East Ranga (Iceland)
The East Ranga flows in the south west part of Iceland, about 150 km from the capital Reykjavik. It is a pure breed salmon river and it holds large and strong fish.
Being a river that flows from a glacier, its water is most of the time 'hazy'. It also can easily get colored when it rains. The fishing section is about 22 km long, it is located far from busy roads and is accessible via dirt roads with a four-wheel drive car.
We start fishing at 8 in the morning. We were assigned to beat number 1 and 2 (the current rules allow fishing from 8 to 13 and from 16 to 22, in a rotation system of pools). A strong and ice-cold wind blowing from the north makes casting difficult and it freezes face and hands.
Despite the strong wind, it is a great fishing, there are plenty of places that look perfect for hosting running fish. We comb all the promising currents with large colored flies and sunrise shadows mounted on fast sinking tips. At 13 o'clock neither a contact nor a sighted fish. We stop fishing and we head to a restaurant in the nearby locality Hella, where we fill our stomach with delicious meaty soup.
After the lunch-break we are assigned to beat 7 and 8, upstream from the place we fished in the morning. With great relief, the wind has dropped. The underwater bank extends for two meter with a shallow step that drops abruptly into deeper water. I imagine that if I were a fish I would stand just beside. And so I start drifting a german snaelda along the bank.
At my third cast, while the fly is drifting along the deep side of the bank, I feel a snag. I don't have the time to curse that the 'snag' starts pulling line out of my reel, it is a big fish. After a good 15 minutes of powerful runs upstream, downstream and in the middle of the river I can eventually tail the fish. A wonderful silver female pack of muscle.
After fishing the same spot for a while with no success, we move upstream.
By a blackish wall of volcanic stone and sand the river meanders and creates dream pools.
I am drifting the usual snaelda along the bank when I feel another 'snag' and another nice fish is on. Another silvery female.
The place is really inspiring and we fish the all beat in great hope..
Ten meter upstream from the place where I caught the second salmon I bend rod on a third one! Always on German Snaelda. There are some minutes of pulls, flights and heartbeat, then the slack line. Fish lost! Pity, but it has been a great day already.
The second day on the river the condition have turned: The water is gin clear and sun is shining.
After fishing for more hours with the german snaelda that was so successful on the first day, yet no sign of fish. Towards the end of the morning I change to a relatively small blue fly, a Rocinante pattern about 5 cm long.
The end of the pool is intriguing. I feel there must be some fish in here and .. STRIKE ! A big one, far greater than the ones of the first day. It pulls line off my reel, a minute of heartbreaking fight .. ends with a slack line! I do not want to believe I lost such a huge fish.
I keep on casting the fly and letting it drift to the end of the pool, nothing happens for a couple of minutes. I am about to give up, yet one cast and BAM! A huge fish is on again. A power of nature that engages me in a 40 minutes fight before been photographed and released.
After such an extraordinary fish there is nothing that compares to stop fishing and indulging for a while in contemplating the beauty of nature.
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