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Fishing month by month

Posted in Fishing in Iceland.

April fishing - Sea trout and trout fishing

April 1st can be a very exciting day, especially for sea trout fishing. The fishing however is a huge gamble to say the least and anglers typically don’t know if the river is fish-able or not at that day. Permits must however be booked months in advance. If weather conditions are favourable on April 1st, those who take the chance sometimes experience fishing like you would not believe.

May fishing - Trout fishing mostly, some sea trout fishing

As the days go by and the seasons change the trout fishing starts getting better and better but the sea trout fishing declines by the day. In May there is some great lake and river fishing for trout to be done. Iceland does not have Mayflies in great quantity and the few we have don’t hatch in May. But strong hatches of Caddis and Chironomids are in May so the fishing for resident trout and char can sometimes be fantastic. May is also a gamble, more so than the months later in the summer. If you hit the jackpot in May with the weather you can experience some major dry fly fishing fun. Those fish simply gorge on millions of midges and don't seem to care about anything else. I've had some wonderful moments with trout fishing in May.

June fishing - Trout fishing - the arrival of the first salmon

When June arrives so do the very first Atlantic salmon. On the South-west corner and the odd river in the north open for salmon fishing in the beginning of June. Slowly the salmon rivers start opening up across country with perhaps the latest opening dates around the beginning of July. This is a time when the locals go up north for brown trout fishing, start fishing for sea char and get their salmon gear ready. June fishing for brown trout can be great as the weather gets more stable, the temp picks up and the hatches get more frequent and stable. Early June has some great caddis hatches as well as the signature midge milliions. In the north these things are usually a bit later to happen and so late June is an absolute magical time to be trout fishing. 

July fishing - Salmon fishing - dry fly fishing for trout and char

July is what you could call prime time for fresh salmon but for trout it is the peak of dry fly fishing. This is the month when the few Mayflies start to hatch and there are still great hatches of midges and Caddis. In July most locals have switched to salmon and so great trout fishing permits are available for booking. Late July the very first and the very biggest sea trout start running select rivers and there are strong migrations of sea char up to the fresh water. Hatches are consistent in July but the caddis get smaller and the hatches fewer and further between. Now is a great time for sea run char, brown trout and salmon.

August fishing - Salmon fishing

August is the prime time for salmon, especially the beginning of the month. This is when daddy long legs start hatching and you see them get blown on to the water by the hundreds. The hatch of midges and caddis has slowed down and as the days go by the trout seem to start on a fish diet. This simply means they get harder to catch. The sea trout keep running and by now most of the big spawning sea char have entered the fresh water of the rivers. The lake fishing slowes down dramatically in August.

September fishing - The arrival of the sea trout

September arrives and marks the coming of autumn. The sea trout are very active and strong runs pour into the sea trout rivers. The salmon runs slow down severely and the trout fishing as well. Lakes start closing for the winter and the anglers start braking out their sink tip lines and heavy flies. Salmon rivers also start closing and the salmon start getting ready to do their thing and fulfill their purpose of migrating up the fresh water.

October fishing - the final days of the sea trout fishing season

October can be very cold. October is a huge gamble. You can be lucky and get warm and calm days but you can also get the fall storm. Most salmon rivers have closed by now as well as most lakes. This is sea trout season until October 10th for most rivers, only a select few can stay open till October 30th. Then starts the long wait through cold days and long nights. This means tying flies, cleaning gear, watching DVDs and reading books on fishing. Six months until it all starts again. Most of us are already double hauling in our sleep come March.

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Fishing laws in Iceland

Posted in Fishing in Iceland.

In Iceland most, if not all of the fishing water is privately owned. Landowners own the fishing rights on their land and so several different landowners can own a single river. To avoid conflict the laws state that the owners must form an alliance regarding the river and matters concerning the river. This means that most rivers and some lakes and lake clusters have what we the locals call a fishing club. This club is made up of people that own parts of the rivers or lakes and each gets a vote.

The club then either sells fishing permits itself or leases the river to companies that take care of the river, sell permits and operate angling related tourism on said river (or lake). A governing body in angling matters issues guidelines for the well being of the river such as number of rods, method of fishing and that sort of thing. Netting in fresh water is forbidden. The fishing club takes these guidelines into consideration and sets the rules for their river.

The law states that fishing for salmon in Iceland can only be done from May 20th - September 30th each year with minor exceptions allowing some rivers to stay open through October. However, rivers can only stay open for 105 days within the given time-frame and it is up to the fishing club of each river to decide when to open and when to close. Obviously they'll try and maximize prime time dates and open the river for fishing when the first salmon have started running the rivers in the early summer.

Fishing for sea run species of trout and char can be done from April 1st - October 10th each year with minor exceptions. Fishing for resident trout and char can be done year round (according to the law) but rarely do the rivers stay open through winter.

All anglers entering the country must have a certificate of disinfection for their gear. More info here. The disinfection can be done at Keflavik airport for a small price. This is to keep our rivers clean and with our fragile, mostly unpolluted rivers and eco system we ask you to Please help us keep our rivers clean.

This system of managing the rivers of course has it's pros and cons and while some love it, others hate it. The arguments against this system are many and one of the loudest ones is that it keeps the price of fishing permits high and seemingly the sport of fly fishing as an elite sport for only the very rich. While that can be said about most of the big name salmon rivers we still have untouched, semi - unexplored rivers and streams in the highlands as well smaller trout streams that are still affordable and at the same time offering fantastic trout fishing.

The fishing permit market obeys the same rules as anything on the free market - the law of supply and demand. I guess the demand for good salmon fishing must be very high in the world as Iceland is a very popular place for visiting salmon anglers adding to the local demand making it exceed the supply. The strict rules also add to the demand as here you can experience fishing a river or a beat in a river without ever seeing another angler nor run out of pools to fish. I think that is what draws a lot of the foreign anglers to Iceland - to get away from it all and be able to fish in peace and quiet in a beautiful scenery still mostly unpolluted.

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