Fishing In Iceland

This year in June I had the opportunity to go Fishing in Iceland with a great guy Nick (whom I guided the previous year on the Tay) and his friend Hamish. Despite his name, Hamish is not Scottish and is in fact Australian!

Nick and Hamish were already in Iceland with their partners exploring the country. I was scheduled to meet up with them in Reykjavik where we would then drive north for approximately five hours to Husavik where we would then meet Iceland Fishing Guide Matthías Þór Hákonarson


Iceland Fishing Guide

The Journey to Iceland
I booked my flights via SkyScanner, flying from Glasgow to Heathrow, then Heathrow to Reykavijk. There is only one direct flight per week to Reykavijk from Scotland – oddly. I flew with British Airways and Icelandair.

My journey to Iceland turned into a bit of a nightmare in all honesty. Having arranged the flights with plenty of layover time I found myself in Glasgow Airport with my flight delayed and no schedule, great…

I have not had much luck flying to Heathrow in the past. I think every flight I’ve had there has been delayed or cancelled! Anyway, a one hour delay turned into a six hour delay meaning I would now be late for my Heathrow to Reykavijk flight, arriving at the departure time.

Whilst on the plane I managed to find a group of Icelandic people in the same predicament as me, they felt they may keep the gates open. We struck up conversation with me telling them how Scotland had adopted Iceland in the Euro’s after knocking out England from the competition :).

We had to run from terminal 2 to terminal 5 with a fifteen minute coach tour and sprint with 20lbs plus of camera luggage on my back – still unaware if the flight had been delayed for us. Arriving at the gates we could hear the staff shouting us to hurry up – what a relief! A big group hug and we split up to find our seats aboard the plane.

After arriving at Reykavijk Airport I waited for 45 mins in the baggage collection area, no sign of my bag. A visit to the help desk would reveal they were still London, brilliant! At least I had made it to Iceland but I had nothing apart from my camera equipment. They did however give me a toothbrush, some shower gel, shampoo, razor and a XXL white tee shirt? No waders or fly rods though unfortunately!

I was told my stuff would be flown to me at my accommodation but would be unlikely to arrive until the second day of my trip! I headed to my hotel and borrowed an iPhone charge to charge my phone and tried to laugh it off.


Some stunning views, it could almost be Scotland…

Day 1 Fishing in Iceland 
I met with Nick the following morning at my hotel before driving to the hire place to change our vehicle and collect Hamish before starting the long and scenic drive up to Husavik.

The drive was really cool, it allowed me to see of the famous Icelandic scenery. The most striking thing for me was the colour of the rivers. It is ridiculously clear and almost blue like in some places. The landscape is also very similar to Scotland in some areas.


Bloody camera geeks…

A lunch stop and some garage stops along the way quickly made me realise how expensive stuff really was in Iceland! If you’re going to Iceland, be aware, it is not cheap! Alcohol  prices are insane. Sorry for sounding so Scottish like, but it’s a fact!

We met up with Matti at his home where we would then follow him up to our lodge by the river.

After explaining my luggage predicament I was pleased to know our Iceland Fishing Guide could supply me with a jacket, waders and boots. Hamish borrowed me some fishing clothing and a brand new rod and reel, which I would later christen before him! (Sorry Hamish)

We got unpacked and quickly set up all the gear rapidly in excitement at what the first session would be like!

Our first days fishing in Iceland was a five hour evening session. Hamish was first up to fish for Salmon. Good news was Matti reckoned there were a few fish about, not loads but the ones that were here were multi sea winter fish in the 10 – 15lb bracket.

Nick and I opted to go fishing for Trout first and on route Matti stopped at this little stream by the road to show us some Char.


How fishy does that look?

I had never caught a Char before and this was the species highest on my agenda!

We fished for twenty minutes in this small stream and managed to hook one or two each before moving to the main river for Trout.


