Increase in humpback salmon 2023?

It is expected that the number of these new settlers in Icelandic rivers will greatly increase in the summer of 2023. Scientists from the Marine & Freshwater Research Institute were last spring doing scientific work in Southwest Iceland and the number of humpback juveniles surprised them. The harvest was much better than expected.

The field manager of the Institute, Guðni Guðbergsson, substantiates the statement that there will be a lot of humpback salmon next summer and that they will appear in most salmon rivers. While Guðni, among others, sees an opportunity in the humpback salmon, many find it somewhat humiliating to catch him. 


Adapted from a news by Sporðaköst,

Lax á mynd

Salmon catches 2022 – Preliminary figures

The total number of caught salmon in 2022 was about 45,300, which is about a 24.2% (8800 salmon) increase from 2021 and about 8.5% above the average catch of the years since 1974. 

If the fishing is examined by regions, the catches in all of them were higher than in the summer of 2021, except in the Westfjords. 

Angling for salmon in Icelandic rivers from 1974 – 2022. The catch is divided into landed catch and catch and release, on the one hand for wild salmon and on the other hand for sea pastured salmon. Horizontal broken line is annual mean salmon catch from 1974-2022, blue is catch of wild salmon, green is wild salmon released, red is catch of ocean-grazed salmon, and purple is ocean-grazed salmon released (

When comparing the long-term development of angling, it must be taken into account that salmon from smolt releases (ocean-grazed salmon) supplement the natural production of the rivers, in addition to the fact that some fish are caught more than once when caught and released in angling. Salmon fishing is therefore divided into salmon of wild origin, salmon originating from releases of smolts and salmon that are released back when angling; C & R. Wild salmon fishing has been below the long-term average (1974-2021) for the last seven years with a minimum in 2019 when only 24,078 salmon were caught. Salmon fishing in rivers that are based on fishing on smolt releases was a total of 10,500 salmon in the summer of 2022, which is 2,700 salmon more than was caught in 2021, when 7,764 salmon were caught. 


News based on information from Haf&Vatn

Veiði dagstöng

Total salmon fishing each rod/per day

The best way to evaluate the best angling each summer is the number of fish caught on each rod/per day. This is calculated by dividing the number of rods in the respective river by the number of salmon caught. The outcome is then divided by 90, which is usually the number of fishing days in most rivers. This does not take into account price, service, period or such factors. 

This summer river Urriðafoss is on the top of the list with the average 2.73 salmon caught on each rod/per day. In second place is river Leirvogsá with 2.53 salmon caught on each rod/per day. River Flókadalsa comes third with almost two salmon caught each rod/per day. 

Below is a list of the 12 best salmon rivers, ranked by catch per rod/per day. 

In parentheses by each fishing river is the number of rods. The next column indicates the total catch, and in parentheses is the number of salmon each rod over the summer. Finally, there is the number of salmon caught each rod/per day, and in brackets the same percentage for last year. It is possible to see if fishing has increased or decreased.

Rivers (nr. rods)    Total fishing (each rod)   Each rod/per day

Urriðafoss  (4)                 983  (246)                      2,73  (2,29)

Leir­vogsá (2)                   455  (228)                      2,53  (1,55)

Laxá á Ásum (4)              820   (205)                     2,28  (1,66)

Selá í Vopnafirði (6)        1.164 (194)                     2,15  (1,41)

Flóka­dalsá (3)                   519 (173)                     1,92 (1,04)

Hofsá í Vopnaf.  (7)         1.211 (173)                     1,92 (0,95)

Anda­kílsá  (2)                    327 (164)                     1,82 (2,88)

Miðfjarðará  (10)            1.522  (152)                     1,69 (2,00)

Haffjarðará (6)                  870 (145)                      1,61 (1,70)

Elliðaár (6)                        798 (133)                      1,48 (1,14)

Laxá í Lei­rár­sveit (6)          800 (133)                      1,48 (1,51)

Tungufljót (4)                    526  (131)                     1,46  (*)

* no number for last summer 

News fromðaköst

Topp árnar

Salmon season coming to an end

The fishing season is now over in many salmon rivers.The result is hardly that  impressive and only acceptable in a few rivers. Miðfjarðará is now number three on the list of the top rivers and in fact number one over natural salmon rivers. The last days in Vopnafjörður rivers, Selá and Hofsá, were productive and they both made it to the top 10 list. 

Just over 1000 salmon have been caught in river Langá, which is on the list and river Affallið made it into the top ten list with a hundred salmon week and it is likely that it will go higher on the list.That would leave Urriðafoss in 10th place, at least for a while. 

The rivers Þverá/Kjarrá and Norðurá sit in the 4th and 5th places of the list. The salmon smolt “raised” rivers West & East Rangá sit on the top of the list and there is still almost a month left.

It will be interested to see if the final weeks bring rivers like Laxá in Kjós, Stóra – Laxá and Laxá in Dölum to the top list

1. West – Rangá and river Hóls­á 4.442 (3.082) – last week 209

2. East – Rangá 3.412 (2.886) – last week 221

3. Miðfjarðará 1.474 (1.796) – last week 81

4. Þverá/​Kjar­rá  1.414 – waiting for final numbers

5. Norðurá 1348 (1.431) – Final numbers

6. Hofsá 1.211 (601) – last week 66

7. Selá 1.164 (764) – last week 47 

8. Langá  1.038 (785) – last week 78

9. Urriðafoss 983 – New numbers are missing

10. Affallið 870 – last week 100 

Picture/ Falur

News taken fromðaköst


The salmon fishing season

The salmon fishing season is well underway and now the time has come when the big male fish start to get restless. It is often the case that the biggest salmon of the summer are caught at this time. However, the salmon fishing has been rather quiet in most parts of the country and now the rivers that are producing decent fishing are in the Northeastern part of the country. Below is a list of the top fifteen salmon rivers in the country. In parentheses behind is the number of salmon caught at the same time last year.

