Laxá í Ásum; the quest for salmon, trout and char by Alex Jardine

July 2nd, 2015

Whenever an angler crosses a bridge or drives along an edge of water they cannot help but glance, wondering what fish lays waiting for that next cast. Whilst driving around Iceland I have crossed over numerous rivers, but one small river caught my attention. Its clear waters run a deep shade of blue and are lined by grassland, the river tumbles through rocks and boulders with plenty of likely holding spots for fish; both trout and salmon. An enticing river that was certainly tugging at my angling senses.

When the chance came to go to the Laxá Í Ásum with a group of friends I leapt at the opportunity. Yes it was an early space but this was a chance to discover a new water. After several months of preparation and building excitement the group and I boarded our flights and headed to the land of fire and Ice.

Our aim was to target an Icelandic Grand Slam of sorts, salmon, brown trout and sea run Arctic char. This was going to be tough, not only did we have early space for the salmon runs (last week of June) but Iceland had also experienced a long cold winter. Needless to say we headed north open minded and hoping for the best.

After a brief overnight in Reykjavik and a chance to experience some of the wonderful cuisine found in Iceland, we were met by our guide Arnar and his truck, the Polar Bear! Whenever someone rocks up in a vehicle called the Polar Bear you know they mean business, so after a quick greeting we loaded up and headed out.

The drive north along the Icelandic west coast is spectacular, crossing fjords, shadowed by mountains, near glaciers and passing many notable salmon rivers. After two and half hours you reach the small deep blue waters of Ásum and the town of Blondoús. Just a short journey from the town sits the lodge, looking out over the glacial cut plains and the winding river.

On arrival at the lodge we rushed to string up several set ups to hit the river for the afternoon session. Over the duration of our four days fishing (two half days and three full day) we were to rotate between the trout section (Fremri Ásum), the salmon beats and the estuary beats. For the opening session I drew the trout section. Located between two lakes, it tumbles through boulders and lava formations. One minute you are fishing rock pockets and the next you are wading long placid pools. There were fish to be found throughout the river and after catching several on nymphs and streamers the group soon settled into fishing dry fly only.

Whilst the trout were not large in Icelandic terms, mostly between 1 – 2 lbs, they certainly made up for it in aggression and strength. The trout were not afraid to chase dry flies away from their lie and even the smaller fish did not hesitate at taking large streamers. Most of the fishing we did with searching patterns but the flatter areas offered some challenging and enjoyable midge fishing. I also witnessed the odd caddis hatching along the river and I can only assume the caddis hatches build through the season.

Throughout our fishing period the weather became better and better, topping out at about 18°C, really quite warm for Iceland. These conditions were perfect for the midge hatches which kept the fish active throughout our time on the river. The final morning session the conditions were perfect, Glenn Weisner (Glenn River Fly Co.) and Toby Merigan (owner of Funky Flytying) found a lovely slow pool where they fished technical midge patterns to selective trout.

After the session it was back to the lodge to relive the highlights of the first evening on the water, this included hearing about the first salmon landed and more seen and missed on the riffle hitch. An amazing start highlighting the fact that a good run of fish had arrived early. The next morning would be my chance to experience the salmon beats first hand.

The morning arrived and I readied myself with an 11ft #6 with a floating line and a 1 ½ inch sunray. The rod seemed the perfect size to control the fly with ease through most pools. The Icelandic rod of choice is however a 9ft #6 or 7 on the Ásum.

The salmon beats stretch from the second lake all the way to the tidal waters; this is not a great distance allowing fresh fish to spread out throughout the river system quickly. The stretch has pools scattered all the way along as well as several waterfalls. Due to the nature of the river there are small pockets that will hold fish at different water levels. As I am primarily a trout angler I found this type of water brilliant, it was similar to trout fishing, just for salmon.

Arnar dropped Toby and myself a few kilometres up from the lodge. He stated that we would be fishing the walk, whilst sounding slightly ominous this section of the river holds some of the best pools in the river. So with some last minute advice Toby and I began our hike towards the lodge. We were sharing a rod, a common way to fish for salmon in Iceland, and we alternated pools and holes.

