Fishing in Sweden: The Complete 2024 Guide

Kristian Ole

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Ever since my first fishing trip to Sweden as an 18-year-old back in the year 2000, I’ve been captivated by Sweden’s incredible fishing opportunities. That memorable trip took me to Härjedalen, where I caught my first grayling and brown trout, images of which you’ll see later in this article.

With the expertise of good friends like Stefan, who runs the famous Fiskeshopen at Mörrum, I’ve delved into Sweden’s rich and diverse fishing scene. From that first experience nearly two decades ago to today, Sweden continues to amaze me with its variety of fish species suitable for all types of anglers.

Today, I’ll walk you through fishing in Sweden, covering everything from popular destinations and fish species to techniques and regulations.

Sweden’s Fishing Landscape

Sweden’s fishing landscape is as varied as it is beautiful. From the lush, winding rivers and expansive freshwater lakes to the rugged coastlines, each region offers a unique fishing experience. This diversity makes Sweden an angler’s paradise, capable of catering to all sorts of fishing interests, whether it’s fly fishing for trout in a crystal-clear stream or trolling for massive pike in a deep lake.

morrum river sweden
Stefan’s legendary Fiskeshopen at Mörrum River

Rivers and Canals

The country is crisscrossed by numerous rivers and canals that serve as productive habitats for a range of freshwater fish. Rivers like the Torne, running through the northern wilderness, are famous for their salmon and sea trout. Central and southern regions also boast waterways like the Dal River and the Göta Canal, offering excellent opportunities for pike and perch.

Freshwater Lakes

Sweden is a land of lakes; it’s estimated that there are nearly 100,000 of them! From iconic giants like Lake Vättern and Lake Mälaren to smaller, more secluded bodies of water, these lakes are brimming with fish species like pike, perch, zander, and various kinds of trout and char.

Coast

The Swedish coastline, stretching along the Baltic Sea and the Gulf of Bothnia, offers exceptional saltwater fishing. Areas like Bohuslän and Skåne are particularly well-known for their saltwater species such as cod, herring, and mackerel. Additionally, some coastal areas offer the rare opportunity to catch freshwater and saltwater fish, thanks to the brackish water.

Alpine & Arctic Waters

Those willing to venture into Sweden’s northernmost territories will find a world of pristine fishing in Alpine and Arctic settings. Laponia, for instance, provides a unique, rugged landscape where you can fish for Arctic char and grayling in virtually untouched waters.

Popular Fish Species in Sweden

Sweden’s diverse waters are a haven for various fish species, making it a top destination for anglers worldwide. From the adrenaline-pumping chase of a monster pike to the subtle art of fly fishing for brown trout, Sweden offers something for everyone.

Freshwater Fish

Salmon

Salmon caught in Sweden

One of the most sought-after species, especially in the northern rivers like the Torne. Known for its vigorous fight and delicious meat, salmon in Sweden can weigh up to 20-30 kg.

Uwe Lehrer caught a salmon in Bergeforsen that weighed an impressive 29.2 kilograms.

Sea Trout

Sea Trout in Sweden
Kristian’s Sea Trout caught in Sweden

Commonly found in rivers and streams that flow into the sea, sea trout are prized for their elusive nature and challenging fight. They are particularly popular in rivers like the Mörrum in southern Sweden.

The world’s largest sea trout was caught in Mörrum River in 1993, weighing in at a staggering 18.36 kilograms.

Brown Trout

brown trout sweden
Kristian with his first brown trout

Frequents cold, clear waters of lakes and rivers across Sweden. Especially popular among fly fishermen, brown trout are known for their beautiful coloration and agile movements.

Char

It is mostly found in the colder waters of northern Sweden, particularly in alpine lakes. They are a favorite among those looking to fish in less crowded and pristine environments.

Grayling

Grayling caugth in Sweden
Kristian with Grayling

Common in both rivers and lakes, particularly in the northern and central regions. Graylings are popular among fly fishermen due to their keen appetite for dry flies.

