The river Åelva is Norway’s famous “Secret River”, a medium sized river that runs through pristine wilderness, it is known for its gin clear water, rugged canyons, classic pools, and most importantly abundant runs of large Atlantic salmon.
Nature has created a dramatic river with fast flowing gorges and waterfalls. Thanks to these obstacles the Åelva salmon have evolved to be large and powerful. Imagine a place where spying over rocks into the pool below, and seeing salmon of up to 40lbs, is a weekly occurrence. The tall waterfalls mean that the prolific runs are concentrated for much of the season. One section of the Åelva, below the prolific Bjalfossen stretch, is reputedly the most salmon-dense stretch of river in all of Europe. The river hosts strong sea trout runs also with specimen fish of up to 25lb are caught each year.
Åelva is a charming clear and short river at 16km in length it’s fed from lake headwaters making it less subjective to flooding, the lodge has access to the entire length of the river with 8km of private double bank fishing and 8km of single right bank fishing. Recent management has implemented catch and release measures on the water and actively monitor the runs of fish through a series of underwater camera monitoring stations providing a clear indication to the movements of fish and their approximate size.
Previously privately owned fishing with very limited access the river is now under new management focusing on conserving the stocks through new management practices and making it more accessible to experience the fishing.
The river Åelva is a charming medium sized river that is gin clear and offers sight fishing opportunities for large Norwegian Atlantic salmon and sea trout. Often referred to as similar to the Hunt river in Labrador the river is not particularly deep and is home to dreamy classic salmon pools with superb fly water. What makes it quite unique is the range of fast flowing gorges and waterfalls that break up the classic holding pools. These gorge sections provide wonderful opportunities to fish smaller single handed rods, apply stealth and stalk up on to salmon and sea trout in the narrow pools. Fishing dry flies like the “bomber” are very popular allowing you to watch the fish rise through he water column and engulf you fly its a heart stopping moment. Other common tactics are fishing the hitch and small sunray shadows, or dibbling in these white water rapids that often hold a lot of fish waiting to continue upstream.
One aspect of fishing at Åelva which is often overlooked is the awesome sea trout fishing that can be experienced from late July onwards. The sea trout average around 3lbs however many fish in the double figures are caught frequently and up to 25lb which is the most recent record. Pools like Worlds End and Calm water come alive in the evenings and guests can enjoy using traditional sea tout patterns on light rods in the evening to fish for these aggressive fish. Be warned it is not uncommon to catch salmon in the night also so make sure you are ready for surprise.
Horstad Gård Lodge is a timeless authentic Norwegian farmhouse just a stones throw from the river it provides an idyllic base for a team of anglers to enjoy the wonderful fishing in a pristine wilderness. The lodge consists of two recently renovated large buildings, incorporating a lodge exclusively for the guests with all necessary amenities from kitchens, en suite rooms and rooms with shared bathroom facilities, laundry area, dining room guest room and balcony. The other building has a commercial kitchen and large dining room where all the meals are served, a large meeting room, fly tying station and small tackle shop. The extensive river maps and catch record books makes the meeting room a daily meeting place to catchup with your guides and get ready for the days fishing ahead.
There is a separate wader room and extensive rod rack for you to store your fishing gear when back at the lodge, the lodge is about a 3 minute talk from the river offering walking access to the lower two beats, providing perfectly placed luxury lodging, delicious food in a homely setting.
Food & Cuisine
The lodge offers a fully catered stay for visiting guests, all meals are served in the main lodge in the spacious dining room. The experienced chef and kitchen staff are only super willing to accommodate the clients needs. From delicious three course a la carte meals in the evening, to packed lunch options or hot lunches for those that would like to return to the lodge for lunch. If the weather is nice they can serve dinner outside and even provide wilderness dining options down by the river cooking over a fire. The delicious hearty breakfasts will keep you fuelled for a day out on the river and those fishing the upper beats for the day will be sent with a guide and an essential packed lunch to keep you going all day.
The lodge currently does not have an alcohol licence therefore guests are required to bring their own alcoholic beverages with them. There is a small store in Terråk however many guests utilise the duty free stores in the airports. All non alcoholic beverages are available on a self services basis.
