Photo: Kristin Westby

Rules for recreational fishing in rivers and lakes

This is a summary of the most important rules for fishing in rivers and lakes in Norway. There may be local exceptions from some of the rules, and the lists below are not exhaustive.

Fishing Fee

If you are going to fish for salmon, sea trout or arctic char, you have to pay a fishing fee. Children and youth below 18 years is not required to pay the fee.

Information about the rules for recreational fishing in rivers and lakes 

If you are in doubt about which rules apply in the area where you want to fish, you must contact the local county or municipal authorities (kommune, fylkesmannen or fylkeskommune in Norwegian).

If you want to fish for anadromous fish (salmon, sea trout and/or arctic sea char), the following points are important:

  • you are only allowed to use a rod and hand line;
  • the only types of bait allowed in rivers and lakes are worms, lures, spinners, wobblers and flies (local variations may apply);
  • it is your responsibility to find out the dates of the fishing season and any other rules that apply in a particular river system;
  • the start of the fishing season has been delayed until 15 June or later in most rivers because of a decline in the spring run. However, in some rivers with large salmon stocks the fishing season starts earlier;
  • you must buy a fishing licence from the holder of the fishing rights: the local tourist office or sports shop may be able to provide information on where you can do this;
  • snagging fish is not permitted, and there are therefore rules on hook sizes (for single hooks, the maximum gape size is 15 mm, and for double/treble hooks, it is 13 mm);
  • you must pay the national fishing fee before fishing for anadromous salmon, sea trout or arctic sea char;
  • there are regulatory measures that set out more detailed rules on fishing for migratory fish, but these are only available in Norwegian.

If you want to catch freshwater fish (including non-anadromous brown trout and arctic char), the following points are important:

  • you must buy a fishing licence from the holder of the fishing rights: the local tourist office or sports shop may be able to provide information;
  • you are not allowed to use poisons, explosives, firearms (except to catch pike), an electric current, fish spears of similar equipment, or artificial light (except to catch eels and crayfish). Otherwise there are no general rules on fishing gear and fishing seasons (except for freshwater crayfish);
  • there are local fishing rules in many areas,
  • in rivers where there is a run of salmon, sea trout or arctic sea char, you must normally keep to the rules for migratory fish even when catching freshwater fish. In addition, there are local rules for catching freshwater fish in certain rivers.

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