Nick lands a nice Char whilst minding the electric fence…

Matti set me up with this bright Pink nymph and said it was the best fly – I just looked at him with uncertainty. Really? I cannot name on here what he referred to it as but it was an interesting name…


The Pink Fella…

Dropping us up river Matti told us how to fish the fly before leaving with Hamish in search of silver!

It didn’t take long to suss out the Brown Trout fishing. Fishing downstream and across, streamer style I was constantly on the move, stepping, casting, swinging and twitching the fly back occasionally to induce takes. Within a couple of hours I had covered a lot of water and managed to land a number of Brown Trout up to 3lbs.


Beautiful colouration on their cheeks!

After a few hours Matti arrived back with a rather jubilant looking Hamish, it was clear there had been success! Hamish had managed to land the first Salmon of the trip!


Hamish with a great Icelandic Atlantic Salmon!

Hamish also hooked and lost one stripping a Monkey that session.

I swapped with Hamish and headed with Matti back to the pool where Hamish lost his fish. I got into the water and warmed up with a few casts while Matti told me to aim at the boils on the far side of what was quite a slow moving pool.

The method was to allow the line to swing slightly under tension before stripping back the fly with long, steady pulls. Within the first few casts I saw a bow wave appear and kept stripping. Suddenly a big boil broke the surface and, bang, fish on!

I played the fish for no longer than a minute then it suddenly went slack. Bugger! These Atlantic’s are no different than back home!


Matti collects us at the end of the day…

We tried some other spots that night but no other fish were hooked. Matti gathered everyone up in the Jeep and took us back to the Goat House (the name of our accommodation).

Hákon was the chef (Matti’s father) and had a meal almost prepared for us on arrival – what a great service!


Top guy and chef Hakon

We all sat down to a fantastic evening meal prepared by Hákon consisting of Icelandic Lamb, Roast Vegetables and Hakon’s signature “gravy macaronis”. Simply immense!
The meals over our times were excellent and we couldn’t fault one bit.

A few wines and expensive beers were had that night as we all shared the usual fish stories and had a good banter. Matti has a great sense of humour and had us in stitches with his stories!

Day 2 Fishing in Iceland
On the second day we had two five hour sessions. The Scandinavians love to rest their rivers, so we fished morning and evening sessions allowing a break of a good few hours in the afternoon. I was back out with the Salmon rod again whilst Hamish and Nick pursued the local Brown Trout populations.

The main thing that’s different when fishing for Salmon in Iceland than here in Scotland is the fishing is done by sight 90% of the time. Matti would drive down the beat, stopping the jeep to go and observe from the canyons and spot any Salmon below.


Matti searches for Silver down the canyons…

Matti and I spent all morning on this and didn’t come across a single Salmon. The river had risen slightly overnight and we concluded that the Salmon had probably pushed up river with the rising water. We stopped for lunch and met up with the guys who had been doing well, landing several brown trout up to 3lbs all morning.


It reminds me very much of the Upper River Clyde!

I was so pleased to get back to the lodge and see my belongings had been delivered!

After lunch we were able to go and fish the local stream that runs by the Goat House. Matti had said this produced a few Trout, not as many as the main river but generally much bigger average size. Hamish and Nick opted for this and I chose to go hit my little favourite Char pool!

With Char being a new species the novelty was not wearing off. I spent two hours in the one are catching Char after Char. Changing flies regularly I was able to keep the bites coming. To be fair any pattern worked to start with!


A typical Icelandic char before release…

That day the rain was relentless, sideways at times. At one point I could hardly open my fly box my fingers were that numb! It was around 7/8 degrees celsius and with the wind chill and sideways rain it felt much colder! It was like fishing in Scotland in spring – but this was summer!


Fish on!

Matti came to pick me up with the boys to head out again for the evening session. The guys had managed a couple of Trout around 5lb size – epic for such a tiny stream!

Nick was now trying for a Salmon whilst myself and Hamish were left up river to harass the resident browns!

