Iceland, Days Four and Five: Lakes and Birds

The view from Villingavatn was stunning.
Photo by Phil Monahan

On the morning of Day Four of Orvis Week in Iceland with Fish Partner, we said goodbye to the Highlands Lodge and drove an hour and a half southeast to the Hotel Grimsborgir, near Selfoss. We dropped our gear and headed out to two local lakes–the massive Þingvallavatn (Thingvallavatn) and the smaller Villingavatn–in search of arctic char and brown trout. The weather once again worked against us, featuring some heavy wind and the occasional driving rain. The lakes are set in a stunning landscape amid sheep farms, with tons of bird life on the shores. Loons, arctic terns, hrossagaukurs, and others make for great viewing . . . although if you get too close to their nests, things can get testy.

Eric with a gorgeous char that fell for a nymph retrieved as slowly as humanly possible.
Photo by Auke Van Der Ploeg

After a rough first day of battling conditions just to get a decent cast out, the second session of the lakes was somewhat better: rain-free but still gusty. The fish remained dour, however, cruising the shoreline but not really interested in eating. The exceptions were Eric and Samantha, who epitomized the right-place, right-time, right-fly situation. While everyone else struggled to draw a strike, they hooked six char, landing five. Strange days, indeed.

As you walked around the lakes, you needed to step carefully to avoid the next generation of bird life.
Photo by Phil Monahan

Overall, it was a remarkable five days on the water in which we experienced everything that the weather gods could throw at use, but everyone found success. Even after a difficult final day of fishing, the mood in the hotel bar was festive, as our guides joined us for a final beer and a group photo. Later, at dinner, everyone talked of plans to return to Iceland for both the fishing and the incredible sights. Once you get a taste of this remarkable land, you want more.

A happy group of guides and guests who are already plotting their return to Iceland.
Photo by Auke Van Der Ploeg
The view at 11 p.m. as we walked back to our rooms after dinner.
Photo by Phil Monahan
The stunning colors of the arctic char match the spring sunset.
Photo by Auke Van Der Ploeg

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