Salmon Fishing Gear

Atlantic Salmon Fly Fishing In Iceland

Iceland For Salmon FishingWith nearly 100 salmon fishing rivers in Iceland and most of those allowing between 4 and 20 rods to fish per day, there is a lot of fishing to be had in Iceland, but without the feeling of ever being cramped for space. Indeed when we went salmon fly fishing on the River Midfjardara or "The Queen of the Rivers" with over 220 named pools we had 12 fly fishermen  split into 6 pairs one person fishing at a time with 3 gillies. This was over an incredible 115km river system. Such is fly fishing in Iceland. As is typical with many of the Icelandic river systems  the season can be short, just 99 days in 2015 however 6000 salmon were landed.

Most fishing water is privately owners with landowners owning the rights to fishing on their land. The law states that fishing for salmon in Iceland can only be done from May 20th - September 30th each year with minor exceptions allowing some rivers to stay open through October. Fishing for sea run species of trout and char can be done from April 1st - October 10th each year with minor exceptions. Fishing for resident trout and arctic char can be done year round (according to the law) but rarely do the rivers stay open through winter. Dont forget species like Arctic Char can provide excellent sport also!

Typically fishing season in Iceland is as follows:

April May June July August September October
Sea trout & Trout Fishing Trout fishing at declining sea trout fishing First Salmon usually arrive starting on the south west and rivers opening through to July as fish start to arrive. Salmon fishing and dry fly fishing for trout and Arctic Char Salmon Fishing Sea Trout start to arrive with strong runs coming into the rivers Final days of sea trout fishing. Salon rivers usually close. Weather can calm or stormy!

Most of the Icelandic salmon fishing comes with accommodation included in the price and most of the accommodation is in "full service" or in self catering lodges, and these are both seriously equipped types of accommodation with kitchens, living rooms en-suite bathrooms, saunas etc. The lodge at Midfjardara called Laxahvammur we stayed at is a spacious lodge with 10 bedrooms each with private bathrooms.

In common with many other parts of the world, Atlantic Salmon catches have been improving in Iceland in recent years and in 2008 approximately 82,000 were caught on rod and line.

The full service lodges normally include breakfast, lunch and dinner but anglers would be required to bring along their own after fishing beverages - though soft drinks, coffee and tea are included.

Fishing in Iceland is a serious business. 4am quick breakfast and coffees then by 5am we left in a 4wd vehicles to our start pools which ranged from 5 to 50km from the lodge. We would fish until sun was at its peak and fishing slowed at about 1pm when we returned for lunch and a quick hours sleep. Up again at 3:30 for sandwich and cakes and off to a different set of pools where we fished until dark at between 10 and 11pm. We would return for the lodge and have dinner!

Protect The Environment In Iceland

All fly fishermen entering Iceland must have a certificate of disinfection for their fly fishing gear. The disinfection can be done at Keflavik airport for a small fee. This is to keep the Icelandic rivers rivers clean and with its wonderful fragile, mostly unpolluted rivers and eco system this is key for protection of the waters.

Salmon Flies For Iceland

We had success with different patterns in Iceland, traditional patterns like Black and Red Francis, Snaelda, Blue Charm, Sunray Shadows, Munroe Killers all worked well with hook based and salmon tube flies all providing success.

Top Icelandic Salmon Rivers

The list of the ‘Top 20’ Salmon rivers listed below is based on the 2010 salmon catch returns. It does not relate to catch numbers/rod and it is definitely not intended to suggest that one river is better than any other another. Every river in Iceland has its own unique attributes and research is important before you go.

  1. West Ranga
  2. East Ranga
  3. Midfjadara
  4. Thvera & Kjarra
  5. Blanda River
  6. Nordura River
  7. Lana (Landa a Myrum)
  8. Sela
  9. Hafralonsa
  10. Grimsa
  11. Laxa In Dolum
  12. Laxa in Adaldal (Big Laxa)
  13. Vididalsa & Tributary Fitja
  14. Vatndalsa
  15. Hofsa
  16. Breiddalsa
  17. Laxa In Leirarsveit
  18. Haukadalsa
  19. Laxa in Kjos
  20. Ellidaar


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