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Latest News - Updated!

Enjoy hearing more about what has been happening at Ponoi

End of Season Report - 2022

With the arrival of late Fall, another season on Ponoi comes to a close. Winter will soon fall over the Kola Peninsula, and another winter’s worth of fish will settle in beneath the ice, waiting for spring and the return of anglers. Though Ryabaga Camp has been somewhat quiet over the past few seasons, the Ponoi fishery continues to reward anglers, as evidenced by a strong 2022 salmon season. Spring arrived somewhat late to the river, though we had great fishing weather for opening day. May and June experienced fairly high water, a good number of salmon, and strong fishing, with 35-40 fish per rod per week. Ryabaga was host to local guests primarily, all of whom experienced days filled with rod-bending battles, and the respite of our remote getaway on the tundra. As the Summer Run arrived, guests and guides saw a strong pulse of fish, and recorded many notable catches. We approached the midsummer break ready for a bit of a rest but encouraged by what the river was showing. All were confident that a strong Fall season was to come. As usual, a crew remained in camp to take advantage of the long mid-summer days, and to complete some maintenance and improvement projects. Ryabaga got a bit of a facelift, and we made some structural improvements in anticipation of Fall anglers and an uptick in traffic in future seasons. As the late summer brought anglers and guides back to camp, the weather was beautiful, and stayed unseasonably nice through mid-September. September witnessed the arrival of the Fall Run, which produced good numbers and size of returning salmon. Guests were averaging 20-25 fish per rod per week throughout, with fish quality intensifying as the short, crisp, blue-sky days of October approached. The season ended on a high with fall-run salmon of noteworthy quality and size, many new friends in and out of camp, and a season we are all proud of. With another season finished, I want to again thank all of the Ryabaga staff, the Guide Team, and the in-town support staff that makes this unique and remote destination run. I must of course thank our wonderful guests, the new ones and those who have been with us in all the seasons past… your ongoing enthusiasm and support are the lifeblood of this business. A special thanks to PRC owner Ilya Sherbovich for his remarkable displays of loyalty, generosity, and support. Ilya remains an unwavering champion of this fishery, and of the staff that work to make it accessible. And of course, I must thank my family for their ongoing assistance and love. As winter approaches and we get some needed rest, our minds no doubt wander towards the promise of next year, and the prospect of a visit to Ponoi. The borders are open, the river continues to flow, and the finest Atlantic-salmon fishing in the world is within your reach. We are here to welcome you to the Ponoi, and the experience of a lifetime. Best, Steve Estela AST

Ryabaga Camp: Spring 2022 Report

Dear Ponoi Friends,
With summer fishing in full swing on the Ponoi, we wanted to update you on the season thus far. As Ryabaga stirred back to life after ice-out we saw a good amount of snow still covering the tundra. May arrived on the Kola Peninsula with some beautiful sunny days, and the first flight from Murmansk to the Camp provided an aerial view of tons of water and the last vestiges of a long winter. Ryabaga was rapidly put in top shape, and all in camp were anxious to host the first group of anglers.
On May 28th the first boats left the dock in search of Ponoi salmon! With a river running clear and high but at a comfortable 5-6 degrees C, the first salmon of the 2022 season were on the take, much to the delight of the fortunate Ponoi anglers.
As the early weeks of summer went by, the river started to slow down and warm up, reaching optimal condition in the first few days of June. The water at that time was a 12 degrees C, the river features were beginning to show, and the favored points, breaks and rocks were all holding fish. The party had officially begun!
With an average of 48 fish/rod for the week and some keen anglers taking advantage of Home Pool in prime condition, Ryabaga was in its glory. We even saw more than 100 fish landed to one rod!!
Looking back, the 2021 Fall Run represented good numbers and strong fish arriving well into October. This influx of fish foretold a strong summer in 2022, and the arrival of the Summer Run on June 20th facilitated a wonderful experience for both guests and guides enjoying long days on the Ponoi.
We have a few summer break projects slotted to be done in July and August, and we all remain eager to see what the Fall will bring! Borders are open and both the river and Ryabaga Camp are in top form; let us know if you would like to join us. As always, we are eager to welcome guests old and new.
Life is too short; it’s a great time to go fishing!
Best to All,
The Ryabaga Team

2021 End of Season Report: Back to What We Love, Feeling Alive Again…

End Of Season Report:

2020 was a year that many of us would like to forget. It was a year during which we all missed doing what we love with the people we most enjoy. Instead of joining friends on our favorite river, we spent the year sitting at home, dreaming about getting back to the Ponoi where we might once again feel alive.

The arrival of 2021 brought some hope. The global situation with COVID-19 has had its ups and downs, but borders started to ease, worldwide vaccination rates started to show an impact, and the prospects of a return to our beloved river began to look promising.

