What species can you catch in Iceland

Iceland doesn't have many species of freshwater fish, but the ones we do are all wild and native, and the ones you catch in Iceland are among the best sport fishing species in the world.


Atlantic Salmon - Salmo Salar - The Fish Of Kings

For many anglers, the Atlantic salmon (Salmo salar) is the ultimate fly-rod catch because of the rich history and culture that goes along with pursuing these elusive fish with a fly rod.

In Iceland, you will find plenty of Salmon rivers ranging from small creeks to large rivers that require a spay rod to fish.

The season for Atlantic Salmon in Iceland ranges from June until the end of September with a few rivers being open until mid-October. Typically rivers in the southwest get the earliest runs and open for fishing a few weeks before the rivers in the east and north.

Salmon fishing has been practiced in Iceland from its earliest history. Official involvement began with the law on salmon, char, and trout fishing from 1932. This law prohibited salmon fishing in the ocean, the law also limits the fishing of running fishes to a certain season, the type of fishing gear, and the number of fishing rods per river.

Catch records for Icelandic Salmon fishing are among the best in the world and for many of the best rivers you can find detailed records for the last 100 years.

In Iceland, there are plenty of salmon rivers that range in size, service, and quality. The sizes of salmon range from 4-30 pounds, with 7-12 pounds being the most common size.

Fishing Season: June-October. 

Prime Time: July and August. This does vary river to river though as some rivers get late runs of Salmon and other early

Typical Sizes: 7-12 pounds

Rod Size: #6-#9, single-handed or double depending on the area

Good places to catch a salmon: Sandá, Tungufljót

We also arrange Salmon fishing trip to a host of other destination around Iceland



Brown Trout - Salmo Trutta - Resident and Sea Run Brown / Sea Trout

Brown Trout need no introduction to fly fishermen, having been a prized catch from the first time a person picked up a fly rod.

In Iceland, they are found all over the Island in a vast array of different water from tiny spring creeks, to glacial rivers to the highland lakes and everything in between. Both residents and ocean-going populations.

The largest brown trout in Iceland are found in Lake Thingvallavatn where a strain of these fish has been named the Ice Age Brown Trout.

Sizes vary greatly between fisheries but can be between 1-5 pounds on average with some fisheries like Lake Thingvallvatn having browns up to 30 pounds caught regularly and 8-pound fish being average.

Best time for Brown Trout in Iceland varies a lot based on where you want to fish, April and August-October being prime time for Sea-Run Browns on the south coast, April-June prime time for the monsters of Lake Thingvallavatn and June-August for most resident fish in rivers

Fishing Season: April-October 20th. 

Prime Time: Varies fishery to fishery, something always on prime time

Typical Sizes: 1-5 pounds

Rod Size: #3-#8 depending on the fishery

Good places to catch brown: Lake ThingvallvatnKaldakvísl, Norðlingafljót, Tungufljót

Brown Trout

Arctic char - Salvelinus alpinus 

Arctic char (Salvelinus alpinus), or Bleikja (Pinky) in Icelandic, is a member of the Salmonidae family (along with other char, trout, and salmon) and it is the most widespread freshwater fish species found in Iceland. It inhabits a wide range of habitat from lakes and small mountain streams to roaring glacier rivers, but throughout its habitat, it requires cold, clean water.

Variations between separate populations of the char can vary greatly and in Lake Thingvallavatn alone you can find four distinct local adaptations or morphs of Arctic char that inhabit different areas of the lake, each having unique life cycles, different feeding patterns and vast differences in appearance.

Char populations have adapted to be either lacustrine, riverine or anadromous which is a testimony to the species' great adaptability. A full-grown Arctic char can vary anywhere from a quarter pound to over 20 pounds in weight based on its habitat, feeding behavior, and life cycle. Color variations are many, ranging anywhere from the Silvery back and yellowish belly to dark black back and a fiery redbelly, with the most extreme coloration coinciding with spawning season.

Fishing Season: April-September

Prime Time:  June-September

Typical Sizes: 1-3 pounds

Rod Size: #3-#6 

A good place to catch a char: Kaldakvísl, TungnaáKaldárhöfði

arctic char caught by a guest of the highland fishing lodge

Other Species

The three-spined stickleback (Gasterosteus aculeatus). Small baitfish and important food source for Arctic Char and Brown Trout

European eel (Anguilla anguilla)



For more information on fishing in Iceland feel free to contact us at info@fishpartner.com