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Misty Dhillon Meets Quake Lake in Montana

blog-Aug-27-2014-1-misty-dhillon-the-mahseer-masterMost of you have seen the movie Waypoints and the part where I was fishing for golden mahseer in India.  I was fishing with my great friend Misty Dhillon, owner of the Himalayan Outback.  We filmed the exciting segment in May of 2013 and if you missed that series of blogs you definitely want to check them out.

 

That wasn’t first time I fished with Misty.  Our first adventure was in 2008.  If I had a blog then you’d see another series of exciting stories and photos.  On that trip I caught and released a 27lb IGFA World Record golden mahseer and later the same day found myself face to face with a Bengal tiger.

 

blog-Aug-27-2014-2-jeff-currier-igfa-record-holderMisty and I have shared some unbelievable fishing together in India and when he told me he’d be in Montana this week I grabbed the opportunity to treat him to one of my favorites of August.  I took Misty to Quake Lake.

 

blog-Aug-27-2014-3-quake-lake-montanaMisty met me at the Quake boat ramp just before 8 AM.  I already had the boat launched and ready.  We loaded up and I weaved through the sunken forest to where I caught the giant brown trout several years ago.  I handed Misty my 4-weight Winston Boron III LS already rigged with my favorite Quake Lake fly, the Cinnamon Ant.

 

blog-Aug-27-2014-4-flyfishing-with-misty-dhillonThe fish were rising.  The water was covered with varieties of midges, a few Pale Morning Duns and Callibaetis.  Nonetheless, I promise you the ant works best on most occasions.  Misty was a little overwhelmed by all the risers.  He did exactly what most anglers do and that’s keep casting at different fish rather than focusing on one at a time.  I told him to take a deep breath and cast to a gulper off the bow.  There was a tiny bit of current from the nearby mouth of the Madison River and sure enough he fed the brown trout.  Misty set the hook and the brown trout did his best to tangle Misty in the trees.  But even against the light 4-weight, the brown was no match for the experienced mahseer angler.

 

blog-Aug-27-2014-5-flyfishing-with-antsThe hatches went from excellent to tremendous.  Conditions were nearly calm and everywhere you looked there were rising trout.  I’ve fished here for more than 30 years with many incredible days, but I’ve never seen Quake go off like this.  Misty never went more than thirty seconds without a rising target to cast too.

 

blog-Aug-27-2014-6-misty-dhillon-flyfishing-montanaWe actually had a slow period after that brown trout despite all the risers.  There simply were so many natural insects on the water that it was hard to get them to notice the ant.  We changed our strategy to only cast ahead of the boat and dropped the fly almost on the trout’s nose.  The trick worked.  They saw the tiny splat and almost every time they sipped our fly.  For the next three hours Misty was almost constantly hooked up.

 

 

blog-Aug-27-2014-7-flyfishing-with-misty-dhillonAfter the fifth handsome rainbow, Misty mentioned what beautiful trout they are.  But I could see they weren’t just beautiful to him, he was mesmerized on every release.  Turns out; these were Misty’s first rainbow trout.  How I didn’t know that I’ll never know.  Furthermore, although he’s got some excellent brown trout fishing back in India, today’s brown trout was his first on a dry fly.

 

blog-Aug-27-2014-8-himalayan-outbackMisty crushed it on his first dry fly experience for trout.  Dry fly fishing on lakes is extremely difficult, especially on a calm day.  The trout are spooky from the get go.  They can see you casting and easily pick up the leader or an awkwardly sitting fly.  Nevertheless, Misty landed one brown and a dozen bows, none shorter than 15”.  Today was the best day I’ve ever seen on Quake Lake!

 

blog-Aug-27-2014-9-rivers-edge-fly-shop-mtWe reeled it in at 2 PM.  Not by choice however, Misty and I had to give a presentation about fly fishing for mahseer in India.  We spoke at the River’s Edge Fly Shop in Bozeman, Montana.  The event was sponsored by Yellow Dog Flyfishing Adventures.  I didn’t do much more than tell a fun story about how Misty and I met years ago.  Then I turned it over to him.  His presentation was superb.

 

blog-Aug-27-2014-10-Golden-MahseerMisty is the founder of Himalayan Outback. Enjoy his beautiful website.  Not only are golden mahseer one of the most stunning fish in the world, but so are the rivers they live in.  After two incredible trips with Misty I can promise you, if you go you won’t be disappointed.  You’ll become one of few Westerners to catch a golden mahseer and have an experience to remember the rest of your life.

