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All news for: Week 12

Enjoy hearing more about what has been happening at Ponoi

The Complete Experience

Week 12 Report

This past week Ryabaga welcomed the second group of Finnish anglers led by Erkki M. Fortunately for all in camp, the week’s weather and water conditions were stable and more in accordance with what we expect at this point in the season, at least compared to recent weeks. Anglers saw warmer temps and moderate winds, and these conditions certainly helped to drive more fresh fish into Ryabaga waters.

Nearly 35% of all the fish hooked this past week were fresh, fall-run salmon. Though bright fish were in steady supply, getting them to the net is never by any means easy! A fresh Ponoi salmon always presents a huge challenge, even to the seasoned fly angler. Landing one of our fresh fall-runners was therefore no small feat for those anglers who found themselves holding a fly rod for the first time this week, attempting to catch their first ever Atlantic salmon. We can gladly report that Jukka M., Juha K., Pekka V., Eero N. & Jukka S. succeeded in their quest for a first salmon, and then took the journey a step further by catching a few more salmon each.

Though the Fall Run continued with strength, our over-wintered fish remained very active and willing to take the fly. Anglers had numerous chances throughout our waters, but the most productive beats were the lower ones, closest to the salt. Thanks to our new Hovercraft we were able to transport 4 pairs of anglers with their guides and daily provisions to the lowest stretches with speed and comfort. With this new means of conveyance, every angler in Ryabaga was afforded the best opportunity to catch fish.

Under the guidance of Ryabaga Head Guide Max Mamaev the beats were, as usual, rotated through the fishing week, allowing all anglers equal time to explore. Beat rotations allow anglers access to all of Ryabaga’s water in one week’s fishing, and if most fish are concentrated in the lower beats, as was the case this past week, we make use of every resource in camp to provide anglers equitable access to those fish. 

There was a great deal of excitement in camp this week due to the steady arrival of fresh fish, and the increased incidence of fall-runners being seen, hooked, and caught. It was also a great week of guitar playing and song thanks to Juho K., Yrjö O. & Heiki H. This past week was marked by unique angling opportunities that can so rarely be experienced: to see all three runs of Ponoi salmon represented (over-wintered, Summer Run, and Fall Run), and to see those fish as healthy and strong as ever is a gift that should be appreciated and protected. Salmon rivers around the globe are under huge pressure, and the majority of rivers are seeing their runs decline steadily, so the Ryabaga experience becomes more and more unique. As Ponoi anglers, we remain a part of the ultimate mission to preserve Atlantic salmon for future generations anglers.

Let’s never lose sight of this opportunity.

Tight Lines,

Agustin C. Lo Greco

Ryabaga Camp Manager

Ryabaga Camp: A Home for All Anglers

Week 12 Report

During the 12th week of the 2018 salmon season Ryabaga Camp was host to a wonderful group of Finish and British guests. For the second week in a row, our dear friend Erkki M. was in Ryabaga along with his special group of colleagues and friends. Wonderfully, some of these folks were in camp to chase Atlantic salmon for the very first time, and needless to say they returned home with their wishes both fulfilled and exceeded. Several guests this week enjoyed that magical take, that remarkable fight, and that time-honored ceremony that surrounds a first Atlantic salmon. We were privileged to share this unforgettable landmark in the life of an angler with such individuals; after all, though it’s almost guaranteed that in Ryabaga each angler will enjoy a parade of fish over the course of a given week, there is never another “FIRST”. It is somewhat challenging to explain what happens within an angler’s mind and soul when that first connection is finally established, when a collection of inanimate gear becomes electric and alive with the take and pull of a good salmon. As evidenced this week, it is a feeling that a new salmon angler may not be able to adequately explain, but it remains a feeling that the angler wants to experience over and over again.

 Vesa L., Petri Y., Jukka J. and Harri V. were those who experienced the take of an Atlantic salmon for the first time last week; it is quite clear that they will be forever hooked.

Despite the individual successes, the week certainly did not get off to an easy start, as the river was extremely low and kept dropping. Fortunately, the weather was cool and cloudy and almost windless, which helped the anglers’ chances, and certainly impacted the success rate. The group that stayed with us this past week went home boasting an average of 15 fish per angler for the week, with the percentage of bright fish improving steadily as the week passed. To cap off the positives, there were several big fish caught throughout the week, most notably the 20 lb. belter that Erkki M. managed on the very last day.

We cannot forget to mention the after-dinner entertainment, specifically the live music performed by Yrjo O., Heiki H. and Markus S. These performances made the atmosphere in the Big Tent as unforgettable as any of the fish landed this week.

We can’t feel anything but gratitude towards our guests for their positive attitudes, friendly ways, and appreciation of this place. We thank all of them for choosing our ‘home’ upon which to leave their indelible mark, and we hope that we were able to make as positive an impact on the group as the group made on us.

Tight Lines,

Agustin C. Lo Greco

Ryabaga Camp Manager

As Autumn Approaches

Week 12 Report

It is always a bit startling to realize how quickly the seasons seem to slip by on Ponoi. Already, as we approach September, the days are growing markedly shorter, as the sun takes a shorter path across the Arctic sky. As we reflect on our 12th week of the 2017 Ponoi salmon season, the seasonality of this place and its fleeting summer bring mixed feelings. All in camp are eagerly anticipating the full impact of the Fall run, which brings with it some of the largest and strongest bright fish of the season. That said, as the mornings take on an autumn chill and the nights get noticeably darker, we all remember that our days on the incomparable Ponoi are, of course, numbered.


