The Atna Watershed
The Atna watershed lies at the foot of the Rondane mountain range between Østerdalen and Gudbrandsdalen, and consists of roughly 50 lakes and 150 km of river which are home to trout, char, and grayling. You will find loads of fishing opportunities here.
The Atna Fiskeforening, a amalgamation of 9 organizations from Stor-Elvdal, Folldal, and Sør-Fron municipalities, offer a common fishing license for the entire watershed, with the exception of a few private lakes.
Atna is a tributary to the Glomma, with its source in Rondane National Park. Atna is pristine, sees very little human activity, and the water is cold and clean.
Read more a fishing trip on the Atna watershed.
On the inner portions of the watershed the river is small and less interesting as a fishing destinations – but for those seeking gorgeous scenery it can’t be beat. Downstream the river offers better fishing, once the small tributaries feed the main river enough water to sustain a healthy fish population.
From Dørålen downstream to the treeline, the river flows through a deep gorge in the terrain and a picturesque landscape. Although not suitable for fishing, it is still a nice sight.
Once you reach the valley floor in Atnadalen, the river gets much better. Here the river slows down quite a bit and becomes much more interesting.
Atna runs through a spectacular landscape at the foot of the Rondane mountain range, and through unique marshy areas, with small and large bogs on all sides. The river is gin clear, with a unique green tint with a fine sediment bottom.
You will find only trout throughout this portion of river, which migrate between Atnsjøren, the rivere, and the many connected bogs and ponds. Many of the shallow bogs are ideal for growing trout in the watershed, with rich insect life.
At certain times the river is packed with fish, while at others they just don’t seem to be there. This can change from day to day. With the clear water and a pair of polarized glasses you will have no problem spotting fish in the river.
In the middle of Atna at 700 meters above sea level, you will find lake Atnsjøen. This lake is 80m deep, and seperates the watershed. Here you will find, in addition to trout, a healthy population of char which thrive in the deep cold water, where they grow large on plankton.
Char can be found throughout the entire lake, while the trout typically cruise along the banks.
Photo: Thor Håkon Løkken
In these types of lakes there will always be trout which become predatory and switch over to a primary diet of fish. These will primarily be trout, and these can grow to impressive size.
South of Atnsjøen the watershed runs through a forested landscape. The river changes character with larger boulders, deeper pools, and faster flowing current. Here you will find loads of good spots for us Anglers, and plenty of good lies for fish.
Here you will find both trout and grayling. The grayling come primarily from Glomma, and wander from river to river throughout the year. The same for some of the trout, but most trout are locals. Here you can find really big trout and grayling.
Vulua – the little side river
Vulua, on the stretch between Setningsjøen and Rundstjønna, is a gin clear river which is ideal for fly fishing as it winds it’s way through the cultivated landscape. The river consists of sandy and mossy bottom, which makes the fishing a bit more challenging. However, here you will find impressive hatches of mayfly, mosquito, and caddis.
Many anglers have travelled to Vulua throughout the years to experience the unique and challenging fishing. The fish here can be very challenging and easily spooked. You’ll need to be a good caster as there is thick vegetation along the banks. But the feeling of succeeding in this type of river is almost impossible to describe.
Photo: Anne Eline Streitlien
With over 50 lakes to choose between, the secret is to set aside enough time to explore.
Atnsjøen, Setningsjøen and several other smaller lakes are relatively easily accessible from the road. But if you prefer to get away from everything else there are many high elevation lakes with excellent fishing. There are good fish to be found in almost all of the lakes, and in many of the smaller mountain lakes you will also find char.
Accessibility to fishing
The Atna Fishing Association has undertaken a considerable amount of work to increase access to fishing in their area. With several shelters and good signage to many of the popular fishing spots, and not least handicap accessibility, all types of anglers are guaranteed to have an enjoyable time fishing here.