The rebirth of Icelandic sea trout fishing

The rebirth of Icelandic sea trout fishing

Author: Hatch Magazine
Published: October 11, 2022

This is an interesting article from Hatch Magazine that is worth the read.

“A conservation-minded approach to river management is putting European sea-run brown trout fishing back on the map

“So, where are you guys fishing?” the voice rang out from a few stools down.

Anglers have a way of outing themselves, even when in less-than-revelatory settings, like The Lebowski Bar — a touristy watering hole in downtown Reykjavik that pays homage to the iconic movie and character of the same name. A hat or some other piece of garb had given us away, and our pop-in for a Caucasian blossomed into fishing chatter.

The query about our destination had come from Ármann Kristjánsson, who, we shortly learned, is an outfitter and leaseholder on the Big Laxa, a beautiful brown trout and Atlantic salmon river on Iceland’s north coast and one of the island nation’s more well-known fisheries. It would have been perfectly normal, even expected, for Kristjánsson to regale us with tales from the Big Laxa. But, once clued into our plans to fly fish for sea-run brown trout on the rivers that flow beneath the gaze of Battle Hill — a tuft-sided, 150-foot tall mound near southeast Iceland’s coast that marks the site of a historic 10th century Viking battle — talk centered squarely there.“We’re really excited about what they’re doing. No one’s ever done anything like it,” Kristjánsson remarked. It’s not every day that an outfitter takes the time to extol the virtues of someone else’s fishery, even in Iceland where most leaseholders share a congenial attitude.

Sea-run brown trout, otherwise known as sea trout, are one of the angling world’s most iconic and sought-after fish. As anadromous salmonids — like steelhead, Atlantic salmon, all five species of pacific salmon, as well as sea-run Dolly Varden and arctic char — sea-run browns spend part of their lives in the ocean and part in freshwater rivers and streams. And, like the other anadromous salmonids, sea trout have a long and storied angling history, especially in the rivers of the British Isles.

In his 1876 magnum opus, British Freshwater Fishes, Rev. W. Houghton notes that sea-run brown trout are “next to the Salmon, the most valuable of all the migratory species.” Francis Francis (not a typo), in his 1867 Book on Angling, calls sea trout “one of the gamest fish that swims,” adding that, “like a champion of the light weights, he is all activity. When hooked, he is here, there, and everywhere, now up, now down, now in the water and now out. Indeed an hour or two’s White-Trout fishing, when the fish are in the humour, is about as lively and pleasant a sport as the angler can desire.”

To read the full article, click here.

Photo credit: Original Author

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