Time: 9:00AM – 10:30AM
Location: Honey Hole
My last morning in Iceland featured a trip to the Laxa River. The location was named the honey hole, and the structure of the river was quite different from the section I fished on my second day. The river was a bit higher than normal and discolored to a green tinge. In spite of this, visibility remained decent. Gilbert chose the spot because it was in a protected canyon with vertical rock walls on both sides of the river. Our 1.5 hours of fishing were confined to a narrow ribbon of slow water next to the rapid torrent that represented the main branch. The air temperature was fifty degrees F, but the wind was once again a huge factor. The protection of the canyon was essential to my ability to fish effectively.
Gilbert started off with a cased caddis larva and a guide’s choice pheasant tail along with a twist-on Thingamabobber. I started at the bottom of the V-shaped ribbon of water along the left bank and began casting upstream in order to cover the area between the bank and the fast water current seam which expanded from five feet to twelve feet at the bottom. The tail area failed to deliver results, so Gilbert swapped the guide’s choice for a beadhead pink San Juan worm. I cast the double rig to the middle third, and the indicator dipped, so I set and felt an immovable object. Gilbert warned me about getting too close to the bank rocks, so I uttered some malicious words and gave the rod to him, as he is expert at removing snags. He very stealthily moved along the bank away from the river to get away from the “snag”, but after two tugs of the rod, the tip vibrated, and he felt the weight of a fish. He quickly handed the rod to me, and I battled an eighteen inch brown trout. It was a team effort all the way.
Upon the release I continued drifting the middle section, and once again the indicator dove, and I lifted for a hook set. This “rock” seemed heavier and more immovable than the first. I attempted to lift several times with no success, so once again I passed the rod to Gilbert, the fly extractor. Gilbert also raised up on the rod to assure himself of a snag, and then he advanced to a position above and beside the bound flies. He began his usual ploy of casting above and lifting, and suddenly the rod bent, and the object moved! In this case a huge fish surfaced and then escaped. Gilbert swore it was 22 -23 inches with a tail that looked like a shovel.
We took some deep breaths and continued working the relatively narrow area, and I landed more spectacular browns. One cleared the magical twenty inch and 50 CM mark, and the other was an impressive, thick specimen. The last fish made moves to the fast water, the rocks and the tail; but I was able to control it within the boundaries of the small area. After the third brown trout I continued fishing with some casts to the upper third, and I generated a momentary hookup with another quite large trout. I caught a glimpse, as the brown trout elevated toward the surface after my quick hookset. Gilbert viewed it as well, and he was convinced that it was the large “rock” that escaped earlier or another one of similar proportions. What a fun 1.5 hours on the famous Laxa River to end my fly fishing adventure in Iceland!
Fish Landed: 3