Ponoi River Management

Let us introduce our management team
Steve Estela
CEO - Managing Director

Having first ventured to the Kola to serve as Head Guide and Ryabaga caretaker in the late 1990s, Steve Estela became Ponoi River Co. CEO at the start of 2008. Steve experienced a successful early career in Argentina with the company Nervous Waters, notably as General Manager of the renowned Kau Tapen Lodge. Over a decade-long tenure, Steve rose to hold the post of Operations Director of all properties owned by Nervous Waters. The promise of Kola salmon eventually pulled Steve back to Russia, where his experience in the destination fishing industry was put to immediate use. Steve brings a wealth of experience to the leadership of Ponoi River Co. Now a resident of Murmansk, Steve is able to provide hands-on management of operations throughout the year. Ponoi River Co. guests are treated to his personalized care, efficiency, and unparalleled attention to detail. Originally from Buenos Aires, Steve is married to Pata, who has also worked at Ryabaga. Together they are the parents of two young sons. Steve has fished all over the world, including some fantastic exploratory trips literally at the ends of the earth. He enjoys all varieties of sports, particularly running, cycling, and motor racing.

Julia Vlasova
General Director

Julia spent the majority of her youth in Murmansk, and studied foreign languages at the Murmansk State Humanities University. Upon graduation she worked as an English teacher and then as a Directors Assistant at a Russian building firm. In March 2009, the Ponoi River Company had the great fortune of hiring Julia, and she has been involved with all aspects of running PRC since then, from issuing invitations to guests, to  keeping the office up and running, to cooridinating itineraries. She now holds the position of General Director.

Agustin Cruz Lo Greco
Ryabaga Camp Manager

Agustin Lo Greco, better known as Agus, joined the Ryabaga Team as a guide in 2011. Agus is a native of Argentina who spent most of his childhood in the rural regions of Argentinian Patagonia. He picked up a fly rod for the first time when he was nine years old, following in the footsteps of both his father and his four older brothers, all of whom were avid fly anglers. Agus’ passion for fly fishing rapidly became an obsession, and immediately after finishing high school he accepted his first guiding post near his hometown of Bariloche. In 2007 he joined “the majors”, and took on a guide position at Kau Tapen lodge on Argentina’s illustrious Rio Grande. It was there that he met PRC CEO Steve Estela, Ryabaga Head Guide Max Mamaev, and many other professionals who would help steer him into a career in international destination angling. Not long after, Agus accepted the offer to join Ryabaga’s "dream team”, and the rest is history. He has been a beloved and loyal element of the Ponoi experience for nearly a decade, in which time he has proven himself an invaluable asset to the Ryabaga guide staff. Agus enjoys every aspect of fly fishing, from casting a fly line to exploring the nuances of rod and line design, and everything in between. If the topic has anything to do with fly fishing, then Agus is interested. That said, he remains a bit of a renaissance man: though he can claim a degree as a Professor of Musical Arts who loves playing music, he is equally competent welding a boat, or building a piece of furniture in the Ryabaga woodshop. Agus is certainly an eclectic man, and one we entrust with the coveted position of Ryabaga Camp Manager.

Sasha Cheplukhov
Supply Manager

Sasha has been responsible for supplying the camps for over 10 years. A trully dedicated paerson to ensure that what ever is requested gets to camp on the next helicopter. Proud father of a boy Sasha is a 24-7 all year round memeber of the Team. His behind the scenes duties are vital to keep Ryabag running smooth.