The Laxá In Aðaldal, also known as the Big Laxá, translates as “the salmon river in the first valley” and is one of the most famous rivers in Iceland, situated about an hour drive from Akureyri and a ten-minute drive from the town of Húsavík. Originating from the discharge of Lake Mývatn, it draws its name from the valley it runs through on the way to the ocean, in Skjálfandi Bay.
The river gets traditionally divided into three main sections. In the upper reaches around the area of Mývatn, it’s known as the Laxá in Mývatnssveit, as it runs through the Laxárdalur valley, it’s referred to as the Laxá in Laxárdal and then finally the lower reaches, where our fishing is based, the Laxá In Aðaldal.
An enchanting river that fishes consistently well throughout the season, the Laxá In Aðaldal is renowned for being one of the best Trout rivers in Europe and even the world. It produces significant numbers of Brownies, averaging 2lb to 3lb, with a good sprinkling of specimens to over 8lb mixed in. In addition, during the middle part of the season, it’s also possible to catch Atlantic Salmon, as good numbers enter the river.
Throughout the years, the river has faced many challenges. However, it’s still an extremely popular destination amongst travelling rods and is on the bucket list of many freshwater fly fishing anglers.
For Iceland standards, the Laxá In Aðaldal or the Big Laxá, as the name suggests, is a big river, and it carves its way through the rich, green valley and barren areas of old lava, revealing the drama of the past. Throughout its journey, the river takes many different forms, and although in some cases it narrows and the water flow increases, it’s generally characterized by broad, open stretches of calming flowing water. Many of the pools on the waterway are grass banked, with a relatively even bottom; however, there are also areas with intermittent shelves that drop away, creating some fantastic underwater lies. Despite its black lava bottom giving the impression of depth and obscurity, the river is deceptively clear.
The Laxá is considered consistent and fishes well throughout the majority of the year, perhaps except for late August, when the weed formations in the river can sometimes pose a problem. During the beginning of the season, the Brown Trout favour nymphs and streamers, but as the weeks progress and as soon as the Gnats start hatching, it can be pretty ineffective to offer them anything other than a dry fly or an emerger. Small flies are often highly effective, and anglers who can present these neatly and quietly will often yield the best catch results.
To find out more about freshwater fly fishing on the River Laxá In Aðaldal in Iceland, visit our YouTube channel.
The Laxá In Aðaldal is one of Iceland’s most famous fly fishing rivers and was first fished by the Brits at the beginning of the 19th century. Looking back through the river’s history, you will often find black and white images of anglers, clad in tweed, sitting on the banks of the river with large numbers of Salmon over 100cm. Unfortunately, these images are just a thing of the past, and although the river does still produce a good number of Atlantic Salmon, it’s renowned instead for some of the best Brown Trout fishing in the world. Fish of all sizes populate the river, but the main attraction for travelling rods, besides the stunning nature, is the fantastic average size. Brownies between 2lb and 5lb are most common, but fish between 6lb and 8lb are not uncommon, and even bigger specimens get landed each and every season.
One of the reasons why the Brown Trout fishing on the Laxá is so good is the incredible larder of food on offer. The river hosts vast riches of nutrients, gnats & snails, and millions upon millions of Black Fly larvae. Not only do these tiny insects constitute one of the rivers most essential food sources, but they are also responsible for sifting substances from the water, keeping it clean and healthy.
All of these things combined are, in part, responsible for giving the Laxá In Aðaldal the title of Iceland’s most fertile river and for producing some of the healthiest, hardest fighting Trout found anywhere on the planet.
Regarding the rivers in Iceland, the Laxá In Aðaldal is a relatively large and reasonably powerful river. However, the majority of the fishing can still be performed with single-handed rods and floating lines. The water is deceptively clear, and sight fishing is possible and often the prefered method. However, when approaching any fishy looking pools or stretches of river, you must do so with great caution to not spook any of the residents below the surface.
An extraordinary river with a tremendous amount of character, increasing numbers of travelling rods fall victim to Aðaldal addiction each year. So, to get the very best out of your holiday, a guide is essential. A guide can often be the difference between catching and not, so our package on the Laxá is based on two rods and is fully guided, including a car and fuel, with two anglers per guide.
Typical Fishing Day
7.30 Guide pick up and start fishing
13.00 Stop for lunch and back to the lodge.
16.00 Afternoon fishing
22.00 Finish fishing and back to the lodge
22:30 Evening meal and drinks
The Brekka Guesthouse is located in the northeastern part of Iceland between lake Mývatn and the small town of Húsavík, the perfect spot for travelling rods which are fishing the Laxá In Aðaldal.
