Grindal Salmon Lodge: An Atlantic Salmon Paradise

Leonard Schoenberger

Central Norway is a haven for anglers seeking the thrill of catching Atlantic salmon, a prized species in the world of fly fishing.

One such gem in this region is the Grindal Salmon Lodge, a place where anglers from around the globe come to test their skills and experience the rich tradition of fly fishing for Atlantic salmon. In this travel report, we’ll delve into the exceptional fishing opportunities, accommodations, dining experiences, and the overall charm that Grindal Lodge has to offer.

The Tradition of Fly Fishing for Atlantic Salmon in Central Norway

The main building at Grindal Salmon Lodge where all the meals are served
The main building at Grindal where all the meals are served

The tradition of fly fishing for Atlantic salmon in central Norway dates back centuries, with the region’s rivers being renowned for their pristine waters and prolific salmon runs. The practice of catching these magnificent fish with a fly rod has been passed down through generations, making it a deeply ingrained part of the local culture.

Grindal Salmon Lodge: A Gateway to this Tradition

Entrance of the main building at Grindal Salmon Lodge

Grindal Lodge not only offers access to one of the finest Atlantic salmon river in the world, Orkla, but also upholds the rich heritage of fly fishing in central Norway. Here’s a closer look at what makes this lodge special.

Fishing for Atlantic Salmon

The beautiful long bridge pool at Grindal Salmon Lodge
The beautiful long homepool at Grindal

Located in the stunning Orkla valley about 30 miles from the estuary, Grindal offers almost 4 miles of exclusive access to world famous Atlantic salmon fishing on the Orkla river. The lodge is strategically located near several iconic pools that rank among some of the most prolific holding pools on the entire system, namely Igd Pool and Pollen. What struck me when first arriving at Grindal was the beautiful location of the lodge, removed from the main road by a short drive down a hill. The main building and the adjacent cabins look out towards wild meadows and the famous bridge pool which is literally a stone’s throw away from the lodge.

Fly fishing for salmon at Grindal Salmon Lodge, Orkla, Norway
Fishing the homepool the night of our arrival

On average, the Atlantics caught on the Grindal beat run in the 15-20lbs range, with big fish entering the system early in the season in June reaching weights of more than 20lbs. Rising levels of catch and release fishing have further improved the stocks in recent years.

A beautiful wild Atlantic salmon at Grindal salmon lodge
A beautiful wild Atlantic salmon at Grindal salmon lodge

No more than 12 anglers fish the lodge’s beat at the same time. With almost 4 miles of water, there’s never a feeling of a crowded river. A rotation schedule makes sure you get to fish all pools that have very different characters. Large holding pools alternate with faster runs, making sure there’s something for everyone’s taste. The Orkla is a big, wild river. This means you should bring the big sticks: two handed rods in the #10-12 weight range around 13′ to 15′ are the name of the game if you want to make sure you cover all the water effectively.

fly fisherman with fly rod and reel fishing for Atlantic salmon
Big double-handed salmon rods in the #10-12 range are the right setup for Grindal

Another aspect of the fishing at Grindal I really enjoyed was their guide setup. Krister Hoel, the lodge’s manager has put together a great team of people ranging from the head chef to the two guides Christian and Mauro. Their wealth of knowledge facilitated finding the right spots on the river and when the fishing was slow, they shared great stories of all their years fishing and guiding on the beautiful Orkla river.

The two guides rotate amongst the guests and make sure everyone’s in a good spot. This way you can be sure to be fishing the right pools and the right time with the right setup. It never felt like they were “looking over your shoulder” but rather pointed you in the right direction and left you to enjoy the beauty of the river on your own.

Fishing the Orkla river at Grindal at dawn
Fishing the Orkla river at Grindal at dawn


Cottages of different sizes offer flexibility at Grindal
Cottages of different sizes offer flexibility

Grindal Salmon Lodge offers comfortable and rustic accommodations that blend seamlessly with the natural beauty of the surroundings. The lodge provides various lodging options that sleep between two and four people, each equipped with modern amenities and cozy furnishings.

Smaller cabins at Grindal that sleep two to four people
Smaller cabins at Grindal that sleep two to four people

The ambiance of the accommodations allows guests to unwind after a day of fishing, savoring the tranquility and solitude of the Norwegian wilderness. The main building serves at the center of the lodge where all meals are served.

A big Atlantic close to the fireplace in the main building at Grindal
A big Atlantic close to the fireplace in the main building at Grindal

Dining Experience

The lodge’s restaurant is a culinary delight, offering a delectable fusion of Norwegian and international cuisine. What I liked most was the fact that Grindal’s head chef is a big advocate of using local produce. Besides the vegetables that come from Grindal’s own little farm, wild mushrooms were a great addition to many meals.

Wild porcini mushroom can be found all along the Orkla river at Grindal
Wild porcini mushroom can be found all along the Orkla river at Grindal

All guests dine together adding to a very communal atmosphere. During our stay at Grindal there were salmon fishermen from Norway, Denmark, Germany, the UK and Sweden. The beauty of places like Grindal lies in the fact that they manage to bring people together from different parts of the world and different cultural backgrounds united by a passion for fly fishing.

I’ve always enjoyed meeting people in such settings and learning about the fly fishing culture in other regions around the globe. The staff at Grindal often joined at meals adding to the familiar atmosphere.

The rugged charm at Grindal Salmon Lodge
The rugged charm at Grindal Lodge

The Overall Experience

Rainy evening at Grindal Salmon Lodge
Rainy evening at Grindal

Grindal Salmon Lodge goes beyond offering exceptional fishing and accommodations. It strives to create an overall experience that leaves a lasting impression. The lodge’s staff and guides are not only skilled but also passionate about sharing their love for salmon fishing. They are always eager to assist, ensuring that guests have a memorable and successful angling adventure.

Whether you’re a seasoned angler or a novice, the lodge caters to your needs, offering guidance, equipment, and an environment conducive to learning and improving your fly fishing skills. The lodge’s setting in central Norway’s stunning wilderness provides a sense of serenity and escape from the hustle and bustle of daily life. The pristine landscapes, crystal-clear rivers, and abundant wildlife contribute to an immersive experience that extends beyond fishing.

Tackle shop at Grindal
Tackle shop at Grindal

Learn more about Grindal and fishing opportunities for Atlantic salmon.

Disclaimer: Grindal Salmon Lodge hosted us for three days of salmon fishing so we could write an authentic review.