Atlantic salmon fishing
Iceland is a unique destination for anglers from all over the world. With its breathtaking nature and landscape, Iceland’s gin-clear waters offers unique opportunities to fish for Atlantic Salmon. There is a large stock of salmon in Iceland, as well as trophy brown trout, lake trout and char.
When we mention Iceland, people usually say: It is very far away…
Actually, Iceland is much nearer than people think…, just about 5 hrs flight from New York and 2 hrs flight from UK. Should you have visited Scandinavian countries like Norway and Sweden for instance, you would know that summer time in Iceland means 24 hrs of daylight. What does this mean for fishing? Well, I can guarantee that fishing in late evening/night ours could me much more successful than fishing during day time. It will be amazing experience to fish some of the rivers and lakes at midnight, when majority of countries are preparing to go to bad, you with your fly fishing or spin fishing rod are making the perfect cast for one of our river monsters. Here are some answers to the most frequently asked questions so far:
– Can one fish during night time? – By law, one can only fish 12 hrs within the 24 hrs. Usually fishing starts at 7:00 AM and lasts till 13:00, then resumes again at 15:00 and lasts till 21:00. But, this of course differs from river to river. There are waters where you can fish late at night.
When does the salmon season begin? – Again, it depends on the river. Usually the earliest start of the season is 15 June, but in some rivers it can start a bit later, therefore the best answer would be: between 15 June and 15 July. The rivers which open early June are located West of Iceland or around Borgarfjörður area, while rivers in East of Iceland usually open later in June, or early
– When does the salmon season end? – salmon season ends on 30 September.
– What about the gear? – This is usually the most difficult question, since depending on the fish you are targeting and limitation on weight by airlines, every answer is a difficult one. But, let me try and explain the overall needs for an angler, in a more generic way… Beside your waders, wading boots and wading jacket, you’ll be fine to bring three rods with you; a class 5 for trout and char, class 6 or 7 for salmon fishing with small/light flies, and class 8/9, or even double-handed (in case you want to fish in big rivers) for casting bigger and heavier flies. From the fishing line, you will need floating and intermediate fishing lines.
The JOKLA river
There are numerous pools on the Jökla and our efforts have been focused mostly on the gorge section upstream of the bridge carrying Route 1 over the river and down the river from there. At the top of this stretch the river, only a couple of metres wide at this point, disappears down a fissure in the rock, and appears again in a bubbling cauldron about 30 metres downstream! But now a fish pass has been build to secure steady run of fish to the upper Jökla and for 2013 we will for first time be able to offer good fishing up there for both salmon and arctic char and at reasonably price! And many pools have never been fished there yet so you might be the first to cast into some beautiful water where nobody have been fishing!!
There are rivers all over the world which offer plenty of variety in the type of water they present to the angler and such rivers are often much appreciated for that reason. However, the Jökla presents an entire river system, from a Tay-like main river with stunning classic pools which go on forever ending in mouth-watering tails, to tiny, small and medium sized tributaries. The variety does not stop there. Salmon, sea trout, Arctic char and resident brown trout. In a day you can switch from 15 ft double-hander to a small trout rod for delicate salmon fishing or even dry fly or nymph for stunning wild trout.
The Jökla system is accessed by a short flight from Reykjavik’s domestic airport to Egilsstadir. From there about a one-hour drive will see you comfortably to the lodge where spacious rooms with ensuite showers are tastefully complemented by the large dining hall with fire and sitting area.
Comparatively speaking the fishing is in its infancy. Until a few years ago, the Jökla river itself was a milky glacial river which burst from the glaciers of the interior. This was until the glacial run-off was diverted for a hydro scheme, which left a large but wonderful clear river. All the tributaries are classic clear Icelandic rivers. The Kalda is the gem, a mid-sized, breathtaking river with beautiful pools for miles. The water runs a little cool but skated dries still work well. The Laxa, or salmon river, is very short but has some delightful pools which makes the mouth water. The pools are such that they look wonderful but can you really believe that a good salmon can be so close? The Fossa is different again. Almost chalkstreamy and yet smaller but with great depth. One thinks one is fishing mere inches of water and actually it is several feet! The Fogruhlidara river is the char gem though all will hold char and sea-trout.
The Jökla system is not an Icelandic classic top-ten river system. It is too new and does not have the weight of fish that the ‘classics’ enjoy. But it does not carry the same price tag either. In fact pretty much half. It is a fishing adventure. There is certainly no monotony on the Jökla and between eight rods there is more space than ever imaginable.
The Jökla is a ‘great’ in the making
The fishing on the tributaries is varied and gives a pleasant contrast to the daily rotation of beats. With over 50 km of water for 6-8 rods, as usual with our fishing, there is always a good choice of water. The short Fossa usually gives fish from the Foss pool and the long stretch that runs into the main river. On Laxa there are intimate pools strung out from the impassable foss all through the winding course to the Jökla and ideal for fishing with a single-hand rod. The Kalda is a longer and bigger river and contains longer pools than the other two tributaries. The scenery on the upper part of the river is quite beautiful. Finally the Fögruhlíðará has the character of a meadow stream and flows glassily through the pastures. Most of the salmon fishing is found in the upper half of the Fögruhlíðará river.