Pike

Pike caught in Sweden

Known as the ‘water wolf,’ pike are found in almost all types of freshwater bodies across Sweden. They can grow up to 20 kg and are known for their aggressive behavior and powerful fight.

Perch

A popular fish for beginners and seasoned anglers alike, perch are widespread in Swedish lakes and rivers. They’re easy to catch and offer a fun, light fight.

Zander

Found mainly in larger lakes and rivers, zander is similar to perch but generally larger and more challenging to catch. They are known for their excellent taste and are highly sought after in Swedish cuisine.

Saltwater Fish

Salmon

Also found in saltwater, particularly along the Swedish coastline where rivers meet the sea, offering an alternative environment for anglers targeting this species.

Sea Trout

Two sea trouts caught in Sweden

Similar to freshwater sea trout but more abundant in coastal areas like Bohuslän and Skåne. A favorite for both trolling and spin fishing.

Cod

Cod caught in Sweden

Predominantly caught in the deeper, colder saltwater of the North Sea. Popular among boat fishermen, cod can weigh up to 20-30 kg and are excellent for eating.

Herring

Found along the entire coastline, herring are often targeted for their meat and roe. They are a staple in Swedish cuisine and can be caught using a variety of methods, including netting and trolling.

Mackerel

Mackerel Sweden

Common in warmer months along the southern coast, mackerel are fast and agile, offering a fun fight on light tackle. They are also excellent when smoked or grilled.

Sweden is a paradise for anglers, offering diverse fishing environments and species to target. From the untamed rivers of Laponia in the north to the tranquil lakes of Småland in the south, each region offers something unique for every fishing enthusiast.

Northern Sweden

Fishing Spots in Northern Sweden

Laponia

  • Best Season: June to September
  • Popular Species: Arctic Char, Grayling
  • Fishing Methods: Fly Fishing, Spin Fishing

Laponia is a UNESCO World Heritage Site, known for its untouched natural beauty. The region offers some of the purest fishing waters in Sweden, making it an ideal location for those seeking solitude and pristine conditions. Arctic char and grayling are the stars here, best caught using fly fishing techniques during the short but vibrant summer season.

Torne River

  • Best Season: June to August
  • Popular Species: Salmon, Sea Trout
  • Fishing Methods: Fly Fishing, Spin Fishing

Running through the northern wilderness, the Torne River is renowned for its robust salmon and sea trout populations. Fishing is best during the summer months when these species make their way up the river. Both fly fishing and spin fishing are popular methods for targeting these powerful fish.

Central Sweden

Fishing Spots in Central Sweden

Lake Vättern

  • Best Season: May to September
  • Popular Species: Brown Trout, Zander, Perch
  • Fishing Methods: Trolling, Spin Fishing

Lake Vättern is the second-largest lake in Sweden and offers a broad range of fishing opportunities. Brown trout are a particular draw, best targeted using trolling methods. Zander and perch are also abundant, making this an excellent location for spin fishing.

Lake Mälaren

  • Best Season: April to October
  • Popular Species: Pike, Perch, Zander
  • Fishing Methods: Spin Fishing, Trolling

Situated near Stockholm, Lake Mälaren is one of Sweden’s most accessible fishing locations. Pike are especially popular here and can be caught using various techniques, though spin fishing is the most common. Late spring and early fall are considered the best times for pike, while perch and zander fishing remain productive throughout the summer.

Southern Sweden

Fishing Spots in Southern Sweden

Öland

  • Best Season: April to October
  • Popular Species: Sea Trout, Pike
  • Fishing Methods: Fly Fishing, Spin Fishing

Öland, an island in the Baltic Sea, offers a mix of saltwater and brackish fishing opportunities. Sea trout are plentiful in the spring and fall, best targeted using fly fishing or light spinning gear.

Gotland

  • Best Season: May to September
  • Popular Species: Sea Trout, Cod
  • Fishing Methods: Spin Fishing, Trolling

Another Baltic Sea island, Gotland provides excellent saltwater fishing opportunities. Sea trout are popular in the spring and fall, while cod fishing is best during the summer months, commonly caught through trolling.

