All news for: Week 14

Enjoy hearing more about what has been happening at Ponoi

Friends and Family

Week 14 Report

Every other year, PRC Owner Ilya Sherbovich and his family host a lovely group of friends and family in Ryabaga. Any week in camp is a unique experience, but this biennial Friends and Family Week has evolved to include some special traditions: The Poker Tournament, Disco Night, Live Music around the Bonfire, the Daily Awards Ceremony, and more. It is a busy week both on and off the river, with three different helicopters coming and going, two hovercrafts in operation, and an army of staff making sure everything works seamlessly. It is the busiest week of the year for sure; by Friday night of this past week, Ryabaga was home to three helicopter crews, a complete staff, and a full complement of guests that took the total count in our small tundra village to 81 people! This year’s Friends and Family Week came alive with energy and enthusiasm, and it proved to be among the most enjoyable weeks on record.

The fishing this week was challenging, but strong numbers of fresh fish were hooked daily, and the promise of more fall-runners kept spirits high. Among the guests were several anglers in-the-making, specifically three young girls under 15 years of age (one not yet 7!) who joined us to go fishing for the very first time. Sasha T., Natalia K. and Sonia S. each caught a first-ever Atlantic salmon, giving all in camp reason to celebrate. When we see these young anglers enjoying success on the water we see our angling tradition carrying on, promising that there will be anglers looking after our rivers for many years to come.

The river is in great shape. The water level is good, and it continues to cool down as we face longer nights. The Fall Run seemed to get stronger and stronger through the week, but catching fish was not easy, as the salmon were moving upriver extremely quickly. As waves of fish moved through, anglers tended to experience strong plucks at the end of the line but few solid takes. Most of the bright fish taken this week were caught in the lower beats, and once again we made use of our fleet of vehicles to make sure all anglers were given the best chance to secure a salmon.

The weather was a bit unstable at the beginning of the week, with the barometer bouncing this way and that. On the up-side, Tuesday arrived with a considerable rainfall that brought the water level up a good 10 inches. Our tactics were rather simple: anglers used large, colorful flies on floating lines with intermediate tips. These rigs were fished at a good speed, and success became a matter of covering enough water to find a willing fish, in the hopes that he might fall victim to our deceit. Anglers had plenty of opportunities, and succeeded in their attempts repeatedly, landing both overwintered and fresh, fall-runners between 4 and 20 lbs.

One of the prominent features of this week was the 2019 Ryabaga Open Poker Tournament. With over 20 players seated at the tables, the tournament developed in three stages. After the first round, 8 players moved to the second stage. After some epic hands, Matthew Solon and Edward D. moved on to the super final, and the other 6 players shared third place. In the end, Matthew’s game prevailed, and he became the champion of the 2019 Ryabaga Open Poker Tournament. I guess the luck of the Irish should never be taken lightly.

It was once again a fantastic week for all of us, and we have nothing but gratitude for Ilya and his family, and for all of our guests. It is truly a privilege to be part of such a special tradition.  

Tight Lines,

Agustin C. Lo Greco

Ryabaga Camp Manager

Great Days and Equally Great Evenings

Week 14 Report 

On Friday night the entire kitchen staff made a grand entrance into the Big Tent and presented a beautiful birthday cake to guest Rok L., who is arguably the best working guide on Slovenian waters. All present were eager to join in the songs and toasts, and every guest was pleased to be a part of making Ryabaga Camp the most celebratory and welcoming place on the tundra. Guest Nick B. stood to present PRC with a magnificent piece of artwork signed by each of the guests in camp this past week. The piece was a beautiful painting of a Salmo salar done by Brenton S., a noted guide and artist from Dubai. Nick also shared a few words of gratitude and reflection, encompassing the magical experience that is a week’s fishing in Ryabaga. His sentiments of appreciation for all of the folks who work to create “The Ryabaga Experience” were supported by each and every guest, all of whom raised their glasses, joining Nick in acknowledgment.

