Iceland Fishing

By Bob Sherwood of Halstead and Bolton, destination fishing partner of John Norris The UK’s spring salmon season is well under way with some encouraging early reports from rivers such as the Eden and Wye. But many of us with an incurable salmon addiction are looking forward to June 24 – the start of the season in Iceland! dsc_0003 The prospects for Iceland’s salmon season are particularly exciting this year.  Catch returns for the last couple of years have been excellent, with some rivers reporting greater numbers and larger fish as widespread catch and return policies seem to be having a dramatic effect. With a short flight, quick three and four day trips are common, and many anglers choose to share a rod with a friend (practical enough given the 12-hour fishing day) to keep costs down. dsc_0118 Now is a great time to be planning an Icelandic salmon trip as there are still some fantastic slots available on a number of the best rivers and some good prices still to be had. But even though Iceland has just a short three-month season, the type of fishing can change significantly over the course of the season so do choose your time and river with care. dsc_0227_2 Early season slots starting from June 24 are typically cheaper and offer a bargain opportunity to get on some of Iceland’s famous rivers. Water levels are likely to be good, though temperatures can still be a little cold, which means the fish might be more reluctant to come to the surface, though many rivers will already have an excellent run of fish. dsc_0385_2 Moving into July and August will see a rise in temperatures and the time when the surface-scratching riffle hitch method comes into its own. Certainly there is no more exciting way of fishing than catching salmon off the surface on tiny flies.  Small traditional patterns and micro sunray shadows also work really well. dsc_0470 Rivers in the north and east of Iceland should still have plenty of water but those in the south-east have struggled with a lack of rainfall in recent years, so do pick carefully. By the end of August and into September, the rivers will be full of fish, though water levels will be cooling and hopefully rising again, if it has been a dry summer. Flies should still be small, but heavier tubes and larger sunray shadows can prove effective. Most Icelandic rivers can be fished with trout gear: single-handed six- and seven-weight rods and floating lines. The new switch rods have proved very adaptable and can be a great choice. Matched with lighter salmon shooting heads, the switch rod was my choice for Iceland last summer. Rivers can vary too. The famous Big Laxa requires classic swinging flies on double-handed rods, while others such as Flotjaa are more like chalk streams. There’s a new lodge this year and some open slots on Laxa in Asum, renowned for the highest per rod catches in Iceland, which promises to be spectacular. Midfjardara offers miles of pools in a canyon setting with crystal clear water and visible fishing, while if you are lucky enough to secure a slot on the storied rivers of the north-east, Sela and Hofsa, you should grab it with both hands, and take both single-handers and light double-handed rods. dsc_04992 Halstead and Bolton has available slots on most of these rivers throughout the season, including some bargain early and late season offers. Go to: Halstead and Bolton Iceland Salmon Fishing Special Offers . AAPGAI instructors and destination travel experts Jim Curry and Bob Sherwood at Halstead and Bolton are always available to offer advice on tackle, flies and methods for your Icelandic salmon fishing trip. Go to www.halsteadandbolton.com.