Big Laxa brown trout beats: Satisfactory fishing and a new deal
A good one from the upper beats. Photo by Teitur Örlygsson.
Negotiations between the Angling Club of Reykjavík and the land owners of the famed brown trout fisheries on the big Laxa have agreed a new deal reducing considerably the financial commitment of the Angling Club. With the economic state of affairs in Iceland still pretty critical, this needed to be done to decrease the potential losses of both parties.
Anglers are hoping that the deal will drop the cost of fishing permits and as the ACoR's price list is now in the presses, everyone will soon know if there will be a worthwhile drop. Meanwhile, the fishing last year was pretty good considering that it was known that the rivers periodical downswing has been in motion for three years now. Shortly it is expected to start to swing gradually back up and the coming season might well be the season that the first improvements are seen. There have been signs that point to improvement.
All in all, the Mývatnssveit beats produced 2.016 browns, while the Laxárdal beats produced 883 browns. The difference is usual, the lower beats almost always producing fewer fish, yet normally a higher average weight. Due to the economic strife, only 64% of the rods were in use, so that would add on to the downswing as a factor for a lower catch total than in recent years.
A live one from one of the top producing pools, Geirastaðaskurður. Photo by Jón Eyfjörð.
The good news is that anglers were encountering and catching a lot of smaller brown trout in great condition, while the bigger fish were fewer and in less good shape as is the tradition of the downswing. The smaller browns will be bigger next year and even bigger the next, so Laxá is obviously on the way back.
Less local anglers meant more foreign anglers and with them an increase in dry fly fishing. Locals are more for the upstream nymphing and streamer fishing. Despite this, the Black Ghost, various Nobblers and typical common upstream nymphs such s Hare's Ear and Phesant tail were providing most of the catch. One dry fly to catch the eye is a local freakish fly, called Galdralöpp, or “Magical foot” (!) It looks simple enough but is a slightly complicated fly to tie. It features a sort of spongy body with protruding black rubber legs. It is amazing and the trout cannot leave it alone. We have somewhere a few amateurish pix from last summer of one being tied in the back of a jeep on the riverbank, look us up again because we will put them on the web soon! (hopefully improved!)
As oft in downswing years, huge trout were not forthcoming in the catch. However many really good ones were caught, most of them early on. Quite a few 60 to 66 centimeter browns were caught on both beats. Fish of that size in fair condition are in the region of 6 pounds, or 3 kilos. Not bad that!