Best Place to Catch Salmon in Europe

Europe has some of the largest salmon fish ever caught on record. If you want to catch one yourself, you may be wondering, where is the best place to catch salmon in Europe? You’ve come to the right place!

Let’s take a look at some of the locations for the best salmon fishing in Europe.

Best Spots to Catch Salmon in Europe

Many rivers across Europe have a healthy population of salmon. Some of these bodies of water include:

1.   Gaula River, Norway

Gaula River, Norway

Gaula River has been a hotspot for salmon since the fifteenth century. Back in the 1400s, people used salmon fishing rights to validate their properties.

Still, that’s not all they used the salmon for. Reports dating back to 1571 showed people selling smoked salmon around the area of Gaula.

Spanning over 90 miles, the Gaula river is a wild and unregulated piece of natural history. It starts on the Swedish border and goes all the way into the Trondheim Fjord sea.

This wild habitat is the perfect setting for fishing. The water surface may be calm, but underneath is beaming with salmon.

Gaula River is one of the most productive Atlantic salmon rivers in the world. In addition, the river also boasts some of the biggest salmon fish ever caught on record. So, you have a great chance of reeling in a record-breaking fish.

The fishing season in Gaula starts at the beginning of June and will continue till the end of August. That’s when the salmon will move up from the depths of the river and make their way to the surface. When that happens, make sure your fly fishing gear is ready.

2.   Laxa River, Iceland

Laxa River, Iceland

Laxa River is one of the biggest salmon rivers in Iceland. It can produce well over 2000 salmon in a single season, and most of them weigh more than 20 pounds. For this reason, many people have started calling the river “Big Laxa.”

The river runs from Lake Myvatn all the way down to the ocean in Skjalfandi bay. However, if you’re interested in salmon, you should focus on the lower 20 km of the river. Salmon starts to show up in the river around early July and you can still find them in late September.

Still, the best period for salmon fishing is around mid-July to mid-August. That’s when the fish are migrating and you have the best chance of catching yourself a large salmon.

Fishing on the Laxa River is quite calm and relaxing. All you need is a rod and a few flies. Then, all you have to do is cast your rod, sit back, and enjoy the view.

The salmon there don’t put up much of a fight. Most people can wrangle a large fish without much work. It’s all about angling and finding the best position to cast. This makes the Laxa River an excellent choice for a quiet fishing trip.

3.   River Tay, Scotland

Everyone’s heard about Scotland’s deep waters. We’ve all heard the stories of a monster hiding in the deep. Well, the Loch Ness Monster isn’t the only thing in Scottish waters. So, what’s the best place to salmon fish in Scotland?

River Tay is the longest river in Scotland, and deep in the river, you can find an abundance of salmon. The river is one of the best salmon rivers in Europe. It has many beats that are full of salmon, including Taymount and Islamouth.

This river is a spectacular destination for any rod fishers out there. This is because the latest salmon ever caught with a rod was in the River Tay.

Other than the large beats, the river also has many small fisheries. These fisheries work all season long catching salmon.

Speaking of the fishing season, in Scotland, the salmon season starts a little early. You can start to see salmon as early as January in Scotland, and the season carries on until late October. This makes the Scottish salmon season one of the longest in Europe.

Since the fishing season is almost the entire year, you can visit River Tay and you’ll likely catch some salmon.

However, the long fishing season has led to a drop in salmon numbers. The numbers are on the rise again, but that means everyone has to be aware of fishing regulations.

4.   River Blackwater, Ireland

Catch Salmon in Europe

River Blackwater is the second largest river in Ireland. It comes in just a bit smaller than the River Shannon. In addition, Blackwater is one of the most productive salmon rivers in the region.

There are four distinct salmon runs throughout the year on River Blackwater. The first one takes place during the spring. It starts in February and carries on to the end of April.

To catch salmon in the spring, you have to find a cold water spot. In these spots, you’ll usually find smaller salmon.

Moving on, the next run kicks off in early May and ends in early June. The salmon in this run is a little larger and easier to catch.

Then we have the grilse run. This run starts in late April and ends in late June. That means there’s an overlap between the May and grilse runs. However, the runs focus on catching different types of salmon.

The salmon in the grilse run is a bit smaller. They can be as small as two pounds and don’t usually exceed 7 pounds.

Finally, the backend run spans from August to September. This run is where you can catch all the really large salmon. The salmon here can be anywhere from 10 to 20 pounds.

In addition, no matter what type of fishing you prefer, River Blackwater is a great option. On the river, you can fish any way you like. For example, fly, bait, and spin fishing are all allowed.

Wrapping Up

There are many spots around the world where you can go salmon fishing, with the above-listed ones being the best in Europe. While technically not part of Europe anymore, we also suggest reading about the best places to catch salmon in England. (We also reviewed some of the best spots for salmon fishing in the U.S.)

Europe has some of the largest salmon in the world. To catch one yourself, make sure to make it there during salmon season.

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