South coast, 266km from Reykjavik


Season: 1 April - 31 October
Extent: 4km long river, double bank
Average catch: 500-600 sea trout, 150 salmon
Rods: 4
Guides: Available
Lodge: Self-catering luxurious lodge
Notes: Catch & release

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Tungulaekur is a small delicate river that pops up as spring water in Iceland's largest lava field, Eldhraun, in the central south. Tungulaekur's headwater is the glacial water of it's mother river, the Skafta.

The Skafta waters drift into the lava field, then disappears underground where the glacial silt is filtered out and eventually, when the underground river finds its way back to the surface, it is gin-clear. The water flow is also very stable despite snow fields also contributing to the underground flow but in normal circumstances the level will never be too low for fishing.

At the headwaters, Tungulaekur is a far greater of volume of water than the angler encounters further downstream. This is because the headwaters also contain flow which will eventually make its way into the Grenlaekur, another of Iceland's famous sea trout rivers.

The two rivers soon diverge with Grenlaekur flowing on due south to meet Skafta just above sea level. Tungulaekur takes a sharp eastward turn to slalom through the Eldhraun lava fields for some eight kilometers before entering Skafta just below the main state highway at the village of Kirkjubaejarklaustur. The two rivers just about split the water evenly.

To date Tungulaekur has been fishable for only two kilometers as there are falls obstructing the way. Plans are in hand to open up the falls with a fish ladder and the owner has been releasing juvenile sea trout into the river above the falls where the water is of better quality than that below it.

Despite this obstruction, the amount of fish running these two kilometers has been nothing less than awesome. Foreign anglers who have fished the world's best sea trout rivers often comment that they have never experienced anything quite like the Tungulaekur before.

Tungulaekur is primarily a sea trout river where the fish run in their thousands. They also tend to be very willing takers. Many, very many, are big fish. To hook a 6 to 10 pound fish is commonplace and 12 to 14 pounders are frequently landed and even bigger fish, total monsters, are there all the time. By big fish, we mean fish up to and exceeding 20 pounds.

In addition there is a healthy head of young fish not yet spawning, ranging from 2 to 6 pounds. They reside in the lower pools and the junction to Skafta each spring and autumn, providing brilliant sport on light tackle.

Atlantic salmon are caught now and then; most seasons yield a few dozen. Mostly grilse, but also the odd larger one. In 2008 the biggest salmon recorded was 18 pounds.

Char, both sea-run and non-migratory, are also present in the river and their prime time is May and June when the sea trout start to thin out as they return to the sea to feed. The char are noteable fish, most of them 2 to 4 pounds and there are some very large fish amongst them to, fish weighing to up 10 pounds. They often follow the fly but for some reason turn away and back off!

Whilst Tungulaekur may be short, it still has many named pools and they are all so close toghether, you can actually walk the length of the fishing and almost at every step be in with a chance of a strike.

Lookg at Breidan, the big pool directly below the falls, is rather like looking at a sold out world cup final football stadium. There are row after row after row, and tier after tier after tier of big sea trout and that's only in the half of the pool that can be scanned with the help of polarized glasses. Below that, pool follows pool and all full of fish.

The final few hundred yards end with a huge lagoon-like pool called Faxid and Opid. This pool is deep, slow flowing and imposing. It is somewhat like Breidan as it tends to be packed with numbers of fish beyond belief.

The lagoon then narrows to the point where it is only several feet wide as the river spurts out to mix with Skafta. Over the next 150-200 meters or so, the clear water from Tungulaekur still hugs the west bank and the mingling of grey glacial water and clear water is fantastic holding water where anglers are treated to watching the sea trout bolt from under the grey carpet into the clear water and snatch the fly practically as it touches the bank!

As previously mentioned, this river has been fished by three rods and only very rarely has it been possible to buy a permit on it as the owner has used it exclusively most of the time.

A hatchery is run on the bank of the tributary Haedarlaekur and it is the center of much unique research into the lives of one of the most enigmatic of all sport fish, the sea trout.

Accommodation in a new luxury lodge with 6 twin-bedded rooms, each with ensuite facility. All rooms are serviced and beds made up daily. It has a large sitting room with a comfortable dining area.

Norse/Iceland Beat

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Tel: +44 (0) 1573 470612