Sea trout | Salmo trutta trutta

by gone71 N
70cm Sea trout form Finnmark, Norway

nor.: sjøørret; swe.: havsöring; fin.: meritaimen; dt.: Meerforelle

Fishing for sea trout is very popular along the Scandinavian coast. Especially in the Norwegian fjords there are plenty of excellent places to pursue these elegant fish.
Sea trout is actually a freshwater fish and basically a form of brown trout that has converted to an anadromous lifestyle (migrates on a regular basis between river and sea).

Fishing for sea trout can be very rewarding | photo ©

Do I need a licence to catch sea trout?

It is not easy catch a sea trout BUT since you can catch it from the coastal shore in Norway and Sweden, it is one of those salmonides that you can catch without a license in many areas – great news! Be aware that there are different rules for different countries and regions.

Fishing for sea trout can be very rewarding | 4 kg | Finnmark | photo ©
In Finland, for example, you also have to get a state licence if you want to fish in the sea.

In Sweden, there are some areas where salmonid fish can only be fished with a licence.

In Norway, fishing for sea trout from shore is usually very relaxed as long as you follow some basic rules. In particular, a certain minimum distance from river mouths and the observance of minimum sizes is very important. It is always your responsibility to be aware of the regulations beforehand!

Fly fisherman on the shore of the Oslo fjord, fishing for sea trout | photo ©

Minimum size

Be aware though that there is usually also a minimum size of 35cm (sometimes 50cm) required in order to keep your catch. Otherwise you have to carefully release it.

Be aware of minimum sizes! Undersized specimen have to be put back! | photo ©

All the fish | poster


How to distinguish sea trout from salmon?

Sometimes it can be difficult to distinguish sea trouts from salmon. In addition to a smaller, sharper head and a thinner tail stem, the notch in the salmon tail is usually much deeper than that of a sea trout. Similarly, in salmon, the upper jaw extends approximately to the edge of the eye, while in sea trouts it goes well behind it. On salmon flanks, dark spotting rarely extends below the rib line, whereas in sea trout, this spotting is common all over the body. In addition, salmon has clearly fewer teeth than sea trout.

Salmon and sea trout in comparison | photo ©

Sea trout

  • fairly straight tail fin
  • upper jaw can extend behind the eyes
  • dark spotting below the rib line
  • usually more spots in general
  • more teeth than salmon


  • notch in tail fin
  • upper jaw never goes behind the edges of the eyes
  • dark spotting ends usually at rib line
  • fewer and bigger spots
  • less teeth than sea trout
Sea toruts have more dark spots below the rib line | photo ©
Salmon and sea torut tail fins comparison
Salmon and sea trout tail fins in comparison | photo ©

A fresh water fish in the sea

Sea trout are actually ordinary trouts that have adapted their feeding habits and changed their appearance. They can be caught all year round but usually spring and early autumn are the best times.

When they enter the sea from rivers and other water bodies they start to change their appearance, especially their colours.

Freshly migrated brown trout
The darker sea trout on the right is a freshly migrated trout that still has not completed a full appearance transformation | photo ©

Which gear should I use?

Brakish coastal water with low salt content is usually the place to be. Sea trouts up to 4 kg are considered a normal catch in certain parts and they can grow bigger. They are a great game for spin fishing, fly fishing and trolling alike but a spinning rod is usually a good way to catch them from shore. Wading pants can be very handy too.

Sea trouts are well known torpedoing out of the water catching insects. For more experienced anglers this can be a great opportunity unwrapping their fly rod.

Sea trouts are hunting very close to the shore | photo ©

Which lures for catching sea trout?

Depending on the waters and your gear a 10g – 30g range of lures along with a rod, reel and line should be sufficient to get you started. There is a sheer infinite number of lures to choose from and we use usually spoons (Møresilda, Toby…) sometimes in tandem with a fly on the same rig. However, it might be wise to switch through your stack until you find something that works best for you.

Waders can be very helpful in the persuit of sea trouts | photo ©

Where are the best spots to fish for sea trouts in Scandinavia?

All the Fjord areas of Norway are suitable to go after sea trout but the most promising areas are those close to the rivers. Be aware though that there are regulations of how close to a river you can fish. Usually the estuary is off limits.

If you are in the far North, one of our favourite spots for tackling these fish is the coast area in Kunes. Stay away from the river mouth of the Austa river (Austaelva) though since this is a popular salmon river. We had some great results close to the boathouses in July and sea trouts up to 4kg were very common. There was also the occasional sea char and even salmon can migrate along the coast line at this place.

Sea trout, 68 cm, arround 4 kg | Finnmark, Norway | photo ©

The many straumen of Norway

Straumen are especially good places to fish for sea trout. “Straumen” are usually straits that can have characteristics similar to estuaries. They often connect otherwise cut-off parts of the fjord to the sea. The current and flow direction is tied to the tides. Unlike in the sea, you have to pay the state fishing fee (around 30€/year) to fish for salmonid species in those Straumen. This are usuallay also very good plaecs for other fish, like mackerel, cod, coalfish and also salmon.

A classic small straumen in the Lofoten area.
A classic small straumen in the Lofoten area.

Culinary value of Sea trout

These marine salmonid fish have excellent red meat and can be processed in much the same way as salmon. We like them best freshly caught and grilled over the campfire on site, weather permitting.

Sea torut is a delicious fish with intense red meat ] photo ©
70cm Sea trout form Finnmark, Norway
Serves: 2 Prep Time: Cooking Time:
Nutrition facts: 200 calories 20 grams fat
Rating: 5.0/5
( 1 voted )


  • 2 fresh sea trout about 40cm. -> Any size that corresponds to the minimum size tastes excellent, but of course there are other requirements for the preparation of the 70cm fish with more than 4 kg.
  • lemon
  • (Leek)
  • garlic (or garlic salt)
  • olive oil
  • Salt
  • pepper
  • (potatoes)


  • Clean and gut the freshly caught fish ready to cook. Sea trout don't need to be scaled!
  • Marinate the fish with olive oil, salt, pepper and garlic and place a lemon slice in the belly.
  • Season the outside well and stud with garlic.
  • In principle there are now two possibilities:
  1. Grill the fish directly in fish tongs, on a grid or stick. To do this, the fish has to be turned and you have to make sure that it is cooked evenly. Don't let it burn!
  2. An alternative is to wrap the marinated fish in aluminum foil, seal it tightly and then grill it on the embers or on the grate. It is important that there is some space in the aluminum foil so that the hot steam can circulate. This method cooks the fish rather than grilling it. Both taste excellent.
  • Fried potatoes or just bread go well with it. Potatoes are also easy to make in aluminum foil directly in the fire or embers. So that they cook through faster, it is advisable to cut them into small cubes beforehand, season them well and add some water to the aluminum foil. Then close the whole thing into a loose, well-sealed package and put it into the fire or the embers. If you don't have a grill cup, you can simply use several layers of aluminum foil.
Sea trout best cooked on the spot | photo ©
Sea trout best cooked on the spot | photo ©

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