“The mighty fjords and northern lights have and still are major highlights for many tourists, but recently, we are seeing an increase in more active and adventure-based experiences such as ice bathing and sauna, fishing in Lofoten, ocean kayaking or cold-water surfing on the west coast,” said Robert Holan, the General Manager at The Thief Hotel in Oslo, Norway. This article is about planning a winter adventure: Fishing trips in Scandinavia
While many are heading north during the summer to escape the rising temperatures that are found in popular tourist destinations like Paris, planning a trip to a Scandinavian location during the winter months can offer plenty of adventure as well, particularly in regard to the rich fishing culture. From the diverse options in Norway to taking part in one of Sweden’s many fishing competitions, Scandinavia has much to offer to tourists looking for the ideal winter fishing trip.
Exploring variety in Norway
In Norway, the winter months allow visitors to partake in a wide range of activities, from skrei (migrating cod) fishing, to ice fishing beneath the northern lights. It’s also noted that fish tend to get larger in cold water, thus underlining the value in booking a winter getaway. With options that range from fishing in freshwater to those that involve the deep sea, there is a type of fishing to suit anyone’s preferences (though the variety can be the perfect opportunity to try something new as well).
“Inland, you will find some of the finest spots for freshwater fishing, especially fly fishing,” Visit Norway highlights. With thousands of lakes, rivers, and streams boasting a variety of fish (including salmon, grayling, wild trout, and arctic char, to name just a few), fishing on the coastline brings the opportunity to catch cod, haddock, pollack, redfish, and mackerel among many others.
Visit Norway notes that in addition to ensuring that you obtain a fishing card, an authentic outdoors experience can be achieved by planning a fishing holiday in a ‘fiskevær,’ or a fishing village — Reine, Nusfjord, Å or Henningsvær are just a few to choose from. Nusfjord is one of the oldest (and best-preserved) fishing villages, located in Lofoten, with between an impressive 80,000 and 90,000 visitors each year. From the rich history to the unique fisherman cabins and natural scent of cod, there’s no question that a fishing trip here can make for a holiday to remember for years to come.
Winter fishing competitions in Sweden
For those who are searching for an adrenaline-filled adventure, taking part in a winter fishing competition serves as a great option — especially if you’re an ice fishing pro or you’re simply looking for something new to try. According to Adventure Sweden, there are a number of great competitions around Jämtland Härjedalen, including ‘Oldpimpeln’ and ‘Hedenappet,’ though these are far from being the only competitions out there. For instance, Fishy highlights the Swedish Ice Pike Open 2023-2024, a nationwide ice fishing competition for pike. The competition is noted to take place in collaboration with BIOS/IFISH, which is the main sponsor, and registration is required.
With several prizes to win, Fishy explains that the competition places “extra high demands on the handling and photo documentation of the fish as most of the fishing takes place in low temperatures,” making it imperative that participants understand and follow the rules. Hobie Fishing Worldwide is another worth mentioning, offering fishing competitions throughout the world. In May of 2022, for example, the Åmål Kayak Fishing Challenge was held in Åmål Västra Götaland County, Sweden, thus highlighting a great option to look forward to should another Scandinavian-located challenge be announced.
Planning a safe trip
Planning a Scandinavian fishing adventure can be an exciting endeavor for anyone, though there are a few important considerations to keep in mind. Before booking a trip, it’s imperative to research the rules and regulations for the area you’ll be headed to — this includes understanding the rules regarding fishing licenses and permits, as well as gaining insight as to what is off limits when it comes to areas and fish species. For example, Fishtime.eu notes that while there are no national or regional permits in Sweden, you must purchase a local fishing permit that is valid at the time of fishing for each area, with licenses typically serving for one-day, three-day, weekly, or year-round. The same applies to Norway. By doing the research ahead of time, you’ll be able to arrive well-prepared and without any unexpected surprises.
Regardless as to your experience with winter fishing, keeping safety at the forefront of your trip is imperative — especially if it’s your first time or if you’ll be accompanied by inexperienced individuals. Joining a guided fishing trip, hiring a local guide or a professional fisherman are all great options for those looking for a fun and safe Scandinavian fishing adventure, though a basic understanding of fishing safety can go a long way. Maintaining safety in water environments is essential, from wearing the proper apparel to understanding the dangers associated with fishing lures.
In addition to bundling up in warm layers (as well as a life jacket), ensuring that your family is aware of the dangers associated with lures is imperative when avoiding any incidents. Soft plastic fishing lures, for example, can be eye-catching for young fisherfolk, though certain brands carry significant health warnings and shouldn’t be handled by children who may be prone to putting them in their mouths. Lead weights can present as another concern, though considering tungsten alternatives can allow for peace of mind when preparing your tackle box.
For tourists planning a trip to Scandinavia during the winter months, there are plenty of opportunities for adventure beyond seeing the northern lights and picturesque surroundings — particularly when it comes to fishing. With a rich fishing culture, abundance of species to catch and the chance to experience a range of fishing types, the winter months bring a variety of options that make Scandinavia the ideal winter holiday location.
Planning a Winter Adventure: Fishing Trips in Scandinavia, written dedicatedly for Daily Scandinavian by Karoline Gore. Karoline is a freelance writer from Stoke on Trent in the UK who left the corporate grind when she started a family and has never looked back. She enjoys contributing to a range of online publications on the topics that are important to her.
Feature image (on top): © Hert Niks/Pexels