Sporting the same tactics as before but with my trusty Loop Cross S1 #5 I waded out a few feet from the bank and kept casting, stepping, swinging and twitching back flies to tempt the trout. I honestly don’t recall fishing as easy as this, every where you thought a Trout would be, you would cast, twitch and bang, fish on!


These Browns are well fed!

To be honest after a couple of hours I was more than content having landed in excess of 40 hard fighting acrobatic brown trout up to 3lbs in weight. It was incredible sport!

Eventually I met up with Matti and Nick who were keen to see how I had got on. Nick had no luck finding any Salmon, like myself earlier. He had decided to go back and fish for some browns and get some action.

Hamish fancied another shot at the Salmon so I fished on with Nick and tried to get some images.


Nick with a typical brown trout

The sport had slowed down as it got noticeably colder but we still managed to catch a few before calling it a night.

It was back to the goat house for wine, food and a bit of craic!


Dinner & Wine Time

Day 3 Fishing in Iceland
The last day would see us fish in the morning up until lunch time. I chose to hit the Salmon with Hamish coming along also to take turns should we land a Salmon.

Matti drove around a couple of pools looking for fish until we found some.


The views from the road…

“Oh yes, big Salmon and one huge Trout next to it – can you see”. The Salmon then broke the surface and looked pretty clean and a fair size considering I was about 30ft plus above it.

I kept myself calm whilst Matti suggested the best way to cover it.

The dilemma we had here is if we go too close to the brown trout, he would take the fly and ultimately spook the Salmon. I was positioned up river 25/30ft and also above the river level another 30ft plus I had to wiggle out line from the rod tip and allow the current to position the fly past the Salmon before stripping across slightly to entice him. It was an interesting and challenging presentation.

First cast I was a little short. Second cast I was in the zone and watched as the Salmon rose up for the fly twice missing it! Wow, that was pretty cool. I then thought to myself “I’ve missed my chance”.
Third cast he came up missed, came back and got it!

Fish on!


Trying to keep the leader of the sharp rocks – nasty!

It was a first for me to watch a Salmon take my fly like this, I was pumped as I played this fish from a very precarious position. It was probably the most nerve racking fight I’ve had from a fish on fly. I had an audience, it was the last day and would I get another chance before we flew home? Not only that, from my elevated position I had to watch every head shake of the Salmon as it bore up and down the pool whilst rubbing its side along the sharp rocks.

What was this fish trying to do to me?

The fight seemed to last an eternity, it always does in these situations. Matti was top notch throughout and explained the landing technique!

Once the fish was tired I had to allow her to fall back with the current to the end of the pool where Matti was with the net.


Iceland Fishing Guide Matti at the net ready…

We got her close too early and as soon as she saw Matti’s face she shot back into the neck of the pool again up the canyons – who could blame her? Second time she turned and slowly came down stream and I knew this was the right moment and tried to guide her slowly towards Matti who had no trouble getting her at first attempt.

A few “Woo Hoo’s” were hollered down that canyon let me tell you! Now I had to work out how to get down to Matti for the photos…


What is a Salmon fishing in Iceland trip without the obligatory grip and grin?

Weighing around mid teens I was very happy with this Salmon on a single handed fly rod. It had a missing adipose fin and what looked like nets,seal or porpoise damage but it did not detract any of its beauty for me. A Salmon, is a Salmon in my eyes! I was more than stoked to end on a high and give the rod up to Hamish.


Hamish swings his fly in a last attempt for some Icelandic Silver

We searched on for the last hour or so looking for another Salmon but never came across any. It was time to meet up with Nick who had spent the remaining morning chasing browns then headed back to the lodge for the final time.
Packing  up our gear we then said our goodbyes to Hakon and Matti thinking them for their hospitality and making our fishing in Iceland experience so memorable. Hopefully we get to meet again sometime in the future. I’d love to get Matti into a Tay springer!


A fair few scenic shots were taken from the car…

We all headed back down the road taking our time to absorb the scenery and reflect on what a great few days we just had. The drive is spectacular for a fisherman as you get to wonder whats in every river you pass. We did see quite a lot of fisherman on both journeys and watched one angler land a Salmon below some waterfalls!

We also decided to stop by Lake Myvatn and seen some geo-thermal activity. It’s like being on Mars as sulphur bubbles out the ground, shoots of steam and water bursting through the ground creating a warm humid air. It’s so bizarre and definitely worth seeing.

We arrived in Reykavijk for the last night before flying out early the next morning, we loaded our stuff into our accommodation then went out for some dinner in the city centre. The next morning I dropped the guys off at the airport and took back the car to the hire shop before catching my own flight home to Glasgow – which was on time by the way!

For anyone thinking of fishing in Iceland, I would thoroughly recommend fishing with Matti from Iceland Fishing Guide. They’re very reasonably priced for Iceland fishing. Matti’s a great guide and host who will do his utmost to get you into the fish!

Summer Fishing in Scotland 2016 Update

The 2016 Summer fishing in Scotland is almost coming to an end – where have the months gone!
Apologies for the lack of updates with the blog, we’ve had a lot going on at Scotia HQ.

We’ve had a very positive season with many clients visiting from across the globe including USA, Canada, Australia, Europe and Asia. Our summer has been rather cold, which although not so pleasant for those visiting the country on vacation, has made for better fishing conditions!


Scotland in summer, it takes some beating for natural beauty!

Late spring and summer period has seen some great fishing spells for all species, particularly salmon. The Tay has received consistent runs throughout the summer months with many multi sea winter Salmon mazing an appearance throughout the river system.
The lower river has fished particularly well from July onwards, with some beats having their best July for over a decade!


Returning the new record Salmon landed 18lbs of Tay silver!

Our clients felt the rewards of this with some good catches. The highlight of the bunch had to be returning customer Jacopo (only 13 years of  age) landing a Tay powerhouse 18lb Atlantic Salmon!

Kid Catches 18lbs Salmon From River Tay Scotland! from Scotia Fishing on Vimeo.

This young man is a little superstar!

Also having a great day was big Sebi from Switzerland with a stunning brace of Tay silver on the fly! Not bad for your first time ever Spey casting!


A few “woo hoos” were in order!

His girlfriend also lost two spinning – what a day that could have been!

With the colder weather our rivers fished very well and we had much better brown trout fishing than last year. We picked up a number of nice browns on nymphs during this period.


Robert (Rab) aka 603 Fly Guy with a nice brown on the Euro nymphing set up!

I had a great day out with Robert on the river chatting about all things fishy – the fishing was as good as the banter also!

Cody had a cracker right at the close of play, proving it pays to fish hard to the end!


Cody’s new PB Brown Trout on the Frenchie…

As well as the ever obliging and very welcome Grayling…


Rafael’s first ever Grayling!

The Hill loch brown trout fishing has been hit or miss, on the colder days it has almost felt like winter up at these higher altitudes, putting the fish down. We have still managed to catch a few though!


It can be cold up on the tops of these hills. Still as beautiful though!

Leonard had some good sport fishing traditional Scottish wet fly tactics.


Leonard with an average wild brown trout…

The Pike fishing has been consistently good with fly and modern lure fishing tactics. For a couple of weeks the big fish were hard on the feed and our clients landed some great pike during this period on lures..

The biggest of the season so far goes to Piotr using light lure fishing tackle.


As fat as they get, this Pike was sitting under some of the largest shoals of Perch fry I have ever seen!

Chad managed a cracking first ever Pike on the fly.


A hard fighting Pike on fly…

Just look at the beautiful colouration on these Pike!

I managed a couple of short breaks myself including a three day trip to Iceland (report to follow soon). I also took a recent foray up to the Highlands with my partner. We were unlucky with the weather though and endured some spectacular wind and rainstorms, which put an end to the fishing, but made for some interesting photographs!


Tornado like wind storms up in the Highlands of Scotland

The summer fishing period in Scotland is coming to an end for 2016. With the arrival of Autumn we hit one of the best times of year to fish for all fresh water species in Scotland.
It is also one of the most beautiful seasons to be on the water with the leaves turning on the trees and misty mornings – I can’t wait!

Tight lines!

Callum Conner

Scotia Fishing Head Guide
SGAIC Qualified & Loop Tackle endorsed Instructor

Our 2016 Season So Far Update

As I sit down to write this post, I find it hard to believe we are in the middle of May already! The Scottish spring weather has been nothing short of terrible up until recent weeks! Two weeks ago I was fishing in five inches of snow on a hill loch, today we are in 20 degree celsius heats and getting tans!  You certainly don’t come to Scotland for the weather…

Our season so far has been fantastic. We’ve had many clients from all over the globe and most have caught fish in tough conditions with the odd red letter day here and there. The cold spring has definitely halted dry fly sport on our rivers with hatches sporadic and the fish rising sporadically also.
But with the warmer weather we can only see positives for the coming months.

The Grayling fishing earlier this year was nothing short of exceptional! We had numerous big fish for clients and even managed a few ourselves during quiet spells.


Oh yes, she’s good…

The Chen family from Singapore had a great day in early spring, enduring temperatures more akin to winter, but that didn’t stop the fish feeding and they had a great introduction to fly fishing on the river landing, a few brown trout and grayling on the much talked about Squirmie Wormie…


All smiles in the cold for this Singaporean family of professional fishers!

Ed from the U.S managed a stunning little Rainbow Trout on the River Tay. Rainbow Trout are not indigenous to Scotland and this was likely an escapee from a nearby trout fishery. By law we had to dispatch this fish,  but it did not go to waste and I enjoyed it for my tea!


An unusual catch but welcome on a hard day, gave a great account of itself and tasted darn good!

I managed to get out for a few days myself for Trout and managed this beauty at the end of March. I had to take a video on my phone to get a photo – the joys of fishing solo without a skilled photographer/guide…


Taken on a mobile phone so apologies for poor quality..

Matt from South Africa had a great day’s sport with plenty of Grayling and Trout fishing March Brown’s down and across – everyday is learning day folks!


Matt with a nice wild river brown.

The Trout dry fly fishing hasn’t really ever kicked of like it did last year. I remember guiding Bud from the U.S in April last year (see below) and the surface activity was unreal! Olive Uprights, March Brown’s and Large Dark Olives had the fish going crazy.


Dr. Robertson in April 2015 nailing browns left right and centre during a huge fly hatch…

This year so far I can only recall one day similar, when I was guiding James and his father in mid April. We picked up numerous Grayling in the morning on nymphs then in the afternoon the Large Dark Olives started to hatch and the fish came on, big style!


James had lots of action with fishein in this size bracket on the famous Olive Jingler!

They continued to land over a dozen trout between them – no monsters but all on the dry. A great day’s sport.

The father and son duo also had a great day later in the week fishing for Pike and managed two nice fish, however one slipped out of the weigh sling before we could photograph but we did manage to snap this fella…


Nice 17lb pike for James on a small soft plastic lure and 7ft spinning rod


The Pike fishing in general has been consistently good and living up to our thoughts of them being the most reliable species to fish for here in Scotland. Since April we have been focusing on the Trout rivers allowing the Pike to spawn in peace.

I had a great time with local father and son teaching them how to fly fish on the River Tay. This youngster managed his first ever fish on the fly – you can see his excitement. It is hard to beat watching young anglers catch their first fish on the fly!


Well done young man!

The Salmon fishing this spring has been slow to start but the Tay has been pretty consistent since April. The low water is making things a little interesting and the fish are running very hard at the minute. The Tummel was bouncing with fish earlier this week with many running up the Salmon Ladder into Loch Faskally.


Fishing a very low River Earn in Spring…

I have personally managed three days of Salmon fishing and have landed two so far. I had one on the fly from the River Tay last week, with the ghillie releasing before I could get a photo with it! 🙂

And this beauty below at the end of March spinning on a tributary of the River Tay.


Head Guide Callum Conner with a gracious selfie…

Our guests have hooked three and landed only one so far this spring! Raphael from Quebec had one day of guided fishing with Callum and managed this beauty on his fourth cast then later lost another one in the afternoon.


Fourth cast, bang… That’s the way to do it!

This gave Raph an unbelievable fight, snagging us up twice. He done really well to land it.

This is just a taster of many jobs we’ve had so far this season.

All fishing prospects for the remainder of May look good, the water temps have finally risen, fly life has increased, the Pike have finished spawning and are now on the feed – big time. The central belt rivers are incredibly low at the minute for this time of year and a splash of rain wouldn’t do us any harm just to top up the levels.

It is now peak season for us and we are out every other day on the water. We are super excited to see what the remainder of spring and the summer fishing has to offer our clients in 2016!

Tight lines!



Fishing Seasons in Scotland

The Fishing season in Scotland differs from river to river, loch to loch and species to species. This can become problematic for visiting anglers. We have decided to list the full fishing seasons of Scotland in this post to help visiting anglers when planning their visit.


Our native Wild Brown Trout, one of the most popular targets in Scotland.

Trout Fishing season in Scotland

The traditional Trout fishing season runs from the 15th of March to 6th of October. Some fisheries (including the Tweed and Annan) have delayed their opening day until the 1st of April and end it earlier on the 30th of September. We can only presume this is to allow extra recovery time for the Trout and allow Salmon anglers more room during the peak back end period.

Stocked Rainbow Trout Fishing is available all year round, there is no closed season. The majority of Rainbow Trout are triploids (sexless), so they do not spawn in our waters and therefore do not require protecting.


Traditionally the Grayling season operates during winter, although nowadays many rivers offer year round fishing for this wonderful species.

Grayling Fishing Season in Scotland

In recent years the Grayling has become a much sought after quarry for the discerning fly-fisher, particularly during the trout closed season. Subsequently most grayling season permits on our rivers run during the closed season for Trout. Please note that on many rivers the Grayling can be targeted on a Trout permit but it is recommended not to specifically target them during their spawning and post spawn periods which is generally April & May.

River Tweed & Tributaries – Available from the 1st of December to 28th March.

River Annan – Available from 1st of December to 28th March.

River Tay & Tributaries – Available all year, although not recommended in April & May.

River Earn – Available from 15th of November to 15th January.



Atlantic Salmon fishing in Scotland is available 11 months of the year.

Salmon & Sea Trout Fishing Season in Scotland 

The Salmon & Sea Trout (often referred to as migratory species) fishing season is more diverse and varies in Scotland from river to river. Over centuries the Salmon have adapted their survival strategy to suit their environment, migrating at different times of the year. Some of our river management systems recognised this and subsequently adapted the seasons to suit, offering the Salmon protection during vulnerable spawning and post spawn periods.

Here you can read the full Salmon Fishing Seasons in Scotland.



Pike – One of Scotland’s most popular coarse species target.

Coarse Fishing Season in Scotland

Coarse fishing is available all year round in Scotland, there is no closed season. Many lochs that allow Trout or Salmon fishing only distribute coarse fishing permits out-with the game fishing season. This is mainly to manage confusion over which species you are fishing for.

The main Coarse species that can be found in Scotland include: Perch, Pike, Roach, Rudd, Carp, Bream, Tench Chub & Ruffe.


Pollock can be targeted year-round in some areas of Scotland.

Sea Fishing Season in Scotland 

The Sea fishing season in Scotland is like the coarse fishing season in that there is no closed period. Certain times of the year however suit different species and many can only be found during the warmer months. Sea fishing is also completely free in Scotland!