© 2017 by Gyda Antonie Nullmeyer. 

SALMON FISHING IN VEFSNA

Fishing in Vefsna
 

“It was the English who taught the Vefsning how to fish”

- Johan Erlandsen, intermediary between English anglers and Norwegian authorities.

 

The first English anglers were supposedly fishing in Vefsna as early the 1830 and by mid-century there were anglers from England every season.

 

Vefsna is a vast river reaching over 160 km from its source in Børgefjell national park to its estuary in the Vefsnfjord by the city of Mosjøen. The river is characterized by its many rapids and water falls, with Laksforsen and Forsjordforsen as the most impressive. To help the salmon to reach its spawning grounds furthest up river, there have been built fourteen fish ladders. The first was finished as early as 1871 and was built by the Brodtkorb family.

 

One of the best beats in the river is the pool below the Forsjord water fall, called Forsjordio. In the good old days catching 350 to 400 salmon was considered a good year in the Forsjord beat. In 1921 anglers caught over 500 salmon in the pool, with an average weight of 10 kilograms.  Two years later was also a good year at Forsjord and colonel Cotton – English angler and a frequent visitor at Forsjord – decided to make a record attempt for catching the most salmon in a single day. His venture was a success and they had such a busy time hauling in one salmon after another, that there was no time to go back to the house for dinner, having their meal by the river bank instead. At the end of the day over 32 salmons were spread all over Naustberget. A great achievement for Cotton, who must share the glory with his rower Knut Forsjord.

Tragedy hits

 

In 1978 Vefsna was hit by the devastating Gyrodactylus salaris. Gyrodactylus is a parasite who targets young salmon, quickly diminishing fish stocks. In an attempt to reduce the contagion, the Laksfors fish ladder was closed, reducing available span for anadromous fish to 32 km.

 

After years of struggle to get Vefsna on the Governments plan for rivers scheduled to be treated. The rescue operation has been by far the most extensive in Norway, with more than 20 tributaries and adjacent watersheds. The first part of the treatment started in 2011. In 2017, five years after the last part of the treatment was completed, Vefsna was declared healthy, fit and has now been reopened for fishing in 2018.

The future

 

Now we embark on a new era for a reincarnated Vefsna, with a clear intent to reach her former glory. At the official celebration for Vefsnas rejuvenation the Environmental agencies declared that Vefsna in the future will be the largest salmon river in the North of Norway, bar Tana. With a potential for 50 ton of salmon caught annually.

 

To reach this goal the salmon needs time to get re-established and we will manage the river carefully to achieve this. Traditionally fishing lures and boat fishing were dominant, however while Vefsna has been unavailable angling has changed and now catch and release and fly fishing are commonplace. We hope that Vefsna and the Forsjord pool will be a favorite destination for enthusiastic anglers in the coming years.