Holmengrå as we see it today was established towards the end of the 19th century by fishermen from the fishing village Bugøynes. They were immigrants from northern Finland who had arrived in the middle of the century to take part in the rich ocean fishing. They started the summer salmon fishing to have an additional source of income. The first temporary dwellings were erected during 1880-1890 and the last one was built just before WW2. The cabins and the locations for setting the salmon seines and nets have since been passed from one generation to the next.

Up until the 1960s the fishermen often brought their families and stayed during the whole season from May until August. Since then their stay has gradually become shorter and during the last few decades the economic importance of the salmon fishing has diminished so much that it is now more or less a pastime. Traditionally Russian and Norwegian buyers came to Holmengrå, and for a period after the war until the beginning of the 1960s there was even a fish factory with warehouse and wharf. This was however damaged in a severe storm and since then the fishermen have brought the fish to the buyers themselves.

Their main tools for catching the sea salmon are either a net with one end connected the shore or a special salmon seine with a net connected to the shore leading the fish into wedge shaped chambers. These would be set at agreed places and the first one off Holmengrå is called Rødberget and this is still regarded as one of the best places to catch salmon in the whole area of Sør-Varanger.

Each family had their own flat-top drying rack for drying fish and tackle. Special large drying racks were erected to dry the seines as they had to have the capacity to hang several hundred meters of nets. Here each family was allocated a section each.


Holmengrå laksefiskevær