Archive | August, 2016

Memories from Iceland 2016

blog-aug-28-2016-1-flying-over-greenlandA few hours ago the Atlantic salmon of Iceland exploit came to an end.  We boarded our flight from Reykjavik back to the States and will be home tonight.  I’m the pleasant kind of exhausted from a month of travel, fishing, short nights and writing the blog.  We are presently 35,000 feet above Greenland.  It’s clear and the view is worth staying awake for.

blog-aug-28-2016-2-granny-currier-and-siggy-salmonI want to thank Icelandic Fly Fishermen for bringing Granny and I on this unbelievable journey.  This is a trip every fly fisher should experience at least once and my Icelandic friends are the best in the business at getting you the Atlantic salmon of dreams.  To book your trip visit their website and feel free to Contact me for more details anytime.

Here are a few final photos from Iceland 2016

blog-aug-28-2016-3-flyfishing-for-arctic-charFighting an Arctic char on the Hofsá River

blog-aug-28-2016-4-arctic-char-fishingCan’t wait to dig through my paints to do my next Arctic char painting

blog-aug-28-2016-5-bauer-fly-reelsGood equipment required for Atlantic salmon

blog-aug-28-2016-6-ingo-icelandic-fly-fishermenIngo with an Atlantic right below the deck at Selá Lodge

blog-aug-28-2016-7-atlantic-salmon-fishingGranny hooked up on the Hofsá in High Expectations

blog-aug-28-2016-8-granny-currier-catching-salmonKeep your fly in the water and anything can happen!

blog-aug-28-2016-9-flyfishing-icelandFighting a grilse with Siggy on the Hafralónsá River

blog-aug-28-2016-10-atlantic-salmon-fishing-sela-riverAnother beautiful Atlantic salmon river of Iceland

blog-aug-28-2016-10-flyfishing-the-hafralonsaFinally, we have normal weather for Iceland

blog-aug-28-2016-11-jeff-currier-atlantic-salmonA monster from camp pool on Beat 8 in the Hafralónsá River

blog-aug-28-2016-12-atlantic-salmon-releaseUntil next time – this has been one heck of a trip!

Icelandic Fly FishermenWinston Fly RodsYellow Dog Flyfishing AdventuresSimmsBauer ReelsScientific AnglersCosta SunglassesKate’s Real Food

Jeff Currier Global Fly Fishing

End Big and Go Home

blog-aug-27-2016-1-winston-rods-bauer-reelsIt’s the last day in Iceland and only a few hours of fishing took place this morning on the Selá River.  The weather was cool, gray and drizzly.  A perfect day to catch one more Atlantic salmon on this Iceland trip.  And if you read this blog often, you know I like to end trips on a high note.  But the day didn’t start well.  My Simms G4 Zipper waders were missing from the wader room because a guest grabbed the wrong pair when he left last night.  A bad start to say the least.  But that’s life.  Ingo loaned me an extra of his and off we went to Beat 4 almost expecting something to happen.

 

blog-aug-27-2016-2-ingolfur-helgason-salmonGranny and I were tired.  Today was the tenth day of fishing.  I wasn’t missing the last chance for anything, but Granny opted to spectate.  Ingo and I celebrated this amazing week together with cigars in the rain then hit the water.

 

blog-aug-27-2016-3-atlantic-salmon-fishingIngo insisted I do all the fishing.  Beat 4 is one he’s familiar with and we went right to pools he’s taken salmon at before.  The first hour at the first pool we saw some leaping grilse but never touched one.  The second pool looked incredible but we saw nothing.  The third pool, #42 named Bryggjur, had one obvious spot where a big salmon would live.  Ingo handed me one of his small salmon flies and I went into action with confidence.  I hooked into a tank on my second cast.

 

blog-aug-27-2016-4-jeff-currier-atlantic-salmon-fishingThe grab from an Atlantic salmon is one of the great experiences in fly fishing.  For me, it always happens so fast it’s a blur.  In the beginning of the trip I often screwed up by setting the hook.  But now, ten days later, somehow I’ve mastered the technique of giving the fish some line then gently lifting my rod without even thinking about it.  This fish was hooked well and took off like lightening downstream towards the rapids and rocks.

 

blog-aug-27-2016-5-atlantic-salmon-fishing-in-icelandI ran downstream with the Atlantic pressuring and testing my tippet as much as I dared.  I knew if the salmon went down the rapids landing him would be doubtful.  I leaned hard with sideways pressure with my Winston and managed to turn the large fish. Then to my delight the salmon ran upstream to a safer area to handle.  I followed and got up on the bank.

 

blog-aug-27-2016-6-jeff-currier-sela-river-icelandI kept the heat on this fish.  Ingo always gets nervous.  But I trust my tippet and the backbone of my rod.  This fish didn’t jump at all the first five minutes of battle and saved all its energy to swim and pull.  Finally, after ten minutes the salmon jumped.

 

blog-aug-27-2016-7-icelandic-fly-fishermenThe leap about finished her off.  I had a big dark colored female.  Ingo eased his way into the water with his mammoth net.  I walked back on the bank.  Sometimes it’s easier to walk backwards on the bank rather than reel in too much line.  Inch by inch I worked my fish to Ingo.  At last, in one quick stab he had her in the net.

 

blog-aug-27-2016-8-jeff-currier-ingo-helgason-fishingI tailed the beautiful salmon and lifted her with pure amazement.  Atlantic salmon are one of the most wonderful creatures on earth.  On the last trip to Iceland I landed a hefty female salmon in the last session and here we were – it happened again.  Ingo and I were all smiles.

 

blog-aug-27-2016-9-jeff-and-granny-currierAfter I released the 84cm beauty I was done.  What a way to end it.  Ingo tried to get me in fishing mode again but this time I insisted he fish.  He worked one more pool then returned and we called it a trip.  My second trip and Granny’s first trip to Iceland is in the books.

 

 

 

 

blog-aug-27-2016-10-flyfishing-in-icelandWe made the seven-hour drive back to Reykjavik through the afternoon and evening.  We drove in and out of rain and saw some amazing countryside.  Iceland is spectacular far beyond its fantastic fishing.

 

blog-aug-27-2016-11-fly-fishing-in-icelandWe just finished a late dinner of pizza in downtown Reykjavik.  Ingo’s wife Hanna came down to join us.  It was great to meet her.  The big news however is that we recovered my waders.  The guest we suspected to have taken them is also staying here in Reykjavik.  We contacted him and sure enough he checked and had mistakenly taken mine.  They were on their way to Russia but not anymore.

