Archive for the 'Catching Animals' Category

Nov 24 2020

Whitefish Fishing 1: Fishing

Published by under Catching Animals,Foods


Late autumn is the primary time for fishing European whitefish (Coregonus lavaretus) in these parts. They used to river spawn in a big river connected to this lake, but some stupid and unnecessary decisions in regards to some hydroelectric stuff destroyed that fishing. Currently they can thus only spawn in the lake itself.

This lake could sustain a fishing of 30 tonnes whitefish a year, but I doubt more than a ton is fished every year. Despite this, the fish is of fair size and quality, however probably gradually decreasing.

The local saying is that when the snow is on the ground the fishing is the best. This year the snow is quite late, but the fish are still spawning. However, not in the sheer numbers we might get later and which we also saw last year when snow was on the ground. Water temperature is the trigger and although I don’t know the exact temperature, we generally have the best catches between 2 and 5 metres depth at this time of the year.

At other times you might need to go a lot deeper, except in a few special locations, where they appear to go shallow pretty much all year.

We set the nets from land and out. Catches are often poor closest too land and in deep water, but we always diversify a bit in case there has been a change in water temperature.

There is not much else to be said for this fishing other than that the nets are set overnight and taken up in the morning. When the fishing is prime we can get 50kg a day or more, depending on how many gill nets we use.

Side catch in this particular lake is brown trout (Salmo trutta) and arctic char (Salvelinus alpinus). They have their own special seasons, but occasionally appear in whitefish catches, very much dependent upon locality.

The catch is given away, eaten right away or salted for future use.

2 responses so far

Nov 07 2007

Netted Fishing Trap

Published by under Catching Animals

Before excitement over a potentially epic tutorial grabs you I would like to mention that this is purely a demonstration of the use and a display of the success we have had with this trap. I have never made such a trap and probably never will, it’s too much work.

The trap consists of a number of rings with a funnel on each ring. It is emptied by untying the hind end. All of the fish is usually found in the innermost chamber. Two leading nets guide the trout into the trap. It is extremely important that one completely blocks all possible bypass routes around or underneath the net, or your catch will be significantly reduced.


The stream where we use this trap most of the autumn is rather unsubstantial, but still my father caught in excess of 2000 spawning brown trout in about one and half month last year. This year we set it a little too late in the season, and the total catch was around 500. The two times I emptied the trap, there was 46 and 97. In this we do not count the fish that are of bigger size, they we release back into the stream. Reducing the population is the objective of the fishing, not food. They would make good food, although lean, but we don’t have the capacity or stommachs for taking care of all of this fish. Here is a photo of the inner chamber being emptied on the ground. The other photo is of the catch one of the days.


2 responses so far

Nov 01 2007


Published by under Catching Animals

Regardless of what you do, you will have an effect on you surroundings. I think this way: If you take lots of small game, you also need to kill a few of their predators in order to maintain the resource base you depend on. Another point is that for example the fox is in a fully functioning natural environment, taken by the wolf in quite large numbers. The disappearance of the wolf has not only made small game more rare and made large game overabundant in areas, but has changed the natural composition of species. It is probably one of the major reasons why the arctic fox has disappeared almost entirely in Scandinavia, due to competition from the bigger red fox.

I have yet to try burning undergrowth to promote better conditions for food production, but I have an idea on how to do it safely. In earlier times you could pretty much do it whenever you wanted, but of course, now you will be prosecuted if things get a little out of hand. In early spring, when the snow still is a major factor in the landscape, you can burn the bare spots without fear of it spreading, since any snow will halt a small fire’s progress.

Fish is overabundant in much of Norway. Brown trout is the most desirable fish specie in most areas and I commonly transplant fish from one location to another, sometimes to boost a thin population and sometimes to start a new colony where there are no fish. Fish them as carfully as possible, gill nets are not recommended, since they will rip of a lot of scales. Fish traps work wonderfully for this. Put them in a container with fresh water in and carry them to location. If the trip is long, you will have to change the water of the fish every now and then. Especially in the summer, when the water is hot and the oxygen levels are low. I had no waterproof natural container this time, so I used a large, empty water bottle. Natural container alternatives include washed stommachs, birch bark buckets etc… All of these pictures contain fish, though not so easy to see. The first one is of the fish in the bottle along with the trap, in the second I’m releasing the fish and the third the fish is swimming away.


Please, if you don’t know the area very well, don’t do this. You may and probably will spread around unwanted species in your will to do good. The energy you spend doing this will probably be well rewarded. If the growth conditions are good in the lake you put them, you are likely to collect big and fat fish at a later date. Yummy!

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Oct 22 2007

The Fishing Trap in Action

Published by under Catching Animals

First of all. Thank you for your donation Carl!

My home made fishing trap was only out for three nights. The spawning fish usually run during the night, especially in such shallow streams so having it out during the night is more likely to get you a good catch. The trout also doesn’t run when there is ice on the streams, which accounts for a lack of success the first night of fishing. Also, if there is a full moon, regardless of clouds, the fish don’t run.

This way of using the fishing trap does not make use of bait, but instead you fence the stream, leading the fish into the trap. The fence can be made out of sticks or rocks like here. It is an advantage if there is a little water flow through the fence, to ease the flow going through the trap. The holes must of course not be big enough for the fish to pass through. Especially, check under the trap, the corners there are easy to miss. You don’t have to fence much over the waterline since the fish will take the easiest route, which is through the funnel.


Be sure that you fence them into the trap. Fish arn’t terribly bright, which is why this trap works in the first place. So if you place the fence in the middle of the trap like the example here shows, the fish are unlikely to find their way in.


The trap must be weighed down a little to keep it in place. Place some stones inside too. See the fish?


Emptying the trap is easiest to do by taking the whole trap out of the water and take them out through the hole. It makes a mess out of the fence, but it will still reduce the time you spend fiddeling around with your hands in the cold water.


On these two nights I caught 7 and 14 trout. I carried them to a different lake which has too little fish, since food was ample at the time.

4 responses so far

Oct 20 2007

Simple Net Fishing

Published by under Catching Animals

While a net is a security on it’s own. At this time of year you don’t really need any full sized gill nets. What you need is only 2 metres or so long net, you can even make it with a landing net. The key to this easy fishing is that the brown trout is running for the rivers and streams to spawn from August to October. This exposes the fish in a way that you can not usually experience. The trout run will at this time stand in shoals, often in shallow water. There are muliple tactics you can use to net the fish.

The quickest way is to carefully lay a net over a stream or a pond in the river. You will scare the fish standing right next to you, but if you don’t make too much commotion, you will not scare the ones close by. Chase the fish by throwing rocks into the side where you expect most of the fish to stand or wade into the stream yourself. The latter is most effective in small streams. Voila, you should have fish in your net. The capacity of the gill net will quickly be exhausted and the net will turn into something looking like a rope. All the remaining fish will escape. Because of this I really prefer to fence the stream and use a landing net instead, but I didn’t have such one this time. I will illustrate this method with some photos.

Photo 1: Chasing the fish.


Photo 2: Net with fish in.


Photo 3: Closeup of the net with fish in it.


The second method is a variety of seine netting. Except you use only a regular gill net. You tie the net to land in one end and start walking around the pond. This only works in round ponds and the net’s capacity will probably max out at around 30 fish. But you can take several turns of course. I have taken several hundreds in one day, fishing like this. For this method you need a longer net.

The third method is to simply block the river or stream and wait over night. It might provide you a few fish. A recommendable, passive way of getting food. But it might provide too few fish for survival on it’s own.

Happy fishing!


3 responses so far

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