Midfjardara sea char
A nice char is landed. Photo by Jón Eyfjörð.
One of Iceland’s leading salmon rivers and the one most name foremost for its remarkable variety. That should not come as a surprise as the river consists of three major tributaries, all of whom are prolific salmon rivers. Together they make up Midfjardara.
All the tributaries stem from the fertile moorlands that connect the north with the central west. This wilderness is so full of untouched trout lakes and streams that you could go farther and find less. But as a result the rivers are all very fertile and up to the task of fostering salmon stocks.
Austura originates in the lake Arnarvatn stora, which is one of Iceland’s most famous trout lakes. In the highlands Austura is an excellent trout river. Further down comes Valsfoss and that stops the salmon. Following a short but picturesque canyon the river meanders along a broad uninhabited valley until narrowing down and plummeting into a dramatic gorge, the Austurargljufur. At the head of it; Kambsfoss which until a decade ago was as far as the salmon could get. The canyon is full of beautiful enticing pools but it is challenging water and requires walking, wading and climbing.
Another fine fish braught to the beach. Photo by Jón Eyfjörð.
Eventually Austura mingles with Nupsa, the smallest of the tributaries. The pair hold on to the Austura name until Vestura enters from the west and from then on it is Midfjardara. Vestura has very long beats reaching into the interior wilderness where the solitude is total. There are some canyons lower down the river and they have some picturesque pools and runs.
Midfjardará itself is rather slow and undramatic as far as the surroundings are concerned. The quality of the pools weigh it up however. They are for the most part, long cut bank pools with holding water everywhere and anywhere.
The sea char beat is furthest down the river, the final 2 to 3 kilometers from just above the road bridge and to the estuary. The river branches in two at the bridge and while the west branch takes around two thirds of the water, the char are caught in both branches and there is always a good chance of enhanching the catch with salmon running through the beat for the upper beats. In good years several dozen salmon are caught and a few hundred char plus the odd sea trout. The beat is fished with three daily rods and it has its own separate self catering lodge. It is sold on a day by day basis, so it is possible to take a single day, just as it is popular for longer stays.