 

Its late now.  Its almost 1 AM and our pick up for the airport is at 5:15 AM.  It’s time for a few hours rest then the long journey home.  I plan to stay awake the whole flight to catch a glimpse of Greenland and summarize the trip with one final blog.  This was a good one for sure.

 

Thanks to Icelandic Fly Fishermen for bringing Granny and I on this unbelievable trip.  When you’re ready for Iceland feel free to Contact me.

 

Jeff Currier Global Fly Fishing

Atlantic Salmon Fishing on the Sela River

blog-aug-26-2016-1-jeff-currier-flyfishing-in-icelandI could’ve easily slept more this morning.  Not only was it cold and wet outside but I felt aftereffects from our after dinner party last night.  I’m not sure what time we went to bed but it was after 2 this morning.

 

blog-aug-26-2016-2-granny-currier-sela-riverThe good news however is that we had Beat 2 which meant fishing from the Selá Lodge.  All we had to do was meander down the hill to the river and cross the rickety suspension bridge.  Ingo and I sent Granny ahead.

 

blog-aug-26-2016-3-jeff-currier-with-icelandic-flyfishermenI fished first which was good to get my blood flowing.  Ingo tested my stability sending me out to a slippery rock to cast from.  I was almost certain to fall in and freeze to death.  Luckily I didn’t but nor did I move a salmon.

 

blog-aug-26-2016-4-pool-map-sela-riverGranny grabbed the next pool directly below the lodge.  Ingo coached her along but to no avail.  This was a wide section of river and after Granny completed her run Ingo felt like it needed to be covered again.  He broke out a prize possession of his.  He had and old man friend that passed away recently.  The old man fished the Selá his whole life and mapped every pool in the river.  He left the precious information to Ingo and he wisely had it along.

 

blog-aug-26-2016-5-atlantic-salmon-fishing-with-ingo-helgasonThe far side of the Selá needed a more thorough attempt with a smaller fly according to the manual.  Ingo pieced together his 11-foot spey rod, lit a cigarette and proceeded to pick apart every inch of water on the far bank.  It’s impressive to watch a pro spey caster cover water.  It’s a technique I wish I had time to get better at but until more salmon or steelhead fishing comes my way it needs to wait.

 

blog-aug-26-2016-6-atlantic-salmon-sela-riverIngo made us proud when he hooked up with a salmon on the far bank that was out of reach of Granny.  It was by no means a major battle on that big spey rod but a salmon nonetheless.  It was chrome in color meaning he just arrived in the river last night.  It was a gorgeous Atlantic salmon of 60cm.

 

blog-aug-26-2016-7-beat-7-sela-riverWe wrapped up the morning session early for a little extra rest before the evening session.  This evening we went to Beat 7 which is the most demanding as far as hiking and wading of all the beats on the Selá River.  I gazed at the stretch as we drove past it going to Beat 8 yesterday.  To me it looked like fun with all the climbing but the locals disagree.

 

blog-aug-26-2016-8-jeff-currier-brown-trout-fishing-icelandWhen we got to Beat 7 the day of drizzle turned to a night of rain.  Wet dirt and slippery rocks made for a fiasco down to the first hole.  It was the worst conditions you could have.  But I lucked into some action right away.  The fish took off so hard and strong that we assumed nice salmon.  Instead it was another hefty brown trout larger than the one I caught yesterday.

 

blog-aug-26-2016-9-flyfishing-in-icelandIngo and I descended into several more pools.  There was a ton of up and down through the rugged section of the Selá.  The rain continued to fall and at times was a downpour.  It rained so hard we could see the river level rise inch by inch.  I rarely get to fish I rain so I was invigorated.  Ingo on the other hand had enough early.  He actually slipped and hurt himself so for most of the night he kicked back and followed me from his car.

 

blog-aug-26-2016-10-flyfishing-the-sela-riverI fished hard through the rain right until 9 PM sharp, stopping time.  I thought with the fresh rain through the day the Atlantic salmon would be active but only managed one more brown trout.  Ingo made it out of the car to join me on the last pool of the night, named Krokur.  There were fish jumping but nada.

 

blog-aug-26-2016-11-icelandic-fly-fishermenWe returned to the Selá Lodge to learn that another huge salmon was caught by another of the Icelandic gals.  This beast was 103cm!  A true monster and fish of a lifetime!

 

Tomorrow morning will be our last session of fishing then it’s back to Reykjavik and on the plane home.  It’s hard to believe this incredible journey through three of Iceland’s best Atlantic salmon rivers is at its end.  It’s been good though.  We’ll see if we can pull off some “Currier last day magic” for a grand finale.

 

Thanks to Icelandic Fly Fishermen for bringing Granny and I on this unbelievable trip.  When you’re ready for Iceland feel free to Contact me.

 

Jeff Currier Global Fly Fishing

Brown Trout and Atlantic Salmon on the Sela River

blog-Aug-25-2016-1-atlantic-salmon-fishing-icelandWe had a good sleep and finished coffee and breakfast early.  Ingo, Granny and I took off on the hour drive to Beat 8, the highest beat on the Selá River.  This upper section not only has Atlantic salmon but also a unique strain of wild brown trout.  The browns were our first target.

 

blog-Aug-25-2016-2-sela-river-icelandThe skies were clear and the air was calm.  This is strange weather here for late August.  Nonetheless it was comfortable for fishing and great for viewing the amazing scenery of the Selá River.

 

blog-Aug-25-2016-3-trout-fishing-in-icelandThe Selá cut through a canyon for several miles.  Gradually we reached the top of a plateau.  I’ve seen tons of rivers in my day but here the river rocks were unique, the twists and turns and drops were alluring and the surrounding land was more desolate than central Wyoming.  If there’s an end of the world fly fishing this is it.

 

blog-Aug-25-2016-5-jeff-currier-trout-fishing-icelandThe Beats are huge on the Selá and there are over 140 salmon pools.   Beat 8 alone has more than 40.  We started on pool #137 and fished and waded our way down.  Most of the water was fast and riffly and it felt ice cold.  If I had more than a couple hours, I’d have dry fly fished but we were short on time (morning fishing ends at 1 PM).  Also my lightest rod for the trip is my 7-weight Winston and I need lighter rods for dries.  Instead, I prowled with streamers.

