Ingo 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.
The 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.
The 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.
After 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?
Atlantic 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.
Four 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.
The 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.
There’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!