My colleague, Richard Scrope, and I were very lucky to be invited to join the leaseholders of the Thvera/Kjara for the opening of the Thvera (read about prime time here) on 12th June and the Kjara opens on the 15th June (read about opening in 2013 here). I love how the Icelanders get so excited about the opening days – their enthusiasm is infectious and it teaches one to fully appreciate the fishing opportunities we have. There was a big dinner the night before with everyone involved in the river but this did not stop (though nearly) everyone being up for 0630 breakfast to be ready to fish for a 7am start. Icelanders will quite literally have the line in the air at 06:59 and drop it on the water at 7am. It is a big deal to get the first fish of the season and much toasting and many speeches follow!
After the coldest spring on record the weather was beginning to grudgingly improve but that meant the river was quite high and coloured as finally there had been some snow melting. It made for tricky conditions on the first day with the added ingredient of a freezing cold north wind. But we prevailed and another guest Mario caught three fish on the top beats 7 and 6, which indicated the fish were in but running and not that happy to stop until they found some deeper soft water. Two more fish were caught that afternoon on the same beats.
The following morning Richard and I were due to fish beats 7 and 6 (one changes beat every three hours making one’s way down the river) and I am pleased to say we made the best of it with three fish of 10, 12 and 8lbs – all bright and strong.
That afternoon we had high hopes that other beats would start to kick-in because the water was dropping and clearing and one fish was caught on beat 4. I had two takes down on beat 3 but neither stuck. The following morning beat 4 produced a lovely fish for me early, which was convenient because we had to leave and head north to learn more about trout and char fishing around Iceland.
It had been a successful two and a half day’s opening with 15 fish landed and the river clearly beginning to wake up. The next party in Thvera had 9 fish in their two days but following them over 60 fish were hooked and 43 landed. The Kjarra, the upper part of Thvera/Kjarra opened with 38 fish for three and half days. In total over 100 fish for the first week, 60-70% two-sea-winter fish, the best start since 2005. Thank you to all at Thvera/Kjarra for your hospitality.
One last item – if you ever doubted Icelander’s affection for salmon rivers and salmon, have a quick look at this video – the song evolved at the lodge last season during one of the floods!
Next time…char and trout in the north-east of Iceland and a new trout river…