 

Jeff Currier Global Fly Fishing

Jackson Hole One Fly Hits the Radar

blog-Aug-22-2014-1-gary-eckman-one-flyWith the Jackson Hole One Fly quickly approaching, friend, captain and founder of the Good Times team that I have the privilege of fishing on, Gary Eckman thought it might be nice if I spent a day or two warming up for the tournament.  He’s right.  Other than July’s float down the Nunya I haven’t trout fished from a boat this year.  Along with us was Mark Kuhn (Milkfish), the man who helps me with my website and store.  We floated the Upper South Fork from the Palisades Dam to Spring Creek Bridge.

 

blog-Aug-22-2014-2-flyfishing-the-southfork-of-the-snakeAs of today, August 2014 is going down as one of the rainiest on record.  While I was in Iceland Granny says it rained every day.  I believe her because my lawn is green and it’s never green in August.  And today, our float began in an utter downpour.  I was dressed just like in Iceland with my full on Simms G4 Zippered waders and rain jacket.

 

blog-Aug-22-2014-3-streamer-fishingBeing that I kicked butt in the One Fly last year with a streamer, I’m already 99% sure that’s what I’ll be fishing this year both days.  In the One Fly a floating line is required so today I wasn’t exactly practicing full on because I was using my favorite streamer line, the Scientific Anglers Stillwater WF6I.  Even more off the practice, I was using two flies.  But even so, fishing from a drift boat is different than when wading.  And practicing whether with one fly, two flies or three flies, just tossing them from the boat still primes me to cast accurately to the bank and not interfere with the other angler in the boat.

 

blog-Aug-22-2014-4-mark-kuhn-flyfishing-the-southforkOur fishing was excellent.  I’ve heard the South Fork has been incredible all year and it’s true.  I didn’t keep track of how many we caught but I can assure you that our One Fly scores would have been through the roof with plenty of cutthroats, browns and rainbows in the 16” to 17” range.  And there were several bigger including this thick bodied brown trout that Milkfish nailed from below one of my favorite overhanging cottonwood trees.

 

Jeff Currier Global Fly Fishing

Where the Boat shouldn’t Go

blog-Aug-19-2014-1-granny-currier-flyfishing-idahoBeing gone so much this summer made me want to stay close to home this week.  Instead of heading out on a two day camping fishing trip for Granny’s days off we opted to fish locally.  That being said, we still wanted to do something special and try for some bigger than average fish.  We also wanted to use the boat and be close to the cooler so we could relax.

 

blog-Aug-19-2014-2-granny-currier-fly-fishing-for-cutthroatsWe launched in no man’s land.  I’ve only seen pieces of this small stream at bridges and tracked its path on Google Earth.  The long story short is that we caught only two small cutthroats.  We spent most of the time navigating the tiny creek which in turn meant spooking more fish than anything.  That being said however, Granny broke off the largest trout I’ve seen in years!

 

There will be more following today in weeks to come. . . . Never stop exploring!

 

Jeff Currier Global Fly Fishing

Carping for the Jackson Hole One Fly

blog-Aug-17-2014-1-flyfishing-for-carpWith Friends of the Teton (FTR) and Teton Valley Trout Unlimited in my town, Jackson Hole Trout Unlimited and Honoring our Veterans over the hill and the Henry’s Fork Foundation not too far away I get hit hard for donations.  But I do my best to come through for all because the local events are most important when you live surrounded by some of the best trout fishing in the world.

 

blog-Aug-17-2014-2-fly-fishing-for-mirror-carpThe foundation I didn’t mention is the Jackson Hole One Fly.  The One Fly isn’t just a fun fly fishing tournament, the event also raises a lot of money which in turn funds numerous fishing improvement projects.  So I donate to them as well.  While I usually donate artwork or a presentation to the other organizations, for the One Fly I donate a day fly fishing for carp.  Today I delivered the trip.

 

blog-Aug-17-2014-3-common-carpI took father son combo Stan and Kevin Chatham.  I’ve known Stan for almost thirty years and in fact we were together on the Heart Lake trip 2011 (if you did not see the Heart Lake blogs you must!)  Today was the first time fly fishing for carp for both of them.

