Zealand and its islands are perfect for coastal fishing. Here, you’ll find more than 2000 kilometres of coastal shoreline, and many stretches offer great fishing.
Along the coastal shores, there are a number of different fish species including European placie, common dab, European flounder, turbot, and cod. During the summer months, seasonal guests such as mullet, mackerel, and garfish show up in good numbers. And seatrout, which are a popular gamefish, are present all year round.
The Zealand coastal shores are very varied, and there are plenty of fjords; for instance, Isefjorden, Roskilde Fjord and Kalundborg Fjord, which – depending on the time of year, offer fishing for a number of different species of fish. The north coast of Zealand is characterized by reefs, breakwaters, and rock-strewn coastal stretches. Møn and Stevns boast shorelines with dramatic chalk cliffs as a beautiful backdrop, and Lolland and Falster’s coastal shores feature healthy aquatic vegetation and great shelter from the predominantly western winds. On the Zealand west coast, there are reefs and shoreline depressions that offer great fishing.
In short, Zealand is everything a fisherman could ever want. No matter the time of the year – or the weather, there are always places that are fishable.
Zealand is known for its fine seatrout fishing. And in order to preserve and develop this fishery, monumental volunteering efforts are invested in enhancing their aquatic environments and habitats. The main focus is on the rivers and on providing the seatrout with the best possible conditions when it comes to successfully reproducing.
Whether you’re local or a visiting fisherman, we expect you to respect the enormous work efforts that local volunteers and fishing clubs throughout Zealand have put into fish stock- and habitat enhancement. We encourage you to show restraint and moderation, especially if you end up experiencing extraordinary fishing. In other words, we advise you not to kill, for instance, big amounts of seatrout. In 2019 there will be a new announcement published on recreational fishing in Zealand – and here, a number of new initiatives, which aim at improving the conditions for the Zealand seatrout and the seatrout fishing in general, will be presented.
The extensive volunteer work that is facilitated in the auspices of the local fishing clubs with the help of local fishermen helps protect and preserve the varied wildlife in the rivers; something that ultimately benefits the local trout. This volunteer effort isn’t just important locally. It’s pivotal when it comes to sustaining and further enhancing the good seatrout fishing along the Zealand coastal shores. That’s why the Zealand Gravel Gang was established.
Among other things, the Zealand Gravel Gang is the liaison in the important collaborative effort between the volunteers, the municipalities, and the landowners – and they initiate a long series of restorations projects every year. The Zealand Gravel Gang is anchored in both Denmark’s Sportsfishing Association and Fishing Zealand and is an inspiring and supportive platform for the network that is needed in order to facilitate long-lasting environmental improvements – both at the organizational and practical levels. If you’re interested in the Gravel Gang’s work, you can read more about it here.
Fishing in brackish water
Saltwater with low salinity levels is commonly referred to as brackish water. The Baltic Sea is brackish compared to most other places in Denmark. As a matter of fact, the coastal fisheries from Køge Bugt and Copenhagen to the north, and all the way down to Lolland and Falster due south, are brackish. The salinity levels are so low that especially perch, pike, and ide thrive here.
Depending on the season, you might bump into anything from flatfish, cod, and mullet to pike, perch, and ide in the brackish waters.
Historically, it is well-documented that brackish pike lead risky lives involving numerable impeding factors that are capable of negatively influencing the fish stocks. Pike have natural enemies in the shape of cormorants and seals. Water masses with high salinity levels are occasionally pushed into the brackish areas by intense storms, and when that happens, the pike end up dying if they’re not quick enough to swim away. Furthermore, the pike habitats have changed over time with, for instance, fewer eelgrass patches – patches that are thought to function as hiding places for pike fry.
A lack of flooded meadows in the fjords due to draining, physical regulations of rivers into channels, and river barriers have all limited the pike’s access to suitable spawning habitats. Finally, it has been scientifically established that an invasive species, the round goby, is a fierce competitor for food in relation to other brackish species, including perch- and pike fry. They have also been known to eat eggs and fish larvae from other fish species, something that is presumably also the case when it comes to both pike and perch.
Because of the above-mentioned factors, it is very important that all brackish fishing is sustainable. The local fishermen protect and guard their fish stocks, and it is expected that all visiting fishermen – both from Denmark and abroad – do the same.
The brackish fishery in Zealand is unique and we owe it to ourselves and each other to protect and preserve it for the future. In order to do so, Fishing Zealand have implemented a series of initiatives in the shape of information pamphlets and signs in different languages. Fishing Zealand has worked together with Denmark’s Sportsfishing Association on a political level, for instance by proposing window measurements and by appointing new catch & release zones. Furthermore, Fishing Zealand work together with leading scientists within the field via Brakvandsgruppen (The Brackish Water Group) in Fishing Zealand. In 2015, four areas became appointed as catch & release only-zones. The four zones are located inside Præstø Fjord, Stege Nor, Jungshoved Nor, Fane Fjord and their surrounding areas. Here, special regulations are in place meaning that the killing of pike is prohibited all year round. The regulations apply to all forms of recreational fishing, and – when it comes to net fishing, there is a conservation period from February till the middle of May. For recreational fishermen all of this means that fishing in the southern-Zealand brackish waters has to be practiced on a catch & release basis. You can read more about the rules and regulations here.
The individual Fishing Zealand member municipalities have worked intently to improve the spawning conditions for the local pike. And it is in this regard that one of the biggest initiatives will now see the light of day – in the shape of Denmark’s first so-called “pike factory”, which is located in Vordingborg Municipality. In order to best document and communicate this, we have produced a film about the work, which can be seen here. Furthermore – via our involvement in the CATCH-project, we have produced a film about catch & release practices and how to land, unhook, and release pike unharmed – and which tools should be used. You can watch this film here.
Finally, it’s worth mentioning that several upcoming projects within the Fishing Zealand member-municipalities are on the drawing board aiming at improving the spawning conditions for brackish pike and -perch in the area surrounding southern Zealand and its islands.
In the sea surrounding Zealand you can experience great fishing for cod, whiting, herring, mackerel, garfish, and – not least – flatfish such as placie, European dab, European flounder, sole, and turbot. Furthermore, the coastal regions east of southern Zealand, and namely Møn, offer great trolling fishing for Atlantic salmon.
Sea fishing is typically done from a private- or rented boat or by booking a spot on a commercial charter boat. The charter boats arrange trips for whatever species are in season – but there are almost always cod around to be caught. You’ll mainly find the charter boats in the Øresund-region harbours and a few places in Storebælt.
If you have a boat of your own, there are plenty of great options for light sea spinning. Sea fishing with light tackle is especially entertaining since both the strikes and fights are very tactile and intense. An echo sounder, which can aid in locating the fish, is particularly advisable for this type of fishing.
In recent years, there’s been growing interest in trolling fishing. In many places there are great opportunities for catching silvery seatrout and salmon, and – especially in the waters surrounding Møn – there are great chances of catching a trophy salmon. Trolling boats are equipped with specialty tackle, and they usually rig several rods mounted with different lures, which are then fished at different depths. Trolling fishing is pretty demanding equipment-wise, but – by now – there are several service providers that specialize in guided trolling fishing trips with all the necessary equipment supplied.