For hundreds of years fishermen have gathered in the waters off Lofoten to catch the cod that have migrated here from the Barents Sea to spawn. The fish arrive in late January or early February and the season lasts until April. There are tremendous fluctuations in the number of cod making the journey; although the reasons for this variation are not fully understood, relative water temperatures and, more recently, over-fishing are two key components. Sometimes the cod arrive packed together, at other times they are thinly spread, their distribution dictated by water temperature. The fish prefer a water temperature of about 5°C, which occurs here off Lofoten between the warm and salty bottom current and the colder surface waters: sometimes this band of water is thick, sometimes thin; sometimes it’s close to the shore, sometimes it’s way out to sea, all of which affect the fishing. If you fancy trying your hand at fishing, you can take an organized trip (see Engelskmannsbrygga).

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