 

blog-Aug-17-2014-4-flyfishing-for-idaho-carpLet’s just say they hit it right.  We couldn’t have picked a better day.  For carping you need to see the carp in order to present your flies most effectively.  That means sunshine and not much wind.  Today was a blue bird day with almost no wind at all.

 

We landed six mirror carp and one common all before lunch time.  While most came on nymphs, you can see the big foam lime hopper hanging from the common carps lip.

 

Jeff Currier Global Fly Fishing

Fly Fishing in Iceland 2014 comes to and End

blog-Aug-13-2014-1-jeff-currier-atlantic-salmon-fishing-in-icelandI’d like to offer a very special thanks to Ingo Helgason and Icelandic Fly Fishermen for showing me the time of my life in Iceland the last two weeks.  Even with difficult weather and river conditions the fishing was off the charts.  I landed ten Atlantic salmon including several large ones and the 20lber that will always be one of the top fish of my life.

 

blog-Aug-13-2014-2-atlantic-flies-salmon-fliesI must also take notice of the excellent flies Ingo provided me.  Atlantic salmon flies aren’t patterns you typically find in your local fly shop here in the US.  Sure there are some exceptions.  Most of the flies Ingo provided were tied by Pétur Steingrimsson, our good friend  Siggi “Haugur”, also of Icelandic Fly Fishermen and Atlantic Flies, CoVisit their website and it directs you to fly shops around the world that sell them.

 

blog-Aug-13-2014-3-fly-fishing-with-icelandic-fly-fishermenIf Iceland has been on your dream list all I can say is get on it.  Icelandic Fly Fishermen can book you to the great places I went and more.  Be sure and visit their website and especially the Dream Streams page.  Feel free to contact me when planning a trip of your own and I’ll answer any questions you might have.  Then I’ll turn you over to Ingo for the trip of your life.

 

Here are some final photos to finish up Iceland 2014!

blog-Aug-13-2014-4-atlantic-salmonFly fishing for Atlantic salmon in Iceland

blog-Aug-13-2014-5-jeff-currier-atlantic-salmon-artAtlantic salmon artwork by the one and only

blog-Aug-13-2014-6-icelandic-fly-fishermenFlekkudalsá, in the west of Iceland

blog-Aug-13-2014-7-atlantic-salmon-in-icelandDazzling salmon colors from the Laxá Ađaldal

blog-Aug-13-2014-8-the-nes-lodge-in-icelandComfortable accommodations at the Nes Lodge on the Laxá Ađaldal

blog-Aug-13-2014-9-nes-beatsPeople in Iceland – 321,000 – Sheep 3,000,000

blog-Aug-13-2014-10-ingo-helgason-atlantic-salmon-fishingIngo Helgason of Icelandic Fly Fishermen – amazing Atlantic salmon!

blog-Aug-13-2014-11-jeff-currier-flyfishing-for-atlantic-salmon-in-icelandHooked up on the Flekkudalsá

blog-Aug-13-2014-12-iclandic-beerEinstok Beer providing delicious Ales!

blog-Aug-13-2014-13-atlantic-salmon-releaseIngo saying so long to 2014 Atlantic salmon season

blog-Aug-13-2014-14-jeff-currier-icelandThe luckiest angler on the planet – Iceland – my 51st country – did this really happen?

blog-Aug-13-2014-14-flyfishing-in-icelandOne last thanks to Ingo Helgason of the Icelandic Fly Fishermen and my incredible sponsors – you can’t catch spectacular fish without friends and the best in fly fishing gear – WinstonScientific AnglersRoss ReelsAbel ReelsSimms

Jeff Currier Global Fly Fishing

Another Miracle on the Last Cast

blog-Aug-12-2014-1-icelandic-fly-fishermenNot only was this morning’s session my last here in Iceland, but also Ingo’s.  Ingo returned to Reykjavik with me tonight and has no more Atlantic salmon fishing days this year.  That’s why we both got up early and made it to the water at 7 AM.  We wanted to end Iceland 2014 on a high note.

 

blog-Aug-12-2014-2-ingo-helgason-flyfishing-icelandAnd we did.  We raised five salmon and landed two.  Ingo got the first one.  He had a salmon raise to his fly but swirl and not eat it twice in a row.  I watched Ingo change flies over and over while resting the fish between changes.  Ingo’s persistence paid off and finally I heard the splash of his leaping fish.  Although not a big boy, under this weeks difficult conditions any salmon landed is a victory.

