On and around Sweden’s largest lake there are fantastic opportunities for recreational and professional fishing. Opportunities that are important to safeguard and develop to ensure that Vänern is an attractive destination for visitors and can offer jobs in the fishing industry.

It is not just the size of the lake and what lives under the surface that make Vänern a fishing paradise. There are many organisations and dedicated individuals who try to ensure that the water offers the most varied and exciting fishing possible, but also professional fishers who strive to offer tasty products from the water.

Click here to read more about digital maps for fishing close to urban areas in Vänern.

Vänern contains 38 species of fish – cold-water and warm-water species. The most common fish is the European smelt, followed by the vendace. Vänern is so vast and resembles the sea in many ways that certain species normally associated with the sea live well here. In addition to salmon, the lake contains river lamprey, which is a threatened species.

In Vänern there are two remaining populations of naturally reproducing salmon: Gullspångslaxen and Klarälvslaxen. They are special as they live their whole lives in fresh water and do not migrate to the sea like other salmon do. The rivers Gullspångsälven and Klarälven are the only habitats in the EU where this type of salmon still reproduces. Signal crayfish also live in Vänern and are caught more and more often. Fishing for crayfish in the public waters of Vänern may only be carried out by licensed professional fishers who must obtain permission from the County Administrative Board. In private waters, the fishing rights holder is entitled to fish for crayfish.

A few important rules for recreational fishing in Vänern
Recreational fishing in Vänern is classed as free fishing with handheld tackle. You do not need a fishing permit for recreational fishing in Vänern’s private or public water, but there are fishing rules that you must follow. It is also important to be aware that different rules and requirements for permits often apply in rivers and streams that flow to and from Vänern.

Trolling is permitted in public waters, which means waters 300 metres from land or from an island that is at least 100 metres long. If the curve at three metres depth goes further out, it serves as the boundary between private and public waters. For trolling in Lake Vänern, each boat may use only ten pieces of bait. An angler may catch and keep up to three salmon or salmon trout per day. Certain species may be caught only if they have the minimum length.

Protected species, protection areas and protection times
Wild salmon and brown trout are protected and must not be caught. If a wild salmon or brown trout takes your bait, you must release it back into the water immediately as quickly and carefully as possible. This means you must not handle the fish to photograph, weigh or measure it, for example! Farmed salmon and brown trout are recognisable as their adipose fin (a small fin on their back near the tail fin) has been cut off.

  • In Vänern there are protection areas for salmon, brown trout and zander. The protection areas for zander apply between 25 April and 25 May.
  • Fishing for asp is not permitted from 1 April until and including 31 May in all watercourses that flow into Vänern.
  • Fishing for eel and taking it out of the water is not permitted.
  • Fishing for signal crayfish is not permitted unless you are a fishing rights holder or a fisher with personal fishing licence.

Minimum sizes and maximum catches in recreational fishing in Vänern
Farmed salmon and brown trout – minimum size: 60 cm, 3 salmon or brown trout per person and day
Zander – 45 cm, no maximum number of fish

For more information or for all the fishing rules in Vänern, visit the websites of the County Administrative Boards of Värmland (northern Vänern) or Västra Götaland (southern Vänern).

Fishing Managment Värmland
Email: fiske.varmland(at)