Best Fishing Spots in Iceland: A Comprehensive Guide

If you are looking for the best fishing spots in Iceland, you have come to the right place. Iceland is known for its diverse fishing opportunities, from freshwater rivers to saltwater fjords.

Whether you are a beginner or an experienced angler, Iceland has something to offer.

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Key Takeaways about Best Fishing Spots in Iceland

1. Iceland offers diverse fishing opportunities, from freshwater rivers to saltwater fjords.

2. The Sog River is a popular fishing spot known for salmon and Arctic char.

3. The Varma River is ideal for sea trout fishing, featuring meadows, rapids, and waterfalls.

4. The Laxa in Adaldalur is a renowned salmon river surrounded by stunning landscapes.

5. The Westfjords region offers excellent deep-sea fishing and breathtaking scenery.

6. Other notable fishing spots in Iceland include Lake Thingvallavatn, Lake Myvatn, Huseyjarkvisl River, Hofsa River, and Thvera River.

In this guide, we will explore some of the top fishing spots in Iceland, including rivers and fjords, where you can catch different types of fish.

The Sog River: The Ultimate Spot for Salmon and Arctic Char

Best Fishing Spots in Iceland

Location and Origin

The Sog River is located east of Reykjavík, Iceland’s capital city. It originates from Iceland’s biggest inland lake, Thingvallavatn Lake, and flows for approximately 25 km until it joins the ocean.

The river is renowned for its abundance of two primary fish species:

  1. Atlantic Salmon
  2. Arctic Char

Popularity Among Anglers

The Sog River is one of the most popular fishing spots in Iceland, attracting both local and international anglers. Its reputation is built on:

  • Consistent fish populations
  • Scenic beauty
  • Accessibility from Reykjavík

River Characteristics

  • Length: Approximately 25 km
  • Source: Thingvallavatn Lake (Iceland’s largest inland lake)
  • Mouth: Flows into the ocean

Fishing Experience

Anglers visiting the Sog River can expect:

  • High chances of catching Atlantic Salmon and Arctic Char
  • Beautiful Icelandic landscapes as a backdrop
  • A mix of challenging and beginner-friendly fishing spots along the river’s course

Best Time to Fish

While the river offers fishing opportunities throughout the season, the best times typically are:

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  • For Salmon: June to September
  • For Arctic Char: May to October

Conservation Efforts

The Sog River is subject to careful management to ensure sustainable fishing practices and maintain healthy fish populations for future generations of anglers.

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The Varma River: A Paradise for Sea Trout Fishing

Best Fishing Spots in Iceland

Location

The Varma River is situated in southern Iceland, offering easy access for anglers.

Renowned for Sea Trout

The river is famous among anglers, particularly those who are enthusiastic about sea trout fishing.

River Characteristics

Size and Accessibility

  • Small river
  • Easy to fish from shore
  • Abundant fishing spots along its course

Landscape Features

  • Meadows on both sides of the river
  • Rapids adding variety to the fishing experience
  • Waterfalls creating picturesque scenery

Fish Population

The Varma River is known for its:

  • Large sea trout population
  • Potential for catching impressive-sized fish

Fishing Experience

Anglers can expect:

  • A variety of fishing spots suitable for different skill levels
  • Opportunities to fish in both calm and rapid waters
  • Scenic views enhancing the overall fishing experience

Best Time to Fish

While specific seasons may vary, sea trout fishing is typically best during:

  • Late spring
  • Summer months
  • Early autumn

Conservation and Regulations

As with many Icelandic rivers, there may be:

Additional Attractions

Besides fishing, visitors can enjoy:

  • Exploring the surrounding meadows
  • Photographing the waterfalls
  • Experiencing the unique Icelandic landscape

The Varma River offers a perfect blend of excellent fishing opportunities and natural beauty, making it a prime destination for sea trout anglers visiting Iceland.

The Laxa in Adaldalur: A World-Famous Salmon River

Best Fishing Spots in Iceland

Location and Geography

The Laxa in Adaldalur, which translates to “Salmon River in the Main Valley,” is situated in the northern part of Iceland.