As we walked down the river we covered some beautiful looking runs and pools. Aside from a couple of trout attacking the riffle hitch we were yet to experience that flash of silver. After a couple of kilometres we reached a small pocket, hardly something that could be described as a pool, some 20 ft wide and 35 ft long but it looked good. I covered the water meticulously, the sunray zigging and zagging through the run. We were both holding our breath as each swing came round.

As the fly began to skim the large rock at the tail of the pocket our thoughts turned to the next pool. The sunray paused for a second longer in the slack water by the bank until there was an almighty take. The rod was almost ripped from my hand. In shock I pulled back into a heavy weight. One roll of silver and the fish decided to disappear downstream. For the next 400 metres the river was shallow with rocks protruding from the turbulent water, the chase was on! The leader was pinging off rocks, the fish would roll explosively on the surface before shooting off once more. About 300 metres through the downstream dash there was a small shallow bay, I steered the broad shouldered fish into the shallows. The salmon showed a couple of last dives for freedom before the first glimpse of weakness and at this point Toby took his opportunity and grabbed the fish by the wrist. The fish was secure and the adrenalin mixed with relief. The rich glossy silver shone back at me as a strong 74 cm salmon sat calmly in my hands. If this was my last fish of the trip I would have been more than happy. After a couple of quick photos the fish was held in the current and released to continue its path up the river.

We fished our way down to the lodge without much more interruption apart from the odd swooping Arctic tern. Returning to the lodge we were greeted by smiles all around. Tom and Malcolm had found plenty of trout upstream and Rob Thomas (from Robjents in Stockbridge) had moved four or five salmon in the lower part of the river.

On returning to the salmon beats later in the week I stuck to fishing a riffle hitch. When in Iceland this is the ultimate way to catch a salmon. The fly skids and skates across the surface before the perfect drift is interrupted by the snout of a salmon breaking the surface, much like a trout taking a midge. This style of fish requires nerves of steel, waiting for the fish to turn on the fly before setting the hook.

Needless to say, my riffle hitch opportunity did not take long. I watched the red dot of my fly skate across a very slow tail out. As the fly slowed the big unmistakeable shoulders of a multi-sea-wintered salmon broke the surface and rolled on my fly. My nerves of steel failed me and I struck, two turns of the impressive fish and my fly came flying back at me! After a quick curse and a word with myself, I shrugged it off and left the pool happy to have witnessed one of the most exhilarating takes a salmon angler can experience. Everybody in the group had their chance to watch a salmon take a fly from the surface and whilst we did not land everything we hooked into 20 fish in four days to just two rods. The biggest of which was 87 cm landed by Tom, with a couple of bigger fish lost mid fight!

The final piece of the river left for me to target was the estuary beat, the guys so far had done really well landing numerous sea run char and even a couple of sea trout fresh off the tide. Rob and I headed down to the tidal reaches with 10 ft #7s rigged up with sinking lines and bright flies. Anyone who has fished in Iceland will know that the off-road driving experience comes part and parcel of your trip, and this was certainly true for the char beats. Arnar drove us across the black sand dunes until we reached the edge of the dune, we were greeted by a steep, almost vertical bank. After a quick adjustment of gears we went straight over the edge!

We arrived at the pool at high tide, the still water waiting to rip back through the small outlet into the raging waves. There was a stiff onshore breeze making fishing conditions tough. Thankfully Rob and I have a good deal of Stillwater and UK saltwater experience and these conditions are quite normal. Whilst I was still trying to work out where to go Rob had snuck off to the hotspot and had immediately latched into a sizeable fish. After several runs and a few surface explosions, a beautiful tide-fresh sea trout slid up the beach, the fish was approximately 6 lbs.

Once the tide began to drop out the Arctic char switched on. The key was to cast into the rip and steadily draw the fly back. Frustratingly the char would follow the fly all the way to your feet, waiting for you to hang the fly before snatching out. We did not land many that evening but for periods every cast would have a follow.

