Fish species in the ocean

Game fish

Salmon (Salmo salar)

The large and silvery Atlantic salmon is not a common catch for boat anglers in East-Jutland. If you want to try your luck with the king of fishes, try trolling with downriggers in deeper waters than you would for sea trout.

Best places for this kind of fishing is the north coast of Djursland and the mouth of the Bay of Randers. This is where all salmon bound for the River Guden have to pass.

Sea trout (Salmo trutta trutta)

Sea trout or searun brown trout are the main target of most fishermen in East-Jutland.

Come early spring fish migrate from brackish water bays where they have spent the winter and out into the open ocean. The combination of salty and cold water does not appeal to sea trout - in fact it might be deadly to them.

The months of March, April and May are traditionally the best time for saltwater sea trout when fishing close to the shoreline but it may be caught all year round. Summer is spent in the open ocean where herring, sprat, sand eels, lug worms and shrimps are eaten eagerly.

Come autumn and the return of cold weather sea trout begin migrating back into the brackish bays. Sexually mature fish will ascend the rivers to spawn while smaller and immature trout will stay and feed all winter long in brackish water.

Most fish caught weigh in at 2-4 lbs. with fish over 10 lbs. being regarded as big. Typically smaller fish are caught in shallow water whereas larger specimens are found in deeper water chasing herring, sprat and sand eels.

Cod fish

Cod (Gadus morhua)

Cod is a very popular and sought after fish along the eastcoast of Jutland. It can be caught from the shore, from piers and from boats on any kind of bait.

During summer and winther cod should be sought in deeper waters where temperatures are suitable for this cold water loving fish. Spring and autumn see a lot of cod moving into shallow water that now offers the perfect temperature. Here they feed voraciously on their favourite diet - crunchy crabs.

Under such circumstances they are an easy prey for boat anglers fishing close the shoreline. Best time is the hour just after sunset. In deeper waters fish may be caught all day long - provided you have the tackle that will get down deep to where the fish are holding. Silvery lures ("pirks") are favoured by Danish anglers but cod will take bait too.

Cod larger than 20 lbs. are rare these days where heavy pressure from trawlers takes its toll.

Ling (Molva molva)

Ling are more closely associated with the bottom than are cod. Especially they like ship wrecks where they can hide in the many crevices found. Ling do not hunt in open waters as do cod and coalfish. Instead they like to ambush their prey from their hiding places.

Ling are voracious predators that strike hard and put up a much stronger fight than cod. In the waters of East-Jutland ling seldom grow much bigger than 5-6 lbs.

Coalfish (Pollachius virens)

The muscular and torpedo-shaped coalfish does not live in the waters off East-Jutland on a regular basis but shows up in smaller packs from time to time. And there is never any doubt when you hook one: Coalfish are way stronger than cod and often steal line from your reel in their first rush for freedom.

Coalfish roam the open waters whereas cod are more likely to hang around close to the bottom. Coalfish larger than 5-6 lbs. are rare in the waters along the eastcoast..

Mackerel fish

Garfish (Belone belone)

A very popular fish with anglers, the garfish migrates into Danish waters to spawn in April-May. The first ones to arrive are always the biggest - often yard-long and wrist-thick. They are fat and strong and thus put up a great fight when hooked.

After spawning in shallow water garfish move away from the shoreline and into deeper water where summer is pent. Migration back to the North Sea typically takes place in September-October.

Mackerel (Scomber scombrus)

A somewhat unstable summer guest that may be encountered along the shores of East-Jutland in August-September only. It doesn't reside here but shows up in Kattegat every now and then on feeding sprees from the North Sea.

Best place for a rendezvous with mackerel is the deeper waters off Anholt and Djursland.


Plaice (Pleuronectes platessa)

Plaice like colder and more salty water than the flounder and therefore should be sought in deeper water away from the coastline. If you happen to find a patch of sandy bottom in deep water you stand a very good chance of catching big plaice. Fish of 2-3 lbs. are considered good fish with 4-5 pounders being real specimens.

Flounder (Platichtys flesus)

Flounders that thrive equally well in saltwater and freshwater make up the main part of any bottom angler's catch in East-Jutland. Especially so in brackish waters like the Bay of Mariager and the Bay of Randers. Here you will normally find plenty of flounders lying on or near the slopes of the ship channels.

Flounders breed in spring after which they are lean and not very tasty. In the autumn the same fish are again fat and healthy and now provide very good eating. Flounders typically are most active early in the morning and late in the evening.

Dab (Limanda limanda)

The small and translucent but very tasty dab has saved the day for many an angler in East-Jutland. It is a numerous fish that thrives in waters rich in nutrients - like the Bay of Aarhus. Bottom fishing with lug worms usually produces well.

Turbot (Psetta maximus)

The aggressive and very attractive turbot prefers to hang around on gravel banks and slopes with a fast current - places usually found where only boat anglers may go. The circular turbot is a very tasty and very greedy predator but nevertheless it is a rare and therefore highly prized catch.

Most fish will take a live sand eel or a slice of fresh herring. They may weigh up to 20 lbs. but usually they don't get much bigger than 5-6 lbs.

Brill (Scopthalmus rhombus)

Brill are smaller than their close relatives, the turbot. Still they are often found and caught in the same areas - with a preference towards a softer bottom and lighter tackle. Another distinction is the fact that brill are not as circular as turbot.


- Are you planning to visit East-Jutland, and are you uncertain as to how to approach the local fishing?

Then feel free to contact Steen Ulnits, fisheries biologist, 20+ book author, keen fisherman, TV producer, photographer and webmaster of this website, and book him for guiding. You can do this on an hourly or daily basis.

Apart from travelling the Globe and guiding trips to exotic parts of this Earth, Steen Ulnits has been fishing the waters of East Jutland for more than 30 years.

Thus you are in good hands - be it in freshwater or saltwater, flyfishing or spinning, walking, wading or boating!

© 2000 Steen Ulnits
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