 

blog-Aug-12-2014-3-Jeff-Currier-fly-fishing-in-IcelandI had one fish raise to my fly at the end of the swing.  I felt the lightest tug and tried to feed him but when I lifted he was gone.  Copying Ingo, I rested the salmon and changed flies several times but mine never came back.

 

We left to another area for awhile but Ingo and I agreed I needed to try my fish again for the last half hour before the end of the session.  After an unsuccessful attempt at the other spot it came down to that last half hour and Ingo turned me loose on the run where I had a touch.  This trip has been amazing but how cool would it be to catch one more salmon?

 

blog-Aug-12-2014-4-atlantic-salmon-fly-fishing-in-icelandI don’t wear a watch but I knew time was flying as I worked the run – casting, swinging, stripping and taking a couple steps.  I was determined and somehow felt there were fish looking at my fly.  Just as Ingo hollered out that we had five minutes left I got that famous Atlantic salmon touch.

 

blog-Aug-12-2014-5-jeff-currier-fly-fishing-for-atlantic-salmonI held back from doing the trout set but the salmon never held on.  With only four minutes left there wasn’t time to rest the situation.  Instead I decided to stick with the same fly and change its action.  I cast far and mended like crazy getting the fly down deep.  Then I stripped and flipped the tip of my rod – very uncharacteristic of the way you fish for Atlantics.  But it worked.  Just when my fly was swinging at maximum speed I got thumped and hooked up.

 

blog-Aug-12-2014-6-jeff-currier-atlantic-salmon-fishing-icelandI had one last dandy of a salmon.  The hefty female made at least five high jumps smashing to the water with all her weight.  She took off so far in my backing I had to chase her downstream past where Ingo was making his last few casts.  Finally I gained control and a minute later Ingo’s gynormous net captured the 84 cm Atlantic salmon.

 

We’ve seen it before; my last cast often catches a lucky fish.  I have no idea what it is, but it happens.  I’ll never give up until I reel it in as long as I live.  In fact make that a lesson for us all.  Keep your fly in the water!

 

blog-Aug-12-2014-7-ingo-helgason-and-jeff-currierI’m presently in Reykjavik and its 1 AM on Wednesday.  Ingo and I just rapped up the trip with a few beers at a local pub and exchanged photos and notes.  I’m headed to the airport in a few hours and will be home late tonight.  It’s hard to believe I can leave this foreign world of Atlantic salmon near the North Pole and be in my own bed tonight – I love this world we live in.

 

Tomorrow I’ll close out Iceland blogs with some final thoughts and a few pictures that I have yet to post.

Everyone needs to do this trip.  Just contact me or Ingo at Icelandic Fly Fishermen!

Jeff Currier Global Fly Fishing

Iceland’s Atlantic salmon Fishing at its Best

blog-Aug-11-2014-1-monument-pool-icelandI was shocked to get a glimmer of sunshine in my eyes at 4 AM this morning.  It’s been so dreary I haven’t closed the curtains in my room for a week.  Despite being exhausted from my Iceland schedule I couldn’t wait to get up and head for the Laxá Ađaldal with Ingo.  It was going to be a nice day and we had beat 5 this morning.

 

blog-Aug-11-2014-2-atlantic-salmon-fishing-in-icelandBeat 5 has the Monument Pool, where the largest Atlantic salmon ever caught on fly in the Laxá Ađaldal came from.  It was 1942, but who cares, I had confidence the next record fish might swim by when I’m there.  More exciting than the old history is the most recent.  Beat 5 is where Dave caught his huge salmon last night and many of the best fish this summer have come from beat 5.

 

blog-Aug-11-2014-3-ingo-helgason-icelandic-flyfishingIngo knows beat 5 well.  I know that the Sally is what I caught my monster on a week ago so that’s the fly I went with.  Methodically, with Ingo directing, I worked the pool under the monument.

 

A salmon rolled right near my fly minutes into my pursuit.  I felt his presence behind my fly on every cast.  I thought I got a touch but that was it.  Another fifty swings and nothing.  Ingo took over and I watched expecting his expertise to come tight but he too got nothing.  That’s when he came up with a great idea.