 

blog-Aug-25-2016-6-icelandic-brown-troutAn hour passed.  Ingo and I both hit good spots but nothing.  We found a long run slower than any others we tried.  At first glance it looked too shallow to hold a fish but there was a narrow but deep trough.  I fished the channel diligently but nothing.  As I reeled in calling it quits I saw a welcome boil behind my fly.  I dropped to my knees hoping not to be seen and fired another cast.  Success!  I got this beautiful brown to seal the deal.

 

 

 

blog-Aug-25-2016-7-sela-river-icelandEither the brown trout of the upper Selá are few and far between or much smarter than we are.  We went back to work on the salmonIngo was kind to let us trout fish so Granny and I kicked back and watched him work a famous pool for salmon that he was looking forward to.  Its name is Storafljot.

 

blog-Aug-25-2016-8-icelandic-fly-fishermenStorafljot pool is long and deep.  Granny and I watched Ingo hike down from above.  Against the far bank the pool was so deep we couldn’t see bottom.  That says a lot because the Selá is so clear and we could see bottom where it was 20 feet deep.

 

blog-Aug-25-2016-9-ingo-helgason-iceland-fishingIngo went to work.  There were grilse salmon around but not a one flinched as Ingo’s fly drifted over them.  Soon a sizeable fish appeared from nowhere.  I yelled to Ingo he had a fish interested.

 

blog-Aug-25-2016-10-icelandic-brown-troutThe next few casts Ingo made had the fish looking.  On one of his swings the fish followed with his nose inches away.  But then like wise fish often do, he bypassed the fly and swam right up Ingo’s leader and to the fly line as if to say “nice try bud”.  I took this photo of the fish and I’m not so sure it was a salmon.   If it’s a brown trout, there are some mammoths in the Selá River.

 

blog-Aug-25-2016-11-flyfishing-for-atlantic-salmonWe had a terrific lunch followed by a nap then coffee.  The weather changed during our rest.  The blue sky was long gone and replaced by low hanging clouds and drizzle.  It wasn’t so balmy out anymore either.  It was such a change Granny opted to take the night off.  Ingo and I went to where an old bridge once crossed the river on Beat 5.

 

blog-Aug-25-2016-12-flyfishing-the-Sela-River-IcelandThis was the weather I remember from last trip to Iceland.  For me it was invigorating and gave me some extra confidence for catching salmon.  Ingo felt the same and we worked this pool thoroughly.  First it was me for an hour then him for an hour.  There were plenty of leaping grilse but in two hours we didn’t touch a fish.  I was in my element however and enjoyed a tasty Einstök while watching Ingo.

 

blog-Aug-25-2016-13b-jeff-currier-sela-riverPerplexed but not beaten, we drove a few minutes upstream and hiked down into a canyon of another pool.  When we got down we realized it was nearly impossible to fish from our side due to a high bank.  I went for it anyhow roll casting with my 9’ 6” Winston 8-weight.  I was getting it way out and low and behold I landed a 55cm grilse.

 

blog-Aug-25-2016-14-jeff-currier-atlantic-salmon-fishingI’ve always wished I could save that last hour of light on great fishing evenings back home.  Up here in the far north of Iceland you sort of do because those evening dream times last for hours.  Tonight was no exception.  With the overcast conditions 5 PM seemed like 9 and that light didn’t change at all until about 8:45.  From there it got dark fast but it’s also when I hooked up.

 

blog-Aug-25-2016-15-atlantic-salmon-bauer-fly-reelsWith fifteen minutes to go before 9 PM, official quitting time of salmon fishing in Iceland, Ingo suggested I fish one last pool.  Once again we were on the wrong side of the river which meant I had to cast across the current, make a huge mend then feed out line.  When I thought my fly was deep I jigged my fly a few times then mended again.  I came so tight on my third cast I thought I was snagged but instead it was this hook jaw male salmon.

 

blog-Aug-25-2016-16-atlantic-salmon-fishing-jeff-currierIt was an amazing battle with this 76cm Atlantic salmon.  It began with his stubbornness not to move fooling me to thinking I had bottom.  Then he took off like a freight train upstream and jumping.  It took some time to tame him after that and I’ll bet I landed him around 8:59 – just in time.

 

blog-Aug-25-2016-17-Sela-Lodge-icelandic-flyfishermenIt got a little wild at dinner and afterwards tonight at the Selá Lodge.  A few other fish were caught in addition to mine including this incredible male salmon caught by one of the hardcore Icelandic lady anglers here this week.  Good fishing after days of struggle always leads to some party time in the north of Europe.  This place is so cool.  Stay tuned for tomorrow. . . . .

 

Thanks to Icelandic Fly Fishermen for bringing Granny and I on this unbelievable trip.  When you’re ready for Iceland feel free to Contact me.

 

Jeff Currier Global Fly Fishing

A Dream of Fishing the Sela Comes True

blog-Aug-24-2016-1-Sela-River-IcelandAfter a few unsuccessful hours on Beat 4 this morning with Siggy, we left the comforts of Hofsá for the famous Selá Lodge.  It was a wonderful stay on the Hofsá.  The accommodation was relaxed and the food was delicious.  And Granny’s Atlantic salmon will be remembered forever.

 

blog-Aug-24-2016-2-jeff-currier-flyfishing-icelandThe Selá Lodge is upscale and holds more anglers than the other places we’ve stayed this trip.  The deck overlooks the Selá River and two famous pools lie just below in Beat 2 and 3.  It’s easy to drool in your beer as you look down waiting for your turn there.

 

blog-Aug-24-2016-3-Sela-Lodge-IcelandInside the lodge is cozy with comfortable couches and chairs.  Huge windows allow you to look over the river.  Today was once again ridiculously nice out for Iceland but I imagine on a rainy cold day inside the lodge with a fire would be spectacular.

 

blog-Aug-24-2016-4-Sela-River-Jeff-CurrierThe Selá is the first Icelandic river I ever learned of.  I had an old client during my fly shop days that came here every year.  He told me all about its beauty and huge Atlantic salmon.  He threatened to take me a couple times.  That never happened so it’s gratifying I made here on my own.

