Fly fishing in Iceland used to be a sport practised only over the main summer months but over the last 20 years or so the fishing season has been expanding both by rivers opening earlier and allowing fishing longer into the fall.
Now we have rivers that are open from April 1st until October 31st. Iceland Being the land of ice and extremes when it comes to the seasons, some years in April we might have perfect fishing weather with around 10°c and nice weather while other springs we might still have snowstorms and frozen rivers and the same can be said about the end of the season in October.
Having such a long season means that you will need some way of protecting the stock of fish from overfishing and make sure there is a strong spawning population ensuring healthy rivers for years to come.
In most river we have adopted catch & release to make sure we leave enough fish for spawning while other rivers allow taking a few fish every day. What we noticed when we started practising catch and release was that the biggest fish caught every year was getting larger and larger.
Now we have learned a lot more and we tag fish that is caught and released and can therefore we can monitor the growth between years and how mobile they are so we know and understand the benefits of C&R perfectly.
We started tagging brown trout in Mýrarkvísl last year in 2015 and our findings were very interesting and we got an answer to many questions we have been asking our selves for year.
The first question we had been contemplating was do the brown trout from Mýrarkvísl travel down into the Laxá in Aðaldal at some point for feeding or for other purposes?
In April 2015 we set out to tag a few off the brown trout in the lower part of Mýrarkvísl most likely to travel down into the Laxá in Aðaladal so we fly fished and tagged about 15 brown trout in two trips to the Mýrarkvísl.
Only a couple of months later one of these brown trout was caught by one of the family members of the farm Laxamýri on the bank of Laxá in Aðaldal at the same time as we noticed the brown trout in the lover part declining a bit so there was no question that these brown travel over high summer into the Laxá for feeding.
The second question we had was how mobile the trout in the upper part of Mýrarkvísl are so one of our groups of Swedish anglers set out for one day with tag guns and tagged about 30 trout in an afternoon.
A few of these trout were caught again during the summer time and the most interesting thing was that although many of the trout were caught again in the pool they were tagged in confirming that they stay in the same place for long periods of time two of the trout were caught again over 10 km lower in the river than they had been caught.
This confirms our speculations about the brown trout that all tough they are often stationary they will in some cases travel long distances searching for food or looking for a mate.
In 2016 we intend to tag salmon in big numbers to find out how many of the salmon are caught again, where they are caught etc.