 

blog-Aug-11-2014-4-jeff-currier-atlantic-salmon-fishingIngo’s philosophy was to try some other pools in beat 5.  He knows everyone spends most their time under the monument.  The other pools get less pressure, the fish see fewer flies, and it made perfect sense.  In the very first underrated pool of beat 5 I landed a 73 cm salmon.

 

blog-Aug-11-2014-5-icelandic-fly-fishermen-and-jeff-currierThat was our first good salmon in a few days and our poise was back in a furry.  We tried several more of the lesser known pools for the next hour, leaving time to return to the Monument Pool for our last half hour of the session.  This is when Ingo showed me how it’s done!

 

blog-Aug-11-2014-6-ingo-helgason-icelandic-fly-fishermenIngo landed two amazing Atlantic salmon from his favorite pool on the entire Laxá Ađaldal.  First he stuck this 88 cm female.  This is large for a female and she showed her war scars for surviving so long.  She had a mysterious hole in one side and scars showing her escape from a net at one time in her life.  This was an amazing salmon that will live on to spawn at least once more.

 

blog-Aug-11-2014-7-atlantic-salmon-fsihing-in-icelandIf that wasn’t enough to catch one terrific salmon, by the time I walked back upstream to the pool I was fishing, Ingo hooked up again.  The fight was insane with several heavy-weight crashing leaps and runs deep into the backing.  This time it was a true monster male that measured out at 92 cm.

 

blog-Aug-11-2014-8-ingo-helgason-flyfishing-icelandThe colors and the hook jaw of this tremendous salmon were mind blowing.  I was as thrilled as Ingo when I scooped him into the net.  A salmon like this is why people come to Iceland year after year.  Incredible stuff!

 

blog-Aug-11-2014-9-husavik-icelandThere were no naps between sessions today.  Ingo and I were pumped to the max.  Instead of lunch at the Nes we zipped 10 km up to the quaint little village of Husavik for cheeseburgers and beer at a little restaurant Ingo knows.

 

blog-Aug-11-2014-10-husavik-icelandThe burgers were brilliant and to wash them down with a nice Icelandic brew from a tap – I was in heaven.  From there we visited some of Ingo’s friends.  Both were guides so it was nice to talk fishing with them because they have years of experience on the Laxá.

 

blog-Aug-11-2014-11-jeff-currier-and-Pétur-SteingrimssonIngo and I started to cave towards the end of break time.  Those afternoon naps are necessary when you stay up till 1 AM every night.  But, we’ll sleep when we’re dead.  I hadn’t met the famous Pétur Steingrimsson, the man with more than 60 years guiding from the Nes.  Pétur is 85 and it took him about five minutes to get to the door after we knocked.  When the door opened I knew immediately I was meeting a legend of Atlantic salmon fishing in Iceland.  It was a great privilege to be invited into his house and we had a memorable visit.

 

blog-Aug-11-2014-12-jeff-currier-fishing-in-icelandBefore 5 PM Ingo and I were on beat 7, exactly where we were two nights ago after we arrived at the Nes.  Now was revenge time for me.  I touched a fish that night in the best pool but messed up the hook set.  I couldn’t wait to try again.  Ten days in a row of Atlantic salmon fishing with Ingo and it was time to prove to myself I was getting the salmon techniques down.  Sure enough, I laid into a fish.

 

blog-Aug-11-2014-13-jeff-currier-atlantic-salmon-fishingFeeling confident as ever, I put a huge bend in my Winston 9-weight and put the heat on this fish like no other.  There’s a good size waterfall drop and an island about 100 feet down from where I hooked this fish.  The salmon wasn’t going to be allowed that route.  Within a few minutes I gripped the tail of an 81 cm female Atlantic salmon.

 

blog-Aug-11-2014-14-fly-fishing-in-icelandIngo and I fished ourselves into a coma until 10 PM.  Ingo touched a couple of fish and I cartwheeled off a couple of nice brown trout from a trout pool, but the one salmon to start the night was it.  The weather went south on us again but it seemed appropriate tonight, this is Iceland.  What a spectacular day of Atlantic salmon fishing!

 

Tomorrow is my last day here.  Ingo and I will fish one last session in the morning then drive all the way back to Reykjavik.  I’ll fly home Wednesday.  This has been a remarkable trip here with Ingo and Icelandic Fly Fishermen.  Stay tuned for the final report from the last session.  I’m feeling pretty lucky. . .

