Published Feb 15. 2016 - 11 months ago
Updated or edited Feb 17. 2016

Springtime on Bornholm

For many years I went sea trout fishing on the Danish island Bornholm every spring with a group of friends. It's a great place to fish.

Silver prize
Perfect water
Nice weather
Another one
A great place to fish
Martin Joergensen - Steve Schweitzer

It's many years ago I fished on Bornholm last. We used to go for a week or two every spring for a long row off years, and the week long trips we take now, spring and autumn, as well as the GFF Summits are the results of the tradition instigated back when we were all young and healthy.
These days Bornholm is probably not the wisest place for me to go fishing because it offers some pretty challenging wading, which I can't cope with at all, and also has some locations with limited car access and some walks and descents that rules me out as an angler in its beautiful, clear waters.
But back then I loved Bornholm for these exact reasons. Access and fishing was a challenge, and the coasts were stunningly beautiful and most of them different from what we usually see in Denmark. The water staid clear under most conditions and even hard wind and large waves wouldn't always create the murky water that we see on most Danish coasts.

Good water
In the waves
In the storm
Wind isn't bad
Martin Joergensen

It's rock

The reason for this – and the major difference between Bornholm and other parts of Denmark – is that the island has a rocky foundation. Bare rock is uncommon in Denmark, but on Bornholm it's the norm, and many coasts are rock both over and under the water.
The rocks make the coasts special compared to most other Danish coasts, which are way more silty and soft. And when Bornholm isn't rock, it's usually beautiful, bright sand with nice weed patches, another type of coast that calls out the words “sea trout fishing”.

Sand and rocks
Martin Joergensen
A kelt
A nice kelt
Ready to release
Spawning fish
Martin Joergensen

Streams and wild fish

A very important reason for the island being very attractive to sea trout anglers is its numerous streams with wild, spawning sea trout. The small island has a large number of streams compared to its size, and basically all streams have spawning fish. This means that Bornholm maintains a large population of wild fish, and that autumn and spring in particular are very popular and sometimes very productive times to go fishing there.
Bornholm has always been famous for its very early spring fishing, and is worth a visit from New Year and well into April where the fishing seems to drop in intensity and the fish disappear until September and October where the spawning run starts again.

Getting there

Looking at a map will show you that the rocky island is actually closer to Sweden than it is to Denmark. And since it's an island and no bridges connect it to the mainland, a ferry ride is a part of the trip if you don't fly in.
We used to go from Copenhagen directly to Roenne (Rønne), the main city on Bornholm, using the renown night ferry that used to leave Copenhagen every night at 10 or so and arrive in the early morning in Roenne.
The ferry trip was an important part of the trip and gave us the opportunity to sleep underway and wake up, ready to fish the next day. We would bust a baker in Roenne, go to our rented house, make coffee and eat breakfast and then be out fishing early on the first day, which was typically a Saturday. Same thing for going home, where a second ferry would travel the opposite way from Roenne, also leaving late and having us arrive back home early, again leaving Saturday and arriving on a Sunday, leaving a whole day for unpacking and accommodating before work started Monday.
These days there are no night ferries from Copenhagen, but you have to go south of the city to Koege (Køge), an hour or so from Copenhagen, or you can take the bridge between Denmark and Sweden and a ferry from Ystad to Roenne, which sails up towards six times a day and does the job just short of one and a half hours. If you come from Germany, you can now take a ferry Sassnitz-Roenne, which sails daily in the spring.
The last few Bornholm trips we took, we went by Sweden, but surely missed the traditional night trip with all the chat, coffee and cake it included.

Rocky bottom
Resting on the beach
The rocky coast
The Bornholm coast
The coast
Martin Joergensen
The streams
A map
Maps
Martin Joergensen - Skov og Naturstyrelsen

Bornholm in short

Bornholm has a slightly skewed rhombus shape with a pointy tip north and south and a couple of softer points east and west. On the western point you will find Roenne, north is the rocky point Hammeren (The Hammer), east is Gudhjem (God's Home) and south the tip of Dueodde (Pigeon's Point).
Basically all the coastal stretches are fishable, some are difficult to access and wade, a few almost impossible.
The locals talk about the south, east, north and west coasts as indicated on the map, and great fishing can be found an all these coasts even though they have their differences.

The streams

One very important thing to observe on Bornholm is the protected streams. Three streams have a coastal protection zone all year while quite a lot of the rest are protected during spawning, meaning from September 16th to January 15th.
The protection means that coastal fishing is prohibited 500 meters on each side of the stream. Since many of the streams are quite close, that rules out some stretches of potentially good fishing water in particular on the north coast. You can see the protected streams on the map shown in this article.

Typical stream
Crossing a stream
A spawning stream
The streams
Henning Eskol - Martin Joergensen
Endless sand
Onshore wind
South coast
Martin Joergensen

South

The Bornholm south coast has a lot of sandy beaches, or at least coast with sandy belts or patches. Some parts may look uniform and boring, but don't be fooled, because a majority of the largest fish caught on the island are caught here. Particularly as the water is clearing and calming after a rough onshore wind or when you have a light southern wind, the waves will stir food into the water, press in baitfish and let the big guys loose on their feeding sprawls.
The area is often considered as spin fishing territory because it fishes best in pretty rough conditions, but don't leave the fly rod at home! A bright fly or a small baitfish imitation pounded into the waves has done wonders here.
Even on calm and sunny days, smaller fish can be numerous and very active in these waters.

