Whilst Iceland has a very long coastline the important thing to note is that Iceland's exclusive fisheries zone has an area of 760,000 square kilometers, seven times the area of Iceland itself.
Some of the largest fish stocks in the North Atlantic are found in Icelandic waters, including the cod stock, which is Iceland's most important species, and the capelin stock, which is generally the largest in size. Other large stocks migrate in and out of Icelandic waters, including the Atlanto-Scandian herring stock and blue whiting, while still others are mostly close to the 200-mile limit, such as the oceanic redfish stock.
Halibut ('heilagfiski' in Icelandic) can grow up to two metres long and are highly sought after.
When you consider Iceland's northerly position, you might expect the surrounding ocean to be icy cold, have little phytoplankton and therefore be rather lifeless. On the contraray the sea is teeming with life owing to the prevailing ocean currents: the warm Gulf Stream approaches from the southwest and meets the polar current from the north. This produces a huge amount of upwelling of nutrients from the deeper layers to the surface.
The nutrients feed microscopic life in the surface layers, notably phytoplankton and zooplankton and thus support the ocean's entire food web. The Gulf Stream warms the ocean south of Iceland and flows north along the west coast and then east along its north coast. It meets the polar current off the north and west coasts and also in the southeast.
Angling for the mighty cod!
There are many species of fish that can be caught in Icelandic waters such as the halibut, monkfish, mackerel, saithe, haddock, pollack, ling and catfish just to mention a few. In addition to the sheer numbers of fish there are also very many large specimens to be caught - many of which would be national records elsewhere!
Deep-sea angling from charter boats is available all year round along the Icelandic coastline, however depending on which species you want to fish for, there are certain seasonal aspects to consider.
No doubt that the best time to fish for the cod is during the winter months, namely February till April. Visiting Iceland during this period of the year, when the sun starts rising above the horizon, painting the snow-covered landscape in a golden touch is to start to experience the magic that angling in Iceland is. It is also the beginning of a long love affair with the country and its wonderful fishing!
Although most people prefer travelling during the summer months to the northern extremes of Europe, anyone with genuine interest in proper Icelandic deep-sea fishing should consider other periods of the year.
The fishing village of Flateyri is just 20 minutes from Isafjordur.
Where To Fish
If you are considering boat angling locations the quick and easy answer is anywhere you like! In almost all coastal towns you can find a boat operator who is willing to take you out for a fishing tour, many of which can provide equipment hire. This kind of angling is often combined with whale watching tours which are becoming increasingly popular. The different regions of Iceland argue where the best deep-sea fishing is to be found but the plain and simple truth is that it can be superb in any location.
Whilst there is angling to be had from the coast, fishing directly into the surf is practiced at a few places although is not very common.
In planning your trip you may need to source your accommodation separately to the boat hire and guiding. A lot of Icelandic farms offer guests bed and breakfast while some of the coastal farms also offer fishing from small boats if the weather is favorable and the season right. More information can be found at www.farmholidays.is.