Arctic Char Fishing in Iceland

Arctic char are the most common freshwater fish in Iceland. They are found in rivers and lakes all over the island. The average weight of the char ranges from a half to two pounds, but fish up to four pounds are not rare. The largest recorded char caught in Iceland was 22lbs, taken in Skorradalsvatn.

Sea-run char are also widely distributed in Iceland but predominately in the north. It is the dominant fish species in some cold rivers like Eyjafjardará and Hörgá and very prolific in the slower flowing sections of rivers like Vatnsdalsá and Vídidalsá. There are good populations of sea-running char in the eastern fjords and also on the west coast too.

Arctic char angling trips in Iceland might include:

• Nymphing for Arctic char
Inland lake and/or river fishing
Exclusive highland lake fishing
• Winter and ice fishing for Arctic char
• Private guide with 4x4 vehicle
• Pick up & drop off, fishing permits, fishing equipment, lunch and light refreshments are usually included

When to fish for Arctic Char

The sea char season starts in May with late July and August as the prime time.

The sea char runs start to increase steadily from the beginning of July in Iceland. Ever bigger schools head upstream from the beginning of July until the end of August. By September the rivers are teeming with them. The size of the sea char is different to the non-sea char. Two pound fish are very common and 3-6 pound fish are frequently caught and sometimes even bigger fish feature in the catches.

Fishing methods

A common method of angling for sea char is to use a simple pattern such as a pink Gammarus type shrimp, tied on small hooks. A short cast is made towards land from a standing position in the middle of the river and fished Czech nymph style on a short line dead drift.

These larger sea char are powerful fish, and it is usual to find that within a few seconds of the take, your reel will screaming and you will soon be well into your backing. It pays to check all knots prior to and during a session fishing for sea char!

Whilst Icelandic summers are generally warm by day, weather conditions can change quite rapidly. Therefore it is prudent to prepare for inclement weather and take warm clothing, rainwear and a wind proof jacket. And most importantly, please remember to disinfect your tackle before or upon your arrival into Iceland.

Arctic char fishing in Iceland

Fljotaa has a huge population of sea-run Arctic char every year.

Where to fish for Arctic char

Many people prefer to fish in the salty tidal stretch of the rivers for "sjobleikjur" translated from Icelandic "the one that appears from the sea". This, like most char fishing, is challenging. You should allow at least a half day to get the fly, presentation and retrieve correct, but once you have mastered this, it's possible to pick fish up all day long. These may not be huge fish, but give a fight that is not reflected by their weight.

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