Being in the right place at the right time with my trusty iPhone 11. Salmo Salar - the leaper, does just that. Pop quiz: Atlantic salmon are the third largest fish in the family Salmonidae. What two fish are larger? Answer on the last page.

Iceland Summer Vacation

Locals in the northwest corner of Iceland say there are two seasons there: winter and July. And July did not disappoint. The weather was great, almost hot at times, and in fact I saw a worker watering the rooftop grass on my accommodations at Deplar Farm Lodge. When one of their guides asked me what I wanted to do for the week, I replied, “Variety; stream or river brown trout, Atlantic salmon, Arctic char and puffins.” That request does not seem like a large undertaking, as those are all native fish and birds found in good numbers. But Iceland is almost all private property.

They do not have large tracks of land, like the BLM, the Forest Service and dozens of National and State Parks, etc. It’s up to your guide or outfitter to have the contacts or leases to deliver a “variety pack” of fly-fishing opportunities. Deplar’s head guide, Thorsteinn Gudmendsson, a modern-day Viking if there ever was one, accepted my challenge and off we went. There were chrome-bright Atlantic salmon just six miles from the lodge. Within other rivers in the region, there were medium to big browns, caught on dry flies and streamers. Then there were colorful Arctic char, caught on oversized midge pupa, and we spent a day exploring a remote rock island, home to 300,000 puffins. July did not disappoint.

Brian O’Keefe

A very common scene while driving around Iceland. This small church was chained to the ground because of very strong winter winds.
A caddis dry fly fooled this resident brown trout. 
What I would call an average-sized river in Iceland. On around day three, you will notice that there are no trees to get in the way of your back-cast.
We had nice, clear water, so smaller Atlantic salmon flies worked well.
It’s pretty obvious; Iceland fishing is not crowded, the rivers are beautiful and the landscapes are easy on the eyes.

It’s pretty obvious; Iceland fishing is not crowded, the rivers are beautiful and the landscapes are easy on the eyes.

A quick iPhone 11 underwater shot (with a housing).

A native brown trout that was sipping midge adults and a fairly-large caddis adult.
100 degrees in the pool, 40 degrees in the hand.
Cool and calm, these puffins hang out and people watch.
When occupation of their terra firma breeding grounds becomes too windy, cold and frozen, puffins live for months on the open sea. They have evolved to be able to drink salt water.
Pop quiz answer: Pacific chinook salmon and Siberian taimen.

Contributed By

Brian O’Keefe

There are many vacation options in Iceland. There are tours, rental RVs and much more. Lucky for me, my employer, Eleven Experience, owns and operates a fly fishing, heli-ski, general vacation destination called Deplar Farm Lodge. There is fly fishing in every direction, an amazing indoor-outdoor natural hot spring pool and a custom boat to access the Puffin Island. For more on all that and non-angler activities, please visit the website – Feel free to contact me for any questions – time of year, species available, flies, guides, etc. –


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