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 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)
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.