.16 - 0.20 mm gut. If you
plan to fish from a boat in wide areas of the fjords verging on the ocean, both
otter and worm trails are effective. In the late autumn it is also possible to
catch the arctic char, which frequents the shallower areas at that time of year.
Lakes such as Strynevatn, Oldenvatn and Loenvatn are renowned for their large
populations of this coldwater fish. Hornindalsvatn (at 524 metres, Europe's
deepest lake) is also worth a mention. All these lakes are in Nordfjord.
In other words: lakes and rivers are waiting for you. Many of them are easily
accessible and offer good fishing at an easy price. Before you can buy a fishing
permit, you must buy a national fishing licence. The latter is available at any