The River Lónsá is situated in northeast Iceland amid the Langanes Peninsula or the “long peninsula” as it’s known, about two and a half hours from Akureyri and five minutes from the small fishing village of Raufarhöfn. It’s a relatively small river and starts its journey tumbling over the lava boulders in the south before slightly widening, weaving its way through the grasslands in the north and emptying into the Greenland Sea. A name renowned amongst the freshwater fly fishing community, the Lónsá is home to healthy stocks of Brown Trout and Arctic Char, which attract travelling rods from all over Europe. At the right time of year, the river is also home to a handful of Atlantic Salmon, which can often be seen, but rarely caught.
A pearl of the Langanes Peninsula, the Lónsá is fishable along its entire length and is one of the best sight fishing rivers in Iceland, and for much of the time, the fishing gets conducted at very close quarters. Those who have tried this exciting way of fishing on the river describe it as being like nothing else they’ve experienced before. The river isn’t necessarily the most prolific, but generally, it produces over 500 Brown Trout and Arctic Char per year and a few Salmon.
Anglers who visit the Lónsá River also have access to five different lakes, which are in close vicinity of its banks or connected to it and offer ample fly fishing opportunities. The most famous of which is Sauðaneslón Lagoon, which the river passes before reaching the Greenland Sea.
During the early part of the season, the fishing on the Lónsá gets primarily focused around the estuary section of the river, as here the fish gather to feed heavily of the fresh influx of baitfish and shrimp. This early springtime fishing can be incredible, as the fish often get found in great numbers, are very willing to feed and can be caught at close quarters.
As the fish feed up and strengthen, they begin to make their journey up the river around the start of July. The run varies a little each year but is usually sometime within the first couple of weeks of the month when the temperature of the ocean and weather conditions are just right. Chasing the first run of fish as they populate into the pools can be a fantastic thrill and experience, as many of the fish at this time of year tend to be bigger and in peak condition. This run of fish continues throughout the summer, peaking in August.
While this activity is happening in and around the estuaries, the upper sections of the river are still well worth fishing, and the wily, resident Brown Trout can be targeted using dry flies, nymphs and streamers.
With access to two main tributaries, a selection of lakes and an expansive estuary and lagoon system, it’s possible to enjoy an exhilarating and varied four days of fishing.
Despite being renowned as a first-class Trout fishery, the river is incredibly popular amongst anglers wishing to target and catch Arctic Char, and it gets widely recognised as one of the best fisheries in the country for precisely this.
As the name suggests, the Char is a cold-water fish native to alpine lakes and arctic and subarctic coastal waters, and no other freshwater fish gets found as far north. The fish on the Lónsá weigh, on average, between 1lb to 3lb; however, larger specimens do get hooked and landed every season. Despite not growing to epic proportions, they’re among the most beautiful and elusive fish to catch and are on the bucket list of many freshwater fly anglers worldwide. Once hooked, they will put up an electrifying struggle, sometimes even to the death.
As a species, they mainly feed on a varied diet of insects found on the water’s surface, salmon eggs, snails and other smaller crustaceans, switching to zooplankton and freshwater shrimps in the cooler months and the fish on the Lónsá are no different. In great numbers, they pile out of the estuaries into the rivers gorging themselves on tiny clear shrimps, insects, and crabs.
To find out more about freshwater fly fishing on the Lónsá River in Iceland, visit our YouTube channel.
With the Lónsá River being relatively small and reasonably shallow, except for the lakes and lagoons, all the fishing can be performed with single-handed rods and floating lines. During the first part of the season, the fishing is best with classic nymphs and streamers, and as the summer progresses, dry flies become increasingly popular and effective.
Although the Lónsá is not a big river, it can occasionally be pretty tricky to fish, and a guide is essential to ensure you get the very best out of your holiday. A guide can often be the difference between catching and not, so our package on the Lónsá 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 fishing on the Lónsá River is exclusive to our lodge and only allows two rods per week from April to June and then four rods per week from June to October.
Nestled amid Langanes Peninsula, on the far reaches of one of Iceland’s most remote corners, you will find the Ytra Lón Farm & Retreat – the perfect accommodation for those travelling rods fishing the Lónsá River.
The Ytra Lón Farm & Retreat offers studio apartments equipped with a bathroom, kitchen and everything you need for a comfortable stay.
Outside it offers a patio area with an array of garden furniture, a hot tub with massage jets and even a cold tub, all of which are perfect for relaxing after a productive day fly fishing.
The retreat may be remote but still offers high-speed internet access throughout all buildings.
Breakfast usually consists of a delicious Icelandic buffet with local and homemade produce, including delicious smoked meat, fish and rhubarb preserves.
Packed lunches are provided and can be taken out on the water, meaning you can fish all day.
The restaurant serves a range of hearty meals for dinner, from organic Lamb from their farm or plump Trout from the surrounding lakes.
In the evening, the Ytra Lón bar welcomes guests to enjoy a drink and exchange stories from their day and tales of ‘the ones that got away’.
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 Ytra Lón Farm & Retreat is not only popular with anglers, but also bird watchers, hikers and seekers of solitude. The area of Langanes boasts the third largest gannet nesting site globally, and it’s also home to thousands of Kittiwakes, Puffins and Guillemots. These birds fly in every year from May to June, congregating along the towering cliffs to breed.
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 (Single 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 the Lónsá River who will transfer you to the lodge. The journey from Akureyri Airport to Ytra Lón Farm & Retreat is around 3 hours.
Once at the lodge you can unpack, relax and get ready for the next day of fishing.
Overnight Accommodation: Ytra Lón Farm & Retreat (Single Room) F/B
For the next 3 days, you’ll be fishing the delightful Lónsá River.
It features numerous quality Trout fishing beats and a selection of beautiful pools, and a couple of lakes. It’s also known as one of the best Arctic Char fisheries in Iceland.
Overnight Accommodation: Ytra Lón Farm & Retreat (Single room) F/B
After breakfast, a representative from the Lónsá River will transfer you to Akureyri airport ready for your flight home.
The journey from Ytra Lón Farm & Retreat to Akureyri Airport is around 3 hours.
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 (Single Room) B/B
After breakfast, you’ll need to transfer to Keflavik airport ready for your flight home.
Average Customer Satisfaction Score 91%
"From start to finish my trip to the River Lónsá in Iceland was brilliant. Me and my fishing buddy landed lots of fish including Trout and Char. The river is very intimate and took some working out, approaching with caution and being quiet would be the best tip I can give anyone fishing there. Fishing guide Matti was first class and it was a pleasure to spend time in his company."
"I fly fish regularly in the UK and have always wanted a trip overseas so I thought I'd dip my toe in the water with a trip to Iceland. After reading and researching online I opted for the Lónsá River. I wasn't disappointed and the trip went way above my expectations, the fishing, guides, staff and accommodation were all fantastic. I'm already looking for next year and perhaps a trip to slightly warmer climes."
"I normally travel and fish in Iceland at least once a year and always like exploring somewhere new. The Lónsá River appealed to me as it is relatively small, intimate and a little more off the grid than some other destinations. It was everything I was expecting and more and I enjoyed a truly fantastic, ultra chilled week fishing its banks."
The season runs from April to October.
Season: April to October
Weight: 1lb to 8lb
Average Weight: 2lb
Season: April to October
Weight: 1lb to 5lb
Average Weight: 2lb
Season: April to October
Weight: 3lb to 20lb
Average Weight: 6lb
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.
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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