Brown Trout in the Far North - Iceland Part III

Iceland has been on our bucket list for years – the landscapes, wild places and a chance at a specimen brown trout in its native range have all been pulling us north. A huge thanks to our friends at Fish Partner who helped us put together an epic trip itinerary including all lodging and logistics. Parts 1 and 2 of this saga were already published.  Keep reading for part 3 of 3.
"The weather is much better in the north."  Almost every Icelander kept telling us that and we simply couldn't tell if they were joking with us.  Hardly ever would you expect the weather to be better the closer you get to the arctic.  Sure enough, the further north in latitude we headed, the clouds parted, the sun shone through and we peeled off the warm layers.  One of the pieces that makes Iceland a great place to travel for fishing or otherwise, it is simple to navigate.  We cruised from the highlands off to the "Capital of the North", Akureyri with ease and the assistance of Google maps taking in the many waterfalls and incredible landscapes along the way.  

We knew that the cabin we were heading to was relatively isolated on a farmer's land so we were on our own for food and beverages.  After hitting the grocery store we wound around and finally found ourselves making the last turn onto a dirt road.  We parked right alongside the deck which was perfectly aligned with flawless views of the Laxá River stretching ahead of us and flowing straight north into the Atlantic, short kilometers away.  The Laxá is a well-known salmon river with large specimens by Iceland standards.  We were a little early in the season for salmon and still had brown trout on the brain for our day of fishing here.

A man casts a fly rod while standing in a large river with volcanos in the background
A mug is held up which features a brown trout drawing
A brown trout is held while water drips off of it
A woman fishes from the middle of a large river

We got the lay of the land from our new friend Snaevarr who took the day off of guiding to fish with us.  We were told assorted nymphs and small streamers were typically the way to go so between the four of us, we tied on a mixture.  Two with streamers, two with nymphs.  A few smaller fish were intrigued by the nymphs but the biggest look we had after a few hours into the day was on a small, heavy light brown and olive streamer.  If the rest of us wanted to find bigger browns, we figured we had to start stripping streamers.  

The Laxá is big water for single-hand rods, but certainly manageable.  After the first few larger fish, we started to pattern their likely spots and between three of us landed 5 fish over 24" in a short period of time.  Seeing native, resident river brown trout of this size was unforgettable.  We have to go back though, we are told there is another size class above these ones in there...


A woman holds a large brown trout

For more information on fishing in Iceland or to book a trip, check out the Fish Partner website:

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Strange as it may seem, I just fished the evening hatch on the Laxà on Monday 8/23/2021 . We fished dry dropper and my nicest brown took a nymph that looked like a size 14 barrs emerger. There were a ton of breaking browns but, as you may know, the midge hatch is so prolofic, (head nets required), that the browns will not move , according to my biology teacher local guide, more than 7 centimeters to chase down a meal. That gave me a 14 centimeter window at the end of a 10 meter cast. Unfortunately, the outfitter I used supplied a flyrod with an iffy reel and a wrecked flyline that clicked its way through every guide. My chances of hitting the window were nil. The lessons learned are: 1. Bring your own gear even though it will cost you about $30 and 20 minutes to get it inspected at customs on the way in, and 3. Use Rep Your Waters vetted guide service. You won’t get on the water on your own. The bordering farmer owns the fish in the river and fishing clubs lease rights from them that are resold to outfitters.

John Davenport

Thanks for the great story and primo photos!!!

Paul Reinhardt

Just out of curiosity what does a trip like this cost?… Including air fair, car rental etc…..

Robert D Narehood


james r mckinney

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