June brought the first guests back to Ryabaga. Spring fishing was decent… not red hot, but everyone in camp enjoyed a good number of fish and great conditions. As several nations opened travel across Russian borders, we slowly repopulated Ryabaga Camp with an international crew! With very tight protocols and safety regulations in camp (testing guests before arrival, social distancing in camp, an exceedingly high standard of hygiene, and limited exposure of staff to guests) we enjoyed a safe and trouble-free experience in Ryabaga. The midnight sun, dry-fly fishing, and a Summer Run that was strong in both numbers and size made for a very enjoyable spring.

Summer Break in Ryabaga brought more new updates. All on hand attended to the boats, engines, and Hovercrafts. Roads were improved, facilities saw several facelifts, the kitchen received upgrades, and Ryabaga enjoyed the general enhancements it deserved.

After the Break, our Fall Run weeks were thoroughly booked by loyal and longstanding guests. In addition, we were thrilled to welcome some new friends that were able to visit Ryabaga and fish the Ponoi for the very first time. As summer gave way to autumn, the Fall Run started to show signs of being a proper one. Once the first mint, sea-liced salmon were landed in the lower beats we knew the push of fresh fish had started. We had great expectations, and fortunately the run never stopped!

Every day of the fall, sea-liced fished were landed through all our beats from Tomba to Kolmak. Trophies were a matter of discussion every night at the bar, and all were impressed with the fantastic condition in which the 2021 fall-run salmon showed up! The fish were fat and square, with big, solid shoulders; beautiful, perfect, and stunning were just a few of the adjectives used to describe the daily catch. The number of fish seen and landed just kept increasing, and we knew we were witnessing a remarkable 2021 Fall Run.

Numbers don’t always tell the full story, but for those wondering what constitutes a great run, we had an average of 25-30 salmon per rod per week for the top fall weeks! Some lucky and skillful anglers had days wherein 25 were fish landed by wading the friendly banks of Ponoi… The size and volume of the Fall Run not only means we had a fantastic autumn, but it also foretells a great 2022 Spring season!

With Ryabaga nearly full, we enjoyed great company, lots of laughs, and some fantastic fishing. Ryabaga hosted guests from many countries this year, all arriving by different routes. Wonderfully, our guests were assisted by our in-person Team both in Moscow and Murmansk. Due to COVID, it was not always easy to maintain our personal contact with each guest, but once again Ponoi performed up to its standards. Looking back on 2021, we can now say we had a trouble-free season! We are thrilled to announce that we are back!

Many thanks to our loyal, longstanding guests, to friends new and old, and to all our staff, who had to learn a new way of working under new guidelines. Thanks, as always, to owner Ilya Sherbovich, the man who always knows just what to say, who supports Ponoi unconditionally through thick and thin. Thanks as well to my family for the longstanding support even in tough times; you make me stronger!

I am incredibly proud to be part of this Team. The group that makes the fishing experience possible on Ponoi is simply the best there is!

A final word of thanks to all our guests. We will see you soon on the banks of Ponoi for another great salmon angling experience!


Steve Estela, AST Advisor


Looking Ahead at the End of the Season

Weekly Report

October 3rd - 10th, 2021

We finished our Ponoi salmon season with a delightful group of guests from Belgium, France, and Russia. It has been a pleasure to host anglers from around the world this season, and to share the experience of Ponoi and its incredible run of Atlantic salmon. Our fall-run fish have brought joy to new and experienced anglers alike over the past few weeks, and this final week afforded more of the same: happy anglers returned to the Big Tent each day to share stories of magnificent, bright salmon… all beneath a display of northern lights. This is what Ryabaga is all about!

Salmon were running strong through the last few days of fishing, signaling great things for the spring to come. These salmon that continue to pour into the river will sit under the ice till we return next year, at which time they will again take our flies. With the cold water, they will remain dime bright until summer, at which time they will begin to prepare for an autumn spawn, a year later than they arrived. It is truly an amazing life cycle to witness firsthand. To be in the presence of running fish from our arrival in August to our departure in October is a great testament to the health of the run. No doubt, fish are still pushing into the Ponoi at this very moment.

Conditions this week were a bit tougher than last week’s bluebird days, but more typical for this period in October. There was some rain and wind as the temperatures dropped and the days shortened. This did not hinder the fishing, however, as the fish of the week - a stunning 21 lb. fresh salmon - was landed on the very last day. It wasn’t just the size of fish that was remarkable this week. Looking through the fishing report showed stats such as Hugo M’s 13 bright fish day. No other river produces the same quantity and quality of bright salmon per rod, especially in October!

It has been a pleasure to open Ryabaga to the world, to welcome friends back to appreciate this amazing resource and help conserve it. It is truly the best salmon river in the world. All of us are eager for the arrival of spring so we can once more find ourselves among wild Atlantic salmon, pristine wilderness, and those who appreciate both. Until next time, tight lines and thanks for coming to experience this special place with us.

All the Best,

Max Kantor, Ryabaga Camp Manager