Fly-fishing for salmon is a sport that ideally involves peaceful solitude, epic scenery, and healthy, determined salmon. In a remote northeastern corner of Iceland, the Strengur Angling Club offers all these attributes. It’s also committed to protecting its watery treasures, so that abundant North Atlantic salmon is something future generations of anglers will be able to enjoy.

Cutting through the volcanic wilderness of Vopnafjörður fjord are the Hofsá and Selá rivers – 30km and 27kms respectively of pristine fly water. The Strengur Angling Club has managed the stocks and 6 rods on the Selá since 1971 and has built a reputation of offering the finest fishing and lodging in Iceland. In 2014, the club took on management of the Hofsá, adding a further 7 rods into the fold. With catch statistics of 2 – 10 fish per day, per rod (each one 6 – 18lbs) it’s easy to understand why avid anglers such as Prince Charles and George H.W. Bush are among the club’s beguiled guests.


The club reels in guests from around the world, including Chris Cecil-Wright. “I’m not a seasoned fisherman,” admits Chris, “but being waist deep in clear water in the Icelandic environment with an abundance of large salmon is an experience not to be missed.” Each fisherman has access to the whole river – big beats and plenty of pools – with exceptional ghillies at hand. “We pride ourselves on having no pollution and water so clear you can drink it,” explains Gísli Ásgeirsson, director of the Strengur Angling Club, “And no hatcheries - all the salmon here exist naturally.” The area and the business have thrived solely because of the club’s strict conservation principles.


The stocks of salmon in the North Atlantic are around thirty percent of what they were in the 1900s, a result of over-fishing and pollution from fish farming. In 2004, the club implemented a catch and release policy to support and grow their stocks. The club has built salmon ladders, opened up waterfalls and increased the spawning area by hand-moving a small percentage of the fish to previously inaccessible areas. “The salmon return every seven years to spawn and are vulnerable to the slightest changes,” says Gísli, “We try to support them as much as we can with minimal interference.”


The club’s conservation plans are technically complicated and expensive to implement. In 2016, Jim Ratcliffe, a Strengur Angling Club member and founder of INEOS, stepped in to become a major shareholder of the club and assist with its conservation efforts. Ambitions quickly grew to include six rivers in northeast Iceland, and The Six Rivers Project was born. “The idea is to work on salmon conservation on these six rivers, in this very special part of the world,” says Jim, “and do the things which we now know today help improve salmon stocks.”

Since The Strengur Angling Club took management of the Selá river, the stocks have doubled every twenty years, and the club aims to repeat this success elsewhere. “With The Six Rivers Project we hope to introduce our principles to the management of the other rivers in our area,” Gísli explains, “We want to hand over the rivers to the next generation in better shape than we received them.“

“We are so remote that you won’t see anyone else on the river apart from the club guests that are fishing there.”

Gísli Ásgeirsson, director of the Strengur Angling Club

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