River Characteristics

  • Length: Approximately 23 km
  • Origin: Lake Myvatn, a volcanic lake known for its unique ecosystem
  • Mouth: Empties into Skjálfandi Bay in the Arctic Ocean

Renowned Salmon Fishing

World-Class Reputation

  • Consistently ranked among the top salmon rivers globally
  • Attracts anglers from around the world, including royalty and celebrities

Catch Rates and Quality

  • Known for exceptionally high catch rates
  • Produces salmon of remarkable quality and size
  • Average catch weight often exceeds 8 pounds, with some fish reaching 20+ pounds

River Sections

Upper Section

  • Most famous for salmon fishing
  • Characterized by fast-flowing water and numerous pools
  • Offers challenging fly-fishing opportunities

Lower Section

Fishing Season and Regulations

  • Prime season: June to September
  • Strict catch limits to ensure sustainability
  • Fly-fishing only in most sections
  • Catch and release encouraged, especially for larger fish

Unique Features

Volcanic Influence

  • The river’s ecosystem is influenced by its volcanic origin
  • Mineral-rich waters contribute to the health and size of the salmon population

Midnight Sun Fishing

  • During peak summer, anglers can fish around the clock due to Iceland’s long daylight hours

Conservation Efforts

  • Carefully managed to maintain healthy salmon populations
  • Ongoing research and monitoring of fish stocks
  • Habitat preservation initiatives along the river’s course

Accommodation and Guides

  • Several high-end fishing lodges along the river
  • Expert guides available, many with decades of experience on the Laxa
  • Full-service packages including gear, meals, and transportation

Cultural Significance

  • Plays a crucial role in local economy and culture
  • Featured in numerous fishing documentaries and publications
  • Holds a special place in Icelandic fishing heritage

The Laxa in Adaldalur is not just a fishing destination; it’s a pilgrimage site for serious salmon anglers. Its combination of stunning scenery, challenging fishing, and world-class salmon makes it one of the most sought-after fishing experiences in the world.

The Westfjords: A Haven for Deep-Sea Fishing

Best Fishing Spots in Iceland

Geographic Overview

The Westfjords is a large peninsula in northwestern Iceland, characterized by:

  • Dramatic fjords cutting into the coastline
  • Rugged, mountainous terrain
  • Sparse population and untouched wilderness

Prime Fishing Locations

Isafjordur Fjord

  • Largest town in the Westfjords
  • Deep waters ideal for various fish species
  • Well-equipped harbor for fishing expeditions

Patreksfjordur Fjord

  • Known for its rich fishing grounds
  • Smaller, more intimate fishing experience
  • Surrounded by stunning cliffs and waterfalls

Target Fish Species

Cod

  • Abundant in the cold, deep waters
  • Best fishing season: February to April
  • Average weight: 5-20 kg, with some specimens reaching 30+ kg

Halibut

  • Prized catch for deep-sea anglers
  • Can grow to enormous sizes, some over 100 kg
  • Best fishing season: May to September

Haddock

  • Smaller cousin of cod, but equally delicious
  • Typically weighing 2-5 kg
  • Year-round fishing, with peak season in summer

Fishing Methods

  • Bottom fishing with heavy tackle
  • Jigging for more active fish
  • Trolling along the fjord edges

Scenic Beauty

  • Towering cliffs rising from the sea
  • Numerous waterfalls cascading into the fjords
  • Opportunities for wildlife spotting, including seals and various seabirds

Best Time to Visit

  • Summer (June to August): Milder weather, midnight sun for extended fishing hours
  • Winter (December to February): Potential for Northern Lights viewing between fishing trips

Fishing Charters and Guides

  • Several experienced local operators offer deep-sea fishing trips
  • Options ranging from half-day excursions to multi-day fishing adventures
  • Many charters provide all necessary equipment and gear

Additional Activities

  • Hiking in the pristine wilderness
  • Visiting remote fishing villages
  • Bird watching, especially for puffins in certain areas
  • Relaxing in natural hot springs after a day of fishing

Conservation and Sustainability

  • Strict fishing quotas to maintain healthy fish populations
  • Emphasis on responsible fishing practices
  • Many charters participate in local conservation efforts

The Westfjords offer a unique combination of world-class deep-sea fishing and breathtaking natural beauty. Whether you’re an experienced angler or a novice looking for an unforgettable fishing experience, this remote region of Iceland provides an adventure like no other.