Hammeren
Tough wading
West coast
Martin Joergensen

Up towards Roenne the rocks start to take over and you have some stretches with stony beaches and rocky bottoms, but often mixed with sandy patches.
Look for anything called Odde – Raghammer, Sose, Gedebakke – but also locations such as Boderne and Arnager. The latter lies at the very renown Airport stretch just south of Roenne,

West

The southern part of the west coast is sandy, but as you move towards the north, rocks get more and more into the picture. The area around Hasle and further north offers some pretty challenging coasts with some harrowing wading conditions. Access is usually OK with fishing close to the road.
In the absolute north, The Hammer (Hammeren) is sheer rock with almost no access to fishable water from the beach.

Rocky islets
Rock hopper
North coast
Martin Joergensen

North

Once you turn the ”corner” on Hammeren and start working your way southeast, you have plenty fishable water. Not all is easily accessible, and may require a walk, while other locations are visible from the road. Most of this coast is rocky, and lots of little inlets and small rock islets in the water create a very varied archipelago with many little nooks and crannies. Many locals fish these locations in a kind on driveby fashion. Simply driving from one spot to the other and fishing each spot maybe just 10 or 20 minutes. The same tactic can be used for the similar stretches on the west and east coast.
Some locations are more famous than others and Roested (Røsted), Salene and Ypnasted are well known spots.

Breaking waves
In the waves
East coast
Martin Joergensen - Kasper Mühlbach

East

The east coast is mainly rocky like the north, and has even more small, hidden gems, which can be covered with a few good casts, but can be well worth the investment in time.
Once you get closer to the south point, the coast opens up, and by Skanserne, Salthammer and Bro the coast is starting to have a reminiscence of the south coast. The southmost point of the island, Dueodde (Pigeon's Point) isn't the best place to fish being very sandy, but is very beautiful and worth a visit for the sight alone. And do bring a rod. Good spots can still be found along the sandy beach.

Spawning fish and kelts

Because of the numerous spawning streams, fishing in the spring means that you can run into quite a few post spawning fish or kelts. These fish are gray and skinny, not particularly strong, but often quite big.
They should always be released. It's legal to take them for the pan outside the protection period from November 16th to January 15th, but most of these fish aren't worth eating and are important to the propagation of the species, so let them go no matter what. If you want to keep a fish to eat, wait for that medium size, bright silver bullet that has spent the winter eating rather than spawning.
If you fish in the autumn, quite a few fish will be colored and ready to spawn, males with a kype and females fat with eggs. Again: let these fish go. They are important to the success of the species and secures your fishing the next time you come.

Large kelt
Large but slim
Great fish
Small, bright fish
One for the pan
Ready to release
Bright fish
The prize
Martin Joergensen - Ken Bonde Larsen - Henning Eskol
A chat on the beach
Steve Schweitzer
Joergen's Demon
Disco Frede
Omoe Brush
Big Hole Demon
Red Tag
Flies
Martin Joergensen - Ken Bonde Larsen

Flies for Bornholm

You can essentially use any Baltic sea trout fly on the Bonrholm coast, but both the locals and regular visitors have their favorites.
My personal list of flies for Bornholm would run something like this:
Red Tag is just a classic that I'd never be without. Great for calm and clear water.
Grey Fred is another stable fly, which I never leave home without. It's great for almost all conditions except the dirtiest water, which rarely occurs on Bornholm. If the water goes dirty, consider a Disco Frede with some flash in the body.
Bloody Butcher is a fly that I love using in turbulent and slightly colored water.
Coxy Streamer was born on Bornholm, and follows close troop after the Bloody Butcher, slightly more subdued and great for calmer conditions.
Omoe Brush is another Bornholm classic and a great all round fly for many conditions.
Big Hole Demon in black and white is a fine fly with contrast and a bit of flash, very well suited for a few waves and some turbulence.
Strange Christmas Tree is a large and visible fly and it was my goto fly on the windy and wavy days.
Epoxy Miracle has also proven its worth on Bornholm as has the Jiggy. Both are excellent baitfish imitations.

A well stocked flybox
A well stocked flybox
Martin Joergensen
The rocks
Fog and sand
Springtime
Clear water
Spring flowers
Rough water
Bornholm impressions
Martin Joergensen

Being a tourist

Bornholm is worth a visit for other things than the fishing. The island is generally very beautiful and idyllic, and there are lots of sights both in the towns and outside.
The small fishing harbors offer lots to see and many have small cafes and restaurants with the smoke houses being particularly interesting. If you go early in the season, some of these facilities might be closed, but you can still find places to visit.
Shopping isn't bad either and craft like glass and ceramics is the big thing on Bornholm. A few of the glass works have access to the workshops so that you can watch the process.
Bornholm's round churches is a whole chapter to itself, and you should definitely give yourself a trip to see one of them. They are open and access is usually free and you can get inside almost all times of the year.

Round church
Aways something to see
A small harbor
Idyllic towns
Smoke house
Lots to see
Martin Joergensen - Steve Schweitzer
Slippery when wet
Dueodde
Rocks and sand - the story of Bornholm
Martin Joergensen

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