What to Expect in the Highlands!

The south-central Highlands are one of Fish Partner´s main bases of operation, and it’s an area that will leave no fisherman disappointed. But what can you expect on a trip to the Highlands? Our three private rivers there: The Kaldakvísl (16+ miles long) and Tungnaá (8 miles long) are fished with 4 rods each and offer world-class brown trout and Arctic char fishing in some of the most stunning environment you will find anywhere. In addition to the Kaldakvísl and Tungnaá, there is also the Sandá River on the edge of the Highlands, which is a small 2-rod late summer and fall salmon river. In addition to those rivers, we also offer fishing in any of hundreds of lakes in the area.  Our base of operation is located in the Hrauneyjar/Þóristungur area about 2-hour drive from the capital area.

May is the opening month up in Kaldakvísl and Tungnaá. Conditions can be cold, and waters levels are usually high. Despite this, some consider the fishing in May to be the best, as both the char and brown trout are feeding indiscriminately after a long winter. Streamers and nymphs tend to give the best results in May. With the first Chironomidae hatches small black nymphs like Higa´s SOS or the Icelandic Krókurinn are our go-to flies. Any baitfish or attractor type streamer patterns will work well, especially for the brown trout who can be very aggressive this time of year. The lake fishing in May is mostly with classic streamer patterns like Black Ghosts. But in general, fly selection tends to be less important this time year.

June is when the temperature starts rising a bit and water levels even out. More consistent dry fly action can be expected with large Chironomidae, midge and caddis hatches appearing. The fish usually start queuing onto more specific food making fly selection a bit more important. Streamer fishing is still hot especially for the brownies on the upper sections of Kaldakvísl.

July is all about the dry-fly fishing. Large browns and Arctic char on anything from size 12 caddis to size 24 midge. Nymph patterns will still catch well but streamers might be little less effective as the fish are honed in on the hatches. Later in the month, you start getting large schools of fish running up from Sultartangalón lake and Spörðöldulón lake into Tungnaá and Kaldakvísl both for feeding and in preparation for the fall spawn.

August and even more of the lake residence fish start running up from the lakes into the rivers in preparation for spawning. Hitting on one of those runs can make for a legendary fishing day. Nymphs and dries are still most effective but later in the month streamer fishing kicks into high gear as aggression levels rise with the approaching spawning season. Depending on when the first fall rains come anytime from mid to late August to early September the Atlantic Salmon starts running into Sandá. Usually smaller salmon flies and tubes as well a hitch flies are the most effective.

September in Kaldakvísl and Tungnaá is all about streamers. The fall rains and dropping temperatures often raise river levels this time of year but it also gives you a great shot at trophy size brown trout and Arctic char as the bigger fish are getting very aggressive with the fast approaching spawn. Down in Sandá, the Salmon run kicks into high gear and the larger salmon starts showing up in greater numbers. Most of the fishing in Sandá is sight fishing as the river is quite small and crystal clear, meaning a stealthy approach is key. As before, smaller salmon flies, tubes and hitch flies are the most effective. Examples of flies that have done well in Sandá are Red Frances, Metallica, Black Brahn, and Sunray Shadow.

October-April Count down the days to next summer!

By Sindri Hlíðar Jónsson, Head Guide at Fish Partner