Iceland 2019 - Trout - Spey Pages
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post #1 of 7 (permalink) Old 09-01-2019, 05:04 PM Thread Starter
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Iceland 2019 - Trout

Thought I would break up my trip report into two reports one detailing the trout fishing and the other the Atlantic Salmon fishing. This year I ended up booking more trout fishing than salmon as I was unable to get some salmon days that fit into my schedule. In the end that turned out to be a blessing as many of the salmon rivers had their worst summer on record. This was due to low water basically drought like conditions for the majority of the island and then also very poor returns. This was probably due in part to the fish were from the 2012 spawning class which was a bad year as well as something happening in the sea as even the rivers which use smolt releases had poor returns. I arrived in Iceland in late July and traveled to the north of Iceland I fished for a half day on a sea char river which I have driven past many times but never fished. Was nice to try a new river unfortunately one of the feeder rivers was blown out and dumping muddy water into the river which colored in up. I did manage to catch a 6lb or so sea char and loose another one which broke my leader. I was fishing a tail out on a pool and it was too deep and fast to chase the fish so when they took the fly they took off into the fast water and I has to stop them. I spent a day and half fishing a trout section on the Laxa river and caught a half dozen brown trout in the 18-23" range and small wets or emergers.
I then fished for the next 3 days on the lower part of the Vatnsdalsa river which is a famous salmon river and has a large population of trout as well. I fished the trout section which is the lower part of the river which mainly has sea char and sea trout, salmon do pass through this section so there is always a chance for salmon. The river was on the low side and we were primarily fishing the tidal section which is much like a lake as well as the mouth of the river where it flows into the ocean. The tidal section is interesting as the current flows down river during a falling tide and then changes direction and flows upriver on a raising tide. The weather was pretty nice for the most part except for a little too sunny and windy at times. I did manage to catch one grilse on a wooly bugger made some great runs and jumps and was dime bright. Also caught a number of sea trout in the 3-6lb class they are really fun as they really take the fly and then take a blistering run often way into the backing. One of the most fun places to fish is the mouth of the river where in dumps into the sea. There are always fish coming in and out with the tide and then they sit in holes or depressions in the sand waiting to ambush their prey. I caught one sea trout there about 5 lbs that made a blistering run into the ocean.
Sea trout of about 5 lbs
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This is the mouth of the river where it enters the ocean(straight shot from here to the North Pole) Very exciting and fun fishing this area due to the violent grabs you get from the fish and then the blistering runs often back out into the sea
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Grilse of about 5lbs caught using trout fly and gear
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This is the Pool if you want to call it that where I caught the grilse as well as some sea trout. Weird you will fish the pool with the current flowing one direction and then in 6 hours the opposite direction. Lost a nice sea trout on a Sunray shadow stripped on the surface I thought it was a salmon when it took and for about the first 5 minutes or so.
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The river in nice weather as you can see it is very much like a lake does not have that much of a flow.
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I then traveled back to the Laxa to fish the upper portion of that river for stationary brown trout. I have fished this section of the river for over 35 years, the river is now all catch and release and it is awesome to see the size of the fish grow year after year. Most of the fish I caught were between 4-8 lbs which is quite remarkable for brown trout which feed solely on insects (except the occasional duckling). I fished with a group of friends and had a good time. The first fish I caught tied my personal best in terms of length but weighed more I believe was a remarkable fish. The fish took the caddis emerger I was swinging with a violent take and then exploded out of the water it looked like a large salmon! It then ran upriver and then down into the backing and I had to give chase. There was a lot of weed in the rivers that started to accumulate on the leader (probably 3 or 4 lbs of it.). Anyway I landed the fish and it measured close to 27" and I guessed it at about 8 lbs as it was so fat. Also the wrist was like a large salmon and I was able to hold it by that in the water. All of these trout are remarkably strong they take a swung fly so hard often the line is almost jerked out of your hand. That is followed by a blistering run into your backing. I caught another large trout of the same length although it was not as fat. The fly was swinging and there was a large swirl or boil, I waited for the pull of the line but nothing. The fly kept swinging and then all of a sudden the fish comes head and tail out of the water going downstream after the fly and grabs it. It was a great visual take and a lot of fun. I will post additional pics and write a separate report on the salmon fishing.
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post #2 of 7 (permalink) Old 09-01-2019, 05:13 PM Thread Starter
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trout pics

Large trout 27" and about 8 lbs
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Close up of the same fish
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A view of the river, it is nice to fish as you can wade easily in most sections and has a lava bottom so not many slippery rocks. The river is about 100-200 yards wide in most spots.
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A typical trout of about 5 lbs from the river, they look a lot like sea trout and do not have the red spots other brown trout have.
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The large fish which chased the fly downstream and took it on the surface
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post #3 of 7 (permalink) Old 09-01-2019, 06:17 PM
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Thanks John8,
A most interesting report . A number my friends fish in Iceland each year and remarked on this years low water and the tough salmon fishing during July .
The fishing you describe sounds great ,particularly the river mouths and trout sections of the noted salmon rivers . Was this guided fishing or something you can book on daily basis ? I hope to get there next year and would appreciate any information , links , cost etc .
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post #4 of 7 (permalink) Old 09-03-2019, 06:32 PM Thread Starter
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No guides I do this on my own, but you can always go through a service which would provide a guide, etc. I book my fishing well in advance during the winter and usually it is group type thing where we are fishing the river as a group. Some of the trout fishing can be booked on a daily basis but you run the risk of things being sold out. As there are limited rods in all rivers.
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post #5 of 7 (permalink) Old 09-13-2019, 03:48 PM
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Thanks John, I always look forward to your yearly Iceland fishing reports!
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post #6 of 7 (permalink) Old 10-23-2019, 11:08 PM
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This is very fascinating! Thanks for sharing. I'm planning a trip next June to travel the island in general, but hope to dedicate at least 4-5 days to fishing. (I had actually planned a whole trip for this past June, including a semi guided itinerary all lined up, but WOW air went belly up! Luckily I hadn't actually booked the fishing, so I didn't lose the money!) But I've been surprised at how little info I've found on the internet or books, so it's nice to get some first hand reports like this to fill in the picture a bit. Sounds like you've done reports from past years' tips, so I'll look back through those as well.

I had planned on focusing on char and trout since I get the impression the salmon beats are much more expensive. Do you find that's generally the case? Or are there reasonably priced salmon beats to be found? Given that it's part of a longer trip, I have to try and stretch my budget.

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post #7 of 7 (permalink) Old 10-24-2019, 12:01 AM
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Thank you for the wonderful Iceland report. This is a fantasy land for most of use (as was Alaska in my youth) and we love reading about this mythical Nordic wonderland.


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