If you want to fish in a freshwater source like a lake or river in Norway, you will need to buy a fishing permit for that particular water. These are often very cheap, but you can get fined if you don’t get a fishing permit before trying your luck at catching a fish.
It can be a bit convoluted to buy fishing permits in Norway, and it was actually considered very difficult for foreigners until a few years ago when it moved to be online. So, let’s take a look at how you can buy a fishing permit (or fishing card as they are known as here)!
The easiest way of buying a fishing permit in Norway is to use the website inatur.no. Click on “Meny”, then “English” to access the English version of the site, then click on “Freshwater Fishing” or “Salmon Fishing” to find the place you want to buy a fishing card for. Pay with your credit card, and you get the fishing permit in your e-mail inbox.
It’s actually pretty easy now that everything is online, and you can buy your fishing permit months or weeks in advance before actually coming to Norway. Then everything is ready for when you get here and want to go fishing.
PS. keep in mind that this article is about fishing in a freshwater source. You do not need a fishing permit to fish in the ocean, and that’s completely free of charge.
A closer look at buying fishing permits from inatur.no
Pretty much all the popular fishing spots (and then some) sell their fishing cards on inatur, and it’s by far the most popular website to buy fishing permits from. You will find that most places have their fishing permit listed there.
When you access the website, make sure to click on the “Meny” button on the top right of the website. Click on “English” to get it changed from Norwegian to English, which will hopefully make it a lot easier to understand (you are reading this information in English after all!).
From there, choose either “Salmon fishing” if you want to buy a fishing permit for catching salmon, or “Freshwater fishing” for all other species of fish. Salmon fishing cards are much more expensive, and limited to the salmon rivers in Norway. There are obviously very popular for sport fishermen.
After having selected your type of fishing, type in the area or municipality you want to buy a fishing permit for. You can also type in the name of the lake or river, but keep in mind that many fishing permits are for larger areas, so not all single lakes or rivers have their own permit.
When you find the fishing permit you want to buy, choose the dates. The English version of inatur is not really that great, so some Norwegian words that will pop up when you are ordering your fishing permit are:
- Dagskort: “Day card”, last for a single date.
- Ukeskort: “Week card”, last for 7 days.
- Månedskort: “Month card”, last for 30 days or a calendar month.
- Sesongkort: “Season card”, last the entire fishing season (usually March to the end of September).
You will want to read the field called “Detailed description / information” before buying. This will tell you the limits to the fishing cards, which lakes and rivers are included, and special regulations for the area. This is unfortunately not always in English, so give it a spin on Google Translate.
After all that is done, choose your dates and click “Add to cart“. Now use your credit card to pay, and choose which e-mail address to get the fishing permit sent to. The fishing card and the receipt is the same thing, so make sure that save that for offline access (since many fishing places have limited data access).
And that’s pretty much it! You’ve got your fishing permit in order, so all you need to do now is to actually go and fish.
Other options for buying fishing permits
Iantur.no is pretty much the only website that has a big range of different fishing permits online, but there are still many places that sell physical fishing permits.
It’s common to be able to buy fishing permits at local gas stations and from hunting and fishing stores in towns. So you can ask at a local gas station in a place if they sell fishing permits, and chances are pretty high that they do. If not, they can usually point you out in the right direction.
That said, it’s getting more and more uncommon to be able to buy physical fishing cards in Norway, and most places are moving to selling them online at inatur. It’s just so much easier for everyone involved to have it completely digital, so you might as well get used to buying them digitally yourself.
How much does a fishing permit cost in Norway?
The price for a fishing permit can vary by a huge amount. Some common non-salmon fishing permits are as cheap as 20 – 30 Norwegian kroner per day, but anywhere between 50 and 150 NOK is common.
The price for fishing salmon is a whole different beast! It’s common to pay around 300 – 500 NOK for a fishing permit for a single day in most salmon rivers, but the best salmon rivers can be much more expensive. For example, the famous Namsen River will cost you 2,200 NOK per day!
The freshwater sources and fishing rights are owned by private ground owners
Many people mistakenly assume that fishing in Norway is part of the freedom to roam, but it is not for freshwater sources. The freshwater sources like lakes and rivers are in fact owned either by private individuals who own the ground, or by the municipality. These also own the right to fish at these sources, but are subject to national regulations for fishing.
The freshwater sources owned by the municipality tend to the rented out to the local hunting and fishing clubs (Norges Jeger- og Fiskerforbund) for that area. They are then responsible for managing fishing permits for the area.
It’s a different story for the ocean. All of the ocean is owned by the government, and is a part of the freedom to roam. This is why you don’t need to buy a fishing permit to go saltwater fishing in Norway.
Don’t forget to pay the national fishing fee
If you want to catch salmon, sea trout or arctic char anywhere in Norway, you need to pay a national fishing fee. This is required in addition to the fishing permit you buy. This is a 286 NOK fee that you pay directly to Miljødirektoratet (Norwegian Environment Agency) here. You will need to pay this in advance before paying a fishing permit for fishing salmon.
You do not need this if you want to catch other fish than salmon, sea trout or arctic char. However, fishing in a river known to have salmon will also require you to have pay this. You can easily be able to tell if you need to pay this fee or not based on the fact that you are either buying a “freshwater fishing card” or a “salmon fishing card” from inatur. If it’s the latter, pay the national fishing fee.
Children can fish for free – almost anywhere!
All children below the age of 16 can fish for free in most rivers and lakes in Norway, and do not need to buy a fishing permit. This applied for children who are fishing by themselves, or for children who are fishing together with adults that own a fishing permit for the area.
There is just a single exception. This exception is that children cannot fish for salmon, sea trout or arctic char for free. These are the same fish that triggers the national fishing fee. Children don’t actually need to pay the national fishing fee, but they will need a fishing permits in these areas.
So unfortunately children cannot go salmon fishing for free, even in Norway!
Adults will need to pay a fishing fee and buy a fishing permit to fish salmon, sea trout or arctic char, but children only need to buy the fishing permit.