Hitara River

The Hitara has long been considered a very popular river in Iceland.   Its location on the West coast of Iceland puts it an easy 90-minute drive from Reykjavik.   It has a long-established history dating to the early Britsh fly-fishing pioneers who came to Iceland in search of the sort of outstanding Atlantic Salmon fishing typified by the Hitara.   This culminated in the construction of one of the most charismatic fishing lodges of any river in Iceland.   Perched on a cliff, overlooking one of the best pools on the river, your first waking view may be of a salmon jumping, with a very real chance to land one before breakfast has been served!  

The upper section of the river is dominated by the Fagraskógarfjall mountain.  The scenery in this area is quite incredible.  The power of the landscape is simply overwhelming and this is reflected in the character of the river.   From sea to source the river is approx 29km in length although the lodge fishes the mid to lower section which stretches from the base of the 2018 landslide to the sea.  It has all the attributes that make Icelandic rivers so appealing: a tight gorge section, large boulder-strewn runs,  waterfall and more expansive open water.   Being Iceland youy can expect crystal clear water!

Anglers staying at the main lodge will fish the prime sections of salmon water which is typically fished by 6 rods throughout most of the season.   The lodge is always booked in exclusivity rather than by independent rods. The upper section, Hitara II is a separate beat with 2 rods.  It can be booked independently or as an add on to those staying and fishing from the main lodge.  


The Fishing

The Hitara, a small to medium-sized river by Icelandic standards is located in the SW of Iceland.   It benefits from an early run of fish starting in mid-June and although most salmon are grilse it has enough MSW fish to keep anglers on their toes.  Most of the fishing is done with light single or switch rods and floating lines with small and hitched flies being especially effective.  On the upper sections of the Hitara, above the waterfall (Bruafoss) are the more intimate sections of the river.  This includes a charismatic run with significant boulders, often home to the larger MSW fish.  Further up a small gorge offers some really exciting fishing requiring stealth and short casts into fast-flowing and turbulent water.

Bruafoss, the medium-sized fall immediately above the lodge and Breidin, the 'home' pool below is overlooked by the lodge and the new accommodation.  Having one of the rivers most prolific and visual pools within a stones throw of the accommodation is hugely appealing and one of the reasons the Hitara has been adopted by so many returning anglers as their river of choice. The lower section of the Hitara has a series of wider pools with high banks and farmland on either side.  All the pools have very good access and there are no areas where the wading is difficult.  

The 5-year catch statistics on the Hitara from 2019 are 669 salmon landed and over 10 years 722.


Recent Changes

In July 2018 there was a very significant landslide with a large section of the Fagraskógarfjall mountain collapsing and depositing a huge amount of rock into the Hitardalur valley blockimng the main stem of the Hitara.   A lake was formed above the rock-slide and it has had a very definitive impact on the surrounding landscape.  In places the debris is 10-30M thick and it is thought that the volume of debris is in the region of 10-20 million cubic meters.   Naturally, there have been concerns as to the impact this will of had on the fishing.   A reasonable section of the river has naturally re-routed around the edge of the slide.   This is the Hitara II fishing area.

2019 was an especially dry year across all of the West coast of Iceland, in contrast to 2018 which was especially wet and may in part have caused for the landslide!   A good proportion of the water in the Hitara is sourced from a large lake that covers a significant 7.6 km2 that feeds the main stem of the Hitara. A small dam used to control the release of water has been reinstated for 2020 allowing just under 2 meters of water to be retained.   This now allows all the snow-meltwater (April/May) to be held back, if required, ensuring that in dry seasons, such as that experienced in 2019, the water flow is sustained.    

A second dam on the Grjota, the smaller tributary to the Hitara, is also fed by a lake of approx 50% of the size that feeds the Hitara.   These two dammable water sources should prove to be an enormous benefit to the river, anglers and to the salmon!

Since 2018 the Hitarta has been under new management.  A restocking program is underway using brood stock, caught from the river and subsequently released in the upper sections. In 2019 28,000 smolt were released with a further 30,000 scheduled for 2020.  All of this goes to illustrate that the Hitara is under very pro-active and effective management and environmental considerations aside, everything that can be done is being done to improve the river and experience.

Alternate shots of the existing dam prior to repair and the lake that feeds the Hitara and the Fagraskógarfjall landslide which blocked the original path of the river


Fishing Guides & Rod Sharing

Rod sharing is common in Iceland and is a very useful way of keeping the cost down, especially when fishing with friends and family.  Fishing guides are not included as standard with a fishing package on the Hitara however it is recommended that at least one or two guides are taken if anglers do not know the river and the pools. It probably is not a necessity to have a guide for the full duration of your stay but maybe just for 1 or 2 days whilst you learn the river.   There is an excellent beat map at the lodge detailing all the individual pools showing the primary holding areas.

Orri the lodge and river manager is on-site all season and he will be able to provide lots of advice and assistance.

Guides will have their own 4x4 transport which can be used in addition to anglers own transport to assist moving around the river.


