Field Stories: Four Great Rivers in Iceland – Part 1

Ice2013-4In July 2013, three Frontiers team members traveled to Iceland to fish four excellent rivers we recommend to our clients. They hopped in a white Hyundal rental and traveled to their first stop to Thvera/Kjarra. Tarquin Millington-Drake, Managing Director of our UK office, shared his accounts of the trip on his blog. This post is the first of a four part series, republished from his original postRead the second, third and fourth parts of the story here.

At Frontiers we take pride in our advice. When our clients talk to us about Iceland, our objective is to match them up with what we think is the right river for them. Some key questions beyond budget might be:

Fitness levels, not in terms of long walks particularly, but more in walking or climbing in and out of canyons which can be typical of Iceland rivers: knees can be a real consideration.

Preference for fishing double versus single-handed rods.

Objectives in terms of intimate fishing for lots of small salmon and grilse (most typical of Iceland) or the less typical more classical, speculative salmon fishing on bigger rivers with light double-handed or switch rods for larger fish, though any Icelandic salmon river has significant numbers of smaller salmon and grilse.

Some rivers have colder water than others and this has a bearing on the size of flies used which impacts the style of fishing; the bigger the flies, the more typical the salmon fishing style. A conversation about this is often also worthwhile. Some guests really want to enjoy the interest and intimacy of tiny flies and floating lines, other just want to catch some fish regardless of method.

But a second and equally important objective is to look after our clients as well as we hope we advise them, in the preparation and run up to their trip. Knowing a good cross-section of hotels and restaurants, knowing driving distances and where other areas of interest are etc are all key in preparing our clients for their trip to Iceland. It is for that reason that we invest equally in ensuring our admin team know their destinations as well as our advisory team. It is difficult to do for every destination in the world but for Iceland, where we are advising and looking after many clients, it is expected of us. It was for that reason that I took Fliss Hewetson-Brown on her second trip to Iceland during the 2013 season along with our US colleague Cassandra (Cass) Ufner. Cass used to oversee the administration of the Ponoi, but she has moved into the marketing department in the USA and so her interest had a double perspective.

Our mission was to visit the four main Frontiers’ rivers, the Thvera/Kjarra, Midfjardara, Jokla and Breidalsa while stopping at many others along the way with Cass and Fliss completely circumventing Iceland. We arrived, picked up our car, enjoyed a quick sushi in town and headed on the road to our first stop Thvera/Kjarra. Fliss and I have done numerous hotel inspections in Reykjavik over past years and Cass used her time before we arrived to conduct her own.

We stayed at the Thvera Lodge for two nights thanks to the kindness and hospitality of our clients staying there at the time. We were due to only stay one night but they persuaded us to stay two. We spent the morning driving up the Kjarra valley and the afternoon driving the Thvera. The river was full of fish and it was fun to show Fliss and Cass fish lying in the pools and even watch fish running up under our feet as we stood on the bridge and heading on upriver.

By: Tarquin Millington-Drake

Read the second, third and fourth parts of this story here.