Cozy Evening Cruise
The mysterious Årøy river
Sogndal - Barsnes - Sogndal
Price: 245 NOK
Since the 1840s there has been sport fishing for salmon in the Årøy river. For long periods the fishing rights have been leased to wealthy and eccentric foreigners. This has meant that there is something mysterious about the fishing for salmon in this short, but rapid river. The section of the river where salmon can be caught is only 1500 metres long. For 300 metres the river runs so rapidly that fishing is impossible.
A water flow between 130 to 140 cubic metres per second is not unusual in the Årøy river which to a large extent is filled with melt water from the Jostedal Glacier. The length of the upper, rapid stretch where fishing can take place is 900 metres. There fishing can take place from the riverbanks and from the legendary bridges out into the river. In the lower stretch of about 300 metres the river is influenced by the changing tides. There the river runs more smoothly, and it is possible to fish from land, by wading into the river or from boats. In order to reach the spawning grounds, the Årøy salmon has developed into a short and sturdy size, just like the river itself. It spawns relatively early in the season.
In addition, the Årøy salmon is renowned for its size. The reason for this is that this salmon stock frequently remains three years longer in the ocean than other wild salmon stocks before returning to spawn. There are few, if any, of other Norwegian salmon rivers that can match the number of 30-plus kilos fished in the Årøy river.
The Årøy river is regulated. “Sognekraft” started up a new power station in 1983. The power station produces 90 MW, 337 GWh. After the regulation the power company must release 50 000 salmon fry every year. Today the annual release is 5000 lice-fed smolt every year.
Today fewer salmon are fished than what was the case earlier. The average weight has also been reduced, even if big salmon are still caught here. The normal annual catch today is between 800 and 1000 kilos. Between 80 and 90% of the catch is “catch and release”. This means, of course, that the salmon is released into the river. 90% of the salmon taken in the Årøy come from the hatchery at Årøy. Fry from this river has been released into other rivers – one of these is the river Jølstra in Førde.
It is the Munthe family who owns the fishing rights in the Årøy waterways ever since 1746. Today Nina and Knut Munthe Olsen are the tenth generation who run the farm and manage the river. Up until 2012 the Årøy river was leased on long-term contracts. After that year the concept has been changed. The style in the Årøy river has become more casual than before. Today people have to lease on an all-inclusive contract; first-class accommodation, guiding and food with Knut Munthe Olsen as cook. It costs about 70 000 kroner per day to lease the Årøy river and then everything is included. More people can of course fish on the same lease and thus share the expenses.