Jeff Currier Global Fly Fishing

All I can think about is my Icelandic Pale Ale!

blog-Aug-10-2014-1-jeff-currier-flyfishing-in-icelandIt’s hard to believe the weather could get worse than it’s been, but this morning even the long time guides of Iceland’s famous Nes are freaked out.  The temperature was 40◦.  The wind was a gale and heavy rain smacked us in the face all day.  Yes, the difficult conditions on the mighty Laxá Adaldal got further challenging.  But with the nickname “Monsoon Currier” I have experience to limp through this and perhaps catch a fish or two along the way.

 

blog-Aug-10-2014-2-Atlantic-salmon-fishing-in-icelandIn all actuality, if today was anyone’s first day fly fishing, they’d likely be done with the sport.  It was that tough.  Between Ingo and I through both sessions we saw one fish, a grilse during the morning session on beat 4 that I dredged up from deep.  A small Atlantic salmon that normally wouldn’t raise an eyebrow, but in these conditions it was a heartbreaker when I lost him at the net.

 

blog-Aug-10-2014-3-head-guide-the-nes-in-icelandNot one fish was caught during the morning session amongst any of the eight anglers staying here at the Nes.  That put some pressure on all of us for the afternoon/evening session.  The pressure because not one salmon was caught yesterday either and it’s been years since all anglers at the Nes blanked for two days (four sessions) in a row.  This should give you and idea just how hard things are.

 

 

blog-Aug-10-2014-4-fly-fishing-icelandI mentioned we have a good group here at the Nes – tonight proved it.  The harsh conditions may have lengthened the afternoon naps by a half hour or so, but everyone headed out to make the salmon gods proud for the evening with high spirits.  Ingo and I had beats 2 and 3 and we fished them as hard as you possibly could.  I wasn’t just going through the motions, I was in it to win it.  I was sure it was going to happen.

 

blog-Aug-10-2014-5-icelandic-flyfishermenAt 9 PM Ingo and I hadn’t seen a sign of a fish but we weren’t giving up.  We tossed a Hail Mary.  Despite the cold, wind and rain we grabbed a boat and rowed to the other side of the Laxá for the last hour.  Only one could fish at a time due to the wind tossing the boat side to side in the raging current.  But no matter how hard we each tried there were no fish to be found.  At 9:45 all I could think about was my Pale Ale!

 

blog-Aug-10-2014-6-dave-wilkinson-in-icelandYou can’t hold your head low after the effort we gave.   I was only disappointed that the famous Nes likely had two fishless days in a row in as long as anyone could remember.  But guess what, I was wrong.  Dave Wilkinson of England saved the day with this spectacular Atlantic salmon!

 

Indeed we celebrated tonight for Dave’s magnificent fish.  Although not too hard.  Ingo and I have three more sessions before we pack it up Tuesday and I begin my journey home to Idaho.

 

If you would like to fish in Iceland be sure to visit Icelandic Fly Fishermen!

Jeff Currier Global Fly Fishing

Fly Fishing from the Nes of Iceland

blog-Aug-9-2014-1-flyfishing-with-icelandic-fly-fishermanIngo and I began our day with a five hour drive back up to the Laxá Adaldal.  We were on the road before 8 AM because we wanted to fish the afternoon/evening session that starts at 1.  This time I’ll see entirely different beats on the river because we are staying at the Nes.

 

blog-Aug-9-2014-2-atlantic-salmon-fly-rod-recordThe Nes is one of the most historical Atlantic salmon lodges in Iceland.  Many famous anglers have stayed here during its long history including Joan and Lee Wulff, Art Lee and the list goes on.  Although the entire Laxá Ađaldal has excellent salmon fishing, many believe the Nes beats are the best.  It’s hard to argue, beat 3 displays a monument because the beautiful piece of water holds the fly rod record for largest salmon ever caught in Iceland at 36lbs.

 

blog-Aug-9-2014-3-atlantic-salmon-fishing-from-the-nesThe Nes is a cozy lodge that’s family owned.  The long time guide Pétur Steingrimsson who’s now 85 years still lives by the lodge and you can visit him and purchase some of the finest Atlantic salmon flies, all tied by him.  Many are patterns he designed after a life on the Laxá Ađaldal.  I loved the Nes within minutes upon arriving because of its homey feel.