The fishing was not easy this week, as the water was once again quite low to start, and the fish seemed particularly moody. Nevertheless, by Monday the six anglers who had come to Ponoi in the hopes of catching their first Atlantic salmon had met their goal and then some, much to everyone’s delight. Ryabaga was host to a group of anglers who hailed from all corners of the world: the UK, USA, New Caledonia, Germany, Switzerland, the United Arab Emirates, Slovenia, Russia and even Bhutan. It seems that the Syren’s song of fresh autumn-run Ponoi salmon resonates among angling communities worldwide, and it proves a call that is hard to ignore.

Although the fishing was challenging, every angler had the chance to experience why the Ponoi Fall Run is so special. Wade S. was with us to catch his first Atlantic salmon, and he did so with a fresh, 19 lb. chromer. Kencho T. & Uguen R. also caught their first salmon, and each was a fresh fall-run fish. Mohammad A., Rok L., and David M. caught their first-ever Atlantics, and each was thrilled to feel the raw power of a Ponoi fall-runner. Despite challenging conditions, days spent on our magnificent river made for an unforgettable experience for our guests, and one that was full of ‘firsts’. Even a seasoned salmon angler like Genady Z. cemented a memorable moment when he caught the biggest salmon of his life, a 20 lb. chromer.

There were several other noteworthy fish caught this week, like Toby B.’s 18 lb. beauty, and the pair of 17 lb. slabs taken by Harry T. and Mohammad A. Kostya S. was not to be outdone, and he posted a 16 lb. brawler, joining the anglers who recorded numerous other fish in the teens caught this week. It was encouraging too to see the pods of fresh fish jumping throughout our waters, ensuring that the Fall Run continues, and the fishing can only remain strong. With that we finish one more week in Ryabaga, sharing the notion that what happened this past Week 14 was nothing short of great.

Farewell to all our friends,

Agustin C. Lo Greco

Ryabaga Camp Manager

Ponoi Friends & Family Week

Week 14 Report

This past week was not only the 14th week of the 2017 Ponoi salmon season, it was also the annual Ponoi Friends & Family Week in Ryabaga. It was, once again, an unforgettable experience for all involved; with almost 30 guests in camp and friends spilling over into the Guest House, Ryabaga was humming with life.

PRC owner Ilya Sherbovich and his wife Tanya welcomed friends and family into camp, and led guests through a wonderful, and quite special, schedule of events. Before each dinner, prizes for biggest Atlantic salmon and top rod were awarded, alongside special mentions of the accomplishments of the 10 anglers under the age of 14 fishing in camp.

Friends & Family Week started off with Monday’s first round of the customary poker tournament, in which 23 guests and staff faced off across the card table. The field was reduced to a final pool of 8 players on Tuesday, and two finalists remained standing on Thursday. To the surprise (somewhat) and delight of all spectators, the tournament champion was young Kostya Sherbovich, who shared the top honors with Peter Fedorov.

Wednesday was party time, and the Big Tent was re-purposed into a colorful and vibrant dance floor. On Thursday evening, all were privy to the first showing of Northern Lights this season, and on Friday night we capped the week with a fireworks display. What a special week in camp!

As wonderful as the social evenings were, the fishing days were equally filled with memorable events. Great catches marked every fishing session, and we saw all of the youngsters becoming better anglers as the days went by. The tenacity of the young anglers was especially impressive on the rougher weather days: it was incredibly inspiring to see them making cast after cast into the cold wet wind, standing with joy and enthusiasm against the weather.

Old Ponoi friends Sir Edward Dashwood and Boris Levyant were in camp this week, along with their (respective) grown children Bertie and Polina, who each caught their first Atlantic salmon. Not to be outdone, a first salmon was also achieved by Lena Vill. Sabrina and Dino Dodig caught good numbers of fish and amazed everybody with their casting skills, while Somerset and Wyatt Fell, who are very experienced anglers despite their age, both achieved personal bests with an 18.5 and 16 lb. bright fish respectively. Father David Fell was quite proud.

