The weather in Iceland over the course of last week has continued on a similar theme with strong winds, heavy rain and cold temperatures, although this time I was experiencing it for myself! It eased off a little on Thursday and the west coast rivers began to clear and drop rapidly on Friday. Having experienced two years of low water and praying for rain in Iceland it appears the old Norse gods have listened and obliged. Air temperatures are hovering between 6 – 8°C in the early mornings and in the last hours of the evening sessions but have risen to a balmy 15°C when out of the wind. Conditions are improving currently.
The Laxá I Kjos is still running very high, and the continued rain and westerly winds have made fishing quite tough. The wind has being blowing strongly up river making casting interesting and fly presentation awkward. However the rods on the river have worked hard and there are now over 50 fish in the book. The majority of these fish have been multi sea wintered fish ranging from 60-86cm which for Laxá I Kjos are very large indeed.
There have been some extraordinary battles fought and lost. Most of the salmon have been caught in the lower river as one would expect at this time of year. Fish have also been caught in Skuggi and Thorufoss right up at the top showing the fish are moving their way rapidly through the system. Top pools have been Laxfoss and Kvislafoss, but a cracking 82 cm fish came out of Pollabreiða on Friday morning.
The Sunray Shadow has been the predominant pattern in 1/2″ – 1″, but the usual Red Francis, Black & Blue and small cone heads have also proven effective in the high water conditions. A few grilse have been caught in the last 24 hours which hopefully means they will arrive in numbers soon. The high water conditions have meant that many of usual lies are out of sorts and the guides are finding fish in odd places, so be prepared to think outside the box.
The lodge is running like a well oiled machine offering a warm and welcome respite from the elements. Gunna and Benni have produced some incredible food, and Greta is ensuring that everything is running like clockwork.
The Grimsá has also had very high water levels although now the rain has abated the river has dropped two feet in the last two days. Water temperature has been between 8-10 degrees and the air temperature has fluctuated from 6 in the early mornings and evenings to nearly 15 during the day. As the river has dropped and cleared the fishing has improved dramatically. The fish have still been of a large average size, between 68-86 cm, capped with an awesome fish of 95 cm by James Sneddon on his birthday on Sunday. Our group arrived on Saturday in high spirits and Grayham Cooksey opened with a stunning 81 cm fish on his single handed 8 weight on a black and blue on beat 1.
Marcus Warren then caught a couple of sea liced grilse which was great to see. Rex Dawson stunned us all with a 10 lbs sea trout followed by another of between 6 – 7 lbs from beat 2. James Sneddon’s 95 cm fish was approximately 20 lbs and took an ally shrimp as he fished through pool 460 Efra Garðfljót on beat 3.
It took a small Ally shrimp and took approximately 30 minutes to subdue before being carefully released. The river is continuing to drop and they should do well over the next few days as a fresh run of fish piled in on Sunday night. The food at the lodge is outstanding and Jara is on hand to take care of everyone.
The Langá has had a tough start and with the conditions that they had last week the group in there had their work cut out. The river had reached 34 fish by last Thursday, but on Sunday morning rod arose to find salmon had run right through the river and there have been reports of action in most of the major pools. Our group that arrived on Sunday reports the grilse have arrived, and they had 6 fish in the first session on small hitched flies. It is still cold, but the conditions are improving so we expect to see Langá’s catch statistics pick up dramatically in the coming days.
The Laxá I Asum reports similar conditions as the other west coast rivers; very high water but clear. Terrible weather so the rods fishing it last week did not fish as hard as they might, choosing to take refuge in the incredibly comfortable lodge and enjoy the exquisite food as is their prerogative. The head guide tells me their is plenty of fish in the river though currently with the number increasing on every tide. The two rods have accounted for just over 50 fish in the book so far with two fish of approximately 20 lbs lost, one below Manafoss and the other in the pool above. Despite the high water conditions they have been having plenty of action on tiny hitched flies which the fish are attacking aggressively. We are expecting the catch statistics to reach normal Asum levels withing the next week.
The Midfjardará has been combating the same conditions as the rest of the west coast, but the runs have continued to be strong. The river is high but clear and they have just caught their second fish over 100 cm yesterday from the bridgepool on the Vesturá.
The Nes beats on the Laxá I Adaldal in the North have also started very promisingly. As the Laxá I Adaldal is predominantly a large multi sea wintered salmon river they have benefited from the high water conditions which has done nothing but bring the big fish in faster. After a great opening 12 fish were landed with a number of fish over 20 lbs The following few days brought a further 12 fish to three rods and yesterday two rods landed four fish in four hours afternoon and rose twice as many.
There are now over 30 fish in the book, and all over 80 cm, 3 fish over 95 cm and the largest 103 cm. This gives an average weight of 16 – 17 lbs. Air temperatures have risen to 15°C and the water temperature has climbed to 11°C. The most successful flies have been Sunray Shadows and traditional patterns for Nes such as the Night Hawk and the Randy Candy. What is interesting to note is that no coneheads are being used and that most of the fishing are taking flies off the surface.
Svalbardsá had a fantastic opening with nine hefty fish caught with several over 100 cm. The high water has made for some amazing battles from this three rod river and bodes well for the rest of the season. The fish are now up through the canyon and up to the lodge.
All in all things are looking very good across the country despite a slow start which was mostly condition related. We are somewhat relieved that the grilse have started showing up in numbers across the west coast rivers although the fact that they have shown up independently of the multi sea wintered fish may suggest they are going to different feeding grounds.
There are still a few last slots available so if you would be interested in further details or an itinerary then please contact Peter McLeod or Alex Jardine, alternatively call our office on +44(0) 1980 847389.