As is normal in Iceland, the lunchtime winds began to die down at about 8pm with the tide still ripping out. I was able to fire out a nice cast into the current, after a pause I began to ‘figure-of-eight’ the fly back. Whilst in the flow the fly got caught up on what felt like the bottom, I continued to retrieve before setting the hook. All of a sudden a huge bar of silver emerged from the depths, twisting and turning, before making a b-line for the estuary mouth. As my reel screamed, I shouted to Rob and ran through a family of eider ducks sending them scattering in all directions. I tightened the drag trying to turn the beast but as I applied more pressure the fly pulled free! I sat on the small sad bluff, beaten, dejected - that was the fish of a lifetime. Back at the lodge that night, I retold the story with actions and props. Arnar listened intently before laughing and saying “Já, we never land the big salmon there!”. Although somewhat comforted by his words, I will relive the experience in my mind’s eye for a while.

Our trip drew to an end, having experienced some of the best early season salmon fishing that can be found in Iceland. We also caught countless brown trout, numerous Arctic char to 5 lbs and sea trout to 7 lbs. If you had offered us those catch returns at the beginning of the trip we probably would have laughed.

The trip offered far more than just fish, the group were great, Arnar put up with our trout fishing tendencies and each day we were surrounded by the most exquisite Icelandic scenery. Will we be back? You can count on it!

For more information on the latest availability in Iceland this season, including a handful of prime spaces contact Peter McLeod and Alex Jardine or call our office on +44(0)1980 847389.

Fishing in the Desert – Lake Nasser Experience, By Alex McLeod

July 1st, 2015

We did something different for this trip, something we’ve talked about for a long time but which has always seemed to get sidelined for more exotic options. Or maybe it was the picture of a skull lying in the desert sand we’d once seen in some trip info that put a few of the less ardent crew regulars off… We went to chase Nile Perch in Lake Nasser. Having heard so much over the years about this mysterious behemoth of the depths, we’d always thought we ought to rough it and see if we couldn’t get a big one on fly. I have to be honest, I arrived with low expectations, real ones, not the kind you voice in the hope that your actual high hopes don’t put a kibosh on the trip. I thought we’d be sleeping like sardines on the boards of our fishing boats under the stars. It would have been pleasant enough as the weather was more or less constant, the only real variable being degrees of wind – it was always warm. I thought that it would be one big fish or no fish at all, having heard the stories of netting and over fishing causing the decline in fish stocks familiar to so many places around the world. I thought the environment would be unsightly and crowded with commercial fishermen. And we also had the jitters about travelling to a country that the press would have you believe you shouldn’t set foot in. But having spoken to a few intrepid fly fishing explorers who had already made the journey, the intrigue was there.

I hadn’t studied the material on anything other than the fishing itself, because if I’m targeting something specific I don’t really care. So when we arrived to find that Cairo airport was modern and comfortable, if eye wateringly expensive, and that our transfer from Aswan airport was just ten minutes in a modern, air conditioned bus, that we had a houseboat to our own party of four with an upper deck for organising gear and laying around sipping drinks, berths with clean linen, it was a pleasant surprise. The mothership that accompanied our houseboat, complete with its dining area and staff of eight was a total surprise, as was the plentiful food and the very attentive nature of all on the crew. 5 star it isn’t, more like home made, but very relaxing and in keeping with the surroundings. And as soon as we’d left the Aswan Dam area it was complete peace, broken occasionally by a conversation between crew members that at times promised to give way to a knife fight but was usually something to do with how many drinks ought to be loaded into the cooler boxes. The only half real worry about being targeted as a foreigner melted away on arrival, and the ever attentive local crew with their chatter and frequent prayers just added to the charm. And Lake Nasser is starkly beautiful.

So we set about fishing: the gear men that come here troll around the lake walls and regularly still land fish of 100lbs+. Fly fishermen like to make it hard for themselves, so small skiffs move us around, there’s never a long run before the next spot – you’re spoiled for choice; you could fish more or less anywhere. Some spots obviously looked more fishy than others, but we caught fish in places we might have thought to pass by. My chance at the big one came as a result of a sloppy backcast thrown half heartedly at a small, overly weedy point at the end of a section I’d been working. Unusually, it was two large fish that flew out from beneath the overhang and charged the fly without actually eating it, at which point all involved realised that my feet made for a curious place for two large Nile Perch to be sitting for very long, so after eyeballing the fly and them me for a little longer, they went home and wouldn’t come out again. Despite my flogging the spot furiously with every fly in the box for another half an hour with a conviction I hadn’t started with there. Between us, we reckoned that once the Perch have seen you, the game’s over, unless he’s seeing you peripherally on the first charge when he’s fully focussed on eating that fly thing that just shot past his lair…

