A famous angler and angling writer from North America, Roderick Haig- Brown, fished the Vatnsdalsá, and wrote about his experience in the “American Sportsman”. He says toward the end of his long article that when he is asked about the fishing in Iceland the only sensible answer he can give is that he wouldn’t want it any better. And he adds that he saw the rise of every single fish he hooked, this to him being the ultimate in quality fishing.
The famous English angler and angling author, John Ashley-Cooper first visited Vatnsdalur in 1962 and in his book, “A Salmon Fisher’s Odyssey”, he tells the story of his first weeks on the Vatnsdalsá. He fished it for a fortnight, and one of his two fishing companions caught 17 salmon in one day before lunch, The other one, a skilful trout fisherman, but with only two salmon to his name, accounted for 50 during that two week period. The total bag was 256 fish.
In his book Ashley-Cooper says the fishing on the Vatnsdalsá was magnificent, the salmon averaged 11 lb, and the biggest during his tenure was 26 lb. The grilse averaged 7 lb. He says things were never as good as in 1962, but that sometimes they came pretty close to it.
Many other famous anglers and conservationists have fished the Vatndalsá, and continue to fish it. Approximately half of the fish caught weigh in excess of 10 lb, i. e. have spent two or more years in the sea before returning to the river. And every year salmon in the 22 to 25 lb. range are caught.