“PICK IT UP AND CAST AGAIN,” SAID ELVAR
Fridriksson, eyes focused on the eddying river. My guide spoke firmly; his instruction cut through the wind. Absent from his tone was the frustration I felt from stripping my fly and recasting the stout seven-weight, single-handed rod for what seemed like the hundredth time. Fridriksson was patient as only one could be who spent most of his life fishing and guiding Icelandic rivers abundant with North Atlantic salmon.
Our day on the West Coast of the Nordic island nation began with calm winds, bluebird skies and unseasonably warm temperatures. As the morning progressed, however, a cold front produced heavy rains and raging wind. The change made it perfect weather for salmon fishing but challenging for a burgeoning salmon fisherman like me.
This wasn’t my first trip to Iceland, nor was it my first attempt at salmon fishing. (I wrote about my travels there in the Spring 2018 issue of this publication.) My experiences pursuing this amazing fish reinforced my desire to transform myself into a salmon fisherman—and not just an angler fishing for salmon.
“Your cast must be perfect,” insisted Fridriksson, clearly sensing my frustration after another errant cast. “These fish aren’t eating, they strike for reasons that aren’t completely known, but you need to work the water in a systematic manner and ultimately get the fly right where they can see it. You need to make them angry.”
Standing in the unspoiled, icy reaches of the Haffjarðará River, I was moved by the beauty of the surroundings and reminded of the importance of our natural environment. The Haffjarðará also happens to be one of Iceland’s most prolific salmon fisheries.
Originating at Lake Oddastaðavatn and running south to the sea, the Haffjarðará meanders through lava fields, desolate stretches and dramatic outcrops. It has been a fly-only river for decades and is extremely well managed; its annual catch numbers (during the last five years averaging nearly 1,600 salmon caught on three beats) prove the effectiveness of catch and release.
I am grateful to my friend Chad Pike for giving me the opportunity to fish the Haffjarðará. Pike is an expert fly fisherman and conservationist. He and his wife Blake are the driving force behind Eleven Experience, an adventure travel company with 10 properties around the globe customized for a variety of pursuits. Conde Nast Traveler recently named Pike one of 48 people changing the way we travel.
Continue reading your story on the app
Continue reading your story in the magazine
The James River Makes A Comeback
“America’s Founding River ” wins an international award for river-basin management and restoration.
THROUGH THE EYES OF LENSMAN AND ALPINIST JIMMY CHIN
Creating Habitat to Save the Bobwhite Quail
PRIVATE AND PUBLIC LANDS CAN DO MORE FOR QUAIL—AND OTHER WILDLIFE
VIRGINIA'S COMEBACK KID
It was the last Friday in March. With winter behind us, spring had finally made an appearance. The air was crisp and fresh. The valley was expansive and lined with gold.
A Tribute to Orri Vigfússon, The Greatest Friend Wild Atlantic Salmon Could Ever Have
“SOME STORIES: LESSONS FROM THE EDGE OF BUSINESS AND SPORT”
Patagonia Releases New Book Featuring Yvon Chouinard ’s Iconic Storytelling, Favorite Writings and Life Lessons
BONEFISH & TARPON TRUST'S TARPON ACOUSTIC TAGGING PROJECT
Multi-Year Study Aims to Better Understand Tarpon Movement and Habitat Use
A Pristine And Abundant Environment
Fishing options cover the waterfront at The Ford Plantation in coastal Georgia
Speed And Innovation In The America's Cup
Visitors are looking up to the Mariners’ Museum and Park’s New exhibition
Tyler Childers Stays True To His Roots
Tyler Childers stays true to his roots
Into the Denmark Strait
A bristlingly cold gale whipped across the silvery North Atlantic and up the narrow fjord.
See the world through the viewfinder of one of the world’s foremost adventure photographers.
The new Ford F150 Arctic truck goes for a shakedown run in Iceland
Whether landscapes or wildlife, airline liveries tell a story from nose to tail.
THE GREAT RESTAURANT REINVENTION
HOW BALTIMORE RESTAURANTS ARE PIVOTING IN THE PANDEMIC
SOME LIKE IT HOT...SOME PREFER NOT
When the promise of Caribbean sunburns and crowds have lost their luster, it may be time to head for cooler climates further north.
15 Foods That Are Mood Boosters
What do you do when feeling stressed or feeling down? Head straight to the refrigerator or snack cupboard to consume everything in sight? You’re not alone.
WILD & FREE
Many will disagree with Izaak Walton’s statement, “As no man is born an artist, so no man is born an angler.”
Land of Lights
Iceland is actually about 90% ice-free – and 100% charming
Iceland’s unlikely agricultural success