Iceland, between lakes and rivers

Red hot sun. Summer is really making it’s name as we leave Dusseldorf airport for a 3 and a half hour flight – final destination: Reykjavik.

Though you know it will be a hell of a lot colder there, it’s always a gas to pack and roll from warm to cold climate for fly fishermen like us.

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Bringing camping and fishing gear tends to fill your one piece of luggage to a maximum, leaving you with no other option than to wear just about all your cloths in the plane.

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So once out of Reykjavik airport we’re actually happy to feel the cold wind under our sweaty armpits. But before we completely lose that African feeling, we pick up our Dakar rally jeep asap.

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We actually didn’t have a budget for a large Defender, but if you go to Iceland, it’s almost mandatory to get that kind of vehicle.

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Creating budget for Defender equals cutting budget elsewhere. And we had no other choice but to cut in time. So no time to waste as we set instant course towards some of the many lakes, to fish and explore as much water as possible in only two days.

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Good thing about our close friend the internet: he’s also friends with the Icelandic people, making it easy to buy a cheap fishing licence before you leave home. A licence which gives you access to most of the lakes.

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We had already spotted interesting lakes on Google Earth. Five hours of Defending later the first one is in view. It is already late, we’re tired and we know we should get some rest for the next couple of intensive fishing days.

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But we fish. That’s what we love, that’s what we do. So even though we know that every rodtrip to a dream destination always starts with a small disappointment of not catching that huge fish our those enormous numbers on the first late evening session at the first various chosen spot, we go and try anyway. And we didn’t catch anything.

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Day two is day one, we tell our selfs after last evenings failure. Now it really starts! We catch an artic char on sight with a nymph and get a good bended rod on a streamer, after many, many, many not so glorious hours…. Three lakes later…  Still no trout in sight…

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The lakes are larger than expected, and a terrible and constant wind makes it almost impossible to spot any kind of activity. Even if there would be a trout breaking the surface, it would be impossible to see or hear it due to the huge waves the wind creates.

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Maybe three is the magic number, but lake four is what we needed. Hitarvatn finally rewards us for all our efforts. Along a rocky wall with little room to cast and front wind, Mathias catches his first trout !

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At last we are at the right place, at last we catch a few more before the end of the long and difficult first day.

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A relief. And just when we start preparing a warm and well deserved instant noodle meal, we learn a new lesson about Iceland. There’s not only internet in Iceland, they even sell gas for the camping stove! The only thing us dumb arses have to do is not to forget to buy it before heading out to some remote lake.

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It’s time to get to bed with our empty stomachs, for tomorrow we will face another challenge, the Atlantic salmon.

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Early afternoon. We arrive at the lodge on the bank of the Laxa in Leirarsveit, and get a super warm welcome together with some necessary info to make this easier than our lake challenge.

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Iceland Lesson number three follows quickly though: easy has officially disappeared from the Icelandic dictionary under ‘salmon fishing’. Apparently we’ve chosen the worst period in ten years for salmon fishing.

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But if it has been the worst period in ten years, maybe today will be the beginning of the best in 20!  We leave to fish on beat n°2. One of Iceland’s best according to our guide John.

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As two salmon novices, we can safely say we did not strengthen the beat n°2 legend ! We still manage to catch a small sea trout, and after a huge rain shower we decide to call it a day. Once back at the lodge, between a couple of beers and some shotgun shots in, we finally eat a real meal … and what a meal!

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A new day, a new beginning. Was it the meal, the frenzy fire or the beers, who knows. But it sure is “S” day. S for silver, or for salmon. Indeed, our luck has changed as Mathias catches the king of Iceland waters. A particularly intense battle, a fish that gives out all its strength in a fierce struggle !

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We are happy, we did it and like true men, with a salmon fly on a downstream drift ! Hail to the rapids of beat n°3 ! After two more hours without any take, fatigue and hunger grows over us.

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We seem to suffer from hallucinations as we regularly witness rising fish. And then we see em. Swassshhhh! A fish jumps out of the water, the risings are real! The hunger and weariness disappear and the fishing magic is back on!

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Every ten casts we switch position and try another fly to try to get that fish. The fishing gods are with us on beat 3. Jérémy catches a beautiful sea trout. The king and the queen in the same day and in the same pool !

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We return to  the loge with a happy, happy, happy feeling. Before we get a zip of a well earned Icelandic cold beer, a book is put in our laps. ‘The catchbook, guys. Now you can write down your fish.’. The post-adrenaline in our bodies is mixed with proud.

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We did it. A toast to Iceland, another evening together with other fly addicts before we get back on the dirt roads for further adventures and a new challenge.

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Stay tuned for part two..

 

 


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