What a performance by Iceland!
If Iceland’s heroic achievements in reaching the quarter-finals of the European Football Championship were not enough, there’s another miracle taking place right now – not on the soccer fields of France but in this country’s salmon rivers.
Last year was a good one, with one or two exceptions, and most regular salmon fishermen would have been delighted if 2016 turned out to be the same.
But that isn’t going to happen. Because this year could easily be the best since records began. We are experiencing phenomenal runs of fish – not just in certain areas but all over the country – and there is every expectation these will continue.
We added up the catches to the end of last month and compared them with the same period of last year. Then we added them up again – because we couldn’t believe the figures. According to the statistics provided by the Federation of Icelandic River Owners, the top 25 rivers reported the capture of 4,570 salmon by June 29.
As we say, 2015 was considered a good year, yet the number of fish caught in the same period came to only 1,455. So the fish we’re catching right now add up to more than three times last year’s catches.
It would be easy to laught out loud at some of the catches. As Arni Baldursson reported on these pages yesterday, more than 120 salmon were taken on the East Ranga on July 3. July 3? That’s ridiculous! That never happens. Regulars there are grateful to get that number at the height of the season in July/August. But it’s true.
These are virtually all big two-sea-wintered salmon and their arrival in such huge numbers not only means great sport for those lucky enough to be on the rivers right now, but also indicates a very bright future for salmon stocks.
The big question is will the grilse run maintain the momentum? Hard to be certain, but there is no reason why not. Certainly, Iceland’s fisheries experts are studying the phenomenon very closely and we’ll report back what they say.