Ponoi River Fishing

Introduction

When to go...

Choosing when to go is dependent upon your personal objectives and fishing budget; costs correlate roughly to catch statistics. There are pluses and minuses to each week at Ponoi depending on weather trends, numbers of fish, fish quality, water heights and temperatures etc, and in the tundra these are difficult to predict. Ask your Frontiers advisor to talk you through each week.

The first five weeks of the season are when we see the largest number of fish caught. These are during some of the famous white nights with twenty-four hours of daylight. During this period, grilse run with the salmon although salmon-to-grilse ratio is about 2:1. Water and air temperatures can be colder and water levels higher so the river may not have as much feature as slightly later on in the season. The catch statistics range from 30 to 40 fish per rod per week and sometimes much higher.

The middle weeks of the season provide good value, the warmest weather, and tend to be the most productive for those who enjoy dry-fly fishing. Water levels are lower and wading and bank casting much easier and more interesting. These weeks produce 20 to 30 fish per rod on average, but many people have caught 40 or more. From late June, a new run of fish enters the river that we know as the true ‘summer’ run. It consists of 9 to 14lbs mint-bright hen fish with some larger males up to and over 20lbs. With them also run some more grilse. These are fantastic fish and are free-takers.

During the autumn run the numbers remain about even in the 20 to 30 fish per rod range but these are some of the largest salmon. The run begins in the very first days of August at the same time mosquitoes begin to disappear. By September, nearly half the catch is 10 to 20 lbs-plus, bright and fit with only a handful of grilse showing. As with salmon fishing anywhere, weekly results are greatly influenced by prevailing weather conditions. The Ponoi fishes reliably well throughout the season and quite honestly, we feel there is no poor time to fish this river compared to any other Atlantic salmon river anywhere.

A Ponoi Day

A day on the Ponoi can start early with a visit to Home Pool at 5 a.m. Some guests appear in their waders glowing from 2 or 3 fish before breakfast, often with tales of big fish that have broken them or spectacular bomber fishing. There is tea and coffee available in the big tent from 6.30 a.m. with cold breakfast from 7.30 consisting of cereals, fruit, yoghurt and fresh pastries, and hot breakfast served at 8am. Having met you and planned your day the night before, answered tackle questions, asked your preference for wading or fishing from the boat and what you like to drink on the river, your guide will come to your tent at quarter to nine to help you go down to the boats. You can either walk with him for the five short minutes or get a lift in one of the all-terrain vehicles. Either way, you do not have to carry your gear. The guide will load the boat and get you seated comfortably. Once on the river, you might have a journey of up to 35 minutes before starting to fish.

Spring fishing on the Ponoi is a legendary time.

The first five weeks of the season are when we see the largest number of fish caught. These are during some of the famous white nights with twenty-four hours of daylight. During this period, grilse run with the salmon although salmon-to-grilse ratio is about 2:1.

Water and air temperatures can be colder and water levels higher so the river may not have as much feature as slightly later on in the season. The catch statistics range from 30 to 40 fish per rod per week and sometimes much higher.

Spring Fishing Fact 1

There are huge numbers of fish to be caught in a variety of ways. The midnight sun gives you the opportunity to fish for long hours, whether during the day on your beat or wading Home Pool and the vicinity at night. The Spring season starts using  sink-tips and intermediates lines. Floating lines and bombers should certainly be tried early on and once the fish start to take them (usually within the first week), it is one of the very best times of year for skated fly fishing.

Spring Fishing Fact 2

Of course, a highlight of the spring season is the number of fish. 700 to 900 in a week is the average to 20 rods, but equally it can be hard work. The spring average of 30 to 40 fish per rod still only represents one fish an hour, so it is not ‘silly fishing’ as some purport. The catch statistics on the Ponoi represent the efforts of children as young as six, first-time salmon fishermen, those that stay in camp and play cards, as well as the fanatics and experts that try and fish every hour available to them.

Spring Fishing Fact 3

The bottom line is that there are plenty of fish and it is a really fun and visual salmon fishing experience. For some older guests, it does prolong their ability to catch fish. For others who are keen but inexperienced, it is a real chance to add decades of learning in a short week, to test those skills and that ability to read water and present the fly appropriately. For the experienced rods, it is a chance to fish endless wilderness water which needs reading all the time as it is never the same from one year to the next.

Spring Fishing Fact 4

The Ponoi is a wide river but it is shallow and falls away from its spring flood quickly to expose a myriad of features, lies for the fish at all heights of water. In the spring, a short cast from boat or bank is often the most effective. On some beats you can walk the bank, make short casts and see the fish take the fly. It is like fishing a small spate river, with a series of micro-pools and tails. If you are not a short cast fisherman and want to get in the water and cast a long line then there is certainly plenty of space.