The guesthouse offers an array of accommodation, with 41 rooms in total, most of which are en-suite. There’s also a selection of cabins that feature kitchens and shared facilities.
– Seventeen double/twin rooms with private facilities (Some of these rooms have three beds and are very roomy; many have an extra bed and can, in fact, host four people.)
– Six double rooms with shared facilities
– One family room with a double bed, bunk bed, and a living room.
The Brekka Guesthouse features a restaurant on-site and serves a range of delicious food to keep you well fuelled throughout your trip.
Every morning before you start your fishing day, a continental style buffet breakfast is served. For lunch, the kitchen will prepare a pack-up that can be taken and enjoyed by the river and finally, in the evening, a quality three-course menu is on offer, consisting of two choices of starters, three main courses, and a house-baked dessert. Much of the food is quality, locally sourced table fare.
There is a strict policy in Iceland that visiting anglers must have their fishing tackle sterilised before entering the country, which is something a veterinary surgeon can easily perform. They can then provide you with a certificate and a signed inventory of what has been sterilised, which will need presenting to the customs officers at the airport. The most critical items to be treated are rods, reel/line, waders and flies.
Another and more convenient alternative before entering the country is handing your fishing equipment over to customs officers at arrival. They will then be able to disinfect your tackle for you. This takes around 15-20 minutes and costs approximately €40 per person.
The below itinerary is flexible should you require additional fishing days or additional free days to explore; we can tailor this itinerary to suit you personally. Feel free to talk to our travel consultants who can explain all options available.
Depart UK (alternative routes available)
Once you arrive in Keflavik and have collected your bags you’ll need to take a taxi and transfer to your overnight accommodation.
Overnight Accommodation: Airport Hotel (Twin Room) B/B
After breakfast at the hotel, you’ll need to taxi to Reykjavik airport.
Once in Akureyri, you’ll be met by a representative from Laxá In Aðaldal who will transfer you to the lodge. The journey from Akureyri Airport to Laxá In Aðaldal is around 50 minutes.
Once at the lodge you’ll need to unpack and get ready for the first half a day of fishing. Fishing starts at 16:00 (15:00 after August 10th) on arrival day.
Overnight Accommodation: Brekka Guesthouse (Single Room) F/B
For the next 3 days, you’ll be fishing the delightful Laxá In Aðaldal. It offers a wide range of diverse waterways for you to wet a fly.
It features numerous quality Trout and Salmon beats and a selection of beautiful pools.
Overnight Accommodation: Brekka Guesthouse (Single Room) F/B
After breakfast, you’ll head out for half a days fishing, fishing until 12.00 pm.
After fishing, a representative from Laxá In Aðaldal will transfer you to Akureyri airport ready for your flight home.
The journey from Laxá In Aðaldal to Akureyri Airport is around 50 minutes.
Once you arrive in Reykjavik and have collected your bags you’ll need to take a taxi and transfer to your overnight accommodation.
Overnight Accommodation: Airport Hotel (Twin Room) B/B
After breakfast, you’ll need to transfer to Keflavik airport ready for your flight home.
Average Customer Satisfaction Score 91%
"Unfortunately, we didn't manage any Salmon, but the numbers of Trout and Char we caught more than made up for it. Iceland is a true gem of a fly fishing destination and I would thoroughly recommend it to any fellow fly fishing angler who's debating taking a trip out there. I'll certainly be back next year, perhaps on a different river or even Lake Thingvallavatn."
"The Laxá was very kind to us this time around and the fish were very willing to feed. I think we averaged between 8 and 10 Trout per day, with some really nice sized fish mixed in. The biggest I landed was a lovely specimen of 5lb, whilst I also witnessed a giant of over 7lb landed while I was there."
"The trip was that good I've already booked to go back! The rivers are set in some stunning surroundings and there's an abundance of water to which you can wet a fly on. Despite fishing in some slightly unfavourable conditions our guide was extremely knowledgeable and managed to put us on fish every day of our trip."
The season runs from July to September.
Season: July to September
Weight: 1lb to 10lb
Average Weight: 3lb
Season: July to Septmber
Weight: 5lb to 25lb
Average Weight: 15lb
Remember that Sportquest Holidays' services are completely FREE! When you book a trip with Sportquest Holidays, you never pay more than when you book directly with the lodge and flights independently.
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Prices are based on one adult in single room accommodation fishing 1 rod (unless otherwise stated) and are correct at the time of going to press. Subject to time of year or date and currency fluctuations, these prices may fluctuate slightly due to flight price increases or fuel surcharges.
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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.
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