Salmon rivers for dummies; Iceland or Schotland? What beat and what time?

eddy4

Well-known member
Points
6
Location
Netherlands
Dear fellow River Wanderers,

After years of trout fishing we want to go salmon fishing. I am checking out two locations; Iceland and Scotland.

Skill level; we can cast double handed, not a clue about flys , etc ( but reading the books) And we prefer to cater ourselves and camp out. We dont want a lodge or some other fancy option. We want to fish and camp!

Scotland;

I checked Fishpall and there are a 100 options. They advise bigger rivers but even on the Dee there are so many options!

We want a week / five days of fishing, and a day / morning with a guide / ghilly to point us in the right direction. The aim is to catch A salmon not a record fish.
What river , what beat and what time would you advise to book?

Iceland,
We traveld there two years ago for trout. Iceland fly fishing trip! on Vimeo
Its a expensive country to fish. So I dont mind paying a bit for a good stretch but I dont want to get a new mortgage. When its a bit more expensive we fish les days.

We want a week / five days of fishing, and a day / morning with a guide / ghilly to point us in the right direction. The aim is to catch A salmon not a record fish.
What river , what beat and what time would you advise to book?

(In the past I had some more time to figure this stuff out on myself but kids and work take up a fair bit of time! ;) )

Many thanks!
 

rockslider

Well-known member
Points
18
Location
Cork
I'll stick my neck out Eddy and suggest that maybe you should think of Ireland too! somewhere like waterville in Co.Kerry has very good salmon, sea trout and bass fishing all in same area, also some bigger salmon rivers about 45 mins away. Great for camping and you just need a license to fish the lakes systems (day tickets at approx €25 for salmon on the local rivers). if weather not suitable for salmon or large seatrout then you can fly fish for bass off the shore any where around. A guide (lots available) would be approx €140 per day for you.
 

tenet

Well-known member
Points
38
You would probably have to sell a kidney to afford some of the better Icelandic salmon rivers.
Concur with Rockslider regarding Ireland. The Blackwater would be a good start.

Home Page - Blackwater Salmon Fishery

As would the river Moy at the other end of the country.
 

petevicar

Well-known member
Points
48
Hi Eddy
I have fished for salmon in Ireland, Scotland and Iceland and quite a few other countries around the world.

There is never a guarantee that you will catch fish anywhere.
However in my experience. I have had trips to both Scotland and Ireland where I have blanked every day and not caught a fish in a week. I have fished most of the famous rivers in Scotland and quite a few in Ireland. I have never caught more than 2 fish in a day in either country.
In Iceland, however, I have fished 7 or 8 different rivers and have caught salmon on every day that I have fished. On some days I have caught 15 salmon.
OK Iceland is expensive but if you are going DIY and camping then I feel sure that you can have a great trip at a reasonable cost. There are hundreds of salmon rivers in Iceland.

Good luck.

Pete
 

Laxdale

Well-known member
Points
18
Location
Western Isles, Scotland
Hi Eddy
I have fished for salmon in Ireland, Scotland and Iceland and quite a few other countries around the world.

There is never a guarantee that you will catch fish anywhere.
However in my experience. I have had trips to both Scotland and Ireland where I have blanked every day and not caught a fish in a week. I have fished most of the famous rivers in Scotland and quite a few in Ireland. I have never caught more than 2 fish in a day in either country.
In Iceland, however, I have fished 7 or 8 different rivers and have caught salmon on every day that I have fished. On some days I have caught 15 salmon.
OK Iceland is expensive but if you are going DIY and camping then I feel sure that you can have a great trip at a reasonable cost. There are hundreds of salmon rivers in Iceland.

Good luck.

Pete
I have had mornings of 8 salmon/grilse here in the Hebrides costing £20-£30 a day.
Most I had was 6 in a day last year, but lost another 3 at the net.
Yes, I have the advantage of living locally, but even allowing for that Iceland fisheries are taking the **** charging what they do for a days grilse fishing.
 

eddy4

Well-known member
Points
6
Location
Netherlands
I'll stick my neck out Eddy and suggest that maybe you should think of Ireland too! somewhere like waterville in Co.Kerry has very good salmon, sea trout and bass fishing all in same area, also some bigger salmon rivers about 45 mins away. Great for camping and you just need a license to fish the lakes systems (day tickets at approx €25 for salmon on the local rivers). if weather not suitable for salmon or large seatrout then you can fly fish for bass off the shore any where around. A guide (lots available) would be approx €140 per day for you.
Hi Rockslider, thanks for the info, what period is supposed to be the best period, I understand it always depends on the weather etc but what would give me the best chance?
 

eddy4

Well-known member
Points
6
Location
Netherlands
Hi Eddy
I have fished for salmon in Ireland, Scotland and Iceland and quite a few other countries around the world.

There is never a guarantee that you will catch fish anywhere.
However in my experience. I have had trips to both Scotland and Ireland where I have blanked every day and not caught a fish in a week. I have fished most of the famous rivers in Scotland and quite a few in Ireland. I have never caught more than 2 fish in a day in either country.
In Iceland, however, I have fished 7 or 8 different rivers and have caught salmon on every day that I have fished. On some days I have caught 15 salmon.
OK Iceland is expensive but if you are going DIY and camping then I feel sure that you can have a great trip at a reasonable cost. There are hundreds of salmon rivers in Iceland.

Good luck.

Pete
Hi Pete, thanks, sounds you did quite a bit of salmon fishing! I never properly visit it Schotland so that would be very nice, wat river would you advise for a beginner ? A bigger river ? And what beat? Is there a prime period?

