The Fljotta is a small but exclusive river in the North of Iceland, with a good run of grilse & salmon, including some good-sized fish in the 8-15lb range. The river and lodge is typically booked in its entirety and fished by 4 rods. Alongside the Salmon fishing, the Fljotaa has an excellent run of Arctic Char. 2020 season had catches of 200+ salmon and over 3,000 char.
The Fljotaa has an incredible variety of fishable water along its short length, of approx. 7 kms of fishable water. Ranging from fast streamy sections to deep pools surrounded by high rocky banks and then to slower streams with cut-banks where traditional salmon techniques make way to nymph fishing and some excellent fishing for Arctic Char. Alongside the grilse run, the Fljotaa produces a reasonable summer of larger salmon, all of which will provide a more than exciting challenge as they run rapids and encircle boulders!
Techniques will range from using the typical assortment of Icelandic flies in the 12-16 size range as well as small ¼ and ½ inch tungsten tubes to get compact heavy flies down to the salmon lies in the deeper pools. Some anglers come to the Fljotaa almost exclusively to fish for the Arctic Char! There are few better rivers to do this!
The upper beat of the Fljotta sources from a lake which feeds a hydro station. This section of the river is relatively speaking quite flat even though the river has its charachteristic fast flow. Pools 7 & 9 offer the best chances and will always hold salmon but there are a host of exciting pools and it will always be worth exploring all over the course of a session, but spending a bit more time with different techniques on the two main pools. Th beat is aasily accessed by vehicle from the top of the beat and the main road either side.
Beat 2 is the most dramatic of all the beats on the Fljotaa. Here the river cuts deep into the surrounding farmland and although a gorge would be an over description, many of the pools have cliff banks and steep surroundings. A footbridge allows anglers to cross the river allowing access to all pools from the parking either side of the powerstation where the hydro water rejoins the river. Pools 29 & 33 are amongst the best on the beat and will always hold salmon.
This has one of the most spectacular holding pools on the river, pool 40 Berghylur. Overlooked by a perfectly situated high grassy knoll you can look into the lowermost depths of this extremely deep pool of maybe 7 or more meters. Salmon are always holding here, near the top of the water column if undisturbed but dropping down deeper should they feel the need to do so. This allows for classic Icelandic fishing where a partner or guide can provide directions to steer a fly towards the waiting salmon. The lower section of the middle beat has some faster flowing water with numerous holding areas along the way. 42, 42.5 and 43 are all consistent salmon producers but 42.5 reigns supreme for Char!
Here the river opens out onto a flatter floodplain wth rough grazing either side of the river. The surrounding grassland is awash with birds who will enchant, entertain and chase you away from nesting sites!! Although the river has lost its gradient and some of its speed it is by no means slack water! There are great pools for char and although it does not have as many holding pools for salmon there are many when you will intercept running fish. Pools 54, 55 and 56 are some of the more consistent salmon pools.
The Fljotaa is a fast flowing river and fresh salmon, when hooked, will as often as not take you for a run! A singhle handed or light switch rod is ideal but for greatest flexiblilty and enjoyment it is recommened that you have two rods set up, one to fish for salmon 6-8 wt and another for char 5-7 wt.
For the salmon it is important to have a reasonable variety of flies ranging from medium sized tubes of up to 1 inch down to very small size 14 or 16 doubles or trebles. Floating lines are all that are required but some compact tungsten coneheads and heavy tubes are definitely useful. Hitched flies can be very effective and a good starting point to fish any pool. Consider using a trailing point fly behind the hitch.
The Fljotaa has amazing Char fishing and having a 2nd rod set up for Char is preferable to changing laderfs and flies inbetween pools. Fished using droppers is most effective with a selection of small and heavy tungsten headed nymphs fished either in tandem or with an alternate fly such as a squirmy wormy. Salmon will commonly take Char flies so ensure that your tackle is suitably strong to handle a 5-15lb fgresh run salmon as well as smaller char!
The lodge that serves the Fljotaa is simple and straightforward but more than adequate for most fishing parties. It is setup for self-catering however many groups choose to have a cook to come in to assist with evening meals or more if required. There are 5 bedrooms including two double beds, two twin rooms and one single room. It comfortably sleeps 4 anglers and one host. Food and other such provisions can be obtained from the small fishing town at Olafsfjordur but a cook can be arranged to organuised main meals
The Fljotaa uses experienced, but freelance guides who will typically drop their day job for a stint on the river. Guides are almost always local with countless years watching, fishing and monitoring both the Fljotta and other rivers in Iceland and will always boost returns. Regardless of anglers experience or indeed budget it is highly recommended that the use of a guide be considered, whether individually or shared amongst the group to provide better and informed river knowledge as well as assisting with techniques for the river and pointing out the best lies and which ones to focus on. Guides will have a 4x4 vehicle
Anglers need to fly to Reykjavik and from there travel to the river, either by a pleasant and scenic 5hr drive from Reykjavik or a 1 ½ hr drive from Akureyri where it is also possible to rent a hire car. In order to adequately fish the river with 4 rods split amongst the 4 beats, two vehicles are recommended to access all the water. One hire vehicle and the use of a guides 4x4 should suffice so long as you have a guide for all your days of fishing.
The Fljotaa was in a absolutely stunning location and well worth a return visit ,the guide was great and taught us a lot about fishing in Iceland. I will definitely be in touch for more fishing adventures.
Although I knew I was having an epic time during the trip, with time to reflect, it really was so much more than I’d anticipated. Despite bringing up the rear in terms of salmon numbers, the ones I caught will live long in the memory. The quality of fish, stunning scenery, unique water and of course excellent company. It was so special fishing in Iceland and catching an Icelandic Atlantic salmon, especially on hitch. I certainly have some new skills to hone for next time – where I hope to be better prepared (smaller gear, heavier nymphs and maybe a slightly more delicate approach!) Our Guide Jon was an excellent addition to the team of 4 – highly recommend him to anyone else going to the Fljotaa. Top bloke.
-Travel to Fljotaa, either via hire car from Reykjavik (approx 5 hrs) or via domestic flight to Akureyri (35mins) and drive to Lodge (90 mins)
-3 Full days fishing
-Typical fishing schedule 07.00-13.00 & 16.00-22.00
-Depart Lodge AM
-Overnight Reykjavik or fly home
Although 3-day packages are the standard please enquire for availability and longer or shorter stays.
Late June-Late September.
Best Time to Go:
-Mid July offers the best Char fishing and is very popular
-Early to mid-August offers the mosst consistent salmon fishing.
-Late August-Sept best for technically savvy anglers as well as good Char fishing
-The rate varies over the season. Please enquire for availability and costs.
-3 full days fishing / 4 nights
-Accommodation for up to 9 people fishing 4 rods
-Guides can be booked by the day for an individual or to be shared amongst the group. Costs approx £400/day
-Rental 4x4 - approx £100day
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