The Nile Perch is an ambush predator and this is structure fishing, not sight fishing. In many other ranges the water is running and river tactics are the deal, but here in the still waters behind the Aswan Dam, it’s work: you walk and scramble to cover ground, it’s hot, you cast and cast to ever changing structure and in each next spot you would ideally change the grain of your sunk line, because the depth varies constantly, dropping away to 50 meters, or maybe 200, and in one place you might be fishing a gradual sloping shelf, the next might be a wall that goes straight down into the green depths. You get hung up often enough when fishing structure, but the algae that covers the submerged rocks means you can usually get your gear back. They told us that the crocodiles were scared of boats and full of fish anyway, but after we saw the first (and in fact the only) ten foot model floating out in the lake, we stopped going swimming to retrieve stuck flies. The guides still went, though…

Unlike casting blind, this keeps you alert because you’re always anticipating a strike at each likely looking gully, ledge or rock. Often you can’t believe that there wasn’t a monster lurking there to hit you on the way by, the structure just looks too good not to be hiding something. Things started out encouragingly, we caught plenty of smaller Perch and some small tigerfish, and as the days progressed, the terrain got more challenging and interesting, we caught some bigger fish and it seemed like each day was better than the last. That’s a good feeling on a fishing trip. These tigers are small and much warier than elsewhere, because here they too are a potential food item. They’ll chase the fly but more often than not they shy away at the last second, unless you decide to target them specifically and fine everything down bit. Occasionally, a decent Tiger will nail your big Perch fly when you’re not expecting it, but 5-6lbs is a good tigerfish in these parts.

On day four, we were working a sandstone face full of ledges, sort of half walking, half climbing. I crossed a ledge some ten feet or more above the water, but was focussed on a much more fishable point just up ahead that looked prime. My boat partner for the day stopped on the same ledge and started peering over the edge. Then I watched him making awkward little flick casts to the water that he couldn’t really see clearly behind and  below his feet shaded by the ledge, followed by equally awkward little strips to impart life to the fly that wasn’t much more than leader length out of the rod tip. We’ve all been there. I smirked and turned, so I only heard the smash and looked again to see a hole in the water where the attack had just happened. Some muttering, more flicky, twitchy business and again the surface erupted. Again, we couldn’t see the fish and he didn’t get stuck. It’s always amazing how you can watch a fly get smashed by what can only be a big fish, yet somehow you just don’t see the fish… third time, the fish ate and was hooked and what followed then was comedy: from my position nearer the water I saw an angler ten feet up, with a rod bent to somewhere underneath and behind him that he couldn’t see, I saw the line dive back under the ledge several times, rubbing perilously against the rock face, by the time I got back onto the ledge and started filming I saw a man, muttering occasionally, pacing back and forth along a ledge attached to what then showed itself to be the Nile Perch that we had all gone there to catch and between us we had no plan as to what how we might land it. At one stage the sand stone under his foot crumbled and I thought he was going to fall off his ledge into the water below; that disaster was narrowly avoided. The fish began to tire and we decided the fish could be guided towards the boatman, who had puttered in from the side. And then the hook pulled. The silence was deafening…

I’ve actually never known a man to be so calm in the face of that kind of disappointment, and as if to show that such level headedness is to be rewarded, our man got a good one in his hands the next day, when the rest of us had begun to think that the fish had developed lock jaw. Not as big, but broad shouldered, a proper fish. I think we had previously got too used to filling up easily on the smaller brethren; it’s never a bad thing to struggle a bit unexpectedly to make you hungry again, and to see a big fish caught when things seem otherwise tough here just reinforces the mantra we had kept repeating all week that to catch that fish, you had to keep casting. I was slightly disgruntled that I had foregone my after lunch snooze to work the real heat of a very hot day in the hope it might pay off, which it didn’t, in fact I lost half a fly line in the depths because I didn’t want to risk being croc food, only to see Mr. Big caught by someone who’d just arisen from an hour and a half’s kip, but that’s how it goes….

