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An historic River

The Mandal River is the second largest river in the southern part of Norway and has a salmon run of 50 km. The river has yearly catches of salmon and sea trout between 12.6 and 5.7 metric tons.

The Mandal River  is regulated for hydropower production. Since the river is regulated, it has  a somewhat more stable water flow, rarely flooding (except for in heavy rain) and rarely very low water flow.

Until the end of the 19th Century, Mandal River was among the best salmon rivers in Norway. Catches were between 20 000 and 35 000 kg annually. During the 20th Century, catches of salmon and other freshwater fish sank dramatically as a result of acidification. The river was heavily affected by acid rain, and after a few years, the original salmon stock was exterminated. The sea trout population has survived through reproduction in less acidified creeks an tributaries.

The calcification of Mandal River began in 1997. With an annual requirement of lime of approx. 13. 000 tonnes - this was then the world's largest river calcification project. The goal was to establish a new salmon stock and bring the river back to the natural state it had had throughout centuries. With the amazing salmon catches that have been in recent years, one must say that this work has been and is very successful. Lime requirements have been reduced to about 7.000 tonnes annually in recent years, due to more precise methods and somewhat diminishing acid rainfall. According to the scientist, the need for lime treatment will endure for a long time.

You can observe the calibration of lime online.

Until 2013, the Finså Hatchery produced smolts for both cultivation and research in the river. Salmon were caught in the fall and large amounts of roe and fry were cultivated. As of 2013 the environmental authorities in Norway has concluded that the natural spawning is sufficient to supply the river and the hatchery is closed.

Mandal River currently offers varied fishing opportunities from Mandal town and 48 km upstream to Kavfossen and the lower part of Kosåna in Bjelland, where the salmon run ends.

The river alternates between slow flowing parts, rapids, waterfalls, deep pools and a lake. This provides the basis for an exciting salmon fishing with fly, lure and bait.

In addition to salmon fishing, the river offers a good fishing for sea trout and brown trout in the lower part and an attractive fishing for brown trout and brook trout in the upper part. The streches along the river are nice recreational areas where you can find wilderness-rich nature and opportunities for a swim in clean water. Average water flow at the outlet in Mandal is 88 m3 / s.

Visitors to the area can get our information leaflet about fishing in the Mandal River at one of our outlets. The folders are in three  languages (Norwegian, German, English). In the leaflet you will find an overview of the fishing possibilities in the river, including detailed maps for the salmon run.