Salmon Fishing in the Mandalselva River

Mandalselva is the second largest watercourse in Southern Norway, with a salmon-bearing stretch of 48 km. In recent years, the river has seen total catches of salmon and sea trout ranging between 12.6 and 5.7 tons.

Fishing Permits

Fishing permits can be purchased online or at our sales points. ­


Today, Mandalselva offers diverse fishing opportunities from Mandal city, extending 48 km upstream to Kavfossen and the lower part of Kosåna in Bjelland, where the salmon's journey ends. The river alternates between slow-flowing sections, rapids, waterfalls, deep pools, and a lake. This variety creates an exciting environment for fishing with fly, lure, and bait.

In addition to salmon fishing, the river also offers good fishing for sea trout and trout in the lower parts and attractive fishing for trout and brook trout in the upper parts. The areas along the river are excellent forS recreation, where you can find wilderness-like nature and opportunities for a swim in clean water. The average water flow at the outlet in Mandal is 88 m³/s.

The fishing offer in the salmon-bearing part of Mandalselva is divided into 4 main zones. In zones 1 and 3, one permit covers the entire zone. The fishing offer in zone 2 consists of a total of 32 sub-zones. All are designated with place names related to their locations. In 23 of these, the sale of permits is limited. The lower part of zone 4 consists of 6 sub-zones with limited permit sales, while the upper part of zone 4 is covered by one permit.

Zone 1 comprises the 5 lower kilometers of Mandalselva. The river is slow-flowing here, but there are still good opportunities for fishing salmon and sea trout. Many have great success with boat fishing in the zone. The sea trout population in the river is good, and night fishing with a fly can yield good catches.

Zone 2 is 14 km long. From the border with zone 1 in the south, there are first about 6.3 km of slow-flowing river. But from Møll Bridge up to the border with zone 3, the river alternates between waterfalls, rapids, and slow-flowing sections. Zone 2 fishes well from the start of the season.

Zone 3 is 13 km long and offers attractive fishing for all salmon and sea trout anglers. The area is a gem from a sport fisherman's perspective and can be fished with all gear, but fly fishing is probably the most popular. The zone has been very positively mentioned in several Norwegian and international fishing magazines in recent years.

Zone 4 is about 18 km long and offers good fishing opportunities in beautiful nature. The lower part of the zone was opened for fishing in 2017. The river has a great variation in form and shifts between slow-flowing sections, rapids, waterfalls, and deep pools. The zone is described by connoisseurs as containing many "hidden treasures."

Fishing Rules for Mandalselva 2024

The first daily permits in the sub-zones of zone 2 and zone 4 are valid from 00:00 - 17:59 on June 1. The other daily permits in these zones last from 18:00 - 17:59 the next day. Daily permits in other zones are valid for the chosen date, with a flexible start time for fishing. In all open zones, i.e., zones without a limit on the number of permits, children and young people up to 18 years old fish for free. However, they must still obtain a fishing permit from one of our sales points.

Adopted by Mandalselva River Owners' Association at the annual meeting on March 29, 2024.

The fishing rules are based on the Act on Salmon Fishing and Inland Fishing etc. (Salmon and Inland Fishing Act) §25.

It is the responsibility of the fishing right holder and the permit seller to inform fishermen of the local fishing rules. It is the fisherman's responsibility to familiarize themselves with the applicable fishing rules in the watercourse so that fishing is practiced in accordance with these. The fisherman is required to always have all documentation available that is necessary to fish. This should be shown unprompted to the fishing inspector during inspections.

Mandalselva River Owners' Association has fishing supervision in the watercourse that, on behalf of the association, ensures that the fishing rules and the duty to provide information are followed. The fishing inspectors have the authority to enforce reactions and report violations of the fishing regulations according to these fishing rules.

This document with fishing rules consists of both public and private fishing rules. The fishing rules apply from Kavfossen / the salmon-bearing part of Kosåna to the river/sea boundary in Mandalselva in the period from June 1 - August 31 for zones 1, 2, and 3 / September 15 in zone 4. It is in this area that the management association's fishing rules apply, and the fishing inspectors are responsible. From the river/sea boundary, and outside the season, the State Nature Supervision is responsible for supervision.

During the time when fishing is not allowed in the watercourse, it is prohibited to fish closer than 100 meters in the sea from the river/sea boundary (the 100-meter zone). During the time when fishing is allowed in the watercourse, you can fish from land with a rod and hand line in the 100-meter zone. The same quota rule as specified in the regulations, 2 salmon, and 2 sea trout, applies. Fishing from a boat in the 100-meter zone is not allowed.

We remind you that all travel in and by the river is at your own risk.

To fish in Mandalselva, the fisherman must have the following documents:

Paid fishing fee

Fishing permit

Disinfection certificate

Fishing Fee and Fishing Permit

A valid receipt for the paid fishing fee to the state must be presented when purchasing a fishing permit and always carried during fishing. The fishing fee for salmon fishing can be paid at all post offices (post in store) and on the internet. Children are exempt from paying the state fishing fee until they turn 18.

Fishing permits in Mandalselva are personal, meaning the name on the permit must be the fisherman's. Starting from the 2024 season, group permits can be purchased for all zones with rod restrictions. With a group permit, multiple fishermen can share the zone, but with a maximum number of rods in use as specified for the zone. The buyer of the group permit must register all their fellow fishermen for the fishing day in the zone, and all fishermen will then receive a reporting number for catch reporting. Nøding fishery rents out the fishing right for 3 rods per day as a group permit for the Strømmen and Laksøya zones. Here, up to 6 fishermen can share the zone per day.

Note that there is limited permit sales in most of the sub-zones in zone 2 and the sub-zones in zone 4.

There are many inspectors in the river who can check your fishing permit. They can also help new fishermen by showing good fishing spots and giving tips on which fly or lure the salmon might bite. In zones with unlimited permit sales, the fishing permit is valid for 24 hours from the time of purchase, while in zone 2 and the sub-zones in zone 4, it is valid from 18:00 to 18:00. Note that the first fishing day of the season starts on June 1 at 00:00 and lasts for 18 hours, while the last fishing day of the year starts at 18:00 and ends at 24:00 (either August 31 in zone 2 or September 15 in zone 4), i.e., a duration of only 6 hours.

Fishing Times:

Zone 1, 2, and 3: June 1 - August 31

Zone 4: June 1 - September 15, trout fishing May 1 - May 31

Fishing Times

Zone 1, 2, and 3: June 1 - August 31

Zone 4: June 1 - September 15

Kosåna is part of zone 4, with the same fishing times.

Fishing Gear

In all zones, fishing with fly, lure, and bait is permitted. The use of live fish as bait is illegal and will be reported to the police. To prevent the spread of Gyrodactylus salaris, it is prohibited to use sinkers or floats that can be filled with water. It is not allowed to hook the fish.

Catch Limit - Quotas

Daily quota of 2 salmon per fisherman

Daily quota of 2 sea trout per fisherman

The daily quota is defined as the number of fish each fisherman can kill per fishing day. The quota day follows the fishing permit day (i.e., the validity period of the fishing permit, e.g., 18:00 to 17:59 in zone 2). For season, landowner, and weekly permits, the quota day follows the calendar day. When the daily quota of 2 salmon is killed, all fishing must stop (including for sea trout) until the next fishing day begins.

Fish that are released unharmed (catch and release) do not count towards the daily quota. A guide for practicing catch and release can be found here.

All winter kelts of salmon must be released. If there is a renewed situation with a high infection of Saprolegnia, a release ban may be introduced on short notice.


To prevent the spread of the salmon parasite Gyrodactylus salaris, mandatory disinfection of fishing equipment was introduced in Mandalselva starting from the 2005 season. Disinfection of fishing gear (waders, nets, rods, reels, etc.) will be available at all our sales points for a fee of NOK 50. Fishing permits or specific stickers will be stamped as a receipt for the completed disinfection.

