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  1. Norse
  2. Iceland
  3. Trout


Iceland is known the world over for the quality of it's salmon fishing, however, it is less well known that there are also outstanding angling opportunities for brown trout fly fishing. Some waters are the perfect habitat for some very large wild trout indeed.

Trout fishing permits are very reasonably priced and a day's trouting offers a pleasant alternative to salmon fishing. In many cases, self-catering accommodation is included in the price.

Trout fishing trips in Iceland might include:

  • Dry fly fishing for brown trout
  • Exclusive highland lake fishing
  • Night fishing for trophy brown trout
  • Inland rivers and lake fishing
  • Private guide with 4x4 vehicle
  • Winter and ice fishing

Where to fish for brown trout

The majority of the myriad of lakes in Iceland offer good trout fishing. The same can be said for the majority of the smaller and colder rivers.

Anglers can expect to catch brown trout to 6lb almost everywhere and most seasons 15 pound fish get hooked - though not always landed!

Trout fishing methods

The traditional Icelandic method of fly fishing is with large traditional streamers such as Black ghost, Muddler minnow etc. In the early part of the season these flies are fished down and across stream and as the season progresses tactics change and anglers move to fishing with small weighted nymphs fished upstream, with the use of a strike indicator when fishing deep. Whilst Iceland has no tradition with dry fly fishing many fish, are taken on dry fly or on small gold head nymphs.

Icelandic brown trout fishing can be very challenging as these big trout are easily spooked. Most waters are gin-clear with high banks and very little cover for the angler. Occasionally one can see anglers on all fours, crawling to the bank and spotting fish, rather like fishing for big trout in New Zealand.

The most common fly rods are 6 - 8 feet long matched with 6 - 8 weight forward floating fly lines. Slow sinking or sink-tip are frequently used in high water conditions. The most commonly used flies are all kinds of Streamers and Nobblers as previoulsy mentioned and small traditional wet flies such as Peter Ross, Black Zulu and Alder. Effective dry flies are Zulu, Adams, Black Gnat and Royal Wulff.

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.

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

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.

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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