You Haven’t Seen It All…
Week 3 Report
When a person has done something many, many times, it can become easy to think that there are no “firsts” left to be seen or experienced. It seems to me that when a person starts to get comfortable in this sort of thinking, life finds a way of conjuring up a “first”, just to remind us that we haven’t seen it all.
This past week, Ryabaga welcomed a group of anglers comprised mainly of “regulars”, guests who have been coming to Ryabaga since that inaugural season back in 1991. Those folks have seen and done a great deal in Ryabaga over the course of those 28 years. In those earliest seasons, everything that took place fly fishing-wise on the lower Ponoi was a first. Records were set and broken, first and biggest fish were taken in particular beats, and un-tested patterns were proven on eager Ponoi salmon. That said, after hundreds of anglers and tens of thousands of salmon, a rich history and a deep base of experience have been created. So much has transpired in Ryabaga, and our longstanding guests have spent so many days on our water, that it might seem there is nothing new to experience. We are fortunate, however, that Ponoi continues to offer up surprises, and remains a bottomless well of “firsts”, even for those longest-standing guests.
Last week’s group experienced a breadth of “firsts” in Camp. There was the first time many had seen a blanket of snow covering Ryabaga in the middle of June. There were several fish caught on techniques that had never before been employed, and instances of guests who managed to catch more big fish in a week than they ever had before. Several guests noted more fish taken on a dry fly than in any week of fishing over 28 consecutive years. It was a distinctly pleasant surprise to hear that Ryabaga affords no shortage of “firsts”, even for guests that have been visiting our Camp since its inception.
The fishing this week was not easy. Anglers had to endure relentless winds throughout the week, and conditions that not only made proper presentations difficult, but also brought dirty water into our section of the river. Spring in the Arctic Circle is not supposed to be predictable, but days that begin at 27 degrees and end at 4 are certainly not the norm. All of this said, the 2019 Spring thus far is clearly proving that no matter what nature throws our way, the Ponoi will still produce fish. Unpredictable wind, colored water, snow, and massive temperature swings made it hard to imagine that guests would end the week with twenty-seven fish in the 15 lb.+ range, and three fish that tipped the scales past the 20 lb. mark. Additionally, the week boasted a 27 fish per rod average, and the first few summer-run salmon of 2019!
I suppose it is the opportunity for “firsts” combined with the reliability of the Ryabaga Camp experience that keeps our longstanding guests returning. The river will, of course, do what it will, but in our experience the salmon will continue to oblige. What remain wholly reliable are the first-class guides, the luxurious but remote accommodations, and the remarkable dining experience. And so,we press on into Summer, grateful for the river that continues to surprise and delight us, and grateful for the guests who continue to experience the possibility of each new day on Ponoi.
Agustin C. Lo Greco
Ryabaga Camp Manager