About Icelandic rivers

History

People have been fishing for salmon in Iceland since the Dark Ages. In those days most of the fishing was done by dragnets, but no one can say for sure whether rod and line was used also.

In the late 1800s the landed gentry of the UK started to arrive and fish for salmon, primarily in the south and west areas of the island. A few even purchased the riparian rights to the fishing.

This traffic petered out after the Great War and did not reach the same numbers until the 1960s when Iceland again became a mecca for anglers, this time from America and now more recently from Europe.

Clear waters

One of the beauties of fishing in Iceland is the clarity of the water. Many rivers run gin-clear and on many of the smaller streams it is possible to perch on the bank and watch salmon in their environment.

This not only allows the angler to get a better understanding of where salmon lie and why, but also gives anglers fishing in a group an opportunity to try "sight" fishing for salmon where a partner on the bank can direct the angler as to where and when to cast his fly. A popular method of doing this is to skate riffle hitched flies and micro-tubes across the surface and watch the salmon follow and take this fly in an explosion of water.


Rivers in Iceland

River Midfjardara, gin-clear Berghylur pool, like in so many Icelandic rivers





Rivers in Iceland

Breiddalsa, autumn fishing in the upper reaches, with marvelous mountain scenery



River types

Whilst most of the rivers in Iceland hold naturally occuring salmon a few such as the East and West Ranga are supplemented by a smolt rearing and release programme. These programmes have turned some of the minor salmon rivers into rivers to be reckoned with. The East and West Ranga for instance accounted for over 21,000 salmon in the 2008 season.

Bookings

Fishing in Iceland is either sold as 'whole day' permits or the permits are sold using the term 'afternoon to noon' (sometimes called 'noon to noon', but meaning the same).

With 'whole day' permits, fishing simply starts in the morning of the first day purchased and terminates in the evening of the last day purchased. However, with 'afternoon to noon' permits the fishing starts in the afternoon of the first day purchased and terminates at 12:00 noon on the day after the last day purchased.