Humberto Montoya was a pleasure to have on the water and in camp, and he was thrilled to catch not only several noteworthy salmon but also a good pike. Longstanding Ponoi friends Len Smith, Mariusz Wroblewski, Sergey Pavlov, Markku Lampu, and Stefan Simberg, made the most of time on and off the water to celebrate great fishing and lasting friendships. All told, it was a pleasure to be part of this week’s events, and to know that this amazing experience will be imprinted on the memories of everyone in attendance.

With more than 15 guides and the aid of the hovercraft, we were able to fish the entire 80 km of available Ponoi water through the course of the week. The stock of fresh fish grew as the days passed, and the catches followed suit. Though the water still seems a bit too warm for the fresh salmon to hold in one place as much as we’d like, many good fish were landed daily. Moreover, after Wednesday’s rain, impressive numbers of fresh osenkas were spotted running on the lower beats. It was a frustrating yet spectacular scene to see dozens, if not hundreds, of fish running up the river completely ignorant of both flies and boats.

Conditions started to change quite dramatically on Friday afternoon when a serious rain hit the entire Ponoi basin. The already saturated tundra will not absorb more water, which means that the river level will increase considerably over the next few days. Needless to say, water levels will present anglers with some challenges through the beginning of the coming week.

Nonetheless, the weather looks quite good for the coming days, and the Ponoi should return to a more normal level quite quickly as the excess water drains to the North Sea. As that happens, we expect the full impact of the Fall Run, and incredible fishing as the end of the 2017 draws closer.

More to come…

Joaquin Arocena and the Ryabaga Team

And the Fall Run Just Keeps Coming....

Though our fall-run fish have been in the system for over a month and the bankside colors are nearly turned, it was not until this week that we in Ryabaga got a taste of a proper fall. The weather is at last turning rougher, the days are getting noticeably shorter, and the fall-run itself is getting ever more productive.

Though water levels are still much higher than we would hope for this time of year, colder temperatures have made the older fish quite territorial, and an increased presence of fresh fall fish that are now well-distributed through all beats allowed guests to land 370 fish of which 40% were bright, fall-runners. Sea-liced fish were caught on a daily basis, meaning that the already good number of bright fish in the river is continuing to grow. This condition allows us to believe that, with four more weeks to go, the prospects for the rest of the season are hugely promising.

Though we landed several fish this week in the 18- to 20 lb. class, the most remarkable fish of the week was without a doubt Bill’s brute from Tomba’s Falcon’s Nest. After a thrilling battle which included five jumps pushed, this monstrous salmon tipped the digital scales at 27 pounds!!

With water cooling down and clearing up, fishing in deeper, slower sections became quite productive, as did targeting some of the shallow, even-flow gravel bars. As for rigging, intermediate and slow sink tips gave way to fast-sink, while the big bright Max tubes remained the preferred choice for guides and salmon alike.

Among the guests in Camp this week we welcomed back several longtime friends as well as some new faces. Paul and Andrew from the UK managed their first experience with Atlantic salmon, and judging by their results it will certainly not be the last. Rosa and Douglas visited the Ponoi for her first time, and despite a long and storied salmon angling career, Rosa managed her biggest fish to date, a sea-liced 20 pound beauty that will no doubt be a cherished memory. It was a stunning fish, to be sure.

On the part of the regulars, there were some noteworthy catches as well, but all in Camp were impressed by Graham’s consistency. With painstaking dedication he fished a good line, resulting in 37 fish for the week. Congratulations, Graham!

Seasons move fast in the Arctic, and virtually all of the green has left the banks, and a good amount of the once-dense foliage is already lying on the ground. Throughout the Kola we can see the winter starting to take over once again. Fortunately for Ponoi anglers we still have lots of great fishing ahead, as this amazing Fall Run just keeps coming!

Until Next Week,

Joaquin Arocena and the Ryabaga Team