Mörrum

  • Best Season: March to October
  • Popular Species: Salmon, Sea Trout
  • Fishing Methods: Fly Fishing, Spin Fishing

The Mörrum River in southern Sweden is famous for its large salmon and sea trout. Fly fishing is particularly effective here, especially during the early spring and late fall when these fish are most active.

Coastal Areas

Coastal Fishing Spots in Sweden

Bohuslän

  • Best Season: June to September
  • Popular Species: Cod, Mackerel, Sea Trout
  • Fishing Methods: Trolling, Spin Fishing

The Bohuslän coastline along the western part of Sweden is excellent for saltwater fishing. Summer is the prime season, with species like cod, mackerel, and sea trout available. Trolling is often the go-to method for catching these fish.

Skåne

  • Best Season: April to October
  • Popular Species: Cod, Herring, Sea Trout
  • Fishing Methods: Spin Fishing, Trolling

Located in the southernmost part of Sweden, Skåne offers diverse saltwater fishing. The area is rich in cod, herring, and sea trout, best caught using spin fishing or trolling techniques during the warmer months.

Types of Fishing in Sweden

Spin Fishing

Spin fishing is perhaps the most accessible and widely used technique in Sweden, suitable for beginners and experts alike. The method involves casting a spinning lure into the water and retrieving it, often with varying speeds and actions to attract fish.

Spin fishing is commonly used for targeting predatory species like pike, perch, and zander. It’s particularly popular in areas with abundant freshwater bodies like Lake Mälaren and Lake Vättern.

Fly Fishing

Fly Fishing in Sweden

Fly fishing is an art form as much as a fishing technique. This method involves casting a lightweight fly on the water’s surface to mimic natural food. Fly fishing is often considered a purer form of angling, requiring skill, patience, and finesse.

Fly fishing is the technique of choice for targeting species like salmon, brown trout, grayling, and Arctic char, especially in the clear, fast-flowing rivers of Sweden and in alpine lakes. It’s also increasingly popular for sea trout in coastal areas.

In Sweden, fly fishing often incorporates traditional flies tied using locally sourced materials. There is a strong catch-and-release culture among fly fishermen, particularly for species like salmon and brown trout, to help sustain the populations.

Trolling

Trolling involves dragging lures or baited hooks from a slowly moving boat. The technique is particularly effective in deeper waters where casting is less practical.

Fishing Regulations and Licensing in Sweden

Fishing Regulations and Licensing

Fishing in Sweden is subject to various laws and regulations to promote sustainable fishing practices and preserve the natural ecosystems. It is crucial for both local and visiting anglers to be aware of these rules to enjoy a legal and responsible fishing experience.

Fishing License Requirements

Almost all types of fishing in Sweden require a fishing license. These licenses can often be purchased online, at local tourism offices, or even at some fishing shops. Buying a license corresponding to the specific area where you plan to fish is essential, as licenses are usually location-specific.

For tourists, especially those from outside the EU, getting clarity on the necessary permits for the intended fishing locations is essential. Short-term licenses are generally available and can range from a day to several weeks.

Regional Regulations and Closed Seasons

Different regions have specific regulations, including restrictions on the types of bait and tackle you can use, size limits, bag limits, and even designated fishing areas. Some waters might be entirely off-limits during certain times of the year.

Certain species have closed seasons to protect them during spawning. For example, many rivers have closed seasons for salmon and sea trout, usually in the spring. Always check the local regulations to make sure you’re fishing legally.

Conservation and Sustainability Practices

Sweden strongly emphasizes conservation, and catch and release is encouraged, especially for certain species and in specific waters. Proper handling of the fish is crucial to ensure their survival upon release.

Some species are protected year-round due to their declining populations or ecological importance. Fishing for these species is strictly prohibited, and it is crucial to release them carefully if caught accidentally.

Anglers are encouraged to use sustainable gear and tackle, such as lead-free weights, to minimize their environmental impact. Eco-friendly practices like cleaning up after oneself and respecting wildlife are also highly encouraged.