  1. West Rangá and the west bank of Hólsá – 3261 (2387) 
  2. East Rangá – 2522 (2218) 
  3. Þverá/Kjarrá – 1290 (1193)
  4. Norðurá – 1236 (1285)
  5. Miðfjarðará – 1207 (1307)
  6. Hofsá – 1015 (494) 
  7. Selá – 977 (653) 
  8. Urriðafoss – 943 (823)
  9. Langá – 825 (660)
  10. Haffjarðará – 774 (782)
  11. Laxá in Ásum – 723 (506)
  12. Elliðaár – 718 (527) 
  13. Laxá in Kjós – 657 (646)
  14. Laxá í Leirársveit – 652  new figures have not been received
  15. Jökla – 649 new figures have not been received


News compiled from data from and – Skorðaköst

HKA Sunray1

Popular flies

Despite considerable development in fly design and the use of new models, the good old ones seem to hold their place on the list of the most used in Iceland. Only a few well-known Icelandic fly tyers have managed to get some of their flies on the list.  

The flies Frances and Sunray Shadow are by far the best catchers in salmon fishing, but following come various “hitch” flies. The most popular types are Collie Dog, Haugur, Munroe KIller and those previously mentioned. Of other salmon flies, mainly triple hooks and Cone heads, the most used are Black & Blue, Silver Sheep, Black Sheep, Munroe Killer, Blue Charm, Green But, Hairy Mary, Collie Dog and the Icelandic flies, Laxá Blá, Dimmblá, Krafla, Haugar and Nóra. Other Icelandic salmon flies which have increased in popularity are Friggi and Zelda. 

Munroe Killer Hitch

For brown trout and char fishing, it has been growing to use nymphs. Pheasant tail and Peacock are probably the flies that have served anglers for the longest time when fishing both species. Different types of bloodworms and vinyl rib flies also work well. Particularly, we can mention the Icelandic fly Krókinn, by Gylfa Kristjánsson, Mobutu and some flies made by Sveinn Þór e.g. Röndin og Glóðin. On bright days, Silver Pearl works very well and Peter Ross, who is better known as a stream fly, often works excellently as a nymph, especially when fishing for char. 

Many streamers that are commonly used can also work for both species, especially the ever popular Nobblers, flies like the Dentist and Black Ghost and the Icelandic flies Flæðarmús and Stirða. The sea running Arctic char is believed to be attracted to colorful flies e.g. pink, orange and red flies are often useful. Peter Ross, Butcher, Cardinal and Watson Fancy are classical wet flies that work well fishing for char and the Icelandic flies “Heimasæta” and “Bleik & Blá” are often very effective. On the other hand, the brown trout usually choose darker colors and those that resemble natural food, e.g. sticklebacks like. The previously mentioned, Nobbler, Black Ghost and Dentist, are classical and the Gray Ghost, Mickey Finn and the Woolly Worm are often fatal. So finally, a few Icelandic flies must be mentioned that must be in every fly  box. These are “Rektor” and “Hólmfríður” by the famous angler and fly tyer Kolbeinn Grímsson, Dýrbítur and Þingeyingur. 

Red Stirða works well when fishing for Arctic char

The sea running trout; sea trout, commonly chooses to take the same flies as the stationary brown trout. However, it is often the case that anglers choose more colorful flies for this type of fishing, as they are often caught in washed-out water. Often, the most colorful flies used for sea char also work well for sea trout. However, there is a lot to choose from and now flies like Skull heads, Bullets and Damsel are growing in popularity. 

Lax úr Þverá

The salmon fishing does not live up to expectations

Many hoped that the fishing summer of 2022 would be a good year for grilse. It is now becoming clear that those expectations are not being met. Although there are more small salmon than last year, the number is far from what was hoped for. A considerable amount has been caught of quite small salmon, 50 – 58 cm, and even some smaller than 50 that are often called “micro salmon”. 

The fishing is decent though in most rivers. In the River West-Rangá, together with the West bank of Hólsa, 1707 (1059)* salmon have been caught. River East-Rangá is second on the list with 1322 (1292) salmon caught and then comes the River(s) Þverá/Kjarrá with 992 (883) salmon. In River Norðurá 930 (1030) salmon have been landed and the rivers that come next are Urriðafoss with 798 (790) salmon caught and Miðfjarðará with 675 (819) salmon caught.  

* the number in brackets is last year’s catch


Based on a news report from Sporðakást,

Hofsá góð

Better start in river Hofsá

The salmon  rivers in Vopnafjörður are doing well. Especially, river Hofsá has been giving good catches and significantly more than last summer. The last group of anglers that fished the river landed 76 salmon in three days. If this continues, it should be able to exceed well over 1000 salmon. The smaller salmon “grilse” returned in the last big tide and the bigger salmon is partially mixed. Yesterday eve, 190 salmon had been caught in river Hofsá, but they were 155 the same day last season.  


News from Sporðaköst,

Réttarstrengur í Hrútu

Giant salmon from river Hrútafjarðará

A 102 cm salmon was caught yesterday in river Hrútafjarðará. The angler, Oddur Rúnar, landed this beautiful male fish at the fishing spot Rétterstrengur. It was his second one, but shortly before he got the first salmon of his life, which was 60 cm. Both fish were caught on a Red Frances with a cone. 

Picture/Oddur Rúnar with the big salmon from Réttarstrengur

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