For a world-class fishing trip, Fish Partner offers luxury travel, expert guides and the pristine waters of Iceland
“I’ve always been addicted to fly fishing,” says Kristján Pall Rafnsson, founder of fly-fishing outfitters Fish Partner. “When I was a teenager, my father would drive me out to Lake Thingvallavan. He took me there on Fridays and picked me up on Sundays. I hate cities; I’m a child of nature.”
Kristján started Fish Partner in 2013, having observed that Iceland’s larger outfitters were set in their ways. “They offered the same old package, year in, year out. I came up with something fresh and people really liked it,” he says. “To start with, we focused only on trout fishing because no one else was doing that. Also, sea trout fishing. Iceland is one of the best places in the world for that. It’s been a local secret for decades.”
Among Fish Partner’s range of services are day tours and “Experiences” for serious fishers and the less experienced alike, while alongside the trout there is fishing for char and Atlantic salmon. Each trip comes with an intimate understanding of Iceland’s extraordinary, unspoiled environment. “We take you to remote places that no one else goes to, using super jeeps or helicopters. We don’t just offer fishing – our package tours mix fly fishing with luxury travel. A lot of our clients might fish for three days and then go sightseeing or adventure travelling for the rest of the week.
“In Iceland, all the water is privately owned. We have miles and miles of water with only two or three people fishing in them. There’s a cap on the numbers allowed. And the waters are pristine – you could drink from an of them.”
For hardier fishing folk, the sheer size attained by Iceland’s brown trout makes for an exhilarating challenge, even when hooked. “You could easily play a big fish for an hour. Sometimes they’re too strong. But it’s part of the game.”
The cuisine offered on Fish Partner’s tours draws on Iceland’s plethora of fresh fish as well as lamb – the sheep roam wild in the Highlands living off herbs. Kristjan also recommends local delicacies such as rotten, fermented shark and boiled sheep faces, which he describes as “delicious!” but accepts they are acquired tastes.
Ultimately, Kristjan ascribes Fish Partner’s success, compared with his more unwieldy competitors, to “Personal care and local knowledge. Our motto is, ‘There are no problems, only solutions’.”