I was offered the opportunity to join a fishing party opening day on the Laxá in Dölum River in Iceland, in June 2016. Salmon river openings are always fun. Although the catches are few, there are always big salmon caught and you are lucky if you are the one catching!
The opening party landed 42 salmon in 2-1/2 days of fishing.
We were three couples and decided to divide the river into three beats and fish with three shared rods. Great company, beautiful river, good food and the chance of catching a big salmon. A few days before the opening, we started to hear news from other rivers opening in the area. There were salmon everywhere and we were getting more and more excited.
We arrived at the lodge the night before and I drew the lowest beat (section of the river), which is usually the best draw so early in the season. After a long night, with hardly any sleep, we were ready to start fishing at 7 am sharp. We started well, catching two salmon in the morning (the top beat got seven). It was such horrible weather the first day - rain and a strong, freezing wind, but it was impossible to stop fishing. Salmon were showing themselves everywhere - big, strong and beautiful sea-liced salmon.
On day two, we woke up to a beautiful sunny day; no wind, and Iceland was as beautiful as it gets! The landscape is so florescent green that you can almost see the grass grow… birds singing and the river so crystal clear that you can see every movement in the water. I started the day landing a beautiful 83 cm salmon and shortly after that, my biggest salmon so far took the fly. What excitement! From the moment it took, I knew that I had never hooked a salmon this big before (96cm). The feeling when it started showing itself… ‘madre mía’! I was so afraid I was going to lose it, and the tension was so high that for a second, I wondered if my heart could take it. I think it is safe to say that these were the most exciting 20 minutes of my life. I am so grateful for not having lost it, and that I managed to land it safely, and admire it for a short moment. The joy of catching that salmon equals the happiness of catching my first salmon, 16 years prior. The joy of releasing it and seeing it swim away, strong and powerful, was the icing on the cake. It made the whole experience complete and perfect.
The opening party landed 42 salmon in two and a half days of fishing. I will always cherish the memory of this opening, as it is highly unlikely I will live to see another opening quite as productive, or thrilling, as this one.