In a country with hundreds of volcanoes of which 30 are in constant turmoil, you might think this an ancient land of upheaval, but it’s quite the contrary, this activity is constantly creating new ground, making Iceland one of the youngest countries in the world.
Characterized by a continual upsurge of water, there isn’t a mountain from which water doesn’t emanate, with springs quickly developing into streams, and the gradient creating powerful rich rivers that feed the surrounding ocean.
Being at the edge of the artic circle these ice-cold waters have created the perfect conditions in which gargantuan fish grow! Prehistoric Browns that have been resident since the ice age, Artic char and a population of migrating salmon that almost defies belief is what had drawn us to sample the majestic lakes and rivers in the Southern region of this remarkable country.
We arrived to picturesque conditions, with clear skies and not a breath of wind, leaving us wondering why we even packed our Winter woolies, but this meant it would be very difficult fishing for the primeval Brown Trout, being our first target species.
We had designed a baby Artic Char pattern, learning that the big fish in these lake systems feed on little else and this soon caught the attention of the cruising Trout.
My fishing mate Shane Fergusson opened his account with a personal best, which is one hell of a way to start a fishing expedition!
But the bright sunshine did not make the fishing easy.
Our guide Mattius was willing the faint hint of changing skyline to bring in the clouds, knowing overcast weather would draw the Browns closer to the shore.
You should always be careful of what you wish for!
Over the next few hours we encountered a weather pattern that was reminiscent of a approaching cyclone, but we had travelled 15000 kilometers to experience lake Thinkvatlavar, so stupidly we took on the elements. But eventually we had to admit defeat and wait it out, until we could actually cast beyond our feet. So, our first session only really kicked off at 4pm.
Dressed to impress Eskimos, as the wind abated we waded in and started casting to the moving Trout. My better half immediately hooked up and also joined Shane in notching up a PB, which was closely followed by Fred Poeggenpoel joining this club.
It was bitterly cold, drizzling rain and exactly what the fish were waiting for. We all know Browns love a miserable day, but in this lake they demand it!
Over the next 4 hours it would not be an exaggeration to say that we hammered the fish, landing 16 incredible Brown Trout, forgetting all about the freezing water in which we were fishing.
My very first cast yielded a 77cm 15lb beast of a Brown and my last cast a 72cm double digit beauty.
Our team didn’t land a fish under 60cm, so understandably you couldn’t wipe the smile off our faces, I can safely say that I have never seen a Trout fishing session like this in my entire life…..it was off the charts.
To exceed every expectation from your first cast is a feat I doubt I’ll ever repeat but it’s certainly one that I’ll never forget. Thankfully I had some great friends to experience it with, which we’ll be celebrating about for many years to come.
From here we were heading to the famous West Ranga Lodge to meet Harpa and Stefan the pioneers behind Iceland Outfitters, hoping to tick off an Artic Char on route before tackling the Atlantic Salmon…….our journey had just begun.