Fishing in Iceland is a magical experience and my week last week was both great fun and hugely informative as I learned so much about the fishing on offer in Iceland and how it all works. Jon Sigurdsson is our man on the ground in Iceland and his knowledge of the fishing on offer is quite simply superb and great to have him looking after our FishIceland customers so well.
Like most UK anglers, surviving the long hot and dry days across the UK has been frustrating, never can I remember such a prolonged dry spell. So when you are heading for Iceland and you know that they have had plenty of rain it really does get the juices flowing and the anticipation was justified as I landed in Reykjavik with the rain pouring down.
The plan for the week was to fish 2 rivers, the Big Laxa and the Vatnsdalsa, both quite different is both shape and size and therefore tactics at times quite different. I had with me enough tackle to open a small shop but was glad that I had packed both my 2 handed rods and indeed switch rod which were perfect for what was to follow.
The long drive north from the airport was an excellent opportunity to see many other rivers that Iceland has to offer and Jon’s knowledge of these rivers meant I really did get to know much more about all these rivers and what’s on offer. The catch numbers in particular for me for rivers with such a short season are really impressive – must be much we can do
The Big Laxa river is home territory fro the famous Orri Vigfusson and incredibly, his son had been fishing the river the day before I arrived and had had a successful day catching many a salmon.
The Big Laxa is just that, big! Some really interesting fishing in pools that at times means you have to creep up on pools that look really fishy and you just never know if fresh run salmon will be in the lies. The switch rod was great for this type of fishing but the double hander was perfect fro the wider starches on the lower beats in particular.
The water was cold, colder than normal for this time of year but plenty of it. Fish were showing in the pools and you felt like that with every cast you just might get a pull. The lower beat has a water fall and fish congregate around the fast water as they plan their move upstream. Watching salmon leap here is great fun and keeps you on your toes as you swing your fly around into the hot spots.
The fishing days in Iceland are different to here. They start fishing at 7am and finish at 1pm then rotate beats and start again fishing at 4pm and finish at 10pm. It’s a fair bit of fishing and a late meal in the lodge but it’s great fun! You know that if fish are being caught in one particular beat that you will be n that beat fairly soon thanks to the rotation and seems to keep everyone happy.
The lodge on Big Laxa is really comfortable and well kitted out and is a real social hub throughout the day and night with anglers sharing stories and discussing their experiences, fly choice etc which I really enjoyed. Most guests were actually Icelandic and it was great to hear their stories as experienced fisherman about all that was on offer both on the Big Laxa itself and indeed other rivers in the area.
The next river we were to fish was a river called Vatnsdalsa. A much smaller river overall but still the need for the 2 handed rod at times as there were some really wide pools to fish too.
Again we had great sport catching brown trout, char and salmon to 87cm in length. My first session on the river saw me catch 3 fish that night, 2 from the same pool that has a name that I simply could not pronounce! See below! The river up there on the top beat, beat 3, has a waterfall at the top and a fish pass round it. It was incredible to creep up to the edge of the cliff face and look down to the pool below and see around 30 salmon all waiting to run the ladder. We swung our flies over them from the cliff top and moved a few but none were interested in what we showed them, probably just as well as landing a fish up there was going to be a challenge!
The lodge on Vatnsdalsa was even more impressive than the one on the Big Laxa with comfortable rooms, fishing lounge and dining room and even a jacuzzi to help the weary bones.
The feedback from anglers on Icelandic fishing is interesting in so far it is more around, how to find the right river to fish and what are the costs involved. Their is a huge appetite from many to fish in Iceland and I for one would certainly recommend a trip next year if you can fit it into your diary.
The good news is that in Jon Sigurdsson, our man on the ground running FishIceland, we have a local expert who can advise and help shape a fishing trip that suits your budget. Lodges can be full board or indeed self catering meaning the costs can budgeted for accordingly.
The full board set up might seem quite a bit more expensive but it does mean you get to try some great local dishes prepared by chef’s who typically enjoy working at the lodges over the summer away from their restaurants in Reykjavik and I thoroughly enjoyed being treated to some incredible meals.
If you would like to know more about the fishing on offer in Iceland then please do let me know. I know one thing from speaking to many of the Outfitters (the guys on the ground who help sort out the available fishing) that fishing is already being booked up at an alarming rate and if you want to plan a trip to Iceland for next year then it is time to start thinking of booking up is now.