West Ranga, Iceland
Just a short drive from Reykjavik, the prolific West Ranga offers the opportunity to fish within hours of arriving in Iceland.
The West Ranga is well-known as a river capable of producing good numbers of 10lbs - 20lbs salmon all season long and is one of the most productive in Iceland. With improvements being made to the accommodation all of the time, it is one that is highly sought after.
The West Ranga has about 25km of water and caters for 16 rods with 4 rods on each of four beats. You cover all beats over a two day period. The West Ranga is slightly different in character to its sister river, the East Ranga in that two waterfalls on the river tend to hold fish back in the pools below until later in the season. It also has a more stable water flow than the East and is fishable until later in the year.
The style of fishing is ideally suited to double-handed rods, sink-tip lines and small brass tube flies. The water temperature remains rather cold throughout the summer, so getting your fly down is frequently the most effective technique. With relatively sparse riverside vegetation, overhead casting is possible in all but the most remote pools. While a double hander is the preference for most, the majority of pools may be covered with a single-handed rod.
Generally we would hope that a competent fisherman would be landing a couple of salmon per day with others lost on the way but of course individual skills and conditions at the time do come in to play.
The West Ranga is an interesting river in that it has a smolt release programme meaning that it is wonderfully reliable. The bottom of the river is volcanic sand which suppresses natural spawning. The Icelandics have made smolt releasing an art form and have rejuvenated the West Ranga. An added bonus is that the river is never low and is seldom if ever coloured due to flooding and heavy rains. The only enemy could be high winds, but there is always the opposite bank.
The lodge is located right on the banks of the river and each full rod has a very comfortable single room with ensuite bathroom with shower. The newly completed dining room overlooks one of the most productive pools on the river and has been the scene of many a memorable evening.