Summer Fishing

Enjoy our Summer run fish and loads of dry fly action!

The middle weeks of the season provide good value, the warmest weather, and tend to be the most productive for those who enjoy dry-fly fishing. Water levels are lower and wading and bank casting much easier and more interesting. These weeks produce 20 to 30 fish per rod on average, but many people have caught 40 or more. From late June, a new run of fish enters the river that we know as the true ‘summer’ run. It consists of 9 to 14lbs mint-bright hen fish with some larger males up to and over 25lbs. With them also run some more grilse. These are fantastic fish and are free-takers.

Summer Fishing Fact 1

Summer fishing on the Ponoi is great value and therefore a fine introduction to fishing in Russia or simply dipping a first foot into the world of international salmon fishing. It presents great opportunity and experience for a good price tag.

Summer Fishing Fact 2

Summer fishing on the Ponoi begins in late June with the arrival in earnest of the summer run. This is a run of large females in the 10 to 14 lbs range, a smattering of large males up to 20 lbs and grilse. These fish arrive fresh, fat and sea-liced. They are diluted by the fish already in the river and a typical week’s fish will be a mix of both.

Summer Fishing Fact 3

This is the time when fish will rise to multiple flies and methods, and the smallest flies are used. Fish will rise willingly and play with the fisher as much as the fisher plays with them. It is not uncommon to rise a fish six or more times to different flies, both wet and skated, and fished at different speeds and angles.

Summer Fishing Fact 4

Summer on the Ponoi is a fascinating and very visual time to be fishing. A real pleasure and education for first time fisher either for Atlantic salmon or first time salmon fishers abroad. The number of rises and reactions from the salmon will fascinate anyone not used to seeing salmon rise so freely. To the experienced rod, there are miles and miles of highly featured water to go out to enjoy and explore.

Autumn Fishing

Ponoi famous Fall run time!

During the autumn run the numbers remain about even in the 20 to 30 fish per rod range but these are some of the largest salmon. The run begins in the very first days of August. At the same time mosquitoes begin to disappear. By September, nearly half the catch is 10 to 20 lbs-plus, bright and fit with only a handful of grilse showing. As with salmon fishing anywhere, weekly results are greatly influenced by prevailing weather conditions. The Ponoi fishes reliably well throughout the season and, quite honestly, we feel there is no poor time to fish this river compared to any other Atlantic salmon river anywhere.

Autumn Fishing Fact 1

The onset of autumn is usually signified by the landing of the first broad-shouldered, deep, autumn run fish. These early fish are the beginning of the largest run of the year, which begins in the first days of August and continues through to late November, long after we have gone home.

Autumn Fishing Fact 2

The autumn season usually begins with floating or intermediate lines but with bigger flies because the fresh fish react to larger colourful presentations. The days do get shorter and the evenings cooler, and although the opportunity to fish through the night is eventually lost as darkness returns, the misty mornings on Home Pool are particularly special.

Autumn Fishing Fact 3

The fishing is different in the autumn, and is perhaps the favourite time for the angler who wants to wade and fish long. Covering lots of water, searching for fish, is the order of the day but with real anticipation as one approaches lies. Until it is necessary to fish a deeper sink-tip in September, the takes are still visible and spectacular.

Autumn Fishing Fact 4

This is the time of year when wading anglers are seen running down the bank after fish or guides are seen tossing the anchor rope to chase fish in the boat. Just a few of these magnificent fish will be enough to satisfy your hunger to catch salmon. Every time, you will think you have a big fish, the power of these fish is extraordinary.

Fishing on the Ponoi

Our perspective on what you should expect

The real strength of the Ponoi lies in its consistency. Over twenty years, through every kind of weather, with natural cycles through the season, the river has produced reliable fishing. Elsewhere prime time is a narrow window of opportunity. The element of chance, most often weather-induced, is still there, and that's part of the sport. However, Ponoi River Company camps offer 70 kilometres of double-bank fishing where nobody else is permitted. Fish as you prefer, whether wading, bank casting or by boat. This combination of methods accommodates weather variables, different water levels and your ability to cast or wade. Also unlike many other rivers there are no long hikes or climbs to reach the fishing allowing all your energy to go into the fishing itself. The river has an excellent combination of good numbers of fish to an attractive size. If you are after fish over 30 pounds, this is not the river for you, even though the average size of Ponoi salmon is quite respectable, currently as good as you'll find in Scotland, Iceland and most rivers in Canada. When you come to the Ponoi, plan to enjoy Atlantic salmon fishing for what it is, a relatively unpredictable sport with skills sometimes overshadowed by luck, knowing that there's no better river anywhere to give you an excellent chance of success.

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