Lake Thingvallavatn: A Unique Fishing Experience

Best Fishing Spots in Iceland

Geographic and Geological Significance

Location

  • Situated in Thingvellir National Park, southwest Iceland
  • Approximately 40 km east of Reykjavík

Geological Features

  • Largest natural lake in Iceland
  • Rift valley lake, formed between the North American and Eurasian tectonic plates
  • Part of the Mid-Atlantic Ridge

Lake Characteristics

Size and Depth

  • Surface area: 84 km²
  • Maximum depth: 114 meters
  • Average depth: 34 meters

Water Properties

  • Exceptionally clear water due to volcanic filtration
  • Water temperature ranges from 3-10°C throughout the year

Fish Species

Arctic Char

  • Four morphs of Arctic Char unique to this lake
  • Sizes range from small benthic to large piscivorous forms

Brown Trout

  • Known for exceptionally large specimens
  • Some of the biggest brown trout in Iceland are found here

Fishing Experience

Challenges

  • Extreme water clarity makes fish wary of anglers
  • Requires stealthy approach and precise casting

Techniques

  • Fly fishing is popular, especially for brown trout
  • Spin fishing effective for deeper water char

Best Fishing Spots

  • Efri-Brú: Known for large brown trout
  • Mjóanes: Popular for Arctic Char fishing
  • Vatnskot: Good access point for shore fishing

Conservation and Regulations

  • Strict catch and release policy for brown trout
  • Limited number of fishing permits issued annually
  • Specific seasons for different species and areas of the lake

Historical and Cultural Significance

  • Adjacent to Thingvellir, site of Iceland’s first parliament
  • UNESCO World Heritage Site
  • Important in Icelandic culture and history

Best Time to Fish

  • Brown Trout: Late April to September
  • Arctic Char: Year-round, but best in summer months

Additional Activities

  • Scuba diving in the Silfra fissure
  • Hiking trails around the lake
  • Northern Lights viewing in winter months

Lake Thingvallavatn offers a fishing experience that combines unique geological features, diverse and endemic fish populations, and historical significance. Its challenging yet rewarding fishing conditions make it a must-visit destination for serious anglers visiting Iceland.

Lake Myvatn: A Trout Fishing Paradise in Northern Iceland

Location and Characteristics

  • Situated in northern Iceland
  • Large, shallow lake formed by volcanic activity
  • Part of a unique ecosystem with rich birdlife

Fishing Opportunities

  • Known for excellent trout fishing
  • Brown trout and Arctic char are primary catches
  • Fly fishing is particularly popular

Best Fishing Season

  • June to September for optimal conditions
  • Ice fishing possible in winter months

Environmental Significance

  • Protected area due to its unique geology and biodiversity
  • Home to diverse waterfowl species

Huseyjarkvisl River: Scenic Salmon Fishing in Southeastern Iceland

Geographic Features

  • Located in southeastern Iceland
  • Flows through picturesque landscapes

Salmon Fishing

  • Renowned for its Atlantic Salmon population
  • Offers both fly fishing and spin fishing opportunities

Fishing Season

  • Peak season typically from June to September
  • Catch and release policies may apply

Access and Facilities

Hofsa River: Brown Trout and Arctic Char Haven in Eastern Iceland

River Characteristics

  • Situated in eastern Iceland
  • Clear waters flowing through diverse terrain

Fish Species

  • Famous for Brown Trout fishing
  • Significant Arctic Char population

Fishing Techniques

  • Fly fishing is the preferred method
  • Some areas may allow spin fishing

Conservation Efforts

  • Strict catch limits to maintain fish populations
  • Emphasis on sustainable fishing practices

Thvera River: World-Class Salmon Fishing in Northern Iceland

Reputation and Quality

  • Globally renowned for salmon fishing
  • Known for high catch rates and quality of fish

Fishing Experience

  • Primarily fly fishing for Atlantic Salmon
  • Limited number of rods allowed, ensuring exclusive experience

Best Fishing Period

  • Season typically runs from June to September
  • July and August often considered prime months

River Management

  • Carefully managed to maintain salmon populations
  • Professional guides often required or recommended

Hofsá River: Diverse Fishing in Eastern Iceland

Location and Landscape

  • Eastern Iceland, flowing through varied terrain
  • Scenic river with multiple fishing beats

Target Species

  • Excellent for Brown Trout fishing
  • Significant Arctic Char population

Fishing Methods

  • Fly fishing is most common and effective
  • Some sections may allow other fishing techniques

Seasonal Considerations

  • Main fishing season from June to September
  • Different sections may have varying peak times

Each of these locations offers unique fishing experiences in Iceland’s diverse and pristine natural environment. They cater to different skill levels and preferences, from novice anglers to experienced fly fishers seeking challenging catches.