 

blog-Aug-24-2016-5-10-flyfishing-for-atlantic-salmonIt’s a dream to be here but like our previous two stops on this adventure, its no secret that fishing has been less than phenomenal.  Granny has already decided she’s going to take it easy and let me live my dream and do most the fishing.  And I’m keeping my expectations in line – I want to hold one precious Selá River Atlantic salmon and if that’s all I catch then the goal is met.

 

blog-Aug-24-2016-6-sela-river-guidesThough the evening fishing session starts at 3 PM we waited for Ingo to return from ReykjavikSiggy is here at the lodge with us but he is now guiding some of his good clients.  The wait was perfect.  We’ve fished hard for seven straight days.  We napped and caught up on computer stuff like Fantasy Baseball and Cubs scores.
When Ingo arrived at 5:30 we energized with some stiff coffees and headed out to Beat 3.  Ingo hasn’t fished the Selá in many years.  He’s just as excited as I to be here for three days.  That tells you something.  That being said he admits to not being and expert here by any means.  We quizzed the head guide Danny and Ingo had some notes from Siggy.

 

blog-Aug-24-2016-7-atlantic-salmon-fishingThe evening light was spectacular.  It was warm and calm.  You could almost tell it was too nice to catch an Atlantic salmon before we started.  Ingo handed me a small double hooked salmon fly and I went to work.  It’s amazing these big salmon eat such small flies.

 

blog-Aug-24-2016-8-jeff-currier-ingo-helgason-salmonThere were some grilse jumping periodically through the evening – enough we didn’t leave the pool.  Ingo and I threw the book at these persnickety salmon but couldn’t raise a one.  At the end, Ingo gave me a special fly to try.  I cast and stripped as fast as I could and a grilse came chasing like a small white marlin.  It looked good for a second but he wouldn’t put his lips on the oversized salmon fly.

 

blog-Aug-24-2016-9-Sela-LodgeWe just finished up a nice dinner at the lodge.  We had intentions of having a few beers afterwards but everyone is toast tonight.  Bed time.  We have a big day tomorrow.  Granny, Ingo and I have the highest beat on the Selá and we’re going to mix in a few hours of trout fishing – should be cool!

 

Thanks to Icelandic Fly Fishermen for bringing Granny and I on this unbelievable trip.  When you’re ready for Iceland feel free to Contact me.

 

Jeff Currier Global Fly Fishing

One Fish Can Make A Trip

blog-Aug-23-2016-1-atlantic-salmonWhen you know in advance the fishing trip you’re going on will be a challenge, don’t get there and imagine it to be easy.  Keep your expectations in line and don’t fall off the track.  You won’t burnout so easily and your fishing skill won’t leave you.  Big Atlantic salmon don’t come without hard work and persistence this year in Iceland.  Keep your fly in the water and it will pay off and etch a memory for life.

 

blog-Aug-23-2016-2-hofsa-river-beat-1Today we went to Beat 1 on the upper Hofsá River.  This is Siggy’s favorite stretch of water in all of Iceland not only because its great fishing, but also beautiful.  This was a special day for sure, but also one where all three of us felt some pressure to catch a big salmon.

 

blog-Aug-23-2016-3-winston-rods-bauer-reelsThe other neat part about this beat is the journey there.  It was a one-hour drive to the bottom of Beat 1.  The road is entirely a rough dirt track that involves navigation along a mile of cliff high above the Hofsá.  The drop was an eye catcher for sure but staggeringly gorgeous.

 

blog-Aug-23-2016-4-flyfishing-for-atlantic-salmonAfter you drive as far as you can, your only at the bottom of Beat 1.  From here you need to cross the river then hike up.  The water is fast.  Its crystal clear and looking upstream you see rapids and small waterfalls – falls Atlantic salmon can easily jump.

 

blog-Aug-23-2016-5-arctic-char-fishingWe didn’t go far on our hike up before I spotted an Arctic char resting on bottom.  I was completely aware this was not our target fish today and attempted to walk by.  But I couldn’t.  I slipped a cone on the leader above my Undertaker salmon fly and nymphed him up in less than a minute.  Today was looking good already.

 

blog-Aug-23-2016-6-jeff-currier-on-the-hofsaWe continued our hike up and down and scrambling along rocky cliff edges.  We stopped at a few spots to look for salmon and we found them in the pools.  The first one was in a place with little room for a back cast and not much current considering the rest of the river was moving.  I wanted to give Granny every chance but she declined this spot.  I went in and got four good swings, strips and even tried to dead drift my fly in this salmon’s mouth but to no avail.  Soon the salmon was gone.

 

blog-Aug-23-2016-8-atlantic-salmon-icelandIt doesn’t matter where you go on the planet.  If the fish you’re after have lockjaw – they have lockjaw.  What I mean is they just won’t eat.  Usually it’s a weather thing and in my opinion directly related to barometric pressure.  Regardless of what it is, the Atlantic salmon of the Hofsá River have been playing SERIOUSLY HARD TO GET.

 

blog-Aug-23-2016-9-jeff-currier-swinging-flies-for-salmonI got shots (it seemed Granny had given up) at three more big salmon all of which refused to eat.  The last stole all sureness I had left.  He refused several flies on the swing.  He refused them stripped.  And finally, Siggy gave me approval to try to nymph style him up.  I drifted a heavily weighted Metallica nearly in this Atlantics mouth ten times before I hit him square in the forehead and he finally spooked.

 

blog-Aug-23-2016-10-upper-hofsa-riverThe only reasonable way to change our luck was to get Granny her fish.  There are so many Atlantic salmon on Beat 1 its incredible.  We needed to get one.  We came to the third to last pool before a waterfall high enough the salmon can’t pass.  The pools name, “Great Expectations”.

 

blog-Aug-23-2016-11-Icelandic-Fly-FishermenSiggy and I climbed high above and looked down.  There must have been ten salmon.  It was a sight to behold.  But one in particular shifted side so side as if to be. . . . happy.  Could that be?

 

blog-Aug-23-2016-12-flyfishing-for-atlantic-salmonI insisted Granny take a stab.  Siggy pointed the active salmon out to Granny then they snuck down the cliff using the shade to be undetected.  They found a nice rock to cast from and swung the fly into the area of the salmon.  From their point of view in the shade they could no longer see the fish.

