Fishing rules & regulations

Vast majority of the Icelandic rivers as well as lakes have been listed under private ownership for centuries, giving the riparian owners full priority to take advantage of their rightly owned resources.

The beginning of sport fishing (angling) can be traced back to the 19th century when British aristocrat anglers started to lease some of the most prominent Icelandic salmon rivers for practicing their noble activity. Fishing rights (especially for salmon) have ever since been highly valued.

According to official regulations Fishery Associations must be established for every fishing water in Iceland. The main purpose by this arrangement is to maintain the natural fish stocks in its waters and to control the fishing pressure, as well as to maximize the profit of the fishing, by releasing fishing licenses (permits). In most cases those associations manages its rivers or lakes as a unit, often leasing the fishing rights to angling clubs, professional outfitters or individuals.

In Iceland it’s in general legal to use every kind of bait that the fish do chase and take willingly. It is illegal to use any kind of tackle that hooks into the fish unawares or without the fish chasing the tackle. Just the same, many Fishery Associations puts further stanchions to bait used and nowadays constantly increasing number of trout and salmon Fishery Associations just allow fly only all through the season. Spinning is more or less not allowed on the Icelandic trout and salmon rivers, but spinning and bait fishing on lakes is in generally allowed along with fly fishing.

According to official regulations rod fishing is only legal for maximum 12 hours per each day of the season. Rod fishing is legal from 7am until sunset. Every Fishery Association is free to make its own rules regarding fishing hours within the above mentioned time frame.