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The River is Shaping Up Beatifully

Week 4 Report


Though water levels remained somewhat high to start, the Ponoi witnessed a steady drop over the course of this past week, and in turn the river was able to showcase a more typical view of itself. High water forced the guide team to remain nimble, but guests were nonetheless able to access many of the traditionally favored spots, and great fishing was found throughout the 40 km of river we fished this week. Despite a powerful and cold north wind during the last two fishing days, the catch remained consistent and well above the 100 salmon/day rate, affording a total of 764 fish for the week. 

The river looked and fished more like it has during past Week 1’s, with silvering kelts still in the system and, as of last week, a majority of fish taken very close to the banks. Anglers and guides walked the boats downstream and/or waded to access these close-lying fish, especially on the lower beats where the river speeds up, and there are few places to execute the typical drops that allow both rods to fish in tandem. These conditions once again offered a significant advantage to those anglers willing to both fish from the boat as well as wade. Ross Spence, who was our top rod for the week with an outstanding catch of 72 fish, only fished from the boat on select occasions, and spent much of the week fishing hard while wading and walking the banks. Though wade fishing Ponoi can be physically demanding, there is some great sport to be had for the adventurous anglers who are willing to give it a go.

Home Pool remained unfishable for the first few days of the week, with just a small section of water slow enough to hold fish. On Wednesday, Bruce landed the first salmon of the season from Home Pool, much to everyone’s delight. We are confident that as soon as the water drops another couple feet, Home Pool will again start producing catches in line with its reputation.

Full-sinking lines were used quite extensively this week with good success, though we are seeing lighter tackle in use each day. With good water visibility and water temperatures around 9˚C, the salmon are starting to travel the extra meter up through the water column to take a big and shiny tube. We assume that for next week, sinking tips on floating lines will prove the kit of choice, and heavy lines will be reserved for especially deep runs.

A very cheerful group of regulars joined us in Ryabaga this week: the Spences, the Siewrights, P. Davidson as well as J. Mcmillan, and H. Balls remain among our most loyal guests, and its always nice to see them return.

PRC owner Ilya Sherbovich and his son Kostya joined us on several evenings in the Big Tent, and they fished the Ponoi every second day, taking the rest of the week to target trophy brown trout on surrounding waters with excellent results. Kostya managed the biggest trout of the week, which tipped the scales at around 12 pounds!

Weather for the coming week looks favorable. There are great numbers of salmon already in evidence within Ryabaga waters, and a dropping river will soon start to show its features in typical fashion, allowing guides and anglers to target the most productive sections. In the coming days we fully expect the mighty Ponoi to show its historic bounty.

Until Then,

Joaquin Arocena and the Ryabaga Team






Things are Looking Up

Week 3 Report

After what was arguably the toughest week of fishing in the history of Ryabaga Camp, we entered the official third week of the 2017 season with a mix of hope and uncertainty. Though all who know Ponoi understand that the resource is incredibly resilient and the river returns to its normal glory very quickly, a late spring and similarly late ice-out had delayed the 2017 season significantly. By the end the first fishing day of Week 3 the Ponoi had amazed us once again. A swollen and very cold river produced over 100 salmon, thanks to the perseverance of optimistic anglers and undaunted guides.

With the tundra still partially frozen, weather conditions, water temperatures and visibility slowly improved through the first four fishing days of the week. A sudden warm-up on Thursday and Friday added a couple feet of water to the river level, reducing the catch a bit. That said, a slight reduction in the daily catch rate was a small price to pay to clear most of the remaining snow from the entire basin.

The final tally for the week was 627 fish. Although this figure is lower than the 25-year catch average for this week, it remains quite a showing considering the Ponoi’s initial spring condition and the current weather across the Kola Peninsula. Overall the fish quality was exceptional, with some late fall-run fish in the mix to provide anglers with hard battles. The unseasonably cold temperatures that we experienced until recently kept the overwintered salmon in great condition. We were also quite pleased this week to see that a more substantial number of bright fish than we supposed had spent the winter in the estuary, and are now moving into the Ponoi system. All of these fish provided action in a river that was still running fast and deep.