If you are planning to go fishing in Iceland, here are some tips that can help you have a successful and enjoyable experience:

  1. Hire a guide: Iceland has many professional fishing guides who can provide you with valuable advice on fishing techniques, locations, and regulations. They can also provide you with all the necessary equipment and help you with transportation.
  2. Respect the regulations: Fishing in Iceland is regulated, and there are rules that anglers must follow. Make sure you are familiar with the regulations before you start fishing.
  3. Dress appropriately: Iceland’s weather can be unpredictable, so it is essential to dress appropriately for the conditions. Wear warm and waterproof clothing and bring extra layers.
  4. Bring the right gear: Make sure you have the right gear for the type of fishing you plan to do. If you are not sure what to bring, consult with a fishing guide.
  5. Be prepared for the unexpected: Iceland’s weather and fishing conditions can change quickly, so it is always a good idea to be prepared for the unexpected. Bring extra food, water, and emergency supplies.

Top 7 Thrilling Adventures Beyond Fishing in Iceland

While Iceland’s pristine rivers and lakes offer world-class fishing, the Land of Fire and Ice has much more to offer.

Here are seven exhilarating activities that will make your Icelandic adventure unforgettable:

1. Glacier Hiking: Walk on Ancient Ice

Strap on your crampons and venture onto Iceland’s majestic glaciers. The Sólheimajökull glacier, part of the larger Mýrdalsjökull ice cap, offers breathtaking views and the chance to explore ice caves and crevasses.

As you trek across the millennia-old ice, your expert guide will share fascinating insights about glacial formation and the impact of climate change. The eerie blue hues and otherworldly landscape will make you feel like you’re walking on another planet.

2. Northern Lights Hunting: Chase the Aurora

Witnessing the Northern Lights dance across the Icelandic sky is a bucket-list experience. From September to April, join a guided tour to prime viewing locations away from light pollution.

For a truly unique experience, book a night at the Bubble Hotel, where you can watch the aurora from the comfort of your transparent dome. Don’t forget to bring your camera to capture this mesmerizing natural light show!

3. Whale Watching: Encounter Giants of the Sea

Embark on a maritime adventure from Húsavík, the whale watching capital of Europe. Board a traditional oak ship and sail into Skjálfandi Bay, where you might spot humpback whales breaching, playful dolphins, and even the elusive blue whale.

For an adrenaline rush, try a high-speed RIB boat tour that gets you closer to these magnificent creatures. The sight of a massive whale tail emerging from the icy waters is truly awe-inspiring.

4. Geothermal Spa Indulgence: Soak in Nature’s Hot Tubs

After your outdoor adventures, unwind in Iceland’s famous geothermal spas. While the Blue Lagoon is the most famous, don’t miss the less crowded but equally stunning Sky Lagoon. This infinity-edge geothermal pool offers panoramic views of the North Atlantic Ocean.

For a more local experience, visit the Secret Lagoon in the Golden Circle, where you can soak in naturally hot water while watching geysers erupt nearby.

5. Epic Hiking and Trekking: Traverse Otherworldly Landscapes

Lace up your hiking boots and explore Iceland’s diverse terrains. The Laugavegur Trail, a 55km trek through the southern highlands, offers a smorgasbord of landscapes from rainbow-colored rhyolite mountains to black sand deserts.

For a shorter but equally stunning hike, visit Landmannalaugar, known for its multicolored mountains and natural hot springs – perfect for a mid-hike soak!

6. Icelandic Horse Riding: Traverse Lava Fields on Sturdy Steeds

Experience Iceland’s unique landscapes atop the charming and sturdy Icelandic horse. These pony-sized equines are known for their fifth gait, the tölt, which provides a smooth ride even over rough terrain.

Ride through lava fields, cross shallow rivers, and gallop across black sand beaches. Many tours offer rides suitable for beginners and experienced riders alike.

7. Golden Circle Sightseeing: Witness Nature’s Power

No trip to Iceland is complete without touring the Golden Circle. Start at Þingvellir National Park, where you can walk between the North American and Eurasian tectonic plates.

Next, visit the Geysir geothermal area to witness Strokkur geyser erupting every few minutes. End your tour at the thunderous Gullfoss waterfall, where glacial meltwater plunges into a deep gorge, creating rainbows on sunny days.