Overall, a very rewarding trip: new terrain, new species, unexpected comfort, good food and personable crew. There is no doubt that the place is fished hard commercially, probably illegally, but we still caught plenty, and we saw several big fish. It’s really a pleasure to be in a fresh water environment, too, because it’s so much gentler on the gear and on you than the salt. Clothes can be dry instead of damp and crusty, you rack your rods at the end of the day and that’s it. Put your feet up and have a beer. For those who need it, comms are regular enough as you move to be able to stay in touch plus it is very good value for money. If you like something different, we’d recommend it.

For more information contact Peter McLeod or call our office on +44(0)1980 847389.

Iceland Fishing Report, 30 June 2015

June 30th, 2015

The good weather continues in Iceland with temperatures between 12 – 18 degrees Celsius being reported around the country, this is good news for both the trout fishing and the highlands char fishing. The trout are being brought to the surface by reasonable midge hatches and the highlands are now accessible after being shut for a prolonged period due to the long winter. The salmon fishing has also fared well, reasonable runs of fish have been met by higher than average water allowing them to spread throughout each river system.

The salmon tactics still remain a chasing game and anglers willing to search the running pools are being rewarded with an excellent stamp of fish so far this season, a majority of fish being seen are multi sea wintered fish.

Snow melt has continued to keep Laxa I Kjos running higher than normal and anglers are finding salmon between 80 – 90 cm. Anglers are landing 1 to 2 fish per day on average and this is only expected to get better as the summer progresses.

Both Grímsá and Laxa I Dolum got off to good starts. Grimsá had two fish on opening day with a couple of other fish lost near the net. Dolum had two fish within the first two hours of fishing, fine fish of 71 and 80 cm.

Our group on the Laxa I Ásum experienced great fishing throughout the river, with good numbers of salmon hooked yet unfortunately lost. Several fish were landed between 74 and 87 cm all on hitch tubes and small sunrays. The group also experienced fantastic dry fly trout fishing on the upper beats catching large numbers of 1 – 2.5 lb wild brown trout. The estuary beat also produced some fantastic sea run char fishing along with sea trout and evening the odd salmon that was hooked briefly before heading back to sea. Full trip report will be online later this week.

The Midfjardara continues to impress this season with salmon in excess of 80 cm landed regularly each session. The water is dropping nicely and the grilse runs are expected to show up shortly.

The Nes beats on the Laxa I Adaldal open today with high and clear water welcoming the first anglers, fish have already been spotted in most pools, and there is great excitement surrounding the opening session. The Lower Lodge opened on the 20th June with six salmon taken from the Falls, needless to say they are all two year fish.

The trout fishing on Laxardal and Myvatnssveit has got off to a good start although the majority of fish are still feeding hard on nymphs. Several fish have already been landed in excess of 6 lbs and this is only expected to get better through the season. The good weather conditions are set to speed up the dry fly action and we have high hopes for our hosted group heading in towards the end of next week. We still have a couple of spaces available on our hosted trip (12 - 15 July), please contact Alex Jardine for more information.

Our opening group on Minnivallalaekur also experienced good yet challenging trout fishing conditions with some fix fixated on tiny midges. The group of four landed fish up to 7.5 lbs with a couple of bigger fish lost mid-battle. The group also saw fish in excess of 15 lbs but the bright conditions had made them very spooky.

For more information on the latest availability in Iceland this season, including a handful of prime spaces contact Peter McLeod and Alex Jardine or call our office on +44(0)1980 847389.

Turneffe Flats Lodge Trip Report June 2015

June 30th, 2015

Michael recently returned from a successful trip to Turneffe Flats Lodge in Belize. The weather was not ideal and the divers reported seeing large numbers of permit in deeper water, thought to be because of big variations in air pressure that week. A period of settled weather is probably what is needed for the best permit fishing along the mangroves.

Regardless of the weather Michael managed to tempt two lovely permit, both around 15 lbs. The first permit he landed on the first day on the flats, a great way to start any fishing week. The second one came along on day four. There was only one other permit landed that week by an angler fishing with Dubs. Michael was fishing with Dion, the guide of the moment guiding Michael to two permit in the week and bringing four permit to the boat the previous week.

The large migratory tarpon were around at the beginning of the week. One of about 160 lbs was caught and two of around 100 lbs. Michael and Dion found rolling tarpon after the first permit but failed to connect with them. On the second occasion they found nothing.

