Despite 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.
Atlantic 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.
Granny 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!
Granny’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.
The 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.
We 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.
In 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.
I’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.
Even 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.
We’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.