River keeping with a true concept.

The Background

The Rena in Hedmark, Norway, has always been a well-known and productive destination for grayling and trout fishing. To constantly attract fishermen, the river was periodically stocked with "ready to catch" trout, like it is still common in many waters across the globe. But some locals tried to develop a concept of river management that would attract fishermen AND save the domestic population of trout and grayling.

In 2005, the ownership union of river Rena applied new fishing regulations and completely stopped stocking the river with fish. Instead of stocking the river, the river management made sure to have enough spawning areas for the domestic fish.

The River System

Here we are talking about the Søndre Rena located in the Hedmark region of Norway. It starts from a huge artificial lake, passes another reservoir and after approximately 30km it runs into the famous Glomma river. So it is a short, but wide (60-100m) river and is significantly influenced by changing water levels because of the hydropower dams.

The river is very rich in different species of insects and offers a wide selection of food for trout and grayling. Especially around the reservoirs it is also rich in whitefish and some predatory fish like perch and pike.

The Regulations

The key rules of the new regulations are pretty simple:

  • - All trout & grayling larger than 40cm have to be released
  • - Only 1 trout and 1 grayling per day and fisherman are allowed to be kept
  • - The use of barbless hooks is mandatory
  • - The use of knot free nets is mandatory

(subject to change; effective 2016)

The Effect

In fact the population of large fish increased significantly within only a few years after implementing the new regulations. But now, 10 years after stopping the stocking praxis, one can say, that not only the number of large fish has grown, but the overall number of fish has been multiplied!

Saving the best spawners (large fish) and reducing the bag limit has led to an enormous increase of total population.

The simple but plausible concept of river management at the Rena River totally impressed me. Over here in Germany, it is common to regulate fish population mostly by stocking the waters with foreign fish, or increasing the cost of permissions significantly (reducing the fishing pressure). During several trips to the Rena River I was able to watch and study the development of this concept and now I'm happy to see it succeed and really hope it will be a recognized example for other destinations...


For weeks I looked forward to this trip. Nicolas has been returning regularly to the Rena for many years and had told me about an incredible dry-fly fishing. I was enthusiastic about the river keeping as well as the fishing possibilities. I collected impressions for life.


Back home in Germany, I fish a lot for trout with the flyrod. But I´ve never fished a river like the Rena. It´s stunning how big this water is and how many different possibilities of fishing there are. I´ll be back for sure. I´m looking forward to another trip to this awesome place and to experience how the system is developing.


I´ve been flyfishing this river for many many years. And I know the river well. It´s been a good river for flyfishing but it has developed into a really great river. The new rules are all about keeping the good fish in the river. They grow big and spawn so we produce a lot of small fish and get very big fish. It´s kind of working with nature and not against it.