Trout fishing in Norway

Among freshwater fish, trout is arguably one of the best-tasting ones with its beautiful red/orange flesh. Even though store-bought trout is readily available in most parts of the world, there is nothing like fresh fish from the lake.

Trout are found in vast numbers in over 60.000 lakes, rivers, and streams throughout Norway. For a small license fee, which is available for purchase at, you are free to fish for as much trout as you want in virtually any stream and lake from the southernmost tip to the arctic north.

In this article, we go through everything you need to know in order to fish for trout in Norway.

Trout in Norway

Trout (Salmo trutta) is the most common freshwater fish in Norway. From its origin in southern parts of Europe, the trout found its way to Norwegian rivers after the last ice age. Today It can be found in most freshwater environments in Norway, from the lowlands around Oslo to mountain lakes as high as 1400 meters above sea level.

There is a long way between some mountain lakes and lowland rivers, so how did the trout get there? Evidence suggests that releasing trout and other species of fish into freshwater sources for future harvest can be traced all the way back to the stone age. In fact, the practice continues to this day and is responsible for there being vast amounts of trout throughout Norway.

Trout has been harvested for food in Norway for generations. In recent years, however, this practice has declined as fish is readily available in grocery stores. Because of this, the majority of trout fishing is carried out by sports/hobby fishers wanting big specimens or practice catch and release. Because of this, it was found that 9 out of 10 trout lakes in Norway were overpopulated.

This is bad for the overall population as it makes food resources scarce leaving them unable to grow beyond a certain size. Due to this problem, the Norwegian state forest management organization has actually encouraged people to fish more trout.

Fishing for trout in Norway

An essential part of the Norwegian wildlife and nature experience is the right to roam legislation. This gives anyone in Norway, natives, and visitors alike the right to travel on both government and privately owned land without the need for any permission. You are also free to set up a camp/tent virtually anywhere.

Fishing license

Children under the age of 16 can fish trout for free between January 1 and August 20. As an adult, you have to purchase a freshwater fishing license from the ground owner. This license gives you the right to fish for trout and other freshwater fish in a given area within a certain timeframe. They cost anywhere from 3 to 10 dollars for one day, depending on the location, but you can also get weekend, week, and seasonal passes for much cheaper.

You can get your freshwater fishing license for a huge selection of areas all over Norway online from Alternatively, you can purchase it locally in many areas from the local sports outlet, gas station, or camping site. In popular fishing areas, you might also encounter signs along main roads advertising for “fiskekort”, which means fishing license in Norwegian.  

Keep in mind that there are a few areas where fishing is forbidden, in addition, the normal fishing license only applied to fishing with a rod. If you want to fish using a net, local rules and regulations apply. Last but not least, a freshwater fishing license DO NOT give you the right to fish for salmon in Norwegian rivers. For this, you need to pay a separate state tax and get a separate local salmon license.

How to fish for trout

As an amateur, the most important is not to get caught up in the jungle of equipment and recommendations. In addition to proper clothing, all you need is a simple fishing rod and a lure or bait. A knife can come in handy as well as learning a basic knot to tie your lure/bait (link).

The good thing with trout fishing is that they eat virtually anything, and as long as you use something that mimics what the trout eats, it can work. This can include different types of lures, flies, and bait with a float. In Norway, the most common bait is to use living earthworms which are readily available in local sports shops during the summer half of the year. You can read more about lures and bait for trout fishing in this article at

When fishing in rivers and streams, the fish likes to stay in places where the current is weaker, as it is less demanding for the fish. This can be around natural hindrances in the river like curves and rocks. Because of this, it might be a good idea to drop your lure right in front or behind these areas. In lakes, good areas are generally found along the edges of shallow areas and around small peninsulas as well as areas with weeds. However, the most important is to be able to get your lure or bait in the water so that you have a chance to present it to the fish.

Best places to fish for trout in Norway

Norway’s diverse nature with thousands of lakes and rivers located in every environment, from boreal forests to bare mountainous terrain, can make for a truly magnificent outdoor fishing experience. With regards to where you can try to fish for trout, you’d be surprised as to how small some lakes and streams can be and still contain plenty of fish, as evidenced by this video from northern Norway.

That being said, some areas are known for great trout fishing. Perhaps the greatest trout lake in Europe, Jølstravatnet, can be found in western Norway, in the county of Sogn og Fjordane, in between Ålesund and Bergen. Despite being only 40 square kilometers big, 15-20 tonnes of trout are fished from the lake on a yearly basis.

Another popular area for trout fishing is Femunden. This is a larger lake located in Femundsmarka national park, approximately 3 hours southeast of Trondheim and only 1 hour southeast of the old mining town of Røros in mid-eastern Norway along the border to Sweden. 

Closing thoughts

Regardless if you are an avid sports fisherman or just an eager tourist, fishing for trout in Norway is a great experience that can be truly rewarding if the fish is eager to strike. Although often overshadowed by the more prestigious salmon fishing, I personally prefer fishing for trout. They are found all over, fishing licenses are cheap and you can be confident that your harvest does nothing to hurt the overall trout population.

I hope you found this article helpful. If we have left something out be sure to let me know. Also, if you have already tried trout fishing in Norway feel free to share your experience as well as any other useful information.

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Erik is the creator and editor of Planet Norway. Born in Trondheim and currently living in Oslo, Erik knows the ins and outs of Norwegian History, society, and culture. His idea for starting planet Norway came about when helping his foreign fiance to settle in Norway.