All news for: Week 14

Enjoy hearing more about what has been happening at Ponoi

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

The Greatest Week

Week 15 report,

It has become a mainstay of the season that on this last week of August Ponoi River Co. owner llya Sherbovich hosts friends and family in Ryabaga. This year, the Friends and Family Week was again unforgettable for everyone involved. It was a highly international group in Camp, with representatives from Russia, USA, Serbia, Mexico, Spain, Switzerland, Colombia, Belgium and the UK. The new guests list included young Sabrina Dodig from Switzerland, the Swigart family from the US, the Dashwood family from the UK, and the Montoya family from Spain. In fact, Ryabaga Camp hosted the biggest party in its rich history; on Friday evening, between guests, staff and helicopter crews, Ryabaga was home to 92 souls!

With 31 anglers eager to take to the water, we made each meter of the Ponoi from Kolmac to the Brevyenni rapids accessible by water or air. The entire Ryabaga staff was happy to spend time with a wide array of anglers, from some very experienced folks to several young children. This was the first experience with Atlantic salmon for eleven of our guests, and for some anglers it was the first time fishing at all. We are proud to report that each angler landed his or her share of salmon, and some took fish of truly noteworthy size. As we've said before, such success in Atlantic salmon fly-fishing is only possible on the Ponoi.

Though the water remained slightly colored through the beginning of the week, we are very happy to announce that thus far the 2015 Fall run is both stronger and earlier than it was in any of the last three years. We have seen hundreds of fish running and showing through lower Ponoi waters, though many of these fish were difficult to catch as they were moving upstream. Our guide team deduced that the most effective way of catching moving fish was to move big flies quickly. As for patterns, the Ponoi Nail Shrimp was without a doubt the star of the week. In total, 35% of the fish landed were bright fall-run fish, and we can only expect these numbers to get better. Needless to say, the condition of each of these salmon was nothing short of impressive.

Great weather made long lunches as amusing as ever and encouraged mushroom collection after fishing hours were through. The mushroom harvest was so good in fact that for some guests, spectacular fishing simply filled the hours around mushroom picking and the lunch session. Festivities rolled over into the evening hours as well. Before each dinner, crowns were awarded for top rod and biggest fish of the day. In this elite league, Lady Lucinda Dashwood from the UK was the most decorated angler, with three crowns for the week.

Unforgettable events of the week included the celebration of Elena Vilí's birthday, a big Ponoi Poker Night on Monday, the Guest House Fire and Guitar Party on Thursday and Tundra Karaoke Night on Friday.

On Wednesday, Sir Edward Dashwood joined Kostya and Ilya Sherbovich alongside Ponoi Head Guide Max Mamaev in a fruitful Sig fishing expedition. Ilya has become quite passionate about the rare Sig (a close relative to the American whitefish but quite bigger) and is always keen to share this unique fishing experience with friends.

Wednesday was also a South American night as Argentinian members of the PRC team prepared a proper Asado for everyone. Following that evening's dessert, Humberto Montoya improvised some Salsa lessons. Needless to say, everybody was dancing 15 minutes later.

On Friday night all of the kids were given merit awards for their angling efforts through the week. So too were seasoned anglers honored at Friday's event, most notably our special friend Leonard Smith. On that day Len completed his 52nd week at Ryabaga. After nice words and compliments, Ilya Sherbovich gave Len a hand-carved Salmon, a new Ponoi book signed by all Ryabaga staff, and as if this was not enough, from now on, Len's favorite cabin has been renamed after him. These gestures were a simple demonstration of gratitude, friendship and respect from Ilya and the PRC Team for a man who has spent the totality of a year fishing in the Ponoi waters. We sincerely hope to welcome Len back for another 52 weeks!

Such a week as this is rare in Ryabaga, with incredible friendship, celebration, and of course angling. It seemed that even Mother Nature wished to share in the good will, as she awarded us with lovely weather throughout the week and the most spectacular Northern Lights on Friday night.

It was of course†a week weíll not soon forget, but one that leaves us ever more excited for the days to come. What a Week!

Joaquin Arocena and the Ryabaga Team