The bonefishing continues to improve with increasing numbers of larger fish about. Some of those on the flat by the Coastguard Station are said to be in double digits, though we have yet to see that claim confirmed. Certainly the larger fish are much harder to head off from reaching the mangrove or wrapping round a piece of coral so breakages are frequent. Only small lightly weighted flies with weed-guards will do.

For more information on Turneffe Flats Lodge and our other lodges in Belize please contact Aardvark McLeod or call our office on +44(0)1980 847389.

Guatemala; late season blues

June 24th, 2015

The most recent report from the blue waters of Guatemala …..

You just never know in May. Some days the weather is great, the fishing is close in and the seas are calm – other days you can burn 150 gallons running outside searching for blue water and a consistent bite.
So it has been this month. Early in the month the weather patterns changed a little and pushed the blue water out as far as 50 miles. There were little pockets of clean water here and there that when found, held decent numbers of fish – but if you wanted to be sure of a strong bite….you had to make the trek.

By the middle of the month, we were getting tired of the fuel bills – but the fish were still not co-operating and we were running out at least 40 miles each day. The fishing was good with plenty of hungry sailfish and lots of bait in the water. Often we were surrounded by enormous schools of spinning dolphin which are often a sign that the tuna are about to turn on as well………..but we were focused on the billfish. Finally after another week of running around searching for a break closer to shore, we were able to find decent water that was holding fish at about 18 miles.

As the water had pushed in, it brought with it plenty of debris and weed that held plenty of bait and of course plenty of dorado. On one occasion while heading offshore, we were surprised to find huge weed lines only six miles from the dock……..so of course we had to toss over the dolphin teasers and see if cerviche was on the menu! The dorado were not big, only averaging eight pounds or so – but perfect eating size – and while we could have filled the boat with them, we limited ourselves to sufficient for dinner the next couple of nights and continued offshore.

Now we were finding sailfish starting about 16 miles and the bite got stronger as we headed further out. Once we got to about 24 miles, it was clear that the billfish were very concentrated over some structure – and while the fishing was consistent in a box about a mile on a side, it was barren once you stepped outside. We have been raising twenty plus sailfish every day for the last couple of weeks and on most days have managed to raise at least one blue marlin. Now into June, we are encouraged by the continued strong bite and are looking forward (hopefully) to some great tuna fishing being put into the mix over the next few weeks.

The billfishing this season has been pretty consistent(ly good!) from October until now, and so we are hopeful that the100% catch and release policies continue to ensure that Guatemala remains the pre-eminent destination for large numbers of sailfish. We are already booking strongly for next season and are happy to announce that we are continuing our policy of reservations made now and paid by August 2015 will be confirmed at this seasons pricing regardless of any price/fuel changes for next season.

For more information or a detailed itinerary please contact Charlotte Chilcott or call +44(0)1980 847389.

Relationship with ADH Fishing in Germany

June 24th, 2015

For a few years now we have worked closely with ADH Fishing owned and run by Alex and Diana Siems in Germany and have attended a number of excellent shows at their premises in Peine. We are pleased to announce that with the advent of our German office run by Lutz Schepers we have solidified that relationship and will now be working exclusively with ADH Fishing in Germany and they will look after all our clients’ needs.

Their staff have a huge base of destination knowledge with Steffen and Benni just returning from our hosted week in Sudan. You will struggle to find such a well-stocked establishment in Europe and their mail order service is second to none. Their primary brands include C&F Design, Dr. Slick, Dyna-King, Fly Scene, Gamakatsu, Guideline, Hardy, Hareline, Hatch, H2O, Loon, Loop, Orvis, Partridge, Sage, Scott, Simms, UNI, Vision, Wapsi, Whiting, to name only a few… and they have a ‘Simms Room’ along with one of the widest ranges of fly tying materials I have laid eyes on. Every time we have visited I have ended up coming away with a host of goodies. With the Euro currently extremely week some of our UK clients might also wish to take advantage of the exchange rate.

Please have a look at their brand new Internet Shop in English as well as German and please advise them you are an Aardvark McLeod customer. We are sure you will not be disappointed.

