The West Rangá has vied with her smaller tributary, the East Rangá, for the #1 & #2 positions as Iceland’s most productive salmon river for the past 20 years. Most years the West is #1. 2019 was an exception where extreme low water that hurt all Icelandic Rivers and the West finished #2 to the East with just 1,675 fish landed. However, West Rangá has yielded an incredible average annual catch of 6,490 salmon over the past 14-years and is indisputably the single most productive salmon river in Iceland.
Rangá is located in the lush southern part of Iceland, approximately a one-hour drive east of Reykjavík. The West or Ytri-Rangá is the larger of the two tributaries with over 50 kilometers of salmon water. However the best fishing is on the 15 kilometers from the waterfall Árbæjarfoss down to the junction with East Rangá. The West is essentially an enormous spring creek and as such, enjoys much greater stability of flows than the East.
The Rangá’s success is due to a unique smolt rearing and stocking program that has moved it from a minor salmon producer by Icelandic standards to the most productive salmon river system of the past two decades. This program continues to improve and the future of the Rangá’s incredible runs seem assured.
The West Rangá is a medium to large size river, but fished entirely by wading, and many of the lies and can be covered with a single-handed rod. However, due to both it’s larger size and the prevalent winds along the south coast, a double-handed rod is a more efficient tool.
Due to its entirely spring-fed source, the West Rangá enjoys consistent flows as well as cooler water temperatures than many other Icelandic Rivers. For this reason, sunk fly techniques, often in conjunction with sink tip lines (or sinking leaders) are frequently more productive. During warm weather, fish will often respond to smaller flies fished on floating lines, as well as hitched and stripped Sunray Shadows (or the locally popular viariant, the Bismo). Anglers need to be prepared to try a variety of methods.
As with most south coast rivers, the Rangá is primarily a grilse river. Rangá grilse are quite large by comparison to Canadian grilse, and usually range from 6 – 9 pounds (grilse as heavy as 10 pounds are not uncommon and fish under 5 pounds are rare). 2-sea-winter salmon range from 12 to 20 pounds, with the occasionally fish over 25. Peak weeks have seen in excess of 500 salmon caught by 12 rods.
Accommodations at West Ranga are in the brand new lodge overlooking Home Pool. Each full rod has its own private room, and there are ample accommodations for full rod sharing. The comfortable rooms each have two twin beds, full private baths and ample closet and shelving space for storing items.
Meals and socializing occur in the newly refurbished main house lodge, adjacent to the sleep lodge, and also overlooking the “hot spot” in Home Pool. The lounge area offers comfortable over-stuffed leather couches and chairs making a comfortable spot to unwind and exchange stories from the day.
West Ranga is fished in two daily 6-hour sessions; from 7:00 am to 1:00 p.m. and from 4:00 p.m. to 10:00 p.m. Because of the lengthy fishing day, rod sharing is popular giving each angler 6 hours of daily fishing. The river is limited to a maximum of 12 rods and is divided into five, two-rod beats in a rotation that changes after lunch each day.
All the pools on West Ranga are easily accessible by car and little walking is required. Experienced English speaking guides with 4-wheel drive vehicle are provided at a ratio of one guide for each two-rods.
For Reservations, Contact:
P.O. Box 872
Old Lyme, CT 06371