The saithe is found throughout the North Atlantic. It occurs in Iceland, Svalbard, Norway and the North Sea. The saithe, which is also referred to as “pollock”, lives pelagic (in the open sea) near the bottom, in depths of up to 300 m (but not directly on the ground). Under good food conditions, it can form large swarms. Only as a young fish does it live near the coast and in shallow water.

Informations about saithe


up to 120 cm

up to 20 kg

Latin: Pollachius virens
Norwegian: Sei
French: Lieu noir
German: Seelachs, Köhler
English: Saithe, Coalfish

Where to fish for saithe

The saithe, often referred to as "pollock" or “coalfish”, occurs throughout the North Atlantic and in the northern North Sea. It lives in in swarms in the open water, which can occur both near the coast and far out on the open sea. The depths where saithe stay can vary vastly. Often you can watch the fish hunt just below or at the water surface, at other times they will stay in depths between 50-100 m.

Especially the smaller specimens occur along the Norwegian coast, in the fjords they often live in large swarms. They are an important food source for big cod, halibut, and other predators, as well as for marine mammals and sea birds. The bigger the saithe, the more likely it’ll live in smaller swarms.

Capital specimens are especially caught in central and North Norway.

The most effective methods to catch saithe

Saithe are mainly caught through pirking, but also through spin fishing and fly fishing. A very effective method is the so-called "speed pirking" or "speed jigging". When using this method, you bring a relatively slim pirk to the bottom and crank it up - with short stops - as fast as possible. Thus, you can search all layers of water for the fish. Saithe frequently already bite when you place the bait, but no later than during the fast hauling phase.

If there are saithe in the upper water layers, you can also try spin fishing with light pirks.

Bigger saithe usually bite pretty fervidly. Since the fish often take long escape routes afterwards, the fishing reel’s brake must not be set too tight.

The most commonly used baits for saithe fishing

As already mentioned, saithe are usually caught through pirking, but also through heavy spin and fly fishing.

Speed pirking
The saithe prefers a fast-run bait at mean sea level . This means, that you’ll catch fewer fish if you rely on the depth displayed on the echo sounder and only fish at one depth. Your chances are better, if you control the sinking of the bait manually and instantly react to any bites.

When using speed pirking to catch saithe, you should overhaul your bait with high speed, until they are hopefully stopped by a neat bite.

The biting behavior of saithe may change very quickly, therefor it is important to always stay flexible.

Keep in mind when fishing for saithe

Small saithe can be fished during the whole year, while bigger specimens usually are caught during Summer and Autumn.

Our recipe suggestion for you

Fish casserole with honey-mustard sauce and spinach (for 4 persons)
530 g fish fillet (s) (pollock)
some lemon juice
260 g basmati rice
Water (saltwater)
530 g spinach (deep frozen)
2 small onion(s)
1 garlic clove
50 g butter
1 tablespoon flour
130 ml milk
260 ml stock
4 tablespoons mustard, medium hot
1 tablespoon honey
Salt and pepper
fresh dill


Cook the rice in saltwater according to the package information. Preheat the oven to 180°C (convection).

Chop the onion and the garlic clove in small pieces and sauté with about half of the butter and add the spinach to it. Season with salt, pepper and a little nutmeg. Season the fish with lemon juice, salt and pepper.

Melt the rest of the butter in a small saucepan and add the flour. Stir well, then pour in the milk and stock, and add mustard and honey. Season with salt, pepper and dill, and let it boil a little.

Then, first layer the cooked rice and then the spinach in the casserolle. Then place the seasoned fish on top and pour over the sauce.


Place the casserolle in the preheated oven and bake for about 15 minutes. Serve hot.


Saithe, fishing, pollock, sei, Norway