Bahamas; Proposed Regulations Are Creating a Lot of Concern

June 23rd, 2015

The proposed regulations for the Bahamas have lodge owners and visitors concerned - Here is Don Causey’s take on it from the Angling Report

The Bahamas Ministry of Agriculture and Marine Resources has just released draft regulations calling for some major changes in the way flats fishing is conducted in that island nation. The regulations call for the imposition of a $20 daily fishing fee on non-Bahamians, and they contain language that has some lodge owners worried about the prospect of a partial or full nationalization of their businesses. Additionally, the regulations contain language that may make it difficult or impossible for anglers to fish on their own in the Bahamas without a registered guide. You can read the proposed regulations HERE. at the address below:

It is not clear at this writing what the timeline is for the imposition of these new regulations, but the ministry has placed a very tight deadline on when and how public comments can be made. Simply put, they have to be sent by e-mail to the Department of Marine Resources before June 26. The address to send your comment to is: fisheries@bahmamas.gov.bs. A national symposium on the new regulations has been scheduled in Nassau for June 29, three days after the comment period closes. It will be held in the conference room of the Agriculture Ministry from 10 AM to 1 PM.

It should be noted that some parts of the new regulations are not clear. Will they indeed cast doubt on the legality of fishing activities at foreign-owned lodges? Will they make it illegal for foreign-owned lodges to operate boats unless they re-title them as Bahamian-owned? Can lodge owners sensibly do that? Will lodge-based clients have to have a daily fishing permit? The cost for that would be $120 for a week. And consider the section of the regulations dealing with anglers who want to fish without a guide. In one place it says anglers can apply ahead of time, online, for daily fishing permits. Elsewhere in the regulations it appears that the authority to deny fishing permits will be vested in individuals, some of whom are opposed to on-your-own fishing-namely, guides and lodge owners. If the latter reflects the final outcome of the deliberations, it will probably end on-your-own fishing in the Bahamas by noncitizens. That will have a huge impact on family-run hotels, marinas, restaurants, and car rental agencies that have long catered to on-your-own anglers. It will even have a negative impact on independent guides who earn a goodly portion of their income from anglers who want to do a mixture of guided and unguided fishing.

An overarching concern about the regulations is their punitive tone. They suggest a negative attitude toward foreign investment in the tourist sector, and they are just not friendly and forgiving. If implemented as currently proposed, these regulations call for the imposition of a fine of up to $3,000, a prison term of up to three months, and confiscation of all fishing gear and related supplies of anyone who breaks any of the new rules. An offender might be a visitor from afar who simply didn’t know he had to have a permit to walk the beach with a fly rod while his wife and kids enjoy other activities. For sure, the first time these kinds of sanctions are imposed the travel blogs and forums are going to light up. Millions of dollars of damage will be done to the tourism industry of the Bahamas.

What’s really unfortunate here is the fact that the new regulations point in some very positive directions. Why not impose a fishing fee on visiting anglers, a larger one on unguided anglers, maybe, than on guided anglers? Why not register guides? And, most important of all, why not earmark the revenues from all this to conservation causes? I think most fair-minded anglers would support all those steps. Let’s just hope these progressive steps are not overshadowed by some of the really mean and draconian measures envisioned by the individuals who wrote these draft regulations. Stay tuned for an update.-Don Causey.

Iceland; River Reports and Special Combination

June 23rd, 2015

After the very cold start to the season and high water conditions the rivers are beginning to drop and clear although are still running a little high. This has mostly be caused by the warm air temperatures hovering between 10 – 12 degrees centigrade causing high levels of snow melt. The extra snow pack in Iceland bodes well to maintain water levels through the summer. The dropping water has coincided with the opening weekends of some of our favourites such as Midfjardará, Laxa I Kjos and the Laxa I Asum.

The Midfjardará opened on the 15th of June with a strong start. The first three days produced 17 salmon landed ranging from 77 cm - 102 cm with the water dropping and clearing. The first fish of the lower Austurá beat was landed on the afternoon of the 19th June, a stunning sea liced bar of silver of 94 cm. Even in the high water fishermen were using floating lines with Collie dogs and skated hitch tubes produced the majority of the salmon. Our first group fishing 18 – 21 June reported seeing good numbers of fish and landed some higher average size fish than they expected. They also report extremely high standards of service, guiding and food which we have come to expect from Midfjardara.

