When Michael Olsen first visited Southern Norway for a fishing trip in 2008, he discovered a place he wants to visit for the rest of his life. “I was just so fascinated by the beautiful scenery, the friendly locals that I have since returned year after year ever since, except for 2012.” Olsen was so inspired by his visits, that he set up a website to help share his love of fishing in the Mandalselva River with potential visitors. “Southern Norway is for me a paradise that I stick by, and love contributing to.”
We caught up with our newest ambassador to gather his thoughts and advice on fishing in the Mandalselva River.
Visit Sørlandet: Describe your perfect day in Southern Norway.
Michael: A perfect day in Sørlandet is when I see a lot of great nature and meet the locals. I have a good time with them. If I catch a salmon it would be great, but the nature for me is everything. It’s so fantastic. It’s difficult to describe if you’ve never been there.
Visit Sørlandet: You’re an avid fisherman in the Mandalselva River. How would you describe fishing in the river to someone who is thinking about visiting?
Michael: I find the river very exciting. It has a lot of beach to fish in. You can go to the river as a “new one” and get so much help from the local people. The first time in 2008, I marveled at the kindness of the people as they gave me information about the river. It was there they hooked me to come again and again. I have lots of friends at the river. When I set up the homepage for Mandalselva River, I did it to be able to communicate this experience out to the Danish and Scandinavian people. They can see what the river is and what they can enjoy when they visit.
Visit Sørlandet: What is the largest fish you have caught?
Michael: It’s not the size for me that brings me back, it’s all the stuff around also that makes me happy.
Visit Sørlandet: What is your best memory from fishing in the Mandalselva River?
Michael: The salmon I got last year and the salmon I got in 2010. The happiness I got after the landing of the salmon was a very special moment for me. In 2010, I was with my dad and brother. The happiness I got from that is printed in my mind. Last year when I caught a salmon, we had a party to celebrate.
Visit Sørlandet: When you go fishing on The Mandalselva River, where do you stay?
Michael: We have a place we stay every time. We got there in 2008. The name of the host, Jan Lindland was kind to us and gave us information about the river. He has a big place where he has a lot of rooms for fisherman. He has four buildings where we can live and we have one of the buildings. He has a field that has hay that he gives to a farm in the area so the cows come. That’s where we want to stay. When we go every year we get to know him better and better. That means a lot to me. We also mail each other at Christmas. He’s a very good friend.
Visit Sørlandet: When you catch your salmon do you eat them that day?
Michael: No. Our local guy that we live with has a huge freezer. All the fisherman that catch at his farm have access to his freezer. If it is a female fish I slip it out again as a catch and release. That way the population will grow so it will be bigger the year after.
Visit Sørlandet: What makes Southern Norway an ideal spot for a Danish person?
Michael: It’s easy to get to. The time you spend together is important for Danes. The nature is something I hear from a lot of people I talk to, that it really means a lot to them to see nature they don’t see in Denmark. The kindness of the people in Sørlandet when you come there, you’re always welcome. You don’t see any sadness. The people are always smiling and helping you.
Visit Sørlandet: For a first time fisherman or fisherwoman visiting Southern Norway, do you have any recommendations?
Michael: If new, a person should go to Mandalselva river. At the river, I will say Smeland with Jan Lindland or Holmesland or Fuglesveit. There are so many places. Fossefjellene is a new place on the river. That place is very exciting to fish at because you can fish with worms and flys. If you are new at fishing, then I say Fossefjellene would be the right place to fish in.
Visit Sørlandet: When are you planning to go back to Southern Norway and what will you do?
Michael: I will be back this month and in August I have a fishing trip. Two times this year!
Visit Sørlandet: Describe Southern Norway in three words.
Michael: Kindness, amazing, happiness
Learn more about salmon fishing in Southern Norway.
This blog was originally published in 2015 as part of the #LoveSouthernNorway campaign. As our second announced Love Southern Norway Ambassador, Olsen received Color Line ferry tickets to visit Southern Norway 5 more times.