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SEASON: The rod fishing season for salmon in Iceland extends from 01 June until the 30 September. Only the most early rivers, like the Nordura and the Thvera, (both in the Borgarfjurdur district) actually open on the first days of June. Many open up in the middle of June and almost all salmon rivers are opened by the end of June. No river is allowed to have a longer season than three-and-a-half-months, so the earliest ones must close in the middle of September eg Nordur and Thver. There are only a few rivers that actually keep open for more than three months like the farmed rivers of East and West Ranga which extend fishing into early October.
FISHING HOURS: Rod fishing is legal from 07:00 in the morning until sundown, but never more than 12 hours in any given day. River associations make their own rules regarding fishing hours but wiithin the aforementioned restrictions.
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.
BAIT: In Iceland it is legal to use every kind of bait that the fish do chase and take willingly. It is forbidden to use any kind of tackle that hooks into the fish unawares or without the fish chasing it. Notwithstanding many river associations put additional constraints on baits allowed, and an increasing number of rivers only allow fly-fishing throughout the season.
Traditionally, worm fishing used to be the main method used. On most rivers spinners may be allowed but are not encouraged. Fishing for salmon with other natural bait, such as shrimp or prawn, is not allowed anywhere.
Many rivers restrict all or part of the season to fly-fishing. Nearly all of the bigger rivers market the prime time of the season to international anglers and restrict this fishing to fly-only and this is strictly enforced during that period.
ICELANDIC LAW decrees the following:
Salmon fishing in salt water is forbidden.
All fishing rights belong to the riparian owners.
Net fishing for salmon is illegal from Friday night until Tuesday morning.
Rod fishing is only legal for 12 hours each day.
Net fishing and rod fishing for salmon may never be carried out on the same stretch of water at the same time.
A fishery association (river association) must be established for every fishing water in Iceland. Its main purpose is to enhance the fishing stocks in its waters and to maximize the profit of the fishing. In most cases, these associations manage its rivers or lakes as a unit, often leasing the fishing rights to clubs or individuals.
BIOSECURITY: If you have used your fishing tackle, shoes and/or waders in other countries before bringing it to Iceland, it must be sterilized before you use it in Icelandic waters.
Further information can be obtained from www.mast.is - the Icelandic Food & Veterinary Authorty's website.
A pdf of the form which needs to be authorised by a veterinarian and is required by Icelandic customs offiers can be found here.