 

blog-Aug-9-2014-4-flyfishing-the-laxa-adaldalAfter a few coffees to wake us up Ingo and headed for the river for beat 7 & 8.  As usual it was cold and windy as we splashed through deep muddy puddles on our way.  The area was doused in heavy rains all day yesterday.  Indeed, the Laxá Ađaldal was in worse condition than when we left last week.  Why such terrible luck?

 

blog-Aug-9-2014-5-ingo-helgason-of-icelandic-fly-fishermenAtlantic salmon fishing is difficult during good conditions so I was lacking much confidence. Furthermore, I read the results from the morning session, not single salmon was caught.  Ingo however, the man has faith.  He knows exactly where the salmon hold regardless of river conditions and we went into action on the best pools of our beat.  Weed chunks stuck to our flies on almost every cast making it impossible for good presentation for more than a few seconds.

 

blog-Aug-9-2014-6-ingo-helgason-flyfishing-in-icelandFour hours into the session neither Ingo nor I experienced a sign of a fish.  I was going through the motions when fishing and more often sipping ale that Ingo kept pulling from his special car cooler.  I sipped them while relaxing in the tall wet grass hunkering from the wind and cold.  But, when we arrived at the final pool of the night I felt the presence of numerous salmon.

 

blog-Aug-9-2014-7-atlantic-salmon-fishingThe top end of the pool where I started was slow and deep.  Down a little ways the deep water met up with a point.  The spot had the look and sure enough at the end of my swing next to the point I got that ever so subtle tug.  It could have been a weed drifting by in the current but it was suspicious.  Then the tug happened again.  Once you’re almost sure there’s a salmon looking at your fly, you give the place a five minute rest then swing through a different fly.  I did just that several times but nothing.

 

Ingo was working his way down after me.  I told him to be ready in the same spot.  Sure enough he got a tug.  Only there was no doubt it was a fish because the salmon rose to his fly and swirled.  Unfortunately Ingo didn’t connect.  That fish raised our spirits and shortly before 10 I landed a fantastic brown trout.  I lost control of the hefty brown before clicking off a photo.

 

blog-Aug-9-2014-8-nes-in-icelandThere’s a great group of guys staying at the Nes.  There’s a father son from England, a single gent from England and a couple guys from California.  We stayed up late around the dinner table as always in Iceland.  Later today will come in a few hours!

 

A special thanks to Ingo and the Icelandic Fly Fishermen for making this incredible trip possible!

Jeff Currier Global Fly Fishing

Fly Fishing the Flekkudalsá of Iceland

blog-Aug-8-2014-1-winston-fly-rods-ross-saThe Flekkudalsá is a small river about a quarter the size of the famous Laxá Adaldal where I’ve been fishing with Icelandic Fly Fishermen the last four days.  It’s actually two small rivers that come together about a ¼ mile from the ocean.  On this river the Atlantic salmon are smaller and easier to catch.  Instead of casting my Winston 9-weight Boron III SX I dropped down to my 7-weight and Evolution 3 Reel with a Sharkskin Steelhead Taper WF7F.

 

blog-Aug-8-2014-2-flyfishing-for-atlantic-salmonThe Flekkudalsá lodge is smaller.  The beautiful homelike cabin overlooks the river and handles six people comfortably which is ideal for bringing the family or a few friends.  And instead of scheduled lodge style eating with a full on chef, this place is self catering which is how I learned that my host Ingo isn’t only a great salmon angler but also a fine chef.

 

blog-Aug-8-2014-3-ingo-helgason-flyfishing-icelandThere are three very long beats on the Flekkudalsá allowing only one rod at a time.  Like on the Laxá, Ingo and I took turns fishing pools.  We drew the lowest beat first where the river meets the ocean.  The river mouth feeds a bay leading into the ocean with hundreds upon hundreds of tiny volcanic islands.  I’ve never seen such a unique place in all my travels.

 

blog-Aug-8-2014-4-atlantic-salmon-with-icelandic-fly-fishermenWe began on one of Ingo’s favorite pools but on the hike to it we looked down into one of the finest pools on the river.  In New Zealand fashion, we spotted several nice salmon.  But the water is crystal clear and shallow telling me quickly that we were likely to spook far more fish than catch today.