The Laxá in Kjos opening on Saturday morning. The air temperature increased in the valley finally and the snow melt has started in earnest some two months later than usual. If anyone is thinking of low water conditions on Laxa I Kjos this season then think again as it is likely the river will fish in high conditions for the whole of July. Some lovely fish were landed including six multi sea winter fish with the largest being 80 cm from Pollabreida.

The Laxá á Ásum also opened over the weekend with a lovely 13 pound salmon hooked in the home pool Krókhylur. After an incredible fight it was landed and released about 1 km down river and was 90 cm. Our first group arrive in Laxa I Asum with Alex today so we are expecting them to get amongst the salmon, char and trout on the upper section.

The Langá has also started well although is currently suffering from high water like many of its neighbours. However the opening group landed three fish on the first session, and reported catching three and losing two more yesterday. They are seeing good numbers of fish running the river already though which gives us great confidence that Langá will have a normal year this year.

The trout fishing in the north has also started well albeit slow with the cold conditions. We do still have a couple of rods available in our Jardine hosted week on Laxardal. These could be combined with three days on Langá for someone looking for a last minute Icelandic special from the 9 – 12 July on Langá followed by 12 – 15 July on Laxardal. We have two rods available for this combo with the price being £3,800 for 6 days fishing inclusive of transfers and excluding flights. This will go on a first come first served basis.

For more information on the latest availability in Iceland this season, including a handful of prime spaces contact Peter McLeod and Alex Jardine or call our office on +44(0)1980 847389.

ARGENTINA, RIO GRANDE, AURELIA LODGE; END OF 2015 SEASON REPORT

June 23rd, 2015

The season on the Rio Grande has drawn to a close some time ago now. However, we have just received this season recap from the lodge manager and head guide, Diego Castillo. This largely reflects the fantastic fishing to be had from this lodge and also the tremendous value for money it represents.

2015 Season’s was a really good one for Aurelia lodge, even with the water level being the lowest level in 15 years we caught a lot of fish but more important then that was the fact we caught almost 90% of the seatrout on Floating and Intermedia lines. Most used flies were small classic nymph with rubber legs, tube flies, hitch flies and of course big streamers did the job at last light of every session. Best pools were 14, Manso, Radman, Martina and Rock splash at the end of the season.

Lot of fish over 10 pounds were caught and the average of the of captures increase a bit from last season because of the great number of fish over 15 pounds. Biggest fish of the season were caught in Manso pool and it was a 25 pounder beautiful female silver seatrout, again on floating line and a sunray shadow - truly explosive and exciting fishing.

The season ends with low water again and realy cold weather with some days with temperatures just over 0 °celsius.

This was my first season in charge of the lodge and was largely a transition season from the previous management. We have put a lot of big and exciting changes in place for the 2016 season and onwards, which I firmly believe will transform the fishing and the results to make Aurelia one of the best on the whole river - we will certainly have more water per angler than anyone else. This will help us rest water and give the fish time to settle, which is important with the sea trout. We will also be operating on a single room as standard basis, which is also a very important change for us and visiting anglers.

We look forward to welcoming you to the lodge next season.

Tanzania; one rod left in the quest for tigerfish on fly

June 16th, 2015

Tiger’s in Africa? Well, how about tigerfish on fly and more notably, BIG tigerfish on fly? We have one spot left in 10-17 October 2015 (NM is 13 October) and if you would like to join Charlotte and the rest of the group to test yourself against this amazing predatory fish, please give us a ring. Without doubt the Mnyera and Ruhudji Rivers in southern Tanzania arguably offer the best tiger fishing in Africa and it is a species that Charlotte has been hankering for since her first trip into the Okavango Delta many moons ago. Then, she caught a small tiger on a spinning rod; this time the challenge is Tanzania behemoth on fly. Based within a 7,000 sq km private concession, home for the week will be two fully serviced and very comfortable, remote fishing camps. Catering to only 8 anglers per week, the 120 km of river offers the chance to target big tigerfish on fly; never forgetting that this river has seen tigerfish in the 20 lbs + scale landed every season.

For more information or a detailed itinerary please contact Charlotte Chilcott or call +44(0)1980 847389.