The amazing runs of big salmon powering their way into Iceland’s rivers are showing no signs of slowing down. In the week ending July 6, anglers on the East Ranga caught an average of nearly 100 fish a day – a figure unheard of this early in the season and usually only seen at the height of the grilse run.

And on the West Ranga, catches are nearly four times better than for the same period of 2015 which in itself was a great year for the river.

“For many of us, this is unknown territory,” said one river manager. “We’ve never seen anything like it in our lifetimes.”

On the Blanda, no-one would be surprised if this year’s figures fell short of last year’s exceptional record catch of nearly 5,000 salmon, but here again they are well ahead with 1,020 fish netted so far, compared to less than 500 for this time a year ago.

With 374 fish to July 6, the Langa is currently three times better off than it was last year while the Midfjardara has already doubled last year’s figures for the same period.

It has to be remember that 2015 was an exceptionally good year for the vast majority of Iceland’s salmon rivers.  Compared to 2014, this year’s catches are just out of sight. The Nordura, for example, last year produced three times the number of fish that it did in 2014 so expectations should be on the low side. But it is also quite a way ahead of that 2015 bonanza.

“Every figure on the compiled lists for 2016 looks like a printing mistake,” said a regular fisherman. “Logically, you shouldn’t believe them.”

Even smaller rivers like the Haukadalsa which doesn’t  normally enjoy prolific early season results are producing delightful surprises.  Last year, the weekly reports didn’t start until July 15. This year, 149 fish have been noted by July 6.

Since the fish entering the rivers now are mostly big salmon of between 5 and 9 kg, no-one is expecting these runs of 2SW fish to continue endlessly. They will gradually give way to the usually more abundant grilse runs but the bigger fish are still likely to be caught throughout the season.

Fishermen with bookings for late July and August are sitting at home praying for the runs to continue.  “To say I can hardly wait to get there is a big under-statement,” said one.

Tight lines