 

blog-Aug-8-2014-5-jeff-currier-flyfishing-in-icelandIngo’s favorite pool is the last before meeting the ocean.  It’s so close to the sea it’s affected by high tide during a full moon.  Ingo politely gave me first crack so I crawled into position and for about ten minutes swung and slow stripped various flies through the fishy looking place.  No one offered.

 

blog-Aug-8-2014-6-jeff-currier-sea-run-brown-trout-fishingWe worked our way upstream and Ingo took the next two pools.  We had no luck or even a fish sighting.  Next was the deep pool where we saw the salmon.  I treated this one as if I was in New Zealand and studied carefully remembering where I saw the salmon and then crawled into place.  Keeping well out of sight, I presented as gently as possible while working my way down.

 

blog-Aug-8-2014-8-jeff-currier-trout-fishing-in-icelandWhen I got near the tail out (bottom of the pool) I was losing hope.  Remember, salmon generally aren’t feeding when up the rivers.  You must catch them in the exact right mood to get an eat on the fly.  On my last swing I hooked up.

 

The leaps were fast and furious.  The fish seemed bigger than he was.  I clenched tight with my trigger finger while collecting the line onto the reel.  After a couple minutes I landed this fresh from the ocean powerful little sea run brown trout.  After a long drought, Ingo and I were back on the books with a respectable fish.

 

That would be our only decent fish of the morning session.  We got in one pool where we nailed several small brown trout but absolutely no salmon.  Hilmar fished the furthest upstream beat and got blanked, the Belgians caught a 71 cm salmon on their first pool but skunked from there on.

 

blog-Aug-8-2014-9-icelandic-flyfishermenThe morning produced mediocre weather but it deteriorated fast for the late fishing session.  Ingo and I moved to the highest beat on the Flekkudalsá.  The wind was no less than ripping through the valley and the temperature plummeted to the low 40°s.  Up here the river turned into a slow moving grassy meadow stream.  If you’ve ever had the pleasure of fishing Flat Creek you can picture this – almost exactly the same.  My first question to Ingo was if there were big brown trout lurking under the banks but there are no brown trout up here because the sea runs can’t get over the waterfalls.  Only the powerful Atlantic salmon can conquer such obstacles.

 

blog-Aug-8-2014-10-arctic-loons-in-icelandIngo lost a nice salmon here two weeks ago and needed an attempt at payback.  He fished the first few pools thoroughly while I took photos and explored.  It was nice to poke around, fully protected from the elements in my new Simms zippered waders and my sweet new jacket.  As most of you know by now I love the birds.  Iceland is heavily populated with not only the common loon we find in the US but also numerous Arctic loons.  I’ve seen them from the distance all week but today I snuck up on these two fishing the small river as well.

 

blog-Aug-8-2014-11-jeff-currier-atlantic-salmon-fishing-in-icelandIngo didn’t have the luck of revenge on the fish that escaped him a couple weeks back.  He turned me over to another pool.  After methodically working a long stretch of water I caught this hard fighting 64 cm salmon.  Although small, this guy fought impressively with over ten four foot high leaps.

 

blog-Aug-8-2014-12-flyfishing-iceland-with-icelandic-fly-fishermanAt our last stop I caught another salmon.  He was very small and I released him without a pic.  The wind finally stopped around 9:45 PM and then, just like last night, in the far west the sky opened briefly and the colors and rays of the sun poked through.  The evening provided another amazing colorful sky.  By the way, it gets dark about 15 minutes earlier each day and more than an hour earlier than when I arrived in Iceland.  Now sunset is around 11 PM although we rarely get to see the glowing ball.

 

blog-Aug-8-2014-13-mushroom-picking-in-icelandThe Belgians had better mushroom picking than fishing.  They retrieved about 5lbs of strange looking yellow mushrooms.  As Ingo and Hilmar prepared steak appetizers and spaghetti dinner, I helped clean the mushrooms.  I ate so many that I can only pray the Belgians know they aren’t poisonous.  Whatever happens – they were mouthwatering!

 

Ingo provided me some big news tonight as well.  We’re headed back to the Laxá in the morning.  Unexpectedly, we will be guests at one of the most famous lodges in all of Iceland, the Nes.  I’ll give you more on the historic Nes tomorrow.  Wow, its 1:45 AM. . . . How did that happen?

 

A special thanks to Ingo Helgason and Icelandic Fly Fishermen for making this great adventure possible!

 

Jeff Currier Global Fly Fishing