Brown Trout can be Tricky Anywhere

by | Apr 21, 2019 | fly fishing in Iceland

fishpartnerWe didn’t get to bed until almost 2 AM last night.  The lamb chops Kristjan and Bjarni made were splendid and Ingo’s red wine was a perfect match.  It was a fun evening into the morning celebrating such an unreal first day of fishing on Lake Thingvallavatn with my friends of Fishpartner here in Iceland.


fishing-icelandDue to the late night of fishing and eating Icelandic style we didn’t get moving for todays fishing until around 10 AM.  That was ok though because it was freezing cold with a big threat of rain overhead.  The only thing we didn’t have was the wind which in turn is probably why we didn’t do so hot this morning.


huge-brown-troutWe were on the Beat 3, Villingavatnsaros where a small river pours into the lake.  The current flushes food in and the browns wait here.  Yesterday the beat produced 18 browns and one of 20lbs!  Remarkably however, we fished here for three hours and never touched a fish.  Now that’s brown trout fishing.


fish-icelandNear Beat 3 is the tiny Lake Villingavatn.  Conveniently for us, Kristjan had no clients booked on it.  So after three hours of nothing on Beat 3 we headed for Lake Villingavatn for a peek.  It was a classic alpine looking lake with no trees and wind-packed grasses.  I went with my 6-weight Air and rigged two woolly buggers.


Bjarni-bjarkasonThe weather remained cold despite being mid-day.  The threat of rain turned to rain and the wind began to crank.  It was all we could do to cast our rigs because we were on the windward side.  Somehow it felt right though and I landed a 19” brown quick.  Two hours later that would remain my one fish.  Kristjan caught two dinks.  And Bjarni caught this handsome brown of his own.



photo by Bjarni Bjarkason

The small Lake Villingavatn wasn’t on enough to stay so we returned to the big lake and Beat 3.  Rather than hiking right to the river mouth, Kristjan suggested making a few casts to a rock and a dock near where we parked.  The spot caught my eye earlier and for some reason I didn’t make a cast.


brown-troutSure enough it held one nice brown.  I stuck him on a claret colored bugger with my 6-weight and the fish leaped and ran me far out in the lake.  He missed reaching my backing by a couple of turns on the reel.


Once I finally got him in he was smaller than we thought by the fight.  Nonetheless he was still over 20” and there were no complaints from anyone, especially when most of the lakes browns appeared to have lockjaw.


fishpartner-icelandAnd I do mean lockjaw.  We went back to the river mouth and fished two more hours.  None of us touched a single brown.  Its amazing two anglers that fished this beat yesterday caught 18!  But like I said, that’s brown trout fishing.  It wasn’t a total waste here though.  We cooked up some delicious burgers on insta-grill and then headed out.



We weren’t done fishing.  It was only 6 PM.  Beat 2 Karastaoir, was booked all day with Fishpartner clients but we got word they left early and after eight hours of fishing, three guys were completely blanked.  Because they were gone Kristjan said it was ours for the remainder of the day.


Brown trout are fascinating feeders.  Yesterday all beats on the lake produced a ton of fish and today the same exact beats were punishing all anglers.  When we got to Karastaoir the lake was calm but cold with light drizzle.



No fish all day by the previous anglers to most wouldn’t make the evening fishing seem promising.  However, to me it did.  Fish had to eat eventually.  Lo and behold, Kristjan hooked up immediately.


It was a hard fighting fish and we could tell by the pumps on the rod it was a big one.  It was a ten minute battle and finally I netted his fish.  An easy 10lb plus Ice Age brown.


arctic-loonIn the next half hour we landed two more.  Kristjan one of about 8lbs and I one of about 6lbs.  I was back to my 7-weight and the Screamer Streamer Badger.  Those two fish would be it for a few hours.


Jeff-Currier-IcelandAt 9:30 PM I reeled in and popped a beer.  A long hard day of fishing still produced me two dandy browns so it was time to enjoy.  The bird life here is minimal due to being so far north, however, the lake holds a sound population of loons.  Most are the Arctic loons which make a slightly different call than the Common loons we find in the US.  I kicked back and took in life near the North Pole.


bjarni-bjarkason-flyfishingBjarni was the last man standing, casting relentlessly off the best point on the Karastaoir.  It was nice to have someone working while Kristjan and I sipped beer.  Eventually Bjarni hooked up.


caughtitinicelandIt was 10 PM and very close to dark.  The thick clouds shortened the day for sure.  Bjarni doesn’t brutalize his fish in battle like Kristjan and I and he took a good 8 minutes to land his fish.  It was another gorgeous 7lb Icelandic brown.


We reeled it in after the release.  We were tired and hungry and returned to the cabin for lamb steaks and Ingo’s good wine.  Tomorrow I will change venues.  Kristjan and Bjarni return to work and I will join Ingo to one of his new fishing venues – the sea run browns of the Tungulaekur River on the South coast.


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I started fly fishing at age 7 in the lakes and ponds of New England cutting my teeth on various sunfish, bass, crappie and stocked trout. I went to Northland College in Ashland, Wisconsin, where I graduated with a Naturalist Degree while I discovered new fishing opportunities for pike, muskellunge, walleyes and various salmonids found in Lake Superior and its tributaries.

From there I headed west to work a few years in the Yellowstone region to simply work as much as most people fish and fish as much as most people work. I did just that, only it lasted over 20 years working at the Jack Dennis Fly Shop in Jackson, WY where I departed in 2009. Now it’s time to work for "The Man", working for myself that is.

I pursue my love to paint fish, lecture on every aspect of fly fishing you can imagine and host a few trips to some of the most exotic places you can think of. My ultimate goal is to catch as many species of fish on fly possible from freshwater to saltwater, throughout the world. I presently have taken over 440 species from over 60 countries!