 

blog-Aug-23-2016-13-granny-currier-salmon-fishingThe water was turbulent so I couldn’t see Granny’s fly like a could earlier this week on the Hafralónsá.  The salmon on the other hand, I could see loud and clear.  And when the Atlantic lifted from bottom and opened her mighty white mouth, the small dark spot which I was sure was the fly disappeared.  BIG FISH ON!

 

blog-Aug-23-2016-14-Icelandic-Fly-FishermenGranny wasn’t in a great place to start chasing a huge fish.  As it is she hates rock scrambling.  Now she was scrambling while battling a salmon and she had to move fast in order to keep up.  This meant up and down often times with one hand on the Winston and the other hanging on to the cliff.  She found herself high then low.  But she always kept the rod bent and the tension on.  She did an incredible job with this huge fish in fast water!

 

blog-Aug-23-2016-15-monster-atlantic-salmonThe fight went on for a good ten minutes.  There were few jumps but lots of runs and down deep holding.  It was a fight of all fights for Granny.  Probably her biggest since her massive tarpon a few years ago.

 

blog-Aug-23-2016-16-icelandic-fly-fishermenWhen the beautiful Atlantic salmon tired I yelled, “Put his head on a rock”.  Twenty years ago Granny lost a huge brown trout in New Zealand because she couldn’t get him to my net.  Friend Tony Entwistle told me I attempted to soon.  A fish isn’t ready until you can put his head on a rock.  The advice has never failed us since.  Granny tested my 16lb Flouro to the max and dragged the salmon to rest in the shallows.  Siggy grabbed her by the tail – landed!

 

blog-Aug-23-2016-17-granny-currier-atlantic-salmon-fishingWhen Granny grabbed the tail of her precious prize it was a proud moment for me.  I’m sure she felt the same along with some relief.  Her smile was as big as the fish.  Which by the way measured 85 cm and likely pushed 15lbs.  It was truly an amazing salmon in Iceland.  A fish of hundreds of hours and thousands of miles from home – etched in our memory forever.

 

blog-Aug-23-2016-18-hofsa-salmon-riverHonestly it was hard to fish after Granny released her incredible catch.  I think we all could’ve easily headed back to the lodge for a bottle of red and an afternoon of rest.  But instead we hiked all the way up to Pool 1 below the waterfall that stops the salmon on the Hofsá.  To get to this spot takes some work. . . . and a ladder!

 

It was fun to fish up there and beyond spectacular.  I’m glad we saw the last pool going up river.  But it was tremendously challenging to cast and was very deep.  I’m certain it was full of salmon and char but honestly I don’t think I showed any my fly.

 

blog-Aug-23-2016-19-jeff-currier-on-hofsaOn the way back, remarkably there was another salmon laying exactly where Granny hooked hers.  I was way ahead of her and Siggy on the way back dreaming of such a situation but not expecting it.  I made several cast but nothing.  My last attempt was to dead drift my Metallica in hopes to hit this fish right square on the nose.  It worked and I hooked up!

 

blog-Aug-23-2016-20-jeff-currier-atlantic-salmon-fishingIt wasn’t a beast like Granny’s but it was a splendid salmon nonetheless.  Mine jumped like crazy and wore herself out fast.  I leaned on this fish with my 8-weight Winston so hard Siggy went as far as to tell me I would break my rod.  But I know exactly how much pressure I can put and soon I was posing with my 72 cm salmon.

 

blog-Aug-23-2016-21-Icelandic-fly-fishermenIt was a magnificent morning.  Magnificent and well deserved by all! When we got to Siggy’s truck we relaxed and reflected on the morning.  Siggy busted out his thermos and rightfully drank it from one of my stainless steel Atlantic salmon mugs (special order only!).

 

blog-Aug-23-2016-22-granny-currier-salmon-fishingWe returned to the lodge for lunch, beers, naps and made it out to Beat 2 for the evening.  Siggy and I fished very hard but never saw a fish.  Somehow it just didn’t bother us too much.  This was the best day of the trip so far.  And proof – it only takes one fish to make a trip.

 

Thanks to Icelandic Fly Fishermen for bringing Granny and I on this unbelievable trip.  When you’re ready for Iceland feel free to Contact me.

 

Jeff Currier Global Fly Fishing

The Hofsa River of Iceland

blog-Aug-22-2016-1-hofsa-river-lodge-icelandDespite freezing our butts off Atlantic salmon fishing last night here in Iceland, mother nature returned with warmth and sunshine this morning.   It was absolutely gorgeous around the lodge on the Hofsá River.  We slammed a quick breakfast buffet and headed for Beat 5, a section of river closest to the lodge in hopes Granny would finally land her first Atlantic salmon.

 

blog-Aug-22-2016-2-granny-currier=arctic-char-fishingAtlantic salmon in Iceland don’t come easy this year.  Numbers of fish in the rivers are low.  This doesn’t by any means mean there are poor years to come.  Next year could be incredible – years simply vary and it’s impossible to predict.  This year it’s about keeping your fly in the water.  I certainly worked hard for my first big Atlantic and it finally happened right here in Iceland in 2014.

 

blog-Aug-22-2016-3-flyfishing-for-arctic-charGranny has the technique of Icelandic salmon fishing down well now.  She knows when to dead swing vs strip and exactly how far she needs to step downstream after each cast based on the type of water she’s covering.  Siggy and I got extremely excited when we saw Granny’s rod bend!

 

 

 

 

blog-Aug-22-2016-4-granny-currier-arctic-charGranny’s fish made a short run and didn’t jump.  We thought she may have a small grilse but when I got there I could see the brilliant white edged fins.  Granny had her first Arctic char.  Though not a salmon, it was a tug and a nice fish to say the least.  More importantly, it was just what Granny needed to keep the confidence going and our first fish since my big salmon two nights ago.

 

blog-Aug-22-2016-5-flyfishing-for-arctic-charGranny released her pretty char then went right back to work.  A couple grilse rolled in her pool so we were ready for it to happen.  But an hour into her work there were no touches to her fly.

 

blog-Aug-22-2016-6-Jeff-Currier-on-the-Hofsa-RiverThe rest of our morning was dead slow.  We hit some fantastic looking pools including the famous “Bridge Pool” where Siggy said its rare not to at least raise a salmon.  But things are tough this week.  What salmon are here have little interest in our flies.

 

 

 

blog-Aug-22-2016-7-icelandic-fish-n-chipsWe had our nicest lunch break of the trip.  First of all, the lodge cooked us fresh fish and chips.  I mean so fresh the cod was purchased at the mouth of the Hofsá this morning.  I worked on the blog and we all go in solid naps.  We headed back out for the afternoon evening session feeling strong.

