Trout fishing in Iceland


Iceland is known to many anglers for some of the best salmon fishing in the world today. Less known is the fact that there are also outstanding trout fishing opportunities. Most of the many lakes in Iceland offer good trout fishing, both brown trout and char. The same can be said for the majority of the smaller and colder rivers. Since the demand is not high, fishing lisences can be obtained at short notice and at reasonable cost. Facilities for anglers vary widely. In some few places there are high-quality fishing lodges with good service and guiding. Self-catering lodges are common. Some fishing areas are not accessable by car and some trout waters have no facilities. It is important for anglers to know what kind of of fishing they are buying and what to expect so they can better plan their trip. Good preparation can ensure that the anglers experience a unique fishing trip. In most places the fishing can also be combined with other outdoor activities.


In Iceland both arctic char (Salvelinus alpinus) and brown trout occur as sea runing (anadromous)and also land-locked. (se the pages on "Fresh Water Species" on this web) Brown trout is common in rivers, brooks and lakes all around Iceland. It often coexists with char, as in the lakes on the "Arnarvatnsheidi" and in Thingvallavatn. The upper part of Laxá í Adaldal, the upper part of Laxá á Ásum, Litlaá in Kelduhverfi and Veidivötn in Landmannaafréttur are examples of fine brown trout fishing waters.


Sea Trout occurs in rivers all around Iceland, but is most common in the southeast and southwest. The biggest fish is to be found in the southeast, often up to 10 pounds and occasionally up to 20 pounds. Among the best sea trout rivers one can mention the Geirlandsá, Grenlækur, Tungufljót and Vatnamót. 

Char is the most common freshwater fish in Iceland. It occurs in rivers and lakes all over the island. It generally weights from 0.5 up to 2 pounds, but fish up to 4 pounds are not rare. The largest recorded char was 22 pounds, taken in Skorradalsvatn. Sea runing char is also wiedly found but most common in the north and northeast. 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. Some good rivers holding sea runing char are also found in the eastern fjords and on the west coast too.



Lanclocked trout may be fished all the year round. The season for sea runing trout and char opens on the 1st of April and is open until the 10th of October. Any kind of of lure may be used that the fish will case. Fishing with worms and spinners is often successful, but fly-fishing is becoming increasingly popular. The use of dry flies is also gaining in popularity.


The most common fly rods are 6 -8,5 feet, when the most successful fly lines are floating nos. 6 -8, weight forward. Slow sinking or sink-tip are also good in high water conditions. Most common flies for brown trout are all kinds of Streamers and Nobblers and sometimes small flies such as Peter Ross, Black Zulu and Adler. Sometimes dry flies are very effective: Zulu, Adams, Black Gnat and Wulff Royal.


Even though Icelandic summers are generally warm by day, weather conditions can change quite rapidly. Therefore it is important to bring warm clothing, rainwear and windcheater to be prepared for inclement weather. And - please remember to disinfect your tackle before or on your arrival.

(Last revised October 2007)