Lagan

The city name Laholm contains the old name "Lag" of the river Lagan. Earlier the cities was named Lagaholm, which described a strong fortified castle located on a islet in the river Lagan. The name Lagan originates from the ancient Nordic word lagher , which means fluid and which among others also is part of the word sockerlag (marinade).

The river Lagan is the largest of the rivers in Halland and also the county`s best salmon water. The landing journal "Journaler över laxfisket i Lagan" presents the number of salmons caught (incl. weight) during the years 1882 - 1901 as follows:

year 1882 3244 pieces tot. 11.880 kg

year 1889 6026 pieces tot. 23.050 kg

year 1901 7175 pieces tot. 24.390 kg

However, the fishing for salmon on the river Lagan already is mentioned in old documents dating back to 1160 A.C., when the Danisk king Valdemar I. issued a letter of privilege for the munk of the Ringsted monastery. In this letter the Danish ruler donated "the church in Hov with all that belongs to it, such as meadows, fields and forests as well as locations for the growth of bog myrtle and even the fish (salmon), which is caught there on every tenth day". In those times the king owned all fishing rights. On September 10th, 1502, a letter of king Christian I. was read out at the Halland county council, according to which the bishop of Lund owned the "salmon fishing rights in Lawe". Later the crown to care of the fishing and in 1570 the peasants in Laholm county were prohibited to fish salmon before May 1st. If they wanted to do so, they had to report to Laholm´s castle, pay for the fishing permit and received a little badge, the so-called "fisketegen". However the guards on duty at Laholms castle did not always pay much attention to the badge and every now and then they did some target practice on the small fishing boats (called "dragekor"), which where lying around the castle entrapping salmon.

The first salmon, that came during spring was called "is-lönnen" and it was followed by the "råg-lönnen" in the end of April, the "havre-lönnen" in the middle of May, and the salmon that made into the Lagan in the end of May (the fattest and best) was called "korn-lönnen". Around summer solstice (midsummer) the so-called "halv-laxen" (or "halejsingen") came into the river, seldom weighing more than 5 kg.

One of the last professional angling fishermen in the Lagan, an man named "Udda-Augusten", was part of radio shows in his days and told stories about fishing on the Lagan. One of his favorite expressions was "Mother, I see we are getting visitors. Put the kettle on the stove, and I´ll run down to get a heave of salmon, while the horses recover".

At the turn of the century the energy company Sydsvenska Kraft AB started to develop the rapids on the Lagan and 1930 the Karsefors waterfall was tamed. Two years later the waterfall in Laholm was overmastered and Sydkraft bought up the fishing rights. "Udda Augusten" received 5.527 Swedish Kronor for his fishing rights. "It was really tedious to leave fishing" he said. "It took me nearly two years to recover to a full human being after all that grieving".

Of course the access of salmon decreased after the power stations were in place - for a while the salmon almost disappeared for good. But the power company had given a solemn promise to ensure the survival of the "laga-salmon". Sydkraft was able to keep the promise by investing heavily in a salmon farm located in Laholm.

Source: Laxboken, Om halländs lax I å och gryta, Bokförlaget Settern

Lagan history