 

 

 

 

blog-Aug-22-2016-8-hofsa-river-icelandIn the afternoon we had Beats 6 and 7.  These are the ones closest to the ocean.  The pools are like none I’ve ever experienced and a characteristic of the mighty Hofsá.  They were long, straight and wide.  Granny fished the first pool we visited but like we are so often running into, no salmon showed for us.  The only action was when Siggy fell in and had to run back to the lodge to grab one of his extra waders.

 

blog-Aug-22-2016-9-flyfishing-for-seatroutI’m sad to say Granny walked from that first pool tonight quite dejected.  She wasn’t interested in more fishing tonight and left the fishing for me.  We arrived in a pool where a big salmon jumped and I worked it over for two hours with different flies.  You know the old saying, “don’t leave fish to find fish”.  Well, it didn’t work tonight.  But I accidentally caught this attractive sea trout speckled like few trout I’ve ever seen.

 

blog-Aug-22-2016-10-icelandic-flyfishermenEven I lost confidence at the end tonight.  Other than the cute little sea trout that was my first tug in 48 hours.  I could also see in Siggy’s eyes, fishing was tougher than usual.  He was bummed too.  At the last of his promising pools this evening I gave him the rod hoping to change our luck.  Even Siggy couldn’t raise on to the fly.

 

blog-Aug-22-2016-11-flyfishing-the-hofsa-riverWe’ve run into a tough spell here on the Hofsá but we still had some high points today.  Granny landed her first ever Arctic char and broke the ice here in Iceland with her first fish of the trip.  The weather was enjoyable and the sea trout was easy on the eyes.  We’ll get them tomorrow.

 

Thanks to Icelandic Fly Fishermen for bringing Granny and I on this unbelievable trip.  When you’re ready for Iceland feel free to Contact me.

 

Jeff Currier Global Fly Fishing

Extreme Fly Fishing for Atlantic Salmon – Iceland

blog-Aug-21-2016-1-extreme-fly-fishingLooking downstream from pool 22 yesterday on the mighty Hafralónsá Atlantic salmon river here in Iceland I saw a rope dangling from the canyon rim to the water.  It turns out that rope leads to pool 21, better known as the Slave.  If you read this blog regularly than you know damn well, the Slave was our first stop today even though Siggy and Ingo weren’t high on the idea.

 

blog-Aug-21-2016-2-jeff-currier-extreme-flyfishing-icelandThis is an un-belayed rappel.  You hang on tight and hand over hand the rope while scaling down the cliff.  Let go and you quickly become part of the ecosystem because there won’t be much left of you to collect from the jagged rocks below.  Any parts or pieces that make it to the river will undoubtedly end up in the Arctic ocean as plaice bait in only a few hours’ time.

 

blog-Aug-21-2016-3-jeff-currier-flyfishing-icelandThe weather was cold and windy, making my decent rather invigorating.  Lucky for me, rock climbing was a fun hobby of the past that comes in handy fishing.  I was down to the river looking face to face with a more than respectable salmon in less than five minutes.

 

 

 

 

blog-Aug-21-2016-4-icelandic-fly-fishermenI waited for Siggy to get down before I made my cast.  I’m not sure Siggy enjoyed the sketchy rappel as much as me.  But he’s done it numerous times before and knew about the many unpressured Atlantics that live in the pool.

 

blog-Aug-21-2016-5-jeff-currier-fishing-icelandWith the exception of last night, the big salmon of the Hafralónsá have been stubborn.  Siggy and I found three of the big boys to present to and none of the three moved an inch towards the array of salmon flies I presented.  We fished the Slave, then scrambled our way downstream fishing pools 20 and 19 as well.  Not a fish.

 

blog-Aug-21-2016-6-hafralonsa-riverIt was hell climbing back up from pool 19.  Siggy picked the route it was a tricky one.  Yesterday’s rain made all the steep dirt slippery mud.  Every rock you put your hand on broke loose.  It was a flat out dangerous trip up and when I looked back down I was nearly dizzy.  But like a million times before the both of us escaped unscathed.

 

blog-Aug-21-2016-7-flyfishing-icelandBy now it was time to return to the lodge and pack our stuff.  Today is river switch day.  We said goodbye to the beautiful Hafralónsá and headed to Siggy’s favorite, the Hofsá River.  Ingo headed back to Reykjavik to see the kids back to school but will be back in three days to join us on the Selá River.

 

blog-Aug-21-2016-8-flyfishing-mishapIt was about a 1.5-hour drive to the next lodge that involved a terrible equipment mishap.  In order to show the Bauer name on a close up photo of my reel with the Arctic char last night I had to loosen the spool knob.  I forgot to retighten it and at 120 km/h the spool slipped of the outfit on the car rod rack and went bashing down the highway with my bran new Anadro fly line dangling behind.  My beautiful spool met its match.  Luckily I come prepared for such.

 

blog-Aug-21-2016-9-jeff-currier-salmon-artThe lodge at the Hofsá is a bit fancier than at Hafralónsá.  Here we have almost elaborate rooms and bath and we’re served three meals a day.  There’s always a thermos of coffee to make sure we don’t run tired to a session and best of all, they serve coffee in my Atlantic salmon coffee mugs – not bad considering where 4000 miles from home!

 

blog-Aug-21-2016-10-icelandic-fly-fishermenWe made it on the river to Beat 4 for the evening session with Siggy.  This is a big river with 8 beats each with many pools.  Being I did all the fishing this morning I encouraged Granny to fish as much as possible tonight.  Atlantic salmon fishing is like steelheading; it may take a 1000 cast before you catch one.  I wanted her to get a few steps closer.  Unfortunately, the evening didn’t produce a fish for us.

 

blog-Aug-21-2016-11-hofsa-river-lodgeFurthermore, the fishing tonight was wicked cold.  Granny toughed it out because she wants her salmon.  My short time on the water found me shivering.  We’re both extremely exhausted but it’s the good kind.  We just finished a super dinner.  I think we’re gonna like this place!

 

Thanks to Icelandic Fly Fishermen for bringing Granny and I on this unbelievable trip.  When you’re ready for Iceland feel free to Contact me.