Ponoi guides explored a range of tactics this week, but many walked their boats down the banks to take advantage of the concentrations of fish near the slower shorelines. These conditions also rewarded those willing and able to wade for most of the day; consequently a few of our anglers surpassed the 40-fish mark for the week!

From a tackle standpoint the most productive rigs were full-sinking lines paired with big, bright flies. Most anglers also opted to carry a lighter setup for fishing the shallow banks. Numerous 15 to 18 pound fish were landed through this past week, but the highlight of the week was John Dale’s magical Thursday session at Hallway when the landed a 13, 16, 17, and a sturdy 23 pounder! Congratulations John!

PRC Owner Ilya Sherbovich joined us this week and joined us in welcoming three generations of Gavrilenko's (grandfather Anatoly, son Anatoly, and grandsons Sasha and little Max). Ilya, alongside his father Victor and son Kostya, shared Ryabaga’s magic with these longtime family friends. Members of these two families made some memories not only in Ponoi waters but also in other nearby Kola fisheries where trophy brown trout were the prize.

We look upon the coming week of fishing with a more clear view of what is in store, namely a river that is still high and fast and cold, but nonetheless full of fish that will become increasingly eager to take the fly as the days go by. For good reason we are very optimistic about what lies in store for the Ponoi.


Joaquin Arocena and the Ryabaga Team

The Most Challenging Week in the Last Century!

Having delayed Ryabaga’s opening for a week due to ice and weather, all in Camp were more than ready to welcome the first group of 2017 anglers this past week. Guides and guests were all anxious to get on the water to celebrate the new season, and to see what the river had to offer. Here on the Kola, this 2017 spring has been known as the “Latest Spring in the Last Century”, and Ponoi fishing was to be equally slow to start. Though water levels were reasonable at the start of Week 1, air temperatures hovered in the low teens throughout, reaching 2-3 C at night and dipping below zero on several occasions. Cold air did nothing to help the 2 degree water temperature. Nonetheless, guides and guests took to the water day after day, undaunted by the conditions, and driven to find some salmon. Tuesday saw the thermometer reach 15C, and with this added warmth we hoped to see a pickup in water temperature and fishing. Instead, the river rose about 1 meter, making conditions even tougher for our anglers. In times of cold and rising water, Ponoi guides have to shift tactics to tease out sluggish salmon. This week, sinking lines and bright, colorful tubes were the weapons that helped fool quiet fish. This first week has produced a 1000+ fish average over the last 5-year period, and it is statistically one of the two best weeks of every season. Unfortunately, this year fell far short of average, and showed us one of the toughest weeks on record. By week’s end some nice fish started to take in Ryabaga waters, and we look forward to a second week that shows us more normal conditions, both weather and fishing-wise. We want to sincerely thank the brave group of guests that joined us this week. Despite challenging conditions, all of our guests were very understanding, and never gave up hope or optimism. The guides also worked as hard as ever, and with their help anglers managed to land almost 100 fish, each of which was treasured. Much to our delight, good news came on Sunday the 11th. Following the first day’s fishing of Week 2, 100+ fished had been landed! After a tough, slow start to 2017, the Ponoi is looking like it will once again grace us with its bounty. On that note, we welcome the 2017 salmon season, and look forward to more great things in the near future!

2017 Season

Dear friends, as you all know Mother nature has played hard ball this year in the Kola region and we had to call off our first week due to start tomorrow 27th. All our staff is currently in camp advancing with preparations, to ensure another great season. The main reason for this delay on stating the operations is safety, it has always been our #1 priority and all our decisions are based on this. The good news is that things are improving by the day with some good flow of water already moving through our productive home pool!! The river is opening and breaking up finally!
So to understand whats going on its has been officially renown as the longest winter in the last century!
Good times coming soon!!
Get ready!
Pictures from home pool on Wednesday.