I really loved Iceland and if I could find a suitable river that would be very nice, wat river could you recommend? We were there in June and a heard that the prime time is form half July?

Much appreciated!
 

eddy4

Well-known member
Points
6
Location
Netherlands
I have had mornings of 8 salmon/grilse here in the Hebrides costing £20-£30 a day.
Most I had was 6 in a day last year, but lost another 3 at the net.
Yes, I have the advantage of living locally, but even allowing for that Iceland fisheries are taking the **** charging what they do for a days grilse fishing.
Hi Laxdale, I had to Google your home waters but I would be a exceptional adventure to head out to these islands! And I see you have trout ( and whiskey) as well! But I presume they are smaller rivers and require a more technical approach and more knowledge about salmon fishing? And because they ( I presume) depend on a spate its hard to tell if you have a fair chance. So it would be a large, but very scenic gamble?
 

bobmiddlepoint

Well-known member
Points
83
Location
STAYING AT HOME!
Hi Laxdale, I had to Google your home waters but I would be a exceptional adventure to head out to these islands! And I see you have trout ( and whiskey) as well! But I presume they are smaller rivers and require a more technical approach and more knowledge about salmon fishing? And because they ( I presume) depend on a spate its hard to tell if you have a fair chance. So it would be a large, but very scenic gamble?
A rather odd way of lookimg at it if you don't mind me saying. You will fly to Iceland but a two hour ferry trip (or half hour flight) to some islands you can see from the mainland of the UK would be an exceptional adventure!

Also small rivers are no more technical than big ones and are in fact easier if you have spent a lifetime trout fishing with single handers. Finding fish in a small river is always easier than finding them in a big river, in a small river you can see where they aren't which narrows it down a lot! Many of the trout flies you already have will catch you salmon out on the islands. Go at the right time of year (July onwards) and put the hours in and you should get fish.


Andy
 

codyarrow

Well-known member
Points
83
If you want to catch a bar of silver ignore what I say but the later you go in the season your catch probability ratio is going to go up. Also more chance of water in the river.
 

eddy4

Well-known member
Points
6
Location
Netherlands
Hi Andy, I understand your point but Fishpal advises bigger rivers for beginners. I presumed because of the size of the river the run is more constant?
 

loxie

Well-known member
Points
28
Hi Andy, I understand your point but Fishpal advises bigger rivers for beginners. I presumed because of the size of the river the run is more constant?
I wouldn't take any advice from Fishpal too seriously. Their main concern is selling you fishing and most of their fishing is on big rivers.

Small rivers are likely to be better all round, easier to read and cover, single handed rods are ideal, they are cheaper, easy to access and often have more fish.
 

sammyc

Active member
Points
8
I would 100% not advise a bigger river for beginners - too much variability on beats and I don't think they present the best value (£ per salmon) - although I love fishing them myself.

I would suggest a smaller highland river. More dependant on rain but you can usually winkle a few out and if good water then you'll have a good time. Look at the Borgie, Gruinard, Alness, Upper Shin (hydro so always good water), Dionard, Halladale, Thurso, Ewe (if you want to use a double hander). These are all really lovely rivers.

Iceland is wonderful, as you'll know from your trout. Without lodges look at the Breidalsa or the Bryndjudalsa - both are nice - but after 2 days on the Bryndudalsa you would have fished it enough. If you can afford it and don't mind the lodge, then the Laxa Kjos or Langa are perfect places to learn about salmon as they are very visual. Finally, you there are a few deals around with Roxtons for the Varzuga. Lots of fish and again the ideal place to learn before returning with the skills to fish the Scottish rivers.
 

Lewis Chessman

Well-known member
Points
48
Location
Isle of Lewis
I had to Google your home waters but I would be a exceptional adventure to head out to these islands! And I see you have trout ( and whiskey) as well! But I presume they are smaller rivers and require a more technical approach and more knowledge about salmon fishing? And because they ( I presume) depend on a spate its hard to tell if you have a fair chance. So it would be a large, but very scenic gamble?
Hi, Eddy. I have to agree with Laxdale that the Outer Hebrides (Lewis, Harris and the Uists and Benbecula) has a lot to offer and a trip won't need a second mortgage.
While our rivers are spate rivers many systems have lochs and when the streams are low we fish these from boat or bank. Google the Stornoway Angling Association, Gress A.A. and Steinish. Here's a thread with a few pics of the estuaries.

Are you aware that 'wild camping' is legal and free in Scotland? If you're fit and adventurous you could join the Stornoway club which gives you access to Loch Langavat, a large loch in the centre of Lewis, and head out there for a few days in spectacular scenery. It's the headwater of the Grimersta system and offers good trouting as well as salmon and sea trout (and char).
 

BrownieBasher

Well-known member
Points
48
Location
Hampshire
From my experience, a 'poor' Icelandic river will give you a better chance than a 'good' highland one. Yes, if you get a Scottish river juuuust riiiight, you can fill your boots, but unless you do, sadly they involve a lot of casting for little reward. Icelandic rivers always offer a decent chance of a salmon, and there's plenty of sea trout, char, and browines to fill in the time the salmon aren't taking. I would head to Iceland at the end of August and look for an unrecognised river in the North West of the country. The experience is magical even it the fishing is challenging. Iceland's salmon rivers are my favourite place on earth. Take a 9' 7-8 weight, a floating line, and a handful of Frances coneheads, Sunrays, green brahans, and blue charms and you can't go wrong.
 

fruinfisher

Well-known member
Points
18
Location
West central Scotland
I would suggest the North Esk . The nets are off now . Pert had 500 fish last season, early autumn being most productive. You won’t get on there but there’s several beats further up that will fish well given water.
 
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