 

Jeff Currier Global Fly Fishing

Arctic Char, Atlantic Salmon and Lamb Chops

blog-Aug-20-2016-1-jeff-currier-flyfishing-icelandThe weather changed last night.  We woke up to the patter of rain and rattling wind.  No one jumped from bed like yesterday.  I made us coffee around 8 and we sat around and enjoyed the precious brew.  We have eight more days of Atlantic salmon fishing here in Iceland and it doesn’t hurt to pace yourself.

 

blog-Aug-20-2016-2-hafalronsa-river-in-icelandToday we had the lower beat on the Hafralónsá River which entails the rugged lower canyon and the wide open landscape pools around the lodge.  We started with a ten-minute drive to the lower canyon.  Granny and I were quick to wonder how in the heck the boys of Icelandic Fly Fishermen planned to get us down there to fish.

 

blog-Aug-20-2016-3-pool-22-hafralonsa-icelandBut there are tricks to accessing such places.  Icelanders have been fishing for Atlantic salmon long before we Curriers arrived.  And because Atlantic salmon thrive in the turbulent gushes in canyons, over time routes to the pools have developed.  Pools 22 and 23 are famous for holding big fish and to our disbelief there is a long steep staircase part of the way down.

 

blog-Aug-20-2016-4-flyfishing-the-HafalronsaIn these two pools Siggy has some pets just like I have pets on my waters back home.  Once we all found a piece of stable ground to stand on we stared at the water and in pool 23 we spotted three respectable grilse.  Like several of yesterday’s pools, this one was tough to cast from so I got the honors.  Unfortunately, these salmon wouldn’t pay an ounce of attention to the several flies I swung in their faces.  Eventually they caught on to our mischief and all three fish disappeared.

 

blog-Aug-20-2016-5-granny-currier-flyfishing-for-salmonPool 22 was Granny’s turn no matter what.  Although a scurry to get down to a casting position, she could do it, and once there it was a short cast and easy swing.  Siggy and Ingo went down with her.  I climbed up and balanced on a ledge hanging on to a rope overlooking her.  I could see at least a dozen salmon and in easy range were three monsters.  The spectacular pool was deep and rich in blue color and crystal clear.

 

blog-Aug-20-2016-6-atlantic-salmonGranny went to work alongside Siggy.  From my position I could see her salmon fly swing.  Each time it passed over the big salmon I could see one of them wiggle with excitement.  Finally, on about the tenth swing he came up a grabbed her fly and swam back to bottom.  Granny did nothing nor did Siggy or Ingo say anything.  After three seconds I couldn’t help but scream, “Set!”

 

blog-Aug-20-2016-7-flyfishing-for-atlantic-salmonThe three of them looked up at me like I was crazy.  It was amazing.  I watched clearly one of the large salmon rise up and engulf her fly, swim all the way to bottom with it and because nothing was done – spit it out.  I was horrified.  But they couldn’t see from down below and Granny couldn’t feel any tug at all.  I say it all the time in my seminars, fish can cunningly take your fly and spit it out without you ever knowing.  I guarantee it happens all the time.

 

blog-Aug-20-2016-8-icelandic-fly-fishermenThat was it.  The salmon of the Hafralónsá are hard to fool and not one other fish in that pool made even a slight move to any of the many flies they tried.  I was more bummed than anyone because that was my ladies fish of dreams! We returned to the lodge for lunch and naps.  The Icelanders made us grilled bacon sandwiches – a delicacy after a tough cold morning!

 

blog-Aug-20-2016-9-granny-currier-salmon-fishingWe were sluggish getting ourselves together for the evening session.  We fished on pools 1, 0 and 00 near the ocean.  They looked promising but after working them hard for over two hours and not seeing a fish the confidence levels for everyone plummeted.

 

blog-Aug-20-2016-10-flyfishing-in-icelandThe four of us sat.  Granny and I drank an Einstök while Siggy and Ingo had a smoke.  It seemed like the day was done.  That was until Siggy said back in the truck.  It was time to return to the famous lodge pool, #8.

 

blog-Aug-20-2016-11-atlantic-salmon-fishingThere hadn’t been any sun since morning and now, approaching 8 PM, it was uncomfortably chilly.  I could have easily rapped it up for the day.  Granny in fact announced she was done and Ingo and Siggy sat in their trucks and sent me out on my own.  Lo and behold, just when I thought the fish world was asleep, I hooked and landed a very small grilse.

 

blog-Aug-20-2016-12-icelandic-fly-fishermenWhile landing my grilse I swore there was another fish following but gave it little thought.  But after I released the grilse and stood up, only six feet away from me holding in the fast current was an Arctic char.  A fish I’ve never caught before yet always wanted too since I was a kid thanks to a Char of the World poster that hung next to my bed.  Siggy saw the look in my eye and asked if I wanted a char nymph.

 

blog-Aug-20-2016-13-arctic-char-fishingIt took me a whopping three cast before I Euro nymphed that bad boy up.  Catching me by surprise was his energetic battle.  He smoked me at first then did his best to twist himself off the fly.

 

He was small but colorful and new species to add to my list.  My excitement probably caught Ingo and Siggy by surprise but that’s because I’m learning Atlantic salmon fishers are hardcore about salmon like no other types of anglers I’ve met.

 

blog-Aug-20-2016-14-jeff-currier-flyfishing-arctic-charIf there was one char there had to be more and I continued to nymph. Siggy made it clear they normally aren’t so easy to catch and he was right.  It took a while for the next one.  The good news however was that it was a true bruiser at 60 cm.  This guy too put up an incredible battle.  It makes sense though as they do spend time at sea.

 

blog-Aug-20-2016-15-iceland-salmon-fishingI hooked three char.  It was nearly dark at 8:45. Granny and Ingo left for the lodge to work on some lamb chops for dinner.  Once again I thought I was done when Siggy asked me to put back on a salmon fly and make one more pass through the pool for salmon.  I didn’t let him down.

 

blog-Aug-20-2016-16-atlantic-salmon-fishing-in-icelandI had my game on and went to work methodically.  We saw a nice salmon jump bigger than a grilse.  I wanted him bad and wouldn’t you know I got a grab and screwed it up by setting the hook.  Siggy saw and groaned.  But I didn’t let it blow my concentration.  I sent my cast right back out and this time I connected!