The Lodge & Accommodation

Lundur lodge, perched on a cliff, with its white walls and green roof is as instantly recognizable as any lodge in Iceland!   It has recently undergone a very significant refurbishment with the only room whose charachtrer has remained unchanged being the original living room with wood paneling, leather armchairs, river views and as wide an assortment of stuffed Icelandic animals and birds as you can imagine.   The dining room, also with fabulous views has been completely refurbished along with the kitchen.  The original guest accommodation has been moved to a new building with 6 adjoining bedrooms.  All have river views with twin beds and ensuite bathrooms.  Rooms are complete with towels and high quality cotton sheets and are cleaned every day.

Three cooked meals are provided by a high-quality local chef.  A cooked breakfast is standard alongside cereals, freshly baked bread, fruit and yogurt. We typically recommend having the main 3-course meal at lunch which is then followed by a siesta before the evening fishing session.  A slightly lighter two course evening meal follows on return, timing as agreed by your party.

The original lodge sitting room and view back towards the lodge from the new guest bedrooms

With such spectacular scenery it is definitely worth exploring the upper Hitara valley


Getting to the Hitara

The Hitara is an easy 1 1/2  drive from Reykjavik or 2 1/2 hrs from Keflavik International airport.   Most anglers fishing the Hitara arrange for a hire car for the duration of their stay.  Transport is not provided as standard from the airport to the lodge.

If you have a guide for the duration of your stay they will be able to provide all river-bank transport in a suitable vehicle.   If you do not have a guide throughout your stay then to be able to adequately access all sections of the river you should have a suitable 4x4 with reasonable ground clearance suitable for driving on F roads.


Hitara II - Grjota

The Hitara II is the upper section of the Hitara covering the main stem of the Hitara above the landslide and its tributary.   These sections of the river are considerably smaller here but still very much accessible to the salmon.   Fished by two rods, if you are happy parking up the car, stretching your legs and exploring this is an incredibly exciting opportunity.  In amongst some typically thin stretches of water there are small pockets and pools covering 7 kms or more of water.  The style of the fishing is a sort of crossover between the style that you would expect when stalking Trout in New Zealand or indeed a Highland spate river.  The rewards when you spot, cast and catch a salmon enormous!   Maybe as appealing is the surroundings.   Total wilderness with not a soul in sight!



Newly refurbished Hitara II self-catering lodge


Hitara II Lodging

This section of the river has its own self-catering lodge.   Recently refurbished it has accommodation for 4 anglers in two twin rooms.   It has a shared bathroom and comfortable open plan kitchen and eating area.   The lodge has a mains electricity supply.   Accessible by 4x4 it is undeniably remote but within that its inherent appeal   The scenery is as rugged and wild as any you would want to experience in Iceland.   You will intrinsically know if this sort of lodge and fishing is for you!   The Hitara II section can be taken in conjunction with the fishing at the main lodge, should you want the benefits of a fully catered lodge but retain the wilderness of the fishing in this area.   It takes approx 25 mins to drive to the lodge from the main road.

  • This was my first ever time salmon fishing! I hooked and lost 2 salmon before catching my first and then 2nd and 3rd over 2 days of fishing sharing a rod. It was unbelievably exciting. The river easy to fish and soooo many salmon!! Thank you thank you

    Hideko Kawa -Japan - July 2020

  • I would like to thank you for an amazing few days. The river was stunning and the fish were plentiful and happy to play with us. They were in good condition and I have brought two back here to enjoy with my family and friends. The whole fishing experience was done so well and the lodge was warm, clean and well organised with lovely food and a great atmosphere. A lot of this is down to your management and I was very grateful for the soup and Sushi on the last night and the extra half days fishing. Thank you for the loan of the fly which did catch 3 fish and survive to fish another day.

    J Butcher-UK-July 2020


Typical 3 Day Itinerary

Day 1

AM - Arrive Keflavik Airport
Collect hire car
Drive to Hitara Lodge (2 1/2 hrs)
1600-2000 Hrs - Evening fishing Session

Day 2-3

0700-1200 - Morning Fishing Session
Lunch & Siesta/rest
1600-2000 Hrs - Evening Fishing Session

Day 4

0700-1200 - Morning Fishing Session
Light lunch
1400 hrs Depart Lodge

-Back to back 3-day packages are frequently available and recommended for clients flying to Iceland -Transfers can be arranged but most guests choose to rent a car for their stay


Availability & Pricing


Runs from 20 June - 20 September


-Please inquire for availability and rates.
-Rates will vary from week to week.
-Guides available on request
-Lodge capacity 6 full rods, shared rods welcome


-3 nights full board accommodation
-Single room/full rod
-National Fishing License

Not Included:

Does not include, accommodation or meals in Reykjavik, Lodge transfers unless stated, international flights, insurance, gratuities, alcoholic beverages

Best Time To Go

The salmon fishing season on the Hitara runs from 20 June to 20 September.   The prime period would normally be considered to be over July although the 'hot' / most prolific weeks will always vary depending on water conditions, bright skies, cloudy skies, water temperature.....


WWMF Images from 2019 & 2020


WWMF Iceland Fishing Videos

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