Week 20 Report
With this past week, the 2019 Ryabaga salmon season comes to an end. It was a very special week for all in camp, made notable by the fact that though it was the last week of the season’s fishing it was the first time we have been able to offer Ryabaga anglers the opportunity to fish a week further into October. Recent weather patterns have been hinting that this season extension might prove bountiful, and a camp full of veteran anglers proved that this ‘late-week’ experiment was indeed a success.
We started the week with difficult salmon fishing conditions on account of dirty, rising, and cold water. Nonetheless, all guests and guides returned to the dock with smiles, as the fish were willing to take. Among the first catches of the week were those of Andrey K. who landed his first Atlantic salmon, and Georgiy R. who landed a 15 lb. fish. These early successes set the tone for the great things to follow.
This last week of the season was made up of a multinational group of guests, with both new and old friends from Russia, Finland, and the UK. After the exceptional fishing that guests witnessed in Week 19, we anticipated a similar showing once the water cleared. Day by day it did just that, and anglers found fish by utilizing both sinking lines and heavy sink tips. Even as the wind increased on Tuesday the fishing did not slow down. Both Hannu N. and Alexey L. landed 15 lb. fish and the number of quality salmon over 10 pounds made up 20% of the day´s catch.
Wednesday, the river was rising minimally and began to stabilize at a healthy fall level. Snow showers and seasonably cold mornings did not slow the fishing down at all, and our anglers returned once again with great catches. Mark A. landed a beautiful 22 lb. fish after a lengthy battle in Clough Creek, and on Thursday Evgeny S. and Andrei K. landed fish of 17 and 16 lb. respectively.
As the week’s end approached the water rose slightly in temperature, giving anglers a great finale. On the last day of fishing, Ryabaga anglers boasted 65 fish landed and many more hooked! Mark A. proved once again that he knew how to handle the big fish, finishing the week off with a magnificent 25 lb. fall runner, the biggest fish of the 2019 season caught on the last day of this ‘first/last’ week.
We ended the week with an average of 12 fish per rod, which was a remarkable number given the difficult conditions that started the week. This metric illustrates the strength of our Fall Run and promises great things for the coming spring. This week was the perfect ending to a great season, showcasing the quality and quantity of fish that return to the Ponoi. Now, as the last guests leave, Ryabaga staff will begin the bittersweet process of shutting down the camp for winter. As the winter break approaches, all in Ryabaga are eager to see what amazing things Ponoi has in store for 2020.
With season’s end, we wish to offer sincere thanks to each one of our guests. Not only do we value their friendship and company, but it is also important that we celebrate the role each one of them plays in the ultimate goal of protecting Ponoi salmon.
We must, of course, thank AST Senior Advisor Steve Estela for his support and help throughout another fantastic season.
Finally, we must offer a very special debt of gratitude to Ilya Sherbovich, without whom the future of the Russian salmon would be a dark one. Thank you, Ilya, for your tireless desire to improve, to preserve, and to protect Atlantic salmon!
Until Next Season, Tight Lines.
The Ryabaga Team