Hofsá og Sunnudalsá.

The Hofsá is a large river in the east of the country, with a total length of 85 km that drains an area of 1,100 km². It gathers several streams that flow off the high moors that stretch between the lofty tops of Þjóðfjjell and Sandfell and empties into the sea a couple of kilometres to the south of Vopnafjörður. The airstrip at Vopnafjorður has a daily flight from Reykjavik (two hours flying time), but many visitors fly to the river via the more frequent service to Égilsstadðir.  By road the river is some 230 km from Akuréyri via Route 85, and 92 km from Égilsstaðir via Route 917.

 

There are two main branches in the upper reaches which converge just upstream of a great foss that is impassable to fish. From the foss the Hofsá runs a 35 km course to the sea. This section of the river is split into seven, one-rod beats. Halfway down its length the main river is joined by the only major tributary, Sunnudalsá. The Sunnudalsá is fished by three rods and let separately. The combined catch produces a five-year average of 1,071 salmon per year.

 

Much praise has been heaped on this river because of the quality of the fishing it provides. "Perfect fly-water" is a commonly quoted description of Hofsá. Pools are long, wide, gravel bottomed, and hold many good lies for salmon. The upper beats share a steep-sided, narrow valley, where the river is mostly rocky and with a choppy current. Further downstream the valley widens, the banks become open, and the river flows more evenly over a gravel bed. Wading is generally good and most pools have good access. The only beat that requires much walking is Beat 1, at the top of the river, and entails using sheep tracks to get to the Foss Pools.

 

Sunnudalsá runs through a canyon, has a steeper rate of descent is faster flowing and more turbulent, and colder than the main river. Its pools are deeper and narrower in character and much more typical of a mountain stream. The Sunnudalsáfoss was blown years ago to allow the fish access to more spawning gravels in the hope of increasing smolt production. This area above the foss is left as a sanctuary and there is no fishing there.

 

The very lower pools and the estuary of the Hofsá are let separately for their excellent sea-run Arctic char fishing.

 

Hofsá and Sunnudalsá are both fly-only throughout the season and there is a further rule that any fish over 69 cm should be returned. Catch-and-release is used as a management tool to help build the river’s stocks and rods are encouraged to practice it throughout the season.

 

Tackle for the river is down to personal choice as pools can be covered by single or double-hand fly rods. Nothing more than a floating line will be needed for most of the season, but a sink-tip could be useful in the high, cold water of the early weeks, and at the end of the season. Flies in sizes 14 to 6 will cover most situations; if visiting early or late in the year it would be wise to carry a few tube flies as well. Popular patterns are Red Frances, Black Frances, Black Sheep, Blue Charm, Silver Stoat, and tubeflies like Sunray Shadow, Frances and Snælda, and small hitch tubes.

 

Fishing begins on 25 June and closes on 25 September, with the best weeks usually between late July to late August. Fishing in late June and early July is for those who seek quality rather than quantity and what fish are caught are mostly in the 12 to 18 lbs range. The main grilse run usually arrives towards the end of July so the best time to be there is from the last week of July to the third week of August. Some fresh fish are still found in early September.

 

Accommodation for anglers is at the river lodge, situated on the bottom half of the river, a few minutes' drive from the village of Vopnafjörður. There are 10 en-suite bedrooms (one room per rod), a dining room and sitting room. There is also a drying room where waders, tackle, etc. is stored. The lodge provides a full-board service.

 

Contact:

Angling Club Strengur, Skipholt 35, 105 Reykjavik, Iceland.

Tel: +354 568 6277.

www.sela.is  E-mail:orri@sela.is

 

Sunnudalsá - Vesturárdalur ehf,  Austurstræti 18,  101 Reykjavík.  Tel:+354-696-1130. E-mail:gisli@lax.is.


 

Catch statistics for

Date Salmon Trout Rods
Jul. 5356
Jul. 12756
Jul. 191346
Jul. 261806
Jul. 2618010
Aug. 227310
Aug. 934010
Aug. 1639510
Aug. 2346210
Aug. 3050010
Sep. 65156
Sep. 135456
Sep. 205656
Sep. 275896

Total catch per year

Year Salmon Trout
2017589
2016492
2015515
2014657
20131160
20121008
2011956
20101046
20091143459
20081119261
20071435377
20062023229
20051965360
20041864692
20031483334
20021877
20021911241
200190657
2000804783
19991020
19981008
1997607
1996826
19951028
19941012
19932028
19922238
1991642
1990552
1989809
19881210
19871710
19861631
19851219
1984185
1983258
1982141
1981145
1980615
1979599
19781336
19771273
19761253
19751117
19741277