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Conquering The Giants: Epic Salmon Fishing Adventures on the Alta River in Late June

Updated: Jul 3, 2023

Just over a week ago I prepared for an adrenaline-pumping journey to the legendary Alta river in Norway, a river where monstrous Atlantic Salmon run each year and its waters offer anglers the chance to play and catch fish weighing 25lbs or more. This exclusive river in the north of Norway demands robust fishing tackle, rods such as my Cadence Alta, designed specifically to deal with these hard-fighting giants. Join Andy, myself and our wonderful guides, Brynjar, John and Kent as I attempt relive just a few of the thrilling experiences of a recent week on this remarkable river, where an abundance of massive salmon provided our fantastic group of anglers with unforgettable memories of the Worlds best and most Exclusive Salmon Fishery.

Fly Rod with big Salmon
Cadence Ian gordon Rods Subduing another 30 pounder

Late June on the Alta River is synonymous with big salmon, and, unlike any other salmon river in the world, anglers fortunate enough to fish here are extremely likely to encounter salmon with an average weight of 27lbs [yes, you did read that correctly], making it a dream come true for those seeking personal best catches. Witnessing the raw power and breathtaking beauty of these magnificent fish is something I never believed for one minute I'd ever see but thanks to the kindness and generosity of my host, Andy Majerus, for the third time since 2016 I had the opportunity to share his rod on what is one of the best weeks of the season.

See Andy catching this fish here -

During the exclusive Syndicate weeks, fishing on the Alta River is limited to fly fishing only. Long canoes are the preferred mode of transportation, allowing anglers to navigate the pools strategically, maximising the potential of catching very large salmon. Robust fishing tackle is absolutely essential when trying to taming these mighty fish. Andy, a veteran of 28 years on the Alta, knows to be successful with those fish requires the angler, not simply to "play", but physically fight them. When attached to those fish in the strong Alta current you know you have entered a battle, and with those bigger fish, a war. My newly designed Cadence Alta 14'6", six section rod, worked perfectly for both casting over and fighting those extremely strong fish. The rods have been tested to the extreme and to say I loved the whole fishing experience was an understatement. See Here for my full Cadence Range

Cadence FlyRod and Reel on the Alta River
A small [For Alta] fish from Bollo landed on the Cadence Alta Rod and Reel and Swallow Fly

Fly selection plays a crucial role in enticing salmon to take. Popular flies with guides on the Alta River include the Sunray Shadow, Willie Gunn, and Temple Dogs. It would seem that Alta fish like a fly fished fairly fast and those fresh salmon are perfectly happy moving high in the water column to take. My host fishes the Temple Dog almost exclusively and over the years his strike rate is mighty impressive, including a 52pounder and 6 fish over 40. leading me to think, why would you change a winning formula?

Alta Long Canoe
Alta Boat on the Mikkeli Pool

The Alta River is home to world-famous pools that offer anglers a reasonable fighting chance of landing their personal best salmon. Akergjerdet, Mikkali, Steinfossen, Upper Sierra, and Lower Sierra are just a few of the renowned pools holding the largest Atlantic Salmon in the world. Fishing in these hallowed waters is an experience that every salmon angler dreams of but only a tiny fortunate number will ever experience. Interestingly, much the same as would have been the case with fishing private beats on the Spey prior to 1980. The reason for this is, fishing for a wild resource such as Atlantic Salmon "must" be regulated with a robust and "flexible" management plan particular to that particular system, otherwise, as we are seeing across the world right now, the resource will continue to decline to levels where, perish the thought, angling may not be viable. Any wild resource needs to be properly understood/managed and Alta is no different..

Speycasting on Mikkeli
Andy Majerus winding up a great Spey cast over Mikkeli

The famous Canyon, located directly above Steinfossen, serves as the gateway to Sautso, the most beautiful and picturesque beat on the upper part of the river. This awe-inspiring canyon not only provides jaw-dropping scenery but is also the deepest canyon in Europe. As you navigate its rocky pass, be prepared to be captivated by the sheer natural beauty that surrounds you.

Steinfossen Pool River Alta Finmark Norway
The Canyon looking downstream to Steinfossen River Alta

Preserving the Alta River's delicate ecosystem is of paramount importance to both locals and visitors. Strict regulations are in place to protect the fish populations, ensuring sustainable fishing practices. Selective harvesting techniques are actively encouraged and promoted to maintain the river's biodiversity and ensure longevity for generations to come. The River is managed in a way that balances affordable fishing opportunities for locals while generating significant income from prime weeks between late June and mid-July. This sustainable management approach ensures that both locals and visiting anglers can enjoy the unparalleled fishing experiences the Alta River offers for years to come.

River Alta Fly Fishing Guide
Locals and Guides Fish the Alta river each year and have a deep sense of pride in their river.

The Lottery System:

To ensure fairness and equal opportunity, the Alta River operates a lottery system for fishing permits. If you're interested in experiencing the thrill of fishing in this exclusive river, you can find more details and register for the lottery on the official website of the Alta River -

Watch me catching this fish here -

The Alta River in Norway is a hidden gem that offers an extraordinary fishing experience amidst awe-inspiring natural beauty. It's exclusivity, pristine waters, diverse fish species, and sustainable fishing practices make it a dream destination for anglers seeking an unforgettable adventure. For those as lucky as myself to fish this amazing river, prepare for a journey of a lifetime, immerse yourself in the awe inspiring majesty of the The Wonderful Alta River. Tight Lines!

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