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Nordlingafljot River, Iceland

The Nordlingafljot is an excellent salmon river located 125 km north east of Reykjaivk near the town of Husafell. The average annual catch is around 500 salmon. Of these, a surprisingly high percentage of fish are two or three sea winter salmon weighing between 8 and 15 lbs. In comparison to other Icelandic rivers with similar catch statistics, the Nordlingafljot is much more affordably priced. Another advantage it has over other Icelandic salmon rivers, especially those on the west coast, is that even during summer dry spells it tends to maintain good water levels.  

It is a fantastic river for both fly and bait fishing. The salmon fishing area has 75 named pools distributed over a total of 13 km of river fished by no more than 6 rods at a time. The river generally runs gin clear rushing over of volcanic rock in some spots and meandering through areas of meadow to provide an interesting mix of waters to fish. The majority of the salmon pools are accesible with a  4×4 vehicle. Most of its pools are easily waded and generally managed well with a one hand rod if the fishermen are good casters. Though a light spey rod or a switch rod can be helpful in covering some of the larger pools. Bait fishermen will delight in the possibility of sight fishing.

Like many of the top rivers in Iceland, the management of Nordlingafljot operates salmon spawning and smolt release program. However, in order to assure good fishing the management of the Nordlingafljot fishery devised a interesting system.  Because of the natural obtacles, returning salmon would be unable to reach spawning areas of the the Nordlingafljot River. The management established a spawning and smolt release program on the Hafnará River, a very small river that empties into the same fjord where the Nordlingafljot’s waters eventually end up.

Adult fish returning to the river are selected for spawning and their eggs are hatched. Once hathed the fry a released into protected arms of the river and cared for until they are ready to smolt and are subsequently released into the main river to find their own way into the ocean. When the fish return from as adult salmon they are trapped and then transported to a release point on the Nordlingafljot River. From there, they continue moving upstream distributing themselves throughout all of the pools in the fishery. As a result of this system, the fish arrive fresh and strong with all of their vitality from the sea. For this reason they probably tend to be a bit more aggressive then what one might expect allowing fishermen to fish with larger flies and giving a fantastic fight once hooked.

While fishing the Nordlingafljot, visiting fishermen have the option of staying at an old country house just a few kilometers from the river that is operated as a self-service lodge lodge. If they prefer, they may also stay at an excellent four star hotel in Husafell.

For fly fishing we recommend 6 to 8 weight one hand or switch rods with floating lines.

Popular flies include: Snaeldas, Blue Charms, Black & Blues, Green Brahans, Collie Dogs, Black o Red Franceses on 6 to 12 size hooks as well as a variety of hitch flies.

Fishermen have the option of lodging at an old self-service country house located just a few kilometers from the river which is operated as a lodge. The house accomodates up to 12 persons in 6 double bedrooms. The house has a fully equipped kitchen, living room and dining room, television, barbeque, hot tub and a freezer for fish. There is good cell phone coverage at the house. 

Guests fly into Reykjavik Airport and generally rent a vehicle to drive to the river. The Nordlingafljot is located 125 kilometers to the north of Reykjavik. To get there you take Highway 1 north from Reykjavik turning off to the right onto Highway 50 just before crossing Borgarnes Fjord. You follow Highway 50 until the turnoff to Highway 518 folowing this road to Husafell. 

Río Nordlingafljot, Islandia

Location: Next to Husafell, 125 km to the north east of Reykjavík.

Season: 18 de July to 30 de September

Best dates: 20 Juy to mid September Septiembre.

Nº of rods allowed: 6

Fishing techniques allowed: Fly and bait

Species available: Atlantic salmon and brown trout

Note: Fishermen should be aware the Icelandic authorities require that any fishing equipment brought into the country be sterilized appropriately with a proper veterinary’s certification. Sterilization of equipment may also be done at the airport.

In order to travel to Iceland, you should have a valid passport valid with an expiration date at least 6 months after the planned return date. A visa is not required for EU or US citizens.

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