Beiar River – a true emerald among other famous and prolific Norwegian salmon rivers was nearly given a death sentence at the end of the 1980s. The devastating parasite, Gyrodactylus salaris, had reached the river during the latter part of the 70s and started infecting the salmon stock with shocking effects.

The Beiar Estuary

This was a huge bolt from the blue to the local population; it meant loss of salmon as a stable food provider and was a striking blow to the local fishing tourism.

However, after several years of planning and preparations by the riparian owners and with good help from local/regional authorities and government funding, treatment of the river started in 1994 with the very toxic Rotenone weed killer. While rotenone has a devastating effect on all life in a river – fish, insects, larvae etc. it is remarkable how quickly nature mends itself. It only takes two to three years before some kind of equilibrium has been re-established, although it takes a few more years before the salmon find they have returned to a healthy river.

The Beiar River was given the all clear in 2001. By implementing a strict and effective catch and release regime the river has risen gradually to its former glory. The facts confirm the story. 2009 statistics: 2,106 salmon, average size 4.9 kilos (10.8lb), largest salmon 15.3 kilos (33.7lb) and 1,290 sea-trout, average size 0.9 kilo (2lb), largest sea-trout 12.0 kilos (26.4lb). A marvellous achievement!

There are few places in Norway, if any, that can be compared with the Beiar area for its beautiful scenery and natural wonders, the plentiful and vibrant bird and animal populations including wolverine, lynx, elk, reindeer and red deer. This is a place to also see magnificent golden eagles and majestic sea eagles. And in the centre of all this – a beautiful and easy fishable, emerald green river that has proudly and gradually risen from its death-bed! It’s worth a visit just to see it.

Harald Oyen