Breiddalsa is a pretty substantial river by volume emerging from the east coast mountains. On its own it is a real river but the tributary Tinnudalsa adds to the volume and from then on many indeed prefer double handed rods. Not so though above the junction. Breiddalsa is a good solid river with a high average weight and a high mws versus grilse ratio. Plus, its surroundings are something else and anglers really need to see it to believe it. We have here a lush fertile farmland valley embraced by the most scenic and awesome mountain ranges complete with the sort of craggy tops that they in fact resemble troops of trolls watching over the valley and its anglers.
Beautilful run on Tinnudalsa. Photo by Heimir Óskarsson.
The upper Breiddalsá is unblemished fly water. One pool after another, the length of the upper valley, and if it is not enough that most if not all the pools offer the chance of a brisk salmon bolting after your fly, add to it that most of the pools hold good sized brown trout as well. You may need to fish a little further down to find them, or try the top of the run. Whichever and even both ways, they are there and if you wish to find them you will because they are plentiful and offer great sport alongside the salmon.
Breiddalsá has a very healthy mws versur grilse ratio. The photos give an example.
Enter Tinnudalsa, or Tinna. Tinna is a beautiful river that for the most of its fishable part pours through a birch covered canyon with a series of white water runs ending in enticing glides and mirrors were more often than not you will be able to spot the salmon you are casting for instead of the blind “cast, fish through, two steps, cast again” tactic some rivers need. Tinna is a joy and often holds the systems biggest salmon. Many of its pools are of rare beauty. If you go there, check out Stapabreiða and Bryggjuhylur and tell us that we are exaggerating.
Below the junction the river keeps the Breiddalsa name and by now it is a big river by Icelandic salmon river standards. Many of the main pools are best combed with double handed rods although given the weather is at least fair, a single handed rod will do. There are some classic holding pools on this section, Skammadalsbreiða probably being the top of them but also worth noting are Einarshylur, Gljúfrahylur, Gljúfrið and both the Beljandi pools. Upper Beljandi is a falls that needed a fish ladder. The huge pool below is often crammed with fish. Below the lower Beljandi, which is a far lesser falls, there is the classic hitch pool Möggusteinn.
Little word was heard from Breiddalsa’s banks until Þröstur Elliðason, a pioneer in smolt releasing schemes leased the river. Under his guidance, the river, which mustered perhaps 250 to 300 fish during absolute top seasons, has moved into the class of producing up to a thousand salmon in a single season. He is aiming higher and Breiðdalsá’s reputation has risen be the year. Breiðdalsá is generally not a difficult river but in some places you’d do well to be on your guard while wading as it is a big river with a strong flow. It is fished with 6 to 8 rods and the full service lodge is in all respects one of the very best in the country. During the spring months anglers fish for sea char and stay at the lodge on a self catering basis.