These diverse activities showcase Iceland’s natural wonders and unique culture, ensuring that your trip is filled with unforgettable experiences beyond the excellent fishing opportunities. Whether you’re seeking relaxation, adventure, or natural beauty, Iceland has something to offer every traveler.

Conclusion

Whether you are looking for adventure or relaxation, Iceland has plenty to offer beyond its excellent fishing spots.

Make sure to add some of these activities to your itinerary for a truly unforgettable trip.

Iceland is a paradise for fishing enthusiasts, offering a wide range of fishing opportunities for both freshwater and saltwater fishing. From world-famous salmon rivers to scenic sea trout streams, Iceland has something to offer for everyone.

By following the tips mentioned in this guide and exploring some of the top fishing spots, you can have an unforgettable fishing experience in Iceland.

FAQs about Best Fishing Spots in Iceland

What month is best to fish in Iceland?

The best months for fishing in Iceland generally depend on the target species:

  1. For salmon: June to September, with July and August being peak months
  2. For trout: April to October, with summer months being most popular
  3. For Arctic char: June to September

Is Iceland a good place to fish?

Yes, Iceland is considered an excellent place for fishing, especially for salmon, trout, and Arctic char. It’s known for its pristine rivers, lakes, and coastal waters, offering diverse fishing opportunities.

Can foreigners fish in Iceland?

Yes, foreigners can fish in Iceland. However, they need to obtain the appropriate fishing licenses and permits, and in some cases, may need to hire a local guide.

Is there public fishing in Iceland?

While there are some public fishing areas, most of the prime fishing spots in Iceland are privately owned or leased. Access to these areas often requires permits or booking through fishing lodges.

Can you fish in Iceland without a guide?

It’s possible to fish without a guide in some areas, particularly for sea fishing. However, for river fishing, especially for salmon, a guide is often required or strongly recommended due to local regulations and the need for specialized knowledge.

How much is a fishing license in Iceland?

Fishing license costs vary depending on the location and type of fishing:

  1. A general fishing license for the season costs around 4,000 ISK (about $30 USD)
  2. Specific river or lake permits can range from 5,000 ISK to over 100,000 ISK per day, especially for prime salmon rivers

Is fish cheap in Iceland?

Fish is generally not cheap in Iceland, despite its abundance. Restaurant prices can be high, but buying fish from local markets or supermarkets can be more affordable.

Why is salmon fishing in Iceland so expensive?

Salmon fishing in Iceland is expensive due to several factors:

  1. Limited availability of prime fishing spots
  2. Short fishing season
  3. Strict conservation measures limiting the number of rods per river
  4. High demand from international anglers
  5. Exclusive nature of many fishing lodges and services

How much does it cost to go salmon fishing in Iceland?

Costs for salmon fishing in Iceland can vary widely:

  1. Budget options might start around $500-$1000 per day
  2. Premium experiences on top rivers can cost $1000-$3000 or more per day
  3. These prices often include lodging, meals, and guide services

Where is the best salmon fishing in Iceland?

Some of the best salmon fishing rivers in Iceland include:

  1. Laxá í Aðaldal
  2. Norðurá
  3. Þverá/Kjarrá
  4. Rangá rivers
  5. Selá

Is Iceland salmon wild caught?

Yes, the salmon caught in Iceland’s rivers are wild Atlantic salmon. Iceland has strict regulations to protect its wild salmon populations and does not allow salmon farming in sea pens to prevent interbreeding with wild stocks.

Is Iceland salmon good?

Icelandic salmon is highly regarded for its quality. The wild Atlantic salmon from Iceland’s rivers is considered some of the best in the world due to the pristine environment and careful management of fish stocks.

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Ethan
Ethan

Ethan Belanger is a passionate explorer and writer, deeply connected to the natural beauty and adventure opportunities Canada offers. With a background in Journalism, Ethan has dedicated his career to uncovering the finest fishing, hunting, and wildlife experiences across the country.

His articles are not only informative but also inspire readers to embrace the great outdoors.

Ethan’s work with Canada Fever allows him to share expert tips, prime destinations, and thrilling stories, ensuring that every adventurer, from novices to seasoned outdoorsmen, can find valuable insights and inspiration.

When not writing, he enjoys hands-on exploration, constantly seeking new adventures to share with his audience.

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