Abstract Stocking is undertaken in the River Suldalslågen, western Norway, to compensate for an estimated annual loss of 20 000 Atlantic salmon smolts, Salmo salar L., caused by regulating the river for hydropower production. The annual contribution to angling catches from stocked hatchery fish varied from 7 to 334 kg, or <15% of the total number caught. Between 160 000 and 250 000 one-summer old fish were stocked, but only between 6 and 10 (<0.005%) were recaptured as adults in the river. Recaptured stocked fish never exceeded 0.03% by number, despite smolts dominating the stocking material in recent years. It is not certain whether the slight increase in catches comes in addition to or at the expense of natural reproduction. In most years more adults were used as parent stock than were caught as offspring. The lack of positive response to stocking is possibly due to lesser age, smaller size and later migration of hatchery smolts, and that seawater tolerance of hatchery smolts is poorly developed, all factors increasing mortality at sea.