Dramatic canyons and big salmon are a feature of Stora Laxa. Photo Gunnar Örlygsson.
Stora Laxa is a medium volume river originating in the central south highlands and winding its way towards the glacial Hvita far inland. It is a long way home for the Atlantic salmon but that in itself has never stopped an Atlantic salmon. Stora Laxa is a hugely dramatic river for most of its length as the river ploughs through deep sheer canyons amidst some amazing cliff sculptures. It is a memorable river even if you don’t hook up with a salmon.
16 pounder stays patient for the photo. Photo Gunnar Örlygsson.
Stora Laxa breaks up into three beats with a total of ten daily rods. Each beat has a self catering lodge. At the bottom, beats 1 and 2 were combined with four rods some years ago. The upper part of the beat is a low canyon with a string of pools, and then, for over the final few kilometers, a slow moving flow with many long cut bank pools fished from the lower gravel bank. The middle beat is traditionly called beat 3. It is a two rod beat consisting of two canyons and a flat section in between. The top beat is a four rod beat known as beat 4. It is challenging and dramatic with its long and deep canyons. It requires lots of hiking and climbing. Anglers on the beat need to be fit.
One of the major pools, Kalfhagahylur on beat 2. Photo Þórir Björnsson.
Each of the beats has its separate lodge and they are for self catering. They are good solid buildings with outdoor hot tubs on the verandas. They are beautifully set with great views over the river.