A big sea trout, 9-10 pounds, has succumbed. It was later put back in. Photo gg.
Vatnsa is a work of art chiseled by nature’s powers which consistently surprise people with their eternal diversities. It is a small river by volume although late season and autumn rains often bolster it. But the landscape looks like something out of an elfish adventure. And with pools full of salmon and sea trout it is easy to get lost in its solitude.
Vatnsa is a mere three kilometers and has been fished with two daily rods recently. Yet it is fair to say that they hardly ever get the chance to cover the length of the river over the space of a single day when the fish are in. If you take the day and pack a lunch you may easily though walk the length of the river but at times you’ll have to kick yourself out of some of the pools to keep going as it is simply to inviting to stay a little longer and try yet another fly over the pack of salmon at hand!
Lovely wide pool Kárabólshylur. Photo gg.
The first few hundred yards from the lake are even closed to anglers as the owner keeps the stretch to himself. That part mostly holds good size brown trout plus some salmon. But the main fishing area starts just off the small comfortable self catering lodge with the pool Frúarhylur. A pool that is historically stacked with fish. From then on, there are salmon and sea trout holding in every pool, every run, mirror and eddy. And in some places you can hardly see the bottom due to the massive carpet of salmon.
A big sea trout has made a rush for the fly. Photo Terje Bromann Larsen
Vatnsa has always been a popular river with a modest stock of salmon and a run of sea trout that used to drive fast into the lake only to come back down close to the spawning season. It is a fertile river. A season total would run anywhere from 40 to 150 salmon with sea trout numbers more consistent and usually ranging from 150 to 250. Huge sea trout were a feature but they were seldom caught in the river as they tended to drive through to the lake by night. They have often fallen to anglers on the lake, some weighing 20 to 25 pounds no less!
A pod of salmon in a back eddy. Photo Terje Bromann Larsen
But several years ago Swiss fish farmer Rudy Lamprecht purchased key properties and took control of the river. He has since enhanced the river hugely with a smolt releasing scheme that has taken the river from producing 150 salmon at best to yielding up to one thousand salmon in a single season! Since 2007 there have been availabilities and openings for anglers late in the season and it appears that in the future it will be the same.
There are some vierd looking pools on Vatnsa This is Hruni. Photo Terje Bromann Larsen
There are some strict rules for Vatnsa. It is Iceland’s only river to banish barbed hooks. All female salmon must be released as must all male salmon over 70 cm. And as you are only allowed to kill two cock fish under 70 cm you might well find yourself releasing a lot of grilse cocks as well.
The lodge is good and comfortable. It has three bedrooms and is self catering. It is also within walking distance of several of the rivers best pools such as Frúarhylur, Kárabólshylur, Horn, Svörtuloft and Slagbjörn. Some changes are up and coming for the coming seasons and it is expected that the third rod will be put in.