Åelva – Staying at Horstad Gård Lodge
Week 1 Species Atlantic Salmon, Sea trout
Åelva is a charming river with the chance to sight fish in many pools, it hosts a strong run of salmon and sea trout with the chance to catch salmon in the 30lb+ class and large sea trout. The opening week is highly regarded as the prime week on the Åelva, with fresh salmon and sea trout arriving on each tide. The Lodge is situated just a 5 minute walk from the river and the lower beats are accessed by foot. The wild river, spectacular scenery and luxury traditional lodge provides a fantastic fishing experience. The river is known for its gin clear water, rugged canyons, classic pools and big fish.
Cost – £4200 Fully Guided Included ‣
6 1/2 days fishing ‣ Airport Transfers ‣ Full Board Accommodation for duration of trip ‣ Shared guide 1:2 ratio
Not included ‣ Flights ‣ Alcohol ‣ Gratuities ‣ Accommodation in Trondheim city
When: 19th – 26th June Fly to Trondheim international airport Rods 8 rods Days 7 Nights 6 1/2 Days fishing
Itinerary Friday 18th June – Arrive Trondheim Airport in the afternoon, check into hotel and enjoy the local city.
Saturday – 19th – Midday – Lodge transfer from Trondheim to Horstad Gård Lodge (Or drive in convoy in hire car). Settle in to the lodge, tour around the pools info on the beat rota. Evening meal and fishing begins at midnight.
Sunday 20th – Fishing
Monday 21st – Fishing
Tuesday 22nd – Fishing
Wednesday 23rd – Fishing
Thursday 24th – Fishing
Friday 25th – Fishing
Saturday 26th – Fishing until 11:00am pack up and head back to Trondheim – arrive at approx 3:30pm. Nights accommodation in Trondheim hotel before departure on Sunday.
Cost & Specifics
Catch statistics are shown below
Do I require a hire car for the trip?
The lodge is able to provide a transfer from Trondheim airport to Horstad Gård lodge, but it is advised to rent a hire car for the duration of your stay. The summer in Norway does provide 24hr daylight and if guests would like to fish hours without guides it is beneficial to have a vehicle usually sharing one car per two anglers.
Do you use a beat rota?
The managers and guides have put much time into creating a beat rota for the guests to fish providing a fair rotation throughout the beats ensuring the guests can get their most of the time on the water. The rota is subject to change on a weekly basis determined by water levels, and when the fish are passing the Bratfossen falls.
How many rods fish Åelva?
In the early part of the season the bulk of the salmon and sea trout are in the lower 8km of the river therefore the lodge operate a maximum of 8 rods for the month of June and early July. Late July and early August is when numbers of fish begin to run the Bratfossen falls opening up 2.5km of prime fishing in true wilderness, the river then fishes a maximum of 10 rods.
Is the whole river private & exclusive to the lodge?
Horstad Gård Lodge have private double bank access to the lower 6km of river from the first title pool to the Worlds End pool. Above here the lodge has single right bank access to 8km of the river up to the Brattfossen falls. There are sometimes anglers on the other bank in this section and at the moment are able to fish fly and spin. From Brattfossen fall up to the lake is again private double bank fishing exclusive to the lodge.
Early season June - Early July
For the early season the river can be running at medium to high levels and anglers will use a variety of sinking density shooting heads. A 14′ double handed rod rated for a 9# is perfectly suited for fishing the Åelva in the early season. In normal to low flows many anglers will opt for fishing a 13’2″ #8 rod as the river is easily coverable for this length of rod.
Mid - Late season - Late July - August
Often as the season progresses into late July river levels can drop, with salmon still arriving on every tide and resident early fish lying in the pools the river can be very exciting to fish. Anglers are often able to sight fish during low water levels and fishing dry flies for the salmon and sea trout at Åelva is often very effective. In Lower water levels a 13’2″ #8 rod is ideal for fishing many of the pools and using a switch rod or single handed rod is extremely advantageous for fishing dryly tactics.
For all enquires about future trips to Åelva, current availability, prices, hosted weeks and more info please email our travel representative Alastair Peake: