The Most Scenic Beat in Lake Thingvallavatn
The Kárastaðir beat (beat 1) is in the north end of Lake Thingvallavatn where river Öxará, the brown trout's main spawning stream, runs into the lake. The giant trout travels in groups and is often found circling around the beat where fishermen can run into great adventures. The area is characterized by rough lava and deep underwater channels and drop-offs where the trout can be found. These channels create thermal movements of the water which allows the trout to spawn in the lake. The beat holds a lot of the desirable giant brown trout which fishermen are so eager to find. The biggest fish of the 2015 season was an immense 40-inch brown trout which weight around 30 pounds.
Lake Thingvallavatn is the largest lake in Iceland, located only 40 minutes from Reykjavík. Thingvellir, where the Althingi, the Icelandic parliament, was established around the year 930, is a place of historic significance. The lake lies along the North Atlantic Ridge, sitting where the North American and Eurasian tectonic plates separate from each other. Thingvallavatn is 83 square kilometers (32 square miles) and is deepest at 115 meters (377 feet). The lake's catchments area is 90% underground and the water from thousands of cold springs has a constant temperature of 3-4°C the whole year round. The spring water is filtered through layers of the surrounding lava making Thingvallavatn gin-clear and easy to spot fish. Three out of the five species of freshwater fish found in Iceland live in Thingvallavatn; brown trout, Arctic char and the three-spined stickleback.
The giant brown trout of Thingvallavatn has evolved there in isolation since the last ice age. This legendary fish is the most coveted catch of many a fisherman, Icelandic or otherwise. Tales of battling these mighty fish are akin to fairy tales and are never forgotten by those lucky enough to play a part in them. The huge and fertile water mass of Thingvallavatn provides excellent living and growing conditions for Thingvallavatn’s brownies which are different to other brownies due to their unique habitat. These extraordinary brown trout can grow to a weight of over 30 lbs, and specimens in excess of 20 lbs are frequently caught in peak fishing times. In Thingvallavatn, you never know what the next cast will bring.
Thingvallavatn supports four varieties of the Arctic char making it unique in the world. The Arctic char in Thingvallavatn is a clear example of how species evolve and adapt to their surroundings, each with its own ecological niche, as these four varieties have evolved from one species in only 10,000 years. The Arctic char (bleikja in Icelandic), have adapted themselves to two main lake habitats, the main body of water and the bottom of the lake. In the main body of the lake, the food source of the Arctic char is constantly on the move and the fish themselves have little shelter from predators. The Arctic char that have evolved under these conditions are streamlined and have a long lower jaw. The fish-eating type, the piscivorous char (sílableikja in Icelandic), can grow up to 40 centimeters (16 inches) in length, while the plant-eating planktivorous char (murta in Icelandic) is a lot smaller, usually only about 20 centimeters (8 inches) in length. The lake bottom is the main habitat of the large snail-eating char and the dwarf-char. There is enough food there and also plenty of places to hide from predators. The snail-eating char can be up to 50 centimeters (20 inches) in length, while the dwarf-char stands up to its name and is usually only 10-13 centimeters (4-5 inches).