I’ve been bugging Micah for a while to take me on a trip outside of the US. We were just coming up on our 5-year wedding anniversary this past August, and although we had done a lot of traveling together in the US, we had yet to cross international borders outside of a small drive into Canada.
We finally settled on Iceland as our first international trip together, and planned to leave August 10th—the day after our anniversary.
We planned that most of the trip would be spent exploring and hiking, but also agreed on doing one day of guided fly fishing, for arctic char and brown trout, which are both native to Iceland. Arctic char are the northernmost freshwater fish in the world, which made us excited to try to catch this species.
We arrived in Reykjavik, Iceland on Sunday morning, and spent the day catching up on sleep from our overnight flight, exploring the city and enjoying some fish and chips near the coast.
On Monday morning, our fishing guide, Baldur, arrived early at our hotel to pick us up. He had a heavy Icelandic accent and was wearing a very Nordic looking sweater that he later told us his grandmother had knit him. He was quiet at first, but Micah has a way of asking question after question until he’s coaxed new acquaintances out of their natural shell of discomfort and pretty much forces them to become his friend. It didn’t take long before their conversation was flowing freely and ranging from topics of Icelandic culture, NBA basketball, and exchanging Spotify playlists of our favorite musicians from our respective countries.
After an hour-long drive, we arrived at the river and quickly packed our backpacks with lunch before heading out. The temps were in the high 50’s, which is usually right up our alley, but the wind was blowing at gusts up to 20 mph and we were out in the open field at the base of low mountains. Baldur was quick to mention that this was the first storm of the fall season and we would be facing some tough casting conditions.
We fished a few runs without a single hit, but after about 45 minutes, Baldur led us to a bend he seemed confident in. After a few casts, Micah had his first Arctic char in hand! Things quickly picked up and we started consistently pulling in char (and the occasional brown trout). Fishing was going so well and we were getting along great with Baldur, so we insisted he get in on the action and do some fishing. We spent the next few hours moving around the river catching char.
Baldur decided to turn up the competition for us by telling us his best day that year on the water had been with two fly anglers from Michigan who owned a fly shop—they had a 40-fish day catching char just a couple weeks earlier. Naturally, we wanted to try to beat their total, but ended the day a little short coming in at 30 fish.
As we drove back to the city, we enjoyed more conversation with Baldur and Micah naturally extended the offer for him to stay with us any time and fish Minnesota.
We were in good spirits coming off the surprisingly great day of fishing, and enjoyed the rest of the week hiking, camping and exploring on a high note. Iceland was a beautiful and rugged country in all aspects, and we loved our time there.