Flies for Iceland – Trout Flies – Nymphs
This is part two of our series on flies for Iceland. Check out part one Salmon Flies here
Looking for what trout nymphs to tie or buy for your Iceland trip? Below we have assembled a list of our favorites. Many are your classic trout nymphs that are universal, others are local favorites, but they are all true and tested in Icelandic rivers and lakes.
If you want some of these flies for your next trip, Fish Partner can furnish all your fly needs.
For all the flies on the list, I’ve added a short description, photo and a link to either a tying tutorial or a recipe. For some of the more obscure Icelandic patterns, the recipe or tying tutorial is only in Icelandic but Google Translate should come in handy there. If the recipe/video is only available in Icelandic I have noted it in the link.
If you are only interested in the photos, scroll to the bottom for a full photo gallery of listed flies.
Alma Rún was designed by Icelandic fly tier Sigursteinni Húbertssyni and named after his granddaughter.
This fly was specifically designed to catch Arctic Char and that’s what she does best. Typically tied on size 10-18 hooks.
is one of the more simpler flies you can tie with a name to match but doesn’t mean it isn’t effective. Larger sizes emulate caddis cases, smaller once could be mistaken for midge or chironomid.
Usually tied one a size 8-16 hook it can be tied in many different ways, without a bead head, weighted or unweighted and with or without a tail.
Pheasant Tail (and PT HH)
The Pheasant Tail nymph (with or without a bead) is trout fishermen stable around the world and Iceland’s no exception.
The classic original Pheasant Tail pattern was designed by an English riverkeeper named Frank Sawyer to imitate many nymph species.
There are several varieties of the fly but they all seem to be on the menu for salmonids around the world! Sizes: 12, 14, 16, 18, 20.
The Hothead variety(with an orange bead head) is especially popular.
The Hare’s Ear nymph (with or without a bead) along with the Pheasant Tail probably share the unofficial title of world most used nymphs and Iceland is no exception.
This classic fly pattern works wonders all over Iceland where It is an effective pattern throughout the year because it covers a broad spectrum of prey that is active in every season.
This fly was originally designed by fly Designer John Barr as a heavily weighted dropper pattern to drag down a smaller fly fished in tandem. It turns out the fish love the Copper for what it is and eat it as readily as the dropper. One of the reasons that the Copper John works so well is its heavily weighted underbody and bead head. I go so far as to tie all of mine with tungsten beads and lead wire! The wire over body adds segmentation, flash, weight, and durability
Another fly designed by noted fly tier Gylfi Kristjánsson.
The dumbbell head and design of the fly means it is “upside-down” in the water meaning you can skip along the bottom with less chance of getting caught up on rocks.
The color combination is true and tested in Icelandic trout fishing, traditionally red, black and silver. Tied on size 8-18 hooks.
is a fly we love. This fly was designed by our good friend and Utah based guide Spencer Higa as a Baetis (mayfly) imitator.
Typical sizes are 16-20 but people have had success with this fly from size 10 down to size 24.
It doesn’t matter if its a size 8 or 18 hook, the Frenchie will catch you fish in Iceland(probably everywhere else as well for that matter). We prefer it tied with tungsten beats on a jig hook but all sizes and variety of this fly seem to work. This fly created by competition angler Lance Egan’s can be best be described as a simpler, flashier and more effective pheasant tail.
Without getting into the whole debate what constitutes a fly, the fact of the matter is Squirmy Wormys catch fish. Lots of them. And I like anything that gets the job done(MOP Flies are another that would fit that same bill!).
Simple, ugly, unsophisticated? Yes. Trout candy? Yes, yes, yes
Waltz Sexy Worm
Severely underrated fly that I have countlessly observed as all a picky fish will take. Sizes 12-20, all though I have a special preference for the smaller size and feel they emulate Chironomidae pupae well.
Walt’s Worm is named for Pennsylvania angler and tier Walt Young, who created the pattern for fishing Spring Creek, near his home in State College.
is one of the most prolific flies in Iceland.
It emulates several aquatic insects most notably a hatching Chironomidae. This fly is usually tied on a size 12-18 hook and was created by noted Icelandic fly tier Gylfi Kristjánsson. The name krókurinn means “the hook”.
The Zebra Midge, invented by Lees Ferry guide Ted Welling, imitates a tiny midge pupa and given the high numbers of midges found in Iceland the pattern is a local favorite. Sizes 14-20 typically used here, good to have a few in smaller sizes as well in case you find a picky fish.
Buzzers come in all kinds of colors, shapes, and sizes but are all meant to emulate different midge/Chironomidae species in different life cycles and as midges are one of the primary feed sources in Icelandic rivers we live all Buzzer patterns.
Mobutu – Several different flies variants come with this name, but they all have a black vinyl wrapped body, beadhead, and a white parachute “air bubble”.
Tied in a variety of sizes this versatile fly imitates a wide variety of aquatic insects.
The Killer was designed by Icelandic fly tier Þór Nielsen back in 1975 specifically to catch Arctic Char in Lake Thingvallavatn, and that is exactly where it has excelled for almost 50 years. This pattern will catch fish all over Iceland but is most at home fished deep in Lake Thingvallavatn.
As simple as it gets. Lots of lead wraps and then black vinyl wrapped over. The name Þingvallabobbi means “Lake Thingvallavatn Snail”. Meant to emulate an aquatic snail species(Radix balthica) that is common in the Lake Thingvallavatn area as well as the rest of Iceland.
How to tie the fly: Lead Wrap, Black Vinyl.
Simple but popular local fly. Created by Björgvin A. Björgvinsson in 2000 it remains stable in Icelandic fly boxes for good reason.
Usually tied on size 10-16 grubber hooks.
Peter Ross – Although originally a wet fly the Peter Ross has been adapted to a nymph and can be lethal at times.
This flashy fly works great as an attractor pattern and has shown fantastic results especially when it comes to Char fishing.
Bleik og Blá
This fly was designed by Björgvin Guðmundsson and exists both as a nymph and a streamer pattern. This flashy attractor pattern is surprisingly versatile and consistently catches fish.
Another entry on our list by fly tier Gylfi Kristjánssons
Beykir is a phenomenal trout fly that has made fishing easy in rivers and lakes alike. Usually tied in larger sizes, 10s-16s.
Brown trout just can’t seem to get enough of this fly and this local delicacy is a favorite among Icelandic anglers.
Some think its meant to emulate a drowning wasp, whatever its supposed to look like it simply works, like is the case for most flies designed by Gylfi Kristjánsson (as you might note the late great tier has multiple entries on this list)
Langskeggur is one of Iceland’s most prolific trout flies, a replica of midge larvae it is an unweighted nymph best tied on long shank hooks in sizes 12-16. This fantastic fly was originally designed Örn Hjálmarsson, a known Icelandic Fly tier.
Another classic wet fly that got adopted as a nymph with great success. This pattern has remained popular in Iceland for decades.
By Sindri Hlíðar Jónsson, Head Guide and partner of Fish Partner
More reading on Fishing in Iceland: