As it is the middle of winter here we don't have a lot of news to report about the fishing so we figured we might as well tell you some facts about the fishing in Iceland in case you might be interested. Below there are two facts not everyone knows about fishing in Iceland.
1. All fishing is private
In Iceland there is no public access fishing and all fishing rights in every river and every lake belongs to a private person or a group of people. When you own the land you also own the fishing rights on your land. So a river can belong to a number of landowners (usually farmers) and to make sure everyone of the owners is on the same page the law requires the farmers to form a syndicate that controls the river and/or lake. There is also a restriction to the number of rods allowed fishing each river each day. That number is recommended to the syndicate by the Institute of Freshwater fisheries and they can either go with the recommendation or opt for fewer rods. This means you have to book rods in advance in most of the best rivers. The best days (usually applies only to migratory fish) get booked up well in advance. This system has pros and cons. Pros being the low fishing pressure on each river, cons being the high prices on some of the rivers.
This means most of the rivers holding the big fish in numbers are quite costly. However there are numerous lakes and rivers that hold good fish but have difficult access for some reason. So for those of you who are adventurous there is plenty of stuff to explore if you are up for it.
2. In Iceland there are six species of freshwater fish.
Overall we have six species of freshwater fish. Trout (salmo trutta), Arctic char (salvelinus alpinus), Atlantic Salmon (salmo salar), stickleback, eel and flounder.
Only three of those are sought after sportfish here in Iceland but two of them also have sea run varieties (salmon here only migrates). We have brown trout which spends all (or at least most) of it's life in freshwater. It is found in lakes and rivers all over Iceland and the numbers are on the rise. We are seeing brown trout and sea run brown trout in more rivers and lakes than ever. We also have sea run brown trout that we call simply sea trout (as do most Europeans). It migrates from freshwater to sea and comes back to spawn. But to be honest we really don't know a lot about it (other than that it can get very big and is great fun to catch). Arctic char we also have stationary and migratory but the numbers are declining. We can only speculate on the reasons really but there must be a link between increase in trout and decrease in char. Must be!
Last but not least we have the Atlantic Salmon. Sometimes called the KING! It is without a doubt the most sought after fish here in Iceland. It comes in early summer, runs the rivers from June to mid August (or so) and then spawns in late autumn. Salmon can be found in rivers, and some lakes connected to sea, all over Iceland.
Photo Top: Mid June on River Nordura. Not a person fishing as that was my beat and I took the photo
Photo Bottom: Late May on Lake Thingvellir - the lake of monster brown trout