Atlantic Salmon are anadromous, which means they can live in both fresh and saltwater. They start their relatively complex life by hatching in streams and rivers before moving out to sea as they grow and mature, after which the adult fish seasonally move upstream to freshwater again to spawn. The Atlantic Salmon is considered a very healthy food fish and, amongst many, the pinnacle of freshwater fly fishing.
Atlantic salmon are the largest species in their genus, and after two years at sea, the fish can average around 8lb to 12lb in weight, but specimens that spend four or more winters feeding at sea can be much more significant. An Atlantic salmon netted in 1960 in Scotland, in the estuary of the river Hope, weighed 109lb, the heaviest recorded in all available literature. The average size of this species is between 8lb to 12lb; however, it is still possible to catch smaller Salmon around the 4lb mark right through to fish of a lifetime over 40lb.
The diet of the Salmon is varied, depending on habitat. The fish in the ocean prefer capelin as their meal of choice, whereas the fish in rivers can also be predatory but prefer a diet of caddisflies, blackflies, mayflies, and stoneflies. For the freshwater fly angler, all of the latter work brilliantly as flies; anglers mainly cast downstream, then allow the fly line to swing the fly across the current and river towards the bank. In terms of freshwater fly fishing, the Atlantic Salmon reign supreme; they may be rare in the wild but provide the fly angler with a tremendous challenge.
Below are the top destinations in the world for Atlantic Salmon Fishing.
This Sportquest Holidays exclusive offers travelling rods the chance to fish some of the most picturesque and productive freshwater fly fishing rivers in all of Iceland. Our beats, located in the northern part of the country, offer two days of quality fishing on each of the Laxá In Aðaldal, Reykjadalsa & Mýrarkvísl Rivers.
The Vatnsdalsá River is one of the most famous Salmon rivers in Iceland and is renowned for the size of fish it produces. Located in the country's North West, approximately three hours drive from Reykjavik, it flows for over forty kilometres and offers a vast array of quality pools and beats. It produces between 700 and 1,200 Salmon each season, with a healthy average size.
The Laxá In Aðaldal, also known as the Big Laxá, is one of the most famous rivers in Iceland. An enchanting river that fishes consistently well throughout the season, it's renowned for being one of the best Trout rivers in Europe and even the world, producing significant numbers of Brownies, averaging 2lb to 3lb, with a good sprinkling of specimens to over 8lb.
The River Lónsá is situated in northeast Iceland amid the Langanes Peninsula and is a name renowned amongst the freshwater fly fishing community. The Lónsá is home to an abundant healthy population of Brown Trout and is also considered one of the very best rivers in Iceland to target and catch the beautiful, elusive Arctic Char.
The Reykjadalsa river, in the northern part of Iceland, is a tributary of the lower section of the Big Laxá I Adaldal and is known as one of the countries best wild Trout and Char rivers. Renowned as a surface fishing and dry fly anglers paradise, it produces high volumes of fish, and it hasn’t been unusual for the river to produce over 3,000 Trout per year.
The Mýrarkvísl Lodge is situated on the banks of the delightful Mýrarkvísl river, the lowest tributary of the Laxá I Aðaldal on the northern coast of Iceland, around 400 kilometres from Reykjavik. It offers a wide range of diverse waterways for anglers to wet a fly and is famed for its numerous quality Trout and Salmon beats, pools and even a lake.
Namsentunet Lodge, one of Norway’s most exclusive Atlantic Salmon and Sea Trout fishing retreats, is nestled on the banks of the famous river Namsen, affectionately known as the ‘Queen of Rivers’. The Namsen is famed for its huge Salmon, and each year, good numbers of 40-45lb fish get landed by travelling rods.
The Stangnes Lodge on the Lakselv River was, built in the summer of 2019, is a self-catering Lodge designed for single fishermen or small groups looking for an independent fishing schedule. It offers travelling freshwater fly fishing anglers five private, single bank beats of varying lengths and some world-class Atlantic Salmon fishing.
The Belousiha River is one of the most famous Salmon rivers in Russia and one which is well known and regarded amongst adventurous travelling freshwater fly fishing anglers. Located in the extreme northwest of Russia on the Kola Peninsula, one of the largest Peninsula's in Europe, it's a relatively small but exquisite looking river set amidst spectacular and changing scenery.
Olderø Lodge on the Lakselv is an authentic piece of fly fishing paradise in the land of the midnight sun. With a vast array of different beats, easy wading, two-handed fly fishing, world-class guides and first-class accommodation, it's no surprise that the destination is now at the very top of many freshwater fly fishing anglers wishlists.
Austnes Salmon Lodge on the Verdalselva River offers travelling freshwater fly fishing anglers the chance to sample some of the best Atlantic Salmon fishing found anywhere in Norway. The Lodge provides visiting rods with a varied week of fishing with five different zones, four of which are exclusive, spread over 2000m of prime Salmon holding habitat.
The West Ranga Lodge provides the most prolific Atlantic Salmon fly fishing in the whole of Iceland. This river system which is spring-fed ensure that it very rarely is out of condition. Combine this with first-class accommodation, guiding & operation and you have the perfect Atlantic Salmon fly fishing destination in Iceland.
What makes camp Bonaventure so unique and special is it gives you the opportunity to fish for Atlantic Salmon in some of the most clearest and pristine waters of the world. If that was not enough it is also one of the best places to sight fish for Atlantic Salmon with fish ranging anywhere between 10lb to 40lb.
Reisastua Lodge on the Reisa River has a reputation for big Salmon that are caught annually here weighing around 20 kg. So if you are looking to set a record, the Reisa River may be the right place for you, just ask Scott Mackenzie who has caught his last 3 personal best Atlantic Salmon with us.
Winsnes Lodge on the River Guala is a great destination for any Salmon angler wishing to experience a well run Salmon river. The Gaula River appears in the top five rivers in Norway most years for its regular catch statistic’s and Winsnes Lodge is a very large contributor to these statistics.
The Salmon Lodge sits on the banks of the world-famous Grand Cascapedia and offers you the best chances of catching Atlantic Salmon in Québec’s famous Gaspé Peninsula. One advantage of this lodge is the access to three famous rivers offering you the opportunity of some huge fish over 40lb while fishing in the middle of exceptional scenery.
Average Customer Satisfaction Score 90%
"By reading the reports and information online it didn't seem that the Reisastua was the most prolific Salmon fishing river, but it looked beautiful and there was a chance of a true giant, so that was good enough for us. During our week we managed a Salmon each, with one at 16lb and one at 22lb, which we were more than happy with. The lodge was very good and the staff were very friendly."
"I must admit the fishing was more challenging than I had expected, however some of that is down to my experience. Fishing these Norwegian Rivers is quite different from Scotland. However, I must say with all the help and support from your staff they soon had my lines, leader, flies and my presentation sorted. Result a cracking 19lb fresh Atlantic Salmon. I was so so happy."
"I was very impressed with the Resisastua Lodge, all the staff were incredibly welcoming and the guides working the river were very knowledgeable. The river conditions were a little off, BUT I was still lucky enough to land a cracking chrome giant which topped the scales at a few ounces over 25lb. Two weeks on and I'm still reliving the moment in my head - I'll definitely be back."