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Want to Catch a 20 pounder in 23?

Big Salmon Iceland
A Typical Big Blanda Salmon

The past 15 years has seen me hunting those bigger fish in Scotland, Norway, Canada, Russia and Iceland and I have come to the following conclusions -

There is no doubt in the world that certain rivers in Norway, particularly up north, rivers such as Alta and Lakselva produce some of the biggest salmon in the world. The north coast of Russia too, rivers such as Kharlovka and Yokanga to name a couple, offer a great chance of catching a 25lb+ fish. However, as with all those rivers now, even if you could access them [And apart from Lakselva, you cannot], it would very much be a hit or a miss as to whether you did get a big one. Those are rivers you must work hard or be incredibly lucky if you want to catch one of those big fresh silver bullets.

Big Salmon in Iceland
A 17 pounder after a big fight.

As with all rivers, if your goal is to catch a fresh fish, you “must” fish at the right time. Even those rivers with long seasons have around a month where this is possible. How many times have you heard, oh, the guy last week had a 20 pounder in this pool!

20 pound Salmon Iceland
Martial Chaussy with his PB Salmon weighed at 22lbs

However, what if you had a decent chance of a fresh 20 pounder and catching a few in the 10 – 15 plus a few Grilse!? Of the places we can access salmon fishing now, where would I go to do this?

20 Pound Salmon Blanda River
Another Blanda 20 pounder

Looking at all the places I have fished and can now take clients to, the place I favour most to tick those boxes above is most definitely the Blanda river in Iceland. Having taken people to many rivers in those places above, the best strike rate for salmon per guest is in Iceland and without doubt, Blanda, in the northwest of the country, is one of the best for MSW salmon.

Big Coloured Salmon
They find them in late season too. They fight so hard

As with most “big fish” rivers, the big ones tend to be fewer and run into the river early in the season, Blanda is no different to this. The fishing can be particularly good for those bigger fish below the waterfall in mid to late June and the first half of July, before building up in the upper part of the river during the second half of July.

For those people used to catching decent numbers of spring fish in Scotland you will not be disappointed in Blanda at this time as the size of fish are similar, the only real difference being, they are very keen to take the fly up north. The people who come to this river with us love the fact they have a “real” chance of a decent fish and know they will connect with some MSW fish during their stay. Couple this with the most fantastic lodge, great staff, amazing food and a grilse or two as well and you have Salmon Fishing Heaven.

20 pound salmon
Another 20 pounder

If you want to know more about the Blanda and the chances of fishing it, please drop me a line here. or

Available rods are limited and for certain weeks we have a waiting list, however, due to cancellations there are always a few places.

In the meantime, have a look at some of the clips here.

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Dec 04, 2022

Pity people have to think about going so far these days for a 20 plus salmon..... up until the late 80's you could almost guarantee one well over that on the Wye. The last official 50lber was caught in 1963 by Donald Parrish at 51lb 8oz. The great Geoff Franks , who writes a blog and in TS magazine is the bible on the river and would confirm it. The biggest I've seen is a 35 lber back in the 70's by a mate of mine , Nick Cole, on a day ticket water just below the Luggs Mouth. The last time I fished the river in 2016, I had one about 16lb, just above Ross and I was on…

Dec 05, 2022
Replying to

Yes, well said. It's very sad whats happened here. Similar to you, Geoff Franks has been trying for years to get the Wye back to a decent river again. Also to raise awareness . But he made many enemies in the process. He was even threatened with legal action for telling the truth in his Wye Trout and Salmon report, believe it or not!....NR Wales didn't help either. Up until a few years ago Geoff and the Wye Salmon Association, had several semi natural rearing ponds on the river to restock...... they were successful as several returning fin clipped Salmon were caught. It was all done by volunteers and didn't cost NRW a penny....but guess what? The NRW and other…

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