The weather has remained on the mild side for this time of year. It has by no means been hot, but the recent daytime air temperatures have been quite pleasant, ranging from 15 to 18ËšC at the warmest part of the day. Cooler evenings have done their part to maintain water temperatures a few degrees colder than the air. We have seen no rain in more than 2 weeks, and in response the river has been slowly but continuously dropping. Though the water remains at a respectable fishing level, the dropping river is becoming harder for our guides to navigate in their jet boats.

This week’s fishing was a bit challenging, due in large part to a rather strong and steady wind that agitated the shallow lakes in the Ponoi headwaters. The resultant off-color water, particularly in combination with a bright sun, made visibility quite challenging for guides, guests, and salmon. Despite some tough conditions, notable catches were achieved by several anglers, and three of our guests, namely Betty, Patrick, and Jack, each took their first Atlantic salmon. Moreover, following a last-minute cancellation by a large corporate group, the number of anglers in camp was quite small, and guests were able to custom-select their beats, and to concentrate on specific pieces of water as desired, with little or no competition. These lucky anglers saw the Ponoi at its least trafficked, and they certainly enjoyed the exclusivity.


Jack, who thoroughly enjoyed his initiation into the brethren of Atlantic salmon anglers, was an honored guest this week. Jack is the World Record Coordinator for the IGFA. Though we were not able to get him a new entry this week, we were able to foster an ever-strengthening bond between PRC and the IGFA. With Jack’s success and evident enjoyment, we have no doubt he’ll be back.

The combination of unplanned time and unneeded personnel due to the cancellation enabled us to move forward on a few projects that we’d hoped to complete during the break. It was also a bit of a respite for guides and staff, who anticipate a hard push through the end of the season. On the last two days of the week, some of our guides made a trip down to the Brevyenni waters to check the lower section for the arrival of more bright fish. A few hours after they departed we received a call from their sat-phone with good news: fall-runners were moving upstream in considerable number, and the guides were hooking them. Guide Hamish managed a particularly lovely dime-bright salmon from Brevyenni, which made us all enthusiastic about the coming days.

A call for rain in the coming week should definitely keep the fall-run salmon on the move, and we trust they will be closer to camp in greater numbers in the days to come. The heart of the Fall Run is still to come, and as water slowly clears and settles, we can’t wait to see what the big river has in store for us.

More to Come,

Joaquin Arocena and the Ryabaga Team

A Great Four Days

Our twelfth week of the season started out in the most unusual way, as at the end of the previous week a major readiness rehearsal was initiated by the government, involving all military forces in the Barents and White Seas. This unexpected and completely unprecedented event brought about the closing of all air-space for several days throughout a good portion of the Kola Peninsula. Unfortunately, due to these impositions, our group of arriving guests had to stay in Murmansk until the ban was lifted.

The Ryabaga Camp Staff, the Murmansk Office Team, and of course our group of unlucky guests waited on hold for the imminent opening of air-space. It was a period of waiting, but all pitched in to make the most of a challenging experience. The Murmansk Team took the opportunity to share their fair city with guests, visiting the Arctic Museum, taking a city tour with an English-speaking guide, and visiting the Lenin Icebreaker, which remains the biggest in the world. While in Murmansk our guests enjoyed lovely lunches and a fine dinner, all the while awaiting the return of good news. That news did not come until Monday evening, when the Mi-8 was finally allowed to leave Murmansk.

Once in Camp, spirits were high, and both guests and staff did their best to leave the days of uncertainty behind. Schedules were modified to afford guests two additional fishing hours each day, in order that all eked the most out of the remaining days. Delays were forgotten when we celebrated the 1st Atlantic salmon catch for our 20 anglers.

Conditions until mid-week remained steady, with a rather high river and water that remained quite a bit warmer than expected for this time of the year. The beginning of fall was definitely felt on Tuesday evening when some major weather and strong rains pounded Ryabaga through the night. After this rain, the river rose yet another meter, and it was time for our Guides to re-assess their tactics once more.

As days passed, the presence of fall-run fish increased throughout Ponoi waters, both jumping in the river and tugging at the end of our guest’s lines. As expected for this time of the year, the lower beats proved to be fruitful, and we made good use of the hovercraft to fish the farther Lapybarka and Hard Curve sections.

We hosted a group of wonderful and patient anglers in camp this week. Apart from the group of Russian regulars, it was the first Ponoi experience for almost all the US and UK guests. In fact, this was the first Atlantic salmon experience for many, and though conditions and the unexpected events at the beginning of the week were a drawback, we are confident that all in Ryabaga were thrilled by the Camp and the River. The guests vowed to return in coming seasons to seek their revenge!

We did celebrate some noteworthy catches this week. Ardie struggled to get her first salmon, but went straight to the big leagues by catching a 17 lb. cock fish and a stunning 15 lb. chromer. Malcom landed the first big fall-run fish of the season on Tuesday, John got an impressive fresh fish of 17 lb., and Pavel had his grand finale with a massive 20 lb. overwintered fish on Friday afternoon.

The first appearance of Aurora Borealis, the golden leaves of autumn, and increasingly cool weather, remind us that we are approaching the most sought-after part of the season. With this week’s group having arrived excited and without delay, we look forward for the next few days, as we know the best is yet to come.


Joaquin Arocena and the Ryabaga Team