There has been a slump in the Arctic char stock in Icelandic rivers—although not as much in lakes—in the past decade, as revealed at the annual meeting of the Icelandic Institute of Freshwater Fisheries last week.
Fishing in Thingvallavatn lake. Photo by Páll Stefánsson.
The fish seems to be vulnerable to a warming climate. Ichthyologists Gudni Gudbergsson told Morgunbladid that the decrease is significant in some areas, especially in southwest Iceland.
He mentioned Hvítá in Borgarfjördur, west Iceland, as an example. “The catch amounted to 4,600 chars per year at its height but last year the catch was only 400 fish.”
Gudbergsson recommended that river owners be careful in issuing fishing licenses to make sure the Arctic char spawning stock is maintained. He said it is likely that Arctic char fishing will be limited in rivers in the region this summer.
However, brown trout and sea trout fishing has been stable in the past years and salmon fishing was better in the past three years than ever before.
Anglers have crowded the banks of Thingvallavatn, Iceland’s largest lake, in recent days to catch brown trout which swims to the shallows at this time of year.
Fishing has been successful with anglers often landing two to four fish, many of which weigh four to six pounds, even up to 23 pounds.
The first salmon of the season was caught in a trout net in Hvítá in Borgarfjördur last week—the river has a permit for a few nets. The salmon was probably on its way to the side river Thverá/Kjarrá.
The salmon fishing season begins on June 5 in Nordurá in Borgarfjördur, Blanda in northwest Iceland and in Straumarnir, where Hvítá and Nordurá meet.