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Malselv River, Norway

One of Norway’s lesser known big salmon rivers, the Malselv is larger but mostly wadeable river with beautiful fly water for spey fishermen and fantastic spinning water. Although in terms of captures it has always been one of Norways top rivers, it has never received an excessive amount of pressure from visiting anglers. Historically for many years the river was fished by English noblemen. It was recently highlighted in the book “Fifty More Places to Fly Fish Before You Die”.  

The average size of rod caught Malselv salmon is around 10 to 12 lbs, though the river offers excellent chances for fish in the 20 lb plus category. Returning salmon find their most important obstacle about 30 kilometers upstream from its mouth, the Malselv Fossen, where the river concentrates its force tumbling down the powerful falls. Here the fish can ease their way up a fish ladder. This is an obliged stop for visiting tourists and fishermen who can view the fish through observation windows built into the side of the fish ladder. Other than the beat immediately below the falls, just about all of the fishing is from the bank. Usually up until mid-July the beats immediately below the falls are the most productive. However, the best fly water is found above the falls and tends to come into play in early July and steadily improving as month wears on.

The majority of the returning salmon will swim up the fish ladder between mid June and the end of August. The upper part of the river accounts for more than two thirds of the total rod catch. Working with local partners, PescaTravel offers its clients access to some the best fly water both above and below the falls. For a change of pace, we can offer some great fishing for resident and sea-run brown trout as well as large grayling. These fished generally go virtually untouched by local fishermen whose soul focus is the salmon.

Fly: 14 to 16 foot 9 and 10 weight spey rods with a reel with a good drag system loaded with floating and intermediate sink lines, at least 150 yards of backing and 20 to 30 lb test leaders. Skagit lines with a good selection of sinking tips can be especially effective early in the season. For sea-trout a 6 to 7 weight one hand rod is a good choice. For resident trout and grayling 4 or 5 weight rods are ideal. 

Fliess: During the first part of the season as in many other Norwegian rivers, large tube flies are especially effective. Patterns such as Sunray Shadows, Temple Dogs, Green Highlanders, Willie Gunns and Gaula Golds may all be effective As the water wrms up sizes drop and more lightly dressed patterns are preferable.

Guests are generally lodge at the Rundhaug Guesthouse, a small historic hotel on the banks for the Malselv River the village of Rundhaug. Guests are lodged in single or double rooms with on suite bathrooms if they choose. The hotel has an excellent restaurant and packages including half and full board are available.

The hotel is located just 20 minutes away from the Bardufoss Airport. Guests generally fly in on one of the daily flights from Oslo. Guests may also fly into Tromso which is about 2 hours away by road.

Location: The Malselv River is located in nothern Norway near the town of Bardufoss. 

Season: 1 June 1st to August 31st .

Best dates: Mid July through mid August.

Nº of rods allowed: N/A

Fishing techniques allowed: Fly and spinning

Species available: Atlantic salmon,  grayling and brown trout

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