Vatnsdalsá

Vatnsdalsá is one of the quartet of top rivers which run into Húnafloi in this corner of North West Iceland. The river lies 227 km from Reykjavik and is accessed by driving north on Route 1 for about three hours. Sixteen kilometres north of the river is an airfield at Blönduos that handles light aircraft.

 

The river drains an area of 993 km² and has a length of 70 km. About 30 km of the river is accessible to salmon, they get no further than Dalfoss, the waterfall situated in the middle reaches of the river. The river has good fishing for wild brown trout and Arctic char in the estuary section and above Dalfoss. (See details in the Trout section.)

 

Vatnsdalsá is regarded as a classic Icelandic salmon river and has a good variety of pools. At the top of the salmon fishing, below Dalfoss, the pools are narrow as the high valley walls crowd in over the river. About halfway down the valley the hills recede a little and the river grows wider. Here the pools become longer and have the classic boily water at the head which eases in the middle and runs off into a smooth, quickening current at the tail.

 

The main feature on the lower river is the little lake, Flóðið, that was formed after a massive landslide on the eastern side of the valley. The shallow expanse does not hold salmon but does have an affect on them running the river. Fish tend to be reluctant to tackle the lake in hot or bright weather, so the stretch of river at its outflow from Flóðið is a very good holding pool. Fishing can sometimes be affected by green floating weed in August. Access to pools is very good, although a little walking is required on the upper river. Wading is not strenuous, but care is needed in the rocky areas on the top beats.

 

In 1997 Vatnsdalsá became a fly-only river with an emphasis on catch-and-release. Releasing all salmon then became compulsory in 2000.  The success of catch-and-release is cited as the reason why the river has such a high salmon-to-grilse ratio. The variety of water from the upper river to the lower river could be tackled with either a single or double-hand rod. Floating lines are best for most of the season, a sink-tip could be useful in the early weeks or if the water is high after a flood. Tube flies or patterns dressed on hooks from 14 to 4 to suit the conditions will be used. Popular flies are: Hairy Mary, Blue Charm, Silver Sheep, Green Butt, Arndilly Fancy and Sunray Shadow.

 

Vatnsdalsá's season runs from 20 June to 30 September and has its best fishing from mid-July to 20 August. What makes this river so popular is the size of salmon encountered as it has a very good salmon to grilse ratio. There is a good run of 9 to 16 lbs salmon throughout the season and the overall average weight of salmon is 9 lbs.

 

Visiting anglers are offered a full service package including all meals and guiding at the river. One guide looks after two rods and will provide transportation at the river. Rods fish in pairs and rotate through beats daily. Each pair of rods is accompanied by a guide with 4WD transport. Rod sharing is allowed, and welcomed, but rod-sharers are expected to share a room. The lodge, Flóðvangur (built by the landowners in 1964), provides fishers with a charming, comfortable base during their stay. There are 10 twin bedded en-suite rooms, one for each rod, and a comfortable dining room/sitting room where lodge life takes place.

 

Contact:

Pétur K. Pétursson. Tel: +354 551 1716. Mob: +354 897 1498.

(Also manages  the Reykjadalsá in and in and in Gljúfurá í Húnþing rivers.)




Catch statistics for

Date Salmon Trout Rods
Jun. 2086
Jun. 27486
Jul. 4956
Jul. 111236

Total catch per year

Year Salmon Trout
2017714
2016853
20151297
2014765
20131116
2012327
2011743
20101223
200915203650
20081233
2007785
2006932
20051252
2004964
2003547
2002850
2001584
2000323
1999629
19981149
1997769
1996703
1995601
1994516
1993853
1992998
1991683
1990604
1989660
19881243
19871496
19861582
1985856
1984699
1983879
1982721
1981985
19801033
19791413
19781466
19771203
1976571
1975832
1974706