Fishing in Lofoten
Get a truly unique fishing experience in Lofoten. The annual Lofoten fishery gives you the chance to challenge the temperature, the weather and – of course – the big cod.
The Lofoten fishery
Let’s start at the beginning: The Lofoten fishery is a winter activity. You can fish in the summer, but if you want to experience authentic cod fishing in Lofoten, you need to visit Lofoten between January and April.
At the beginning of each year, the Northeast Arctic cod (skrei) returns to the fjords of Lofoten to spawn. It’s time for the commercial fishermen to put on their traditional sou’wester, get in their boats and head out to sea.
This has been the case for centuries. In fact, it dates back as far back as the Viking Age, when stockfish first became Norway’s largest export product.
How do you go on a fishing trip in Lofoten?
The first thing you need to do is get to Lofoten, which you can achieve by aircraft, bus or boat. When you get here, you can either fish from the shore or from a boat. If you aspire to experience the authentic Lofoten fishery, we certainly recommend going out in a boat.
Many companies offer organised fishing trips. Alternatively, you can rent your own boat and head out on your own, provided you have a boatman’s licence. However, we still recommend going on an organised tour because the guides often know exactly where the fish are.
If you really want to make your trip a special experience, you can also add an overnight stay in unique accommodation such as a rorbu (fishermen’s cottage) – just like the fishermen did in days gone by.
Thon Hotel Svolvær honours our cultural heritage in a different – and equally unique – way. This is that only hotel in Norway that has its own fish reception and processing facility, where the guests can gut and pack their own fish.
What gear do you need to fish in Lofoten?
That depends a bit on you, to be honest. If you are a passionate angler, you will no doubt have full control of the gear you need.
Did you know that Lofoten has plenty to offer for passionate anglers? Read more in this guide about sportfishing in Lofoten.
How to dress when you go on a fishing trip
It’s best to wear too much clothing rather than too little. We recommend wearing three layers and taking an extra woollen sweater in case you freeze.
– Woollen underwear as the base layer
– Wool or similar as the middle layer
– Waterproof/windproof clothing or a warm coverall as the outer layer
– Hat and mittens
For those who prefer being on land
We are aware that not everyone has the sea legs of a fisherman. If you are among those who thrive best on land, you can still get a lot of pleasure from Lofoten cod.
It’s almost impossible to exaggerate the role that fish, especially the Northeast Arctic cod (skrei), has played throughout the Lofoten archipelago – both economically and culturally. Naturally, this is reflected in the culture. Fish restaurants and museums are examples of how you can experience the influence and role of the fish without the risk of getting seasick. How about experiencing fresh fish in the Lofoten Seafood restaurant in Mortsund Vestvågøy?
Here are some of our favourite places to learn more about the Northeast Arctic cod (skrei):
If you feel your stomach rumbling, perhaps it’s time to visit one of these restaurants:
Or see all restaurants and places to eat in Lofoten below
Frequently Asked Questions about fishing in Lofoten
The most common species are cod (skrei), saithe, haddock and herring.
The Northeast Arctic cod (skrei) migrates to the inner coast of Lofoten to spawn from January to April.
All companies that operate tourist fishing trips have gear you can use. They provide fishing gear, warm thermal suits and life jackets. Remember to bring warm clothes!
No, only companies that operate tourist fishing trips are permitted to take guests on board their boat.
Yes, you can take your catch home if you wish. If you are travelling by air, remember to pack the fish properly and ensure you don’t exceed your baggage allowance.
Ask where you are staying if they have a cold storage room or similar that you can use.
Yes, several companies rent out boats. Please note that the person renting the boat must be born before 1980 or boatman’s licence or equivalent.
Yes, you can fish in the sea from the shore year-round. If you want to fish in lakes or rivers, you must buy a local fishing licence from the landowner during the specific fishing season that applies.