Related: Check out my guide to fishing in Denmark

Professional Fishing Services and Community in Sweden

Fishing is more than just a solitary pastime; it’s a community activity that brings people together through shared adventures, learning experiences, or conservation efforts.

Fishing Charters and Guides

Fishing charters provide anglers with a guided experience, often including a boat, gear, and an expert guide who knows the local waters intimately. This service is particularly useful for visitors who may not be familiar with Swedish fishing spots and species.

Major tourist destinations and fishing hotspots like Lake Vättern, the Torne River, and coastal areas like Bohuslän often have multiple charter services. Booking in advance is highly recommended, especially during peak fishing seasons.

Normally included in these:

  • Personalized instruction on fishing techniques and local methods
  • Access to prime fishing spots that are often less crowded
  • All gear and tackle are usually provided, simplifying your preparation

Local and Online Fishing Shops

Sweden has a wealth of fishing shops, ranging from local mom-and-pop stores to larger franchises and online retailers. These stores offer a variety of fishing gear, bait, and sometimes even fishing licenses.

Major cities like Stockholm, Gothenburg, and Malmö have extensive fishing stores, but you’ll also find shops in smaller towns near popular fishing locations. Online stores offer the advantage of shopping from anywhere but consider checking out local shops for area-specific advice.

Fishing Clubs and Organizations

Fishing clubs and organizations play a significant role in Sweden’s angling community. They offer a social platform for like-minded individuals to connect and often spearhead conservation efforts.

You can find information about fishing clubs and organizations through local community boards, fishing shops, or online platforms dedicated to fishing in Sweden. Membership is often open to everyone, including tourists staying for an extended period.

Check out some of these facebook groups:

Fishing Parks (Put and Take) in Sweden

fishing Parks in Sweden

Fishing parks, also known as “Put and Take” lakes, are specialized fishing locations where fish are regularly stocked to offer anglers a more guaranteed catch. These venues are particularly popular among families, beginners, or those looking for a more relaxed fishing experience without sacrificing the thrill of the catch.

Ödevata Fiskecamp

Located in Emmaboda, in the heart of Småland, Ödevata Fiskecamp is known for its stocked rainbow trout and pike. It’s a great destination for family fishing outings, offering cottages, boat rentals, and fishing gear for rent. You can read more on their website.

Kronobergs Sportfiske

Situated in Kronoberg County, Kronobergs Sportfiske is stocked primarily with rainbow trout. The park provides an excellent chance for successful fishing for anglers of all levels. It also offers fishing gear rentals and a well-maintained picnic area. Learn more on their website.

Kroksjöns Fiskecamp

Located in the Halland region near Halmstad, Kroksjöns Fiskecamp is known for its well-stocked lakes featuring rainbow trout and char. The camp offers cabin rentals and fishing equipment, making it ideal for an extended stay. Check out their website here.

Smålandsfiskarna

Situated in the scenic Småland province, Smålandsfiskarna is an angler’s dream with various stocked fish, including rainbow trout, pike, and perch. Aside from fishing, the area offers hiking trails and picnic spots for a perfect day in nature. Learn more on their website.

Related: Interested in Fishing in Thailand? Read my complete guide

FAQs

Does Sweden have good fishing?

Yes, Sweden offers excellent fishing opportunities. With a diverse range of environments from rivers, and lakes to coastal areas, Sweden is a paradise for anglers.

Do you need a license to fish in Sweden?

Yes, you do need a fishing license to fish in most waters in Sweden. The type and cost of the license can vary depending on the location and type of fishing you plan to do. Some fishing parks may include the license in their fees, but you’ll need to purchase a separate license for most natural bodies of water.

What type of fish is popular in Sweden?

Sweden offers a diverse range of popular fish species to target. You’ll commonly find salmon, sea trout, brown trout, char, grayling, pike, perch, and zander in freshwater. In saltwater, popular species include salmon, sea trout, cod, herring, and mackerel.

kristian-ole-roerbye-fishingkris

About Kristian Ole

Kristian Ole Rørbye, a marine biologist and seasoned angler, shares his fishing adventures and expertise on FishingKris. Join him as he explores the world's waters, one cast at a time.

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