 

The first minute of this fight was what makes the Atlantic salmon one of the greatest game fish on earth!  The fish took the fly lightly making me think he was small.  My lack of salmon experience.  What endowed after that was utter insanity with the fish leaping as though he was skipping across the water.  Then he charged towards me and as I was running back and stripping attempting to stay tight he jumped as though to be looking at what dared mess with him.

 

blog-Aug-20-2016-17-icelandic-fly-fishermenAfter the first minute of chaotic jumps I got control and put the heat on him with my 91/2-foot 8-weight Winston.  I eased in more pressure with the drag of my Bauer and the big fish began to tire.  There was still no guarantee I’d land him.  Each time I got him close his belly would rub the bottom and off he’d go again.

 

blog-Aug-20-2016-18-jeff-currier-Atlantic-salmonAfter a good ten to fifteen minutes I backed up the bank and dragged the fierce looking male Atlantic salmon to where Siggy grabbed the tail.  He was brute.  We measured him at 92 cm and I’ll guess his weight to be around 16lbs.  What a way to end what was a long grueling day!

 

 

 

 

blog-Aug-20-2016-19-icelandic-flyfishermenThe flashes from my camera drew the attention of Ingo and Granny all the way up at the lodge.  There was some hooting and hollering even though they couldn’t see what we caught.  I was soaked to the elbows from pictures so off we went to join them.  Dinner was delicious lamb chops and red wine.

 

Thanks to Icelandic Fly Fishermen for bringing Granny and I on this unbelievable trip.  When you’re ready for Iceland feel free to Contact me.

 

Jeff Currier Global Fly Fishing

Chasing Atlantic Salmon on the Hafralonsa

blog-Aug-19-2016-1-icelandic-flyfishermenAlthough its August and Iceland no longer has 24 hours of daylight, there was light at 11 PM last night and the sun came up around 3:30 AM this morning.  Close the shades before bed and save that eyepatch the airlines gives you on the flight over.  Atlantic salmon fishing in Iceland takes stamina.  Perhaps that’s why Ingo busted out one heck of a breakfast before we hit the Hafralónsá River today.

 

blog-Aug-19-2016-2-hafalronsa-river-icelandAll Atlantic salmon fishing in Iceland is private and you must buy fishing beats.  Granny and I are lucky dogs because Icelandic Fly Fishermen sells beats on many of the best rivers and we’re friends with the founders Ingo and Siggy.  For nine days we’re their guests.  When you’re ready for an Atlantic salmon feel free to Contact me or visit icelandicflyfishermen.com.

 

blog-Aug-19-2016-3-icelandic-fly-fishermenThe Hafralónsá River is broken into two beats – the upper and the lower and there are 55 official salmon pools.  Today we had the upper which meant a bumpy dirt track for an hour up to a spectacular canyon section.  This river stands out as a “classic” Icelandic salmon river.  I slapped myself ten times today because it’s so hard to believe I’m back again!

 

blog-Aug-19-2016-4-granny-currier-flyfishing-icelandGranny entered the first pool of the day with guidance from Siggy.  Ingo and I kicked back and watched.  My goal for this trip is to watch my wife nail her first big salmon.  This is a great fish she knows little about and I think the best way for her to understand is to work her butt off a few days then finally land one.  There’s no guarantees however as salmon numbers are low this year in Iceland.  She and Siggy worked over this pool for an hour without seeing a fish.

 

blog-Aug-19-2016-5-metallica-salmon-flyWe drove all the way to the top of the beat to pools 52-55.  There’s a fork in the river here and the river shrinks in width and depth.  We peeked over the edge of a cliff on number 53 and there were about ten salmon.  My heart skipped a few and I looked at Granny.  It was a steep spot and not liking heights she said they’re all yours.  I said, “No problem” and tied on the Metallica which worked for me last night.

 

blog-Aug-19-2016-6-jeff-currier-atlantic-salmon-fishingIt was an easy climb to position.  What was hard was making sure the wise salmon didn’t see me.  I treat every fish on the planet like a spooky Yellowstone trout.  Simms camo jackets aren’t quite the Tweeds Atlantic salmon anglers often wear but I’ll take cover-up any day if it helps me succeed.  My first cast went straight towards the biggest fish of the pool but a bodyguard grilse charged into action and devoured my Metallica.

 

blog-Aug-19-2016-7-jeff-currier-iceland-fishingI did my best to yank the young salmon from the pool without disturbing the others.  I heaved and climbed backwards testing my 16lb Scientific Anglers Flouro to the max.  I managed to pull the fish from the pool and he did most his fighting at a safe distance.  I landed the 55cm grilse and released him but when I returned to my perch the big fish were gone as were most the others.  We don’t call small fish hanging near big boy’s bodyguards for nothing.  The pool was done.

 

blog-Aug-19-2016-8-jeff-currier-salmon-fishingSalmon fishing times are regulated in Iceland no matter where you’re at.  Fishing hours in late August are from 8 AM to 1 PM and again from 3 till 9 PM.  Normally you bust out of the waders and retreat to your accommodation for lunch and a nap but the upper Hafralónsá is such a drive we stayed up there all day.  We ate sandwiches and took power naps on the ground.  Looks like I needed mine.

 

blog-Aug-19-2016-9-hafralonsa-salmon-riverThe weather has been unusually nice for Iceland since we got here on Wednesday.  There are changes in the air however that began when we started up the afternoon session.  We were greeted by cold wind and some low hanging fog and clouds.  It didn’t stop us from fishing but you certainly didn’t want to fall in the river.

 

blog-Aug-19-2016-10-jeff-currier-flyfishing-icelandThe evening proved slow for us.  I had another grilse to the fly but I made a common mistake of setting the hook on him like on a trout.  With salmon you must wait for them to turn after they take your fly then set.  This means actually giving them some line then gently lifting the rod.  I’ll screw up many more if I don’t break my trout set habit.

 

blog-Aug-19-2016-11-einstok-beer-icelandAny day you catch an Atlantic salmon is a good day.  We fished hard on some amazing water today and we’ll do the same tomorrow.  Tonight Ingo made fajitas that were to die for.  There’s nothing better than a great meal after a long day of fishing.  And when in Iceland you should always wash it down with a few tasty Einstök.

 

Thanks to Icelandic Fly Fishermen for bringing Granny and I on this unbelievable trip.  When you’re ready for Iceland feel free to Contact me.

 

Jeff Currier Global Fly Fishing

preloader