Iceland 2018 - Spey Pages
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post #1 of 19 (permalink) Old 08-20-2018, 09:26 PM Thread Starter
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Iceland 2018

I returned a week ago from my annual trip to Iceland. Iceland has experienced a much different summer than the rest of Europe. It has been quite rainy and rather cool summer. So the rivers I fished were all in good shape with plenty of water. I fished four different rivers for a total of 12 days. The first two rivers are located on the west coast and are salmon rivers. The rivers had seen a good return of fish with fish spread throughout the system. I fished small hitch tubes on the surface along with small standard salmon wet flies. Small flies seemed to do the best, I took a number of fish on size #14 flies. The largest fish was a 93cm salmon approx 17lbs, but most were grilse in the 4-7lb range. Most were fresh fish many with sea lice that fought well with many jumps, etc. I also did manage to catch a couple of colored fish which had been in the river awhile. I then fished two rivers in the north of Iceland for trout (brown trout, sea trout, and sea char). Fishing was good at both rivers most fish were caught either on caddis emergers or streamers. I even managed to catch 2 salmon, as the river Vatnsdalsa which I was fishing on is also a very good salmon river. I was fishing on the trout section of this river but salmon pass through this area as well. I took one of the salmon on a caddis emerger size 10, I hooked 3 others which I lost before landing this one. I thought the first 3 were all very large trout but realized when I landed the last fish that they had all been salmon. I guess I will be tying more Lady Caroline flies for salmon as it is very similar to a caddis pattern! The last river was strictly brown trout, caught a number of large brown trout the largest being a 67cm brute which I estimate at between 7-8lbs was a magnificent fish. Lost a day of fishing on this river due to bad weather high winds. All in all was a nice trip with good fishing and great company on the river. Rather than post pictures on here I uploaded a number of picture to my Flickr account here is the link hope everyone enjoys the pics:
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post #2 of 19 (permalink) Old 08-20-2018, 09:32 PM
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Very nice pictures. You're a lucky fellow to do that every year!
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post #3 of 19 (permalink) Old 08-21-2018, 09:56 AM
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Always look forward and enjoy your reports!
A hitcher's paradise for sure!
Beautiful pics as always.
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post #4 of 19 (permalink) Old 08-21-2018, 10:29 AM
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Breathtaking scenery and fishies! You a lucky man!!
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post #5 of 19 (permalink) Old 08-22-2018, 01:56 AM
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Stunning and thanks for sharing!

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post #6 of 19 (permalink) Old 08-22-2018, 07:26 AM
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Thanx for sharing and some fish porn John !

My best memories are not too old!!
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post #7 of 19 (permalink) Old 08-22-2018, 12:02 PM
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Fantastic! I spent a bunch of time in Iceland, but for a variety of reasons wasn't able to do any salmon fishing. This is a great reminder of why I need to remedy that one day.
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post #8 of 19 (permalink) Old 08-22-2018, 04:10 PM
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Terrific photos john8! Congratulations for truly "keeping them wet". Gorgeous country: no shopping malls, no low-density suburbs, no vanity mansions built in or near the riparian buffer zone.

As an aside, I found it rather amusing how you jumped back and forth between centimetres and pounds. We Canadians do a lot of that. Canadian anglers tend to use feet and inches instead of metres.

I like to measure fish in kilos to confuse people and to subtly show off. Oddly enough, I experience increasing difficulties thinking in Fahrenheit and must now translate from Celsius.
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post #9 of 19 (permalink) Old 08-22-2018, 07:25 PM Thread Starter
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Thought I would share in a little more detail some of the more interesting happenings on the rivers during this trip. One of things I enjoy so much in fishing in Iceland for salmon is you see the fish come to the fly whether a hitched tube or a wet fly. During one of the morning sessions after fishing all morning with no action, I decided to fish the tail out of this one pool one more time. It was about 12:30 and the fishing stops at 1pm for a mandatory stop for lunch at the lodge as well as switching beats. I was fishing a small wet fly and a Scandi line. The fish sit in a trough in the bedrock close to the far bank which required a long cast to reach. So the fly swings across this area and I see a boil along with a flash of silver at the surface. I wait for the fly line to go tight but nothing. So I do the usual, pull the fly in check and wait that 1 minute or so which seems like forever before casting again. Next cast nothing, try two more casts with same result. So I change flies and again nothing. I then change flies again, the fish then comes to the fly at the surface once again but does touch it. For the next 25 minutes or so I continue to try a variety of flies each fly for only a couple of casts. The fish rises to 6 different flies and never touches any of them. Now I look at my watch and it's about 12:55 and the fish has not looked at the last 3 flies I have tried so I figured its done. I put on one last fly and bam fish boils on the surface and the line tightens and the fish is on. However when I see this fish boil it is not the bright silver like before but has that color of a fish that has been in the river a bit. I land the fish and sure enough it is a colored fish shown in one of the photos, the fish I believe was a totally different fish than the one that rose to the fly all those times.

