Many Iceland visitors are needlessly put off from the idea of freshwater fishing once they learn the amounts that Eric Clapton and Prince Charles have paid to cast for salmon. However, cheaper salmon permits can be found, and lake fishing for trout and arctic char is downright inexpensive. Virtually every village has reasonably priced fishing locales nearby, and permits, when necessary, are easily purchased at the local gas station. The Veiðikortið fishing card gives you access to lakes around the country.
Iceland has over a hundred self-sustaining salmon rivers, of which 20 fall into the elite class. Most elite rivers are leased to private clubs, and fishing these rivers usually means booking through the club, staying at the club lodge, and using club equipment and guides. Less expensive permits tend to be a simpler and more straightforward matter. Most rivers have a strict fly-fishing-only policy.
Fishing season for many lakes, including most lakes in the Veiðikortið network, is restricted to May through September. Some lakes remain open all year, even for ice fishing.
The best all-around informational resource for freshwater fishing in Iceland—including lake fishing—is the Federation of Icelandic River Owners. The website lists all the best fishing waters and how to get there, contacts for tours and permits, regulations on fishing tackle, and the ins and outs of ice fishing. For equipment, the best store in Iceland is Veiðihornið in Reykjavík.
Tour Operators: For many elite rivers and some lakes, the tour operators are the fishing clubs that control the leases. The two most prestigious clubs are Angling Club Lax-á and Angling Club of Reykjavík. Packages range from full-service pampering in luxury lodges to basic accommodation in self-catering cabins. Rivers tend to book up in advance, but it's always worth checking for cancellations. Other clubs worth scouring for package deals are Angling Service Strengir and G & P.
Sea fishing is so integral to Icelandic life that someone can take you out in virtually every coastal village; if no tours are advertised, just ask around. Your chances for success are high—especially if you like cod—and most tours make arrangements for you to eat your catch for dinner.
Note: This information was accurate when it was published, but can change without notice. Please be sure to confirm all rates and details directly with the companies in question before planning your trip.