The Norwegian Queen of Salmon Rivers

The Norwegian Queen of Salmon Rivers

Namsen is a 229-kilometer-long river in North-Trøndelag. Its springs are in the Børgefjell National Park and its estuary near the town of Namsos. Learn more about the Norwegian Queen of salmon rivers.

However, the Queen also has several princesses to choose between, and is therefore one of Norway’s best salmon fishing places. The Namsen River runs through the county of Nord-Trøndelag in the northern part of Central Norway. This is the country’s heartland, where rich agricultural plains contrast with majestic mountains and a rocky coastline. Although the Namsen is not the longest river in Norway, it’s certainly one of the most powerful.

The Namsen is famous for its big salmon, with fish weighing more than 20 kg (40 pound) being caught every year. Fishing by boat – known as harling – is customary, and both the boats and fishing methods used are very traditional. The fisherman can have several rods out at the same time while his private oarsman takes the boat downstream.

The Norwegian Queen of Salmon Rivers
The Namsen River runs through the county of Nord-Trøndelag in the northern part of Central Norway. Photo:

Related: Salmon Fishing in Norway

The Sanddøla, Nordelva, Bjøra and Høyland watercourse (which includes Eidsvatnet, Eida, Grongstadvatnet and Søråa) are also wonderful rivers for salmon fishing. In traditional English style, harling is a common fishing method in the Namsen. Combining flair and their knowledge of salmon, skilled rowers guide you down the river while you take care of two or three rods.

The river is steeped in history. It first came to prominence in the 19th century when adventurous British fishermen first started visiting the river, returning with stories not just of the abundance of salmon but also of many huge salmon!

The largest salmon caught on a rod in Namsen weighed 31.5 kilos (69.4 pounds). In 2009, a salmon of 24.7 kilos (54.5 pounds) was caught, which is a record in recent times.

The Norwegian Queen of Salmon Rivers
The Namsen is famous for its big salmon, with fish weighing more than 20 kg (40 pound) being caught every year. Photo: Jan Arild Landstad/Visit Namdalen

Related: Scandinavian Salmon

The Høyland watercourse comprises the following rivers: Søråda, Eida, Flakken and Flåttelva. With an average weight of 5-6 kg, the river Bjøra is known as the river in the Namsen watercourse with the biggest salmon. Read more about salmon fishing in the river Bjøra.

Double-handed rods are almost mandatory as even in low-water the Namsen is a big and powerful river.   The fly-fishing on the river really starts to get going from mid-late June when the water levels have dropped.  Regardless of when you go, having a full range of flies from floating to fast sink is always recommended.

The Norwegian Queen of Salmon Rivers
Namsenn seen from Kvatningenfjell. Namsos in the background. Photo: Wikipedia

In addition to salmon, there is also trout and the salmon species namsblank, a raw cold relict salmon. Relict salmon are salmon species that live their whole lives in fresh water.

The river Sanddøla is ideal for fly fishing from the bank, but fishing from a boat is possible in the lower reaches of the river. The average size of salmon caught in the river is 4-6 kg, which is slightly higher than the average for the river Namsen. Read more about salmon fishing in the river Sanddøla.

During bright sunny days in mid-July sometimes success is best found at the bottom of some of the deeper pools.   Although a strict rotation is not in place, the river is roughly broken up into 4 beats.  The size of the river and the fact that it is all double-bank means at no time does one feel confined.

The Norwegian Queen of Salmon Rivers
Train crossing Namsen. Photo: Visit Norway

Related: A Norwegian Eldorado for Anglers

Just beaten by the Tana River in Finnmark and the two South Trøndelag salmon paradises Gaula and Orkla, Namsen holds its place as Norway’s fourth best salmon river.

The Middle beat consists of both the excellent and productive Home Pool as well as some of the most scenic stretches of fishing at Namsentunet.  Fast streamy water and classic necks and tails make this feel like a very fishy area!

“Salmon have their ways at different water levels. It is the fisherman who gets the fish, but it is the rower who controls the boat, “says a harling boatman.

The Norwegian Queen of Salmon Rivers, written by Tor Kjolberg

Feature image (on top): Photo by Visit Grong.

Previous article8 Things to Know Before Moving to Denmark
Next articleAquavit and Whisky Festival in Southern Norway
Avatar photo
Journalist, PR and marketing consultant Tor Kjolberg has several degrees in marketing management. He started out as a marketing manager in Scandinavian companies and his last engagement before going solo was as director in one of Norway’s largest corporations. Tor realized early on that writing engaging stories was more efficient and far cheaper than paying for ads. He wrote hundreds of articles on products and services offered by the companies he worked for. Thus, he was attuned to the fact that storytelling was his passion.


  1. Goodday Tor,
    I have been reading yr article about fishing/harling in the river Namsen. I will fish there for the first time 11-17/623 in Overhalla hotel beats, usually I flyfish, but because of my poor mobility at 83 years I will try harling.
    Do youy know of any videos about harling for salmon , preferably in Namsen ?
    Thanks a lot
    Gilbert Pieters

Comments are closed.