The next story I alluded to in the original post, I was fishing a different river and we were targeting trout mainly sea char and sea trout. I had caught a few sea char in the lower part of the river in the morning and had moved up river and it was late morning. The pool was really nice located in a meadow long glide about 100 yrds long cut bank on the far side. I had on a caddis emerger (see picture) type pattern which does real well for the trout. I saw a boil or splash about have way down this long pool I assumed it was a nice trout. As I get to this spot I get a real nice take where the line just tightens and the fish is on. This feels like a really nice trout, I was using a Hardy Zenith so the reel is screaming as the fish makes some nice long runs. The fish kind of turns in the water and flashes its side which is very bright so I assume it's a sea trout. After about 5 or 10 minutes the fly pops out. I check the fly and leader everything ok and start casting, few yards down from last fish I get another take and same result. Fish is on for a few minutes and then the fly pops out. Repeat again and this time I get a really good take and can feel this is a heavier fish. Same result fly pops out after about 5-10 minutes. I'm frustrated at this point also curious as to what I had hooked each time as I never saw the fish except for a flash in the water when the fish turned. Not giving up I started casting again taking a few steps down the pool. I cast to the far bank and the fly starts to swing into the current and suddenly this head pops up and is going down stream chasing the fly. The head goes under and the line tightens and once again I'm into a fish. I'm expecting anytime for the fly to pop out but the fish makes a few screaming runs and jumps. I then realize it's a salmon, I then realize that the other fish were all probably salmon as well. I land the fish it was a bright fish with sea lice about 6 lbs and the fly was securely held in the corner (scissors) of the jaw of the fish. Here is a picture of the fly, I guess I will be adding this to my salmon fly box now or I will have to start tying some small Lady Caroline's.

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post #10 of 19 (permalink) Old 08-23-2018, 05:17 AM
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I love that back story, John. Talk about persistence!

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post #11 of 19 (permalink) Old 08-25-2018, 05:52 PM
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great pictures John - do you fish with local guides or just book online and go ?
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post #12 of 19 (permalink) Old 08-26-2018, 02:14 PM Thread Starter
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I always think in terms of lbs when it comes to fish size. In Iceland each river has a log book where all catches are recorded so they know exactly how many fish were caught, size, where, etc. Back when most of the catch was kept the fish were weighed and recorded in pounds. Since going to more C&R on the rivers most anglers record the fish in the log book in terms of length and that is done in cm. They also changed the log book to kg and there is an option to include weight in kg but many do not. So I kind of use this hybrid measuring some fish before release if I can, sometimes this is difficult by yourself so I just estimate the fish length. But I always think in pounds, the Icelanders also just double the kgs to get pounds rather than using 2.2 so they will call a 10kg fish a 20lb fish when actually it is 22lbs. They also use 100cm as the mark for 10kg or 20lb fish and most rivers have a mandatory release of fish over 70cm which is what they determine the MSW threshold so fish of about 7-8lbs.
I just go on my own no guide having fished up there since I was a kid back in the 70s. I'm familiar with most of the rivers I fish. I will also fish with Icelandic friends as well as Icelandic relatives. Most rivers are not too difficult to navigate as everything is just driving to beats no boats and most pools are marked or pretty easy to read the pool, etc. But if you are going for the first time it is sometimes pretty good or wise to use a guide.
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post #13 of 19 (permalink) Old 08-26-2018, 04:38 PM
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Fantastic fishing! I see you using single hand rod for salmon? is it because river is small, or just better to do hitching with SH ?
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post #14 of 19 (permalink) Old 08-27-2018, 01:37 AM
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What an absolutely beautiful place. It reminds me very much of Northern Scotland, where my people come from. Glad you were able to journey there.
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post #15 of 19 (permalink) Old 09-13-2018, 05:25 PM
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Wow! Really cool. Now I am thinking that next yearís big fishing trip needs to be Iceland. Iceland has been an idea in my head but the more pictures or video of fishing there I see, the higher it gets on my list.

Thanks so much
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