The fish are biting in the Lule River

Fishing together is one way for locals and new arrivals in Boden to get to know each other as they discuss fishing and the right of public access to nature. And the fish are biting in the Lule River!

Fishing in the river 1
Photo: Sergut Belay Worke

ABF Norr

Boden, Sweden


Purpose of the method

Through fishing, ABF Norr is seeking to integrate newly arrived migrants into Swedish society, strengthen their command of the Swedish language and provide knowledge of the right to access nature.


The initiative to invite new migrants to meet locals on the riverbank came from the Börstingen Sports Fishing Club in Boden. The club’s fishing waters are along the Lule River below Boden Power Station, an area rich in salmon and sea trout, the local name for which, börsting, gives the club its name.

Fishing is a major pastime in Boden; by inviting newly arrived migrants to fish, the club and the Boden branch of ABF hope to create an arena for integration.

The banks of the Lule River are populated by many local Swedish-born anglers who have spent their lives fishing here. They meet here to talk not only about fishing but about events in the community and life in general. For migrants with an interest in fishing, encounters with local anglers provide an opportunity to practice their Swedish, learn about society and create new social networks.

Fishing in the river 2
Photo: Sergut Belay Worke
Description of method

Each four-person study circle is allocated a fishing guide and given a handbook on the Swedish right to access nature. ABF Norr pays for the cost of a fishing license and the participants can even borrow tackle from ABF. Börstingen Sports Fishing Club supports the initiative during fishing along the river.

There is a great deal of interest in the activity and ABF has set a limit of 20 groups per year. There is particular interest from migrants from Afghanistan, where fishing with rods is a popular pastime.

Fishing is a year-round activity, with participants going ice fishing during the winter months.

Fishing in the river 3
Photo: Sergut Belay Worke

Through the activity, the participants learnt a great deal about both fishing and Swedish culture. They had opportunities to speak to other anglers and their families, allowing them to practice their conversational Swedish. They also learned more about the habitat in which they are living. Participants came away with an understanding of the importance of wearing the right clothing and how fishing methods change over the course of the year. It was a great experience for Afghan women to learn to drill a hole in the ice in order to fish, and then to pull up their catch. These are lessons that create an understanding of local life and are crucial to migrants feeling at home and choosing to settle in the area.


The activity has proven very positive for all concerned, both Swedish-born locals and newly arrived migrants. It led to easygoing encounters based on a common interest. That said, it does take some time for people from other cultures to learn how the Swedish right to roam works. This is something that ABF works continuously to inform of.

Study materials

A folder on the Swedish right of access and informational material supplied by Börstingen Sports Fishing Club.


The project is a collaboration with the Börstingen Sports Fishing Club, which is very actively involved in fishing along the Lule River and in informing about fishing and the right of access. They also provide a link between new arrivals and established local residents.

Resources and funding

The activity is funded through ABF Norr and is conducted in the form of a study circle. In the study association’s reporting the activity is classified as Type 2: Swedish From Day One, an activity that allows the participants’ to practice the Swedish language; in this case, fishing. ABF pays for the participants’ fishing licenses at SEK 900 per license.


If you have any questions about the method, please contact ABF Norr.