The Hafralonsa

The Hafralonsa is one of the most attractive, small salmon rivers you will find in Iceland.   There are over 50 named pools along its length which can roughly be split into three rotations, depending on the time of the season that it is fished.   The Hafralonsa is known for its MSW fish with salmon in the 8-16lb range making it stand out from some of the West Coast rivers which predominantly offer grilse fishing.  Although on occasion pairs of rods can become available typically the lodge is booked in its entirety by a party of 2-6 rods depending on the time of the season.


The Fishing

The Hafralonsa, like many Icelandic rivers, runs with an incredible clarity, allowing both anglers to see the salmon very clearly as well as for the salmon to see the angler!   A level of stealth is required that will particularly suit the style of Trout anglers.   Single-hand or shorter switch rods are ideal to cover all the water which in most cases will not require a huge cast, although presentation is more important.  Most of the pools are easily accessed by the dirt track which runs alongside the river on both banks, although a few pools require a level of light mountaineering!   The river will rise swiftly after heavy rain and although the bottom section can colour below the junction, it usually and swiftly returns to normal  Catch expectations typically run in the 1-2 fish/day range with good chances of a larger fish.


The River

The lower section of the river includes a ‘mini-canyon’ as well as a junction pool.   The junction or double zero pools have some excellent Arctic Char fishing with Char up to 6lbs being normal.  The mini-canyon area has a succession of 3 pools surrounded by impressive cliffs and some deep channels.  Just below the lodge, situated on a high bank overlooking the river is one of the best holding pools on the lower river.

The Middle section of the river is where the Hafralonsa leads up the main gorge, a significant section of the river which offers some of the most spectacular fishing you will find.   With the exception of one pool, accessed by a rope descent which is suited only for the young or agile, access to the other sections including two of the most prolific pools on the river is very good. These pools in particular offer aquarium-like windows allowing a stealthy potter to guide a fly onto resting fish.   Typically you might expect to see 20-30+ salmon in the pools.

The upper section of the river beyond the main gorge really starts to fish well from late July onwards, once the salmon have made it past the main gorge.   Although access is via a fairly long and bumpy track once passed the gorge there are a number of excellent pools which typically hold the bigger salmon.  A mini-lodge in the upper section makes this part of the river ideally suited to a full day’s fishing and a picnic lunch should anglers choose to do so.

Unbelievably scenic -Pictures from the lower to upper river


Hafralonsa Lodge

The Main Hafralonsa lodge is perched on a high bank overlooking the river.   There are 5 twin bedrooms with 4 bathrooms as well as an adjoining guide room. Most of the rooms look out towards the river with comfortable beds and hanging space.   The main seating and dining area has a well furnished kitchen.  Although taking the lodge on a self-catered basis is an option we would recommend making use of Margret who will provide three good hearty meals each day.  The lodge has both high speed internet as well as satellite television, dedicated fridges for drinks, ice machine and a comfortable seating area alongside the dining table.


Rod Sharing in Iceland

Rod sharing is very common on Icelandic rivers, in part due to the long hours of guided fishing available as well as a means of keeping the costs down.  The Hafralonsa, with its numerous gorges and high banks, offers fabulous vantage points for fishing partners or the guide to assist spotting and guiding an angler into the perfect cast.   The spectacular nature of the gorge will ensure partners are immersed in the environment as much as the fishing.



A guide will make the difference between success & failure, especially when the style of fishing as well s the river is new


Guides & Transport

We would recommend in all situations having the use of a local guide, typically a guide shared between each pair of full rods.  Even for experienced salmon anglers, local river knowledge is invaluable as are some of the tricks and techniques used to ensure better results.   Icelandic fishing will represent all sorts of different challenges to an angler, the clarity of the river requiring anglers to approach pools wth a caution not normnally associated with salmon fishing. Knowledge of where the salmon are likely to be lying will make all the difference.   From hitch flies to tiny but heavy tungsten headed flies as well as nymphs, these are all techniques that guides will use to winkle our recalcirant summer salmon!  Guides will also have 4x4 vehicles which are essential to access the bulk of the pools.


Hafralonsa Salmon Flies

Icelandic Salmon flies are typically smaller than those used elsewhere on account of the clarity of the water requiring much smaller sizes than would normally be used with sizes from 10-14 being standard although size 16 and smaller may be used in very low-water conditions.  There are both excellent pools for hitching as well as pools where small ¼ or ½ inch tubes in copper or Tungsten can be used to good effect.  Favourite Hafralonsa & Icelandic Flies patterns are and can be found on Salar Flies


Black Francis

Red Francis


Snaelda ¼ and ½ inch

Langa Fancy-Hitch

Sun Ray Shadow-Hitch & Aluminum tube

Hairy Mairy

Black & Blue

Collie Dog-Hitch & Aluminum tube



Arctic Char add to the variety on the Hafralonsa


Travel to Iceland

Guests typically fly into Keflavik International airport where they are collected and driven to a hotel in Reykjavik (45 mins).  The following day a short transfer flight should be taken from the Reykjavik domestic airport (central Reykjavik) to either Husavik or Akureyri.   Although Husavik is closer, there are more frequent flights to Akureyri.  From Husavik or Akureyri it is a 2 or 3-hour drive respectively to the lodge.  Unless you have specified that you will be coming in your own vehicle transfers will be provided.



Typical 3 Day Itinerary

Day 1

-Arrive Keflavik Airport
-Overnight Reykjavik (hotel not included)

Day 2

-Fly to Husavik or Akureyri
-Transfer to Lodge
-Afternoon Fishing Session 1600-2200hrs

Day 3-4

-2 Full Days Fishing
-Fishing hours 0700-1300 hrs and 1600-2200 hrs

Day 5

-0700-1300 hrs 1/2 day fishing session
-Transfer to airport-Fly to Reykjavik
-Overnight Reykjavik (hotel not included)

Day 6

-Flight Home from KEF
-Taxi transfer to be arranged with Hotel

Fishing in Iceland is typically split into 3-day packages however varied length or split week trips with 3 days at one lodge followed by 3 days at another are quite common.


Typical Fishing Package


The season runs from late June until late August


Varies over the season - Rates and availability on application


-3 nights and 3 days fishing
-The lodge can be booked fully catered or self-catering.
-Guides are not required but highly recommended both for river transport in their 4x4 and expert knowledge
-Transfers to be confirmed at time of booking

Best Time to Go

The main run of salmon picks up from mid-June onwards with the prime weeks being from mid-July to mid-August. On early season weeks the fishable area will typically be restricted to the lower river with the upper sections fishing well from the start of August.


More Photos


Iceland Salmon Fishing

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