Laxa I Dolum

Destination: Iceland

Holiday: Laxa I Dolum

Justin and Alistair had the good fortune to test the Laxa-i-Dolum at the beginning of August 2022; the river is a classic.  Difficult to get on because of its superb reputation (there are currently no rods free in 2023), it is nonetheless a river to be coveted for the 2024 season (well over 1000 fish were caught this year); Where Wise Men Fish anglers should plan ahead to get access to this gem but do keep watching the website because if an opening appears we will publish it straight away!

The river is in the West of Iceland and about 2 hours drive from Reykjavik.  It rises in Laxarvatn and runs North East to South West through Laxardalur, entering the sea at Budardalur.  Laxa-i-Dolum is split into 4 beats, each with their own character, and can take 4 to 6 guided anglers depending on the time of year and conditions.  As with other rivers in Iceland, rod-sharing is encouraged and, as we can testify (one fisher spotting and one fishing), it’s also fun. 

The Laxa-i-Dolum is gin-clear and the water appears thin, even at a good height.  Typical of many Icelandic rivers, some of the pools (particularly in the middle sections) are wide and imposing, but the fish lie where the flow runs and in holes and pockets in front of and behind the obvious boulders.  Other parts of the river are perhaps easier to read – waterfalls, or riffles flowing into swirling pots and deep cuts in the volcanic rock, where often the biggest fish lie.  Don’t walk past bouldery runs.  Drop your fly into a pocket two yards across and you might be surprised by the explosive reaction!

This is single-hander, or at the most switch-rod fishing.  A robust 7-8 weight will cope with a mid-teens, multi-sea-winter fish, albeit with the potential for some entertainment!  Most of the fish are fat grilse in the 4-8lb range, but there are often much bigger fish caught and a fish of 96cm was landed during our visit. 

The distances an angler must cast are easy to cover, even on the wider pools, and the advantages in a gentle presentation over shallow gin-clear water will be obvious.  Stealth is therefore an important commodity and some casting tuition before you go (this could be applied to Iceland more broadly) will pay dividends.  Spend some money on the right line – one which will load a single-hander well into the middle section of the rod because you may have to battle with the wind, which is of course essential to creating a ripple and avoiding the fly line spooking fish.

Flies and techniques are ‘typically Icelandic’.  Water clarity and depth mean that the fish will see even the smallest of lures and if you are putting a small fly on, go smaller still!  If there is enough of a ripple, double your chances and fish with a dropper and if the air and water temperature are complementary, a micro-hitch tube, hitched double, or a point fly following a hitch will all work well.  It is axiomatic that sometimes two flies give the fish two chances! All the standard black and blue, or white/ silver and blue (such as the Blue Elver) should be in your box as well as small Scottish favourites like a Blue Charm; 12s and 14s (occasionally 16s) should be the aiming mark, with size 14 the ‘go-to’.  Char and trout weighted nymphs and small black and red Frances do well fished upstream, or ‘Czech Nymph style’ and finally the Sunray Shadow (as a small tube and a dressed double fished at different speeds) should be in your fly box and repertoire. 

A wide selection of the right, well-tied and cost-effective flies for Iceland is available through our partner fly-suppliers, with helpful descriptions and recommendations

No fishing trip to Iceland would be complete without great accommodation and food.  The Dolum Lodge is centrally located at Prandargil, which overlooks Beat 2 and has beautiful views of the surrounding countryside.  It is recently refurbished and very comfortable.  There are 6 ensuite bedrooms and each rod has a private twin bedroom (shared if rod-sharing).  There is a sauna and will be a rod room and drying room for the 2023 season.  The full-board catering is truly exceptional – a gastronomic delight!  The Lodge collect from and drop off at the Airport, so there are no transport costs beyond flights.

Each rod has a guide, which, unless you know the river already, is to be recommended.  All the guides are very knowledgeable, friendly and their English is good.  Fishing, as with all rivers in Iceland, takes place in two sessions – 0700-1300 and 1600-2200, which keeps the Angler rested and focussed, while suiting rod-share.


In summary Laxa-i-Dolum deserves its reputation.  It is a beautiful, challenging and very productive river with variety and solitude in equal measure.  The facilities and support are truly excellent and it would be a great river to fish in 2024, but keep watching the website, because if an opportunity comes up at short notice we will publish it immediately!

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