The disinfection is valid for 20 days unless the angler visits another watercourse.

If the angler has been to another watercourse, disinfection must be performed during the next visit to Mandalselva.

The fishing supervision/board of Mandalselva River Owners' Association can impose a fee of NOK 2,000 if the angler cannot present a valid receipt (stamped fishing permit) for completed disinfection. Anglers without approved disinfection may be removed from the river for a shorter or longer period.

Disinfection of other equipment (boats, canoes, motors, etc.) must also be carried out if it is to be used in the Mandalselva watercourse! All transport of water and fish between watercourses involves a risk of spreading infection, but infection is not spread by dry objects. While fishing in Mandalselva, be aware of the following:

Clean and gut caught fish on site.

Do not discharge water into a different watercourse than where it was taken.

Dry all equipment that has been in contact with water in one watercourse before using it in another watercourse. This applies to footwear, clothing, fishing gear, boats, outboard motors, water containers, etc.

All equipment must be disinfected before being used in Mandalselva.


Exemption Rules in Special River Conditions

In the event of other unforeseen incidents that can have a major impact on the population, the Mandalselva River Owners' Association may choose to close the river for fishing. This could be implemented, for example, if the water temperature becomes too high for the salmon. This will be assessed in consultation with the fishery manager at the County Governor of Agder.

Changes to rules will be announced on our website.

Violation of Fishing Rules or Disinfection Rules

Common reactions to violations of fishing rules have been introduced throughout Mandalselva. The fishing supervision/board of Mandalselva River Owners' Association can impose a fee of NOK 2,000 for the following violations:

Breach of fishing rules, quotas, and incorrect use of equipment

Lack of disinfection

The angler may also be removed from the river for a shorter or longer period. Repeated or serious violations may be reported by the board of Mandalselva River Owners' Association.

The fee can be paid to Mandalselva River Owners' Association's Vipps account no. 929718.

Failure to pay the fishing tax will be reported to the Norwegian Nature Inspectorate.

General Considerations

Do not walk over cultivated land and farmyards.

Respect nature, other anglers, hikers, and landowners.

Leave the fishing spot as you found it. Do not litter, leave tangled lines, or other waste in nature.

Do not fell trees or break branches and young trees.

NOTE! Campfires are not allowed from April 15 to September 15.

It is requested to leave private docks/boat places undisturbed.

Guidelines for Fishing

The practice of moving while fishing is observed in the river. This means that the angler casts, fishes the cast out, moves downstream a couple of meters, and then casts again. This applies to both shore and boat fishing.

Always start fishing upstream of another angler in the river (if possible).

If there is an angler at the top of the stretch you have chosen to fish, wait until they have fished a bit downstream before you enter the river upstream of them.

Groups of anglers are not allowed to rotate within the zones without rod limitations without allowing other anglers access.

Fishing from bridges, the smolt fence in Manflåvatn, etc., is not allowed.

At fish ladders, thresholds, and dams, there is a protected zone of 50 meters upstream and 50 meters downstream.

Catch Reporting

Due to the significant decline in our salmon and sea trout populations, authorities have imposed strict reporting requirements.

The following must be reported continuously: Catch, date, and weight. Released fish, date, and approximate weight. Effort (fishing days). Reminders for catch reports will be issued during the season.

Acceptance from Anglers in Mandalselva

By engaging in fishing, anglers accept the Mandalselva River Owners' Association's regulations and subsequent reactions to rule violations. By engaging in fishing, it is accepted that violations of fishing rules will be handled by the supervision/board of Mandalselva River Owners' Association, and if necessary, relevant information about violations of fishing rules may be forwarded to the appropriate rights holders and/or fishing permit sellers. For serious violations, the information may also be forwarded to the police and the Norwegian Nature Inspectorate.

In case of a dispute, the matter will be brought before Agder District Court.

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