Nordura 1



A beautiful specimen. Actually two beautiful specimens! Photo Heimir Óskarsson.

Nordura runs through the Borgarfjordur region in the central west of Iceland. It is one of several tributaries to the glacial Hvita and is consisently among the very best salmon rivers in Iceland. By Icelandic standards it is a slightly larger than medium river in volume, yet most of it is very accessable and relatively easy to fish. Early on, double handed rods might come in handy but as the season wears on, single handed rods are a must plus small flies and low number lines. Due to frequent windy conditions, heavier rigs should be taken along as well.

Norðurá, Hrefna Ósk

More of the same as above. Photo Ragnheiður Thorsteinsson.

Nordura has some 150 recognized pools although some of them fade during the common high season draughts. The river is fished with 14 rods, 8 to 12 of them on the main beats at varying times of the season. The beat Nordura 2 which also varies according to the time of season, is a three rod beat with a seperate self catering lodge.


The beauty is everywhere. Photo Heimir Óskarsson.

Nordura is often fondly known in Icelandic as „Norðurá – fegurst áa“ or „Nordura – the most beautiful of rivers“. While that may be debatable as there are scores of beautiful rivers in Iceland it does give an indication of the surroundings and quality of the pools and fishing. In the uppermost areas the river meanders through vast uninhabited moorlands, finally dropping from the highland into a lush lovely valley, full of handsome farmsteads and rimmed with craggy basalt mountains. Just about in the middle of the valley a not to old volcanic crater and it‘s craggy lava field puts it‘s mark on the surroundings, hemming the river into a unique scenery and to top it off, the lava field is heavily wooded. It‘s no surprise actually that a small hidden glen just below the Glanni falls has been rightly names Paradís, which needs no translating.


Nordura is poetry. Photo Heimir Óskarsson.

Nordura has two major falls that affect the runs. Both have fish ladders but when the water gets low, Glanni tends to become something of an obstacle while the salmon freely run past the ladder in Laxfoss, the lower falls. The lower part of the river is particularly picturesque with the river running strongly through a woodland canyon with some of the most beautiful and inviting pools you will come across anywhere.


Dramatic scenery at Laxfoss. Photo Heimir Óskarsson.

Norðurá is a brilliant fly fishing river. Many of the pools are straight forward while others are more technical, thus the river is a good blend between easy and challenging.

Gylfi og Mjöll með lax úr Norðurá

A grilse for the barbecue.

Also of note, most of the run is good size grilse. There are runs of bigger salmon early in the season as is common in Iceland but the size of these runs varies. In 2008 they were pretty healthy while in 2007 they were not. That is something never foreseen as mws-salmon have been ailing in Iceland just like most other Atlantic salmon countries. 2008 though saw a positive shift.


A fine salmon is measured before being rleased. Photo Heimir Óskarsson.

Nordura allows spinning during a brief spell early in the season. Apart from that the river is fly fishing only and there is a release clause for all salmon of 70 cm or bigger as anglers make an attempt to save the mws‘s.

Nordura has one of the better full service lodges in Iceland and has recently been updated and refurbished. It sits atop a woodland hill. Overlooking the beautiful Laxfoss.