Iceland Trip 2022 – River Blanda 8th - 15th July
Having arrived in Iceland on the 4th July, to give us time to prepare for our group of 8 rods arriving on the 7th, it soon became obvious during the 3 hour drive up Icelands west coast, without rain, a great many rivers would be struggling for at least one of the 3 basic elements required to catch salmon. Thankfully we were heading to the Blanda river where, because its Lake fed, had a good supply of fresh water.
When fishing the Blanda our group is spoiled by having up to 60km of the river and over 100 beautiful salmon pools to just 8 rods. This would be equivalent to having Gordon Castle – Tulchan for just our Group. Spoiling or What!?
Playing a fish in one of the top pools where wading is simple
Having said that, the Blanda river is characterised by having an extremely powerful waterfall around one mile from the sea. Immediately below these falls, lies a large pool in which almost every fish is taken in until enough fish have ascended the falls to populate those beautiful pools above.
Another Pool on beat 2 on the Blanda. A double hander is important.
What does this mean for the fishing? Well, for those fishing this pool it means you have a great chance of a fish or two off each tide. However, if the rotation takes you above here then you're reliant on decent numbers having crossed the falls. That said, we had fish in a few of the pools above the lodge and this was on what has been a very mediocre run of fish so far around Iceland.
The Falls and Lower pools. Wading here is more tricky but fishing fantastic.
Another feature of Blanda are its fish. All, including Grise, are noticeably more powerful than that of home, their strength coming from being genetically adapted to ascend the falls. Unlike many others and most people's perception of Iceland, the river also has a great run of MSW fish, making for some seriously epic fights with fish. And that not all, the resident population of Brown Trout and Arctic Char are the strongest fishing fish of their class I’ve ever encountered.
An 87cm 14lb Salmon From the Upper Blanda.
A beautiful but seriously hard fighting Brownie. Great fun on the Cadence Microspey or trout rod
One of the strongest Grilse Ive ever caught.
Another amazing dinner after fishing. The lodge has a great selection of fine wines.
Fish is a speciality
The Girls love fishing, fine wine and good food in Iceland too.
Getting primed for a trip to Scotland in the Spring.
The first team of the week. Great fun few days.
Fillet of Beef. I'm missing this already.
The Arctic Char. A wonderful bonus for anyone visiting this river.
Arctic Char on the Cadence Microspey. An 11foot double hander. Greta for the tributaries.
Our Group of 8 rods enjoyed some really nice fishing with every full rod catching salmon Grilse and Brown Trout, the vast majority of which were caught in the lower pool but also some 50km above the falls too.
The lodge is both modern and comfortable, a large dining area with seating for up to 16 people. Food here was exceptional, the most amazing dished prepared by the inhouse chef. Staff were super attentive and looked after our every requirement beautifully. No one visiting this lodge will be disappointed. We had 4 couples sharing a rod during the first half of the week and 2 at the end. The ladies loved the Lodge and facilities. It must be said however, the weather was more like Ibiza than Iceland making for some nice sunbathing in the most tranquil surroundings.
I’ve always found Icelandic Guides to be real professionals with a wide and varies knowledge of fishing, not only this, but a serious work ethic. Anyone planning a career in Ghillying/Guiding would benefit greatly from spending time up here learning from real fishing experts.
Our guys on Blanda were no exception to this, the most fantastic bunch of guys, Stennie, Danny, Robbie and Auchter [Scottish Spelling] were simply brilliant. The run of fish this year in Iceland is poor, however, those guys push the boat out and make the absolute best of the poor weather and run of fish utilising all types of tactics to ensure success for our anglers. I must also mention my good pal Tom Brown who accompanies me on those trips to lend a hand with casting tuition and is great fun around the camp. As per normal Tom did a great job helping both rods and guides with the double handed tuition and was the life and soul around the lodge.
The falls pool I’ll call it was tricky to wade, most of the bottom made up with volcanic stone. That said, the guides are so helpful and won't let anyone get into difficulty or outside their comfort zone. Catching fish here was not a challenge.
The opposite was the case on those upper pools where the wading was simple and catching fish more of a challenge.
The river is clear, so floating line worked best. Flies ranged from Micro riffle hitch to cone head tubes. Sunray Shadows to Willie Gunns. Basically, the same as we’d use to catch those fish at home.
One of the most important reasons I had to come to this river was because its best fished with a proper double handed rod. Good casters would deal with double handed rods varying from 11 – 13'6”. Others may prefer 14 – 15foot.
All in all, Tom and I really enjoyed the trip and everything about this place, as did all the guests. I’m very much looking forward to revisiting this wonderful fishery next year. I’ll be armed with my trout rods too. They and the Char were such good fun on dries.