Faroese trout and salmon on the hook

To go fishing in the Faroe Islands is a quite special experience, to encounter sheer isolation in the midst of such beautiful landscape. Concen­trating solely on the movement of the rod and nature’s im­pression; and then of course, there is nothing like the taste of a fresh fish you have caught yourself.

The species of fish found in the Faroese lakes and streams, are brown trout, lake trout, sea trout and salmon and in many places, it is possible to find all of them at the same time. Sea trout and salmon can also be caught on the coast. Various trout are in fact the same species, but appearance and behaviour are quite different. Although the Faroese salmon do not grow very large, you are allowed to take home any fish that is longer than 30cm.

It has been an old custom to release trout into the Faroese lakes in order to have bait for sea fishing and therefore it is possible to find trout in many lakes that would not normally occur naturally.

The most interesting lakes and small rivers for trout fishing are on the islands of Streymoy, Eysturoy, Vágar and Sandoy, whilst the northern isles and other smaller islands have fewer good places to fish. Suðuroy and Hestoy have some real fishing gems and there are good coasts for sea trout fishing on Suðuroy. The most popular lakes for angling are Leynarvatn on Streymoy and Sandsvatn on Sandoy where anglers are attracted by the possibility of a good catch. Both lakes contain all types of trout and salmon.

The rainbow trout is not common to the Faroes but was imported from Denmark in the 50’s and 60’s. They are rare but can sometimes be caught in the streams and lakes. On the other hand, the arctic char is common to the islands and can be traced back to before the last ice age. It resembles a trout or salmon but is identified by its long, slim body covered in tiny scales. It is often paler than a trout or salmon, has a greenish back and yellowy white sides.

Your normal fishing tackle is suitable for coastal fishing as the methods used here are similar to those throughout Northern Europe, but a much lighter tackle is needed when fishing in lakes and streams. Fly rods are typically small, one handed rods and trout are caught using a fly, spinner, lure or bait. The bait is often shrimp or worm, but some anglers have success with caddis fly larvae and in previous times, mussels were also used. The wind on the Faroes can cause problems, especially if fly-fishing. Attrac­tor flies are usually sizes 10-14.

The local anglers have their personal favourite places to fish. Some swear by the lakes on Sandoy, some will only fish in Saksun, while others point out the two remote lakes on Vágar as the best. Fjallavatn and Hvilt­kinnavatn lie in a beautiful scenic area surrounded by green mountains. The walk from the nearest village is delightful.

Kissa, the famous Tórshavn draper from the last century, loved these two lakes in parti­cular. In his memoirs, he tells how his grandfather from Sørvágur used to take him along on his fishing trips, even if it was pouring with rain. Rain is in fact the best weather for catching trout. They caught a gigantic trout weighing 12 pounds in Hviltkinnavatn. However, this was just a tiddler in comparison to the legendary trout caught approxi­mately 100 years ago in the small lake called Skælingstjørn on Streymoy. That fish was said to have weighed 23 pounds and was sold at auction in Tórshavn. The size of trout can vary from place to place and is dependent on its diet and ability to survive in competition with other fish. They normally weigh only 1-2 pounds, so it is necessary to catch several in order to have enough for a good dinner. In return, the taste is excellent.

Salmon fishing is a complete science in itself and can be pursued on the coast and in the large lakes. The fjords and shores on Streymoy and Eysturoy are popular places as is Sandur on Sandoy.

Fishing in rivers and streams is permitted from 1 May until 31 August. Fishing permits can be bought at the nearest local tourist centre, where copies of the Sports fishing brochure are also available. Fishing permits are relatively inexpensive compared to other countries. Read more on www.sportsfiskeri.fo where you will find a review of all the best places to fish in the Faroe Islands, together with tips on technique and choice of tackle. A visit to the tourist information office is necessary before a fishing trip to get the best advice on geography and the latest information regarding weather conditions. It is also a good idea to leave word where you intend to go as the Faroese fog can descend quite suddenly.
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Publisher: Pf. Sansir, Lucas Debesar gøta 3, FO-110 Tórshavn, Færøerne, Tel. +298 355 355, Fax +298 355 350, www.sansir.fo, info(at)sansir.fo. Advertising: Sansir. Text: Gunnar Hoydal, Dánial Hoydal, Katrina í Geil, Tatjana Johnsson and others. Special thanks to: The tourist informations and VisitFaroeIslands Copyrights © Permission is required from publisher and author to reproduce text. Permission is required from photographer to reproduce photos.