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All news for: Week 19

Enjoy hearing more about what has been happening at Ponoi

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

2020: A Year of Reflection

Dear AST and Ponoi friends,

Like you, we feel that 2020 has redefined almost everything we considered and enjoyed as “normal”. In times like these, we reflect on what we have perhaps taken for granted, realizing in a new way how special and blessed we have been for so long.

Booking a fishing or adventure trip, packing and boarding a plane… such things used to be as simple as that. Not so this year.

For nearly all of us, our dream holidays and our annual adventures were forced to take a pause as the entire world suddenly ground to a halt. We all had to learn a new way forward, and to react with nimble grace to the “new normal” that COVID presented.

Wonderfully, nature persevered. The natural world, the rivers and their fish didn’t realize much what was impacting us humans. These elements moved along as they have for all time, though it seems they did enjoy the break!

In early spring Ryabaga was all set to go, with months of pre-season planning underway, and logistics in place for another busy season. Then of course the unexpected happened: COVID 19 arrived and immediately began to play a pivotal role. Travel restrictions, cancelled flights, border closures, sanitary regulations and a host of additional limiting factors halted the ability for all of us to make our annual trip to Ponoi.

With June just around the corner, we were forced to make a decision that we never dreamed of. Fortunately, our loyal guests were understanding of the situation, and all approved the necessary plan to roll over the Spring bookings 2020 until 2021. With the optimism that things would soon get better, we looked forward to a return in time for the Fall Run. With eyes on the horizon, we kept all our staff “on hold”, and maintained Ryabaga in functional shape and ready to go.

During late May and June, PRC Owner Ilya Sherbovich, his family and some other Russian guests managed to spend time on the river, with phenomenal fishing results on an absolute and on a per rod basis.

Summer projects didn’t stop. With our team of Mechanics and some other key staff in camp, we kept our plans in place and did a major facelift of camp facilities. We relocated and improved our satellite antenna to provide a better wireless service for our guests, and we built a new Kolmak guard post house. We fixed roads, improved storage, and re-graded all roads around camp. We improved the boat docks and bought new boats and engines to keep our fleet up to date.

In hand with our longstanding Conservation Program and protection of the river, both Kolmak and Ponoi Village guard posts were fully operational since April and will remain active until the river freezes, in late October early November. As part of the daily camp routine, guides went on commission patrolling the river up and down from Ryabaga to ensure our fish could enjoy the break!

Weeks went by and suddenly August was upon us. We reviewed the state of travel and took a considered look, and it was a sad day when we realized it was simply not going to happen. We were forced finally to call the 2020 season off, and so doing had to relinquish our hopes, wishes, and plans to be able to share Fall fishing with our guests. Once again, we made the agonizing call to rolled over fall bookings to 2021.

Our Russian guests used the opportunity to enjoy some good days in Ponoi, relax in camp and experienced some wonderful fishing. It was tremendous to salvage the atmosphere and enjoy the river we have come to know and love. Moreover, it was such a pleasure to see our friends enjoying Ryabaga and the Ponoi at such times.

And now it is time to turn the page. We must of course reflect on a tricky year, but we are strengthened by the opportunity to plan ahead.

Special thanks to the Ponoi Ryabaga Team, Frontiers Travel US and UK, Ponoi MMK office and everyone that help and support us in this very special year.

We all need to recover the lost time; let’s get ready to play hard in the season to come!

We leave you and this 2020 season with a reminder to never take anything for granted. We must, we now know, enjoy every day, every cast, and every fish!

With high hopes for 2021, we bid you a restful winter.

All the Best,

Steve Estela

AST

The Stars Align

Week 19 Report

Over the last few weeks we have seen the strength of the Fall Run, with fish moving in great number through Ryabaga waters. That said, weather and river conditions have posed real challenges to anglers and guides alike of late. This week, everything came together, as the Ponoi calmed down enough to show guests just what it had in store. Water temperature, water level, appropriate winds, cloudy skies… everything aligned and the fishing responded right away. Reports of great fish began to circulate through camp just minutes after guests landed in Ryabaga. Joseph B. went down to Home Pool upon arrival and immediately connected with what ended up being a fantastic 15 lb. fall-run fish! This fish seemed to foretell what was to come…

The first day out was undeniably good, especially for Genady D. and Sergey S., both of whom caught their first Atlantic salmon. Gerard P., who was fishing the Ponoi for the first time, landed a 21 lb. beast in Tomba, and Len S. (who was remarkably fishing his 60th week in Ryabaga!!) landed an 18 lb. chromer. On Day Two there was no sign of slowing, as Duncan B. and Henri A. each landed a 19 lb. salmon. Timothy Y. landed a 21 lb. and Martin V. landed a 22 lb. fish. It seemed this week that all the fish we knew were in the system decided to play the game, and our anglers rose to the occasion. Through the week we saw an increasing number of fish entering our waters, and sea-liced fish were a daily sight through all beats. On Day Three, Simon B. landed a 20 lb. and Martin a 19 lb. salmon, proving that these boat partners had a way of working together. On Day Four the weather took a bit of a turn, bringing colder temps and even a snow shower, and yet the numbers remained strong. The biggest fish of the day went to Ian B. who landed a 19 lb. silver beauty. Day Five arrived, and beautiful conditions remained; the fishing was great. Martin V. landed a 19 lb. bar of silver, and just minutes after releasing it he hooked, played, and landed what is currently the biggest fish of the season: a 24 lb. slab of perfection.

On the final fishing day of the week, the fish were still quite willing to take a fly. Dean M. landed an 18 lb., while Duncan B. & Gilbert P. each landed 20 lb. fish.

By the end of the week, anglers had landed an average of 28 fish per rod, and over 90% of them were bright, broad-shouldered Osenkas.

The fishing was wonderful this past week, and all in camp were grateful. Nonetheless, what made the week even more enjoyable for guests and staff was what our old friend Peter R. refers to as “the X factor”. According to Peter, there is something unique that characterizes the Ryabaga experience. That something may be impossible to pinpoint or fully describe, but it is there no less and recognizable to the guests who come to love this place. The magic that is Ryabaga is real, both on and off the water.

 

With just one week left in our 2019 Ponoi Salmon Season, the excitement remains palpable. All look forward to seeing what may enter our river in the coming week. As our final group of anglers arrives, spirits are incredibly high, in part because this past week represents a success story that goes beyond the numbers in a statistical spreadsheet. Week 19 was confirmation that the great efforts made to protect these fish, and to ensure their survival, are paying off.

As the weather cools and the days keep getting shorter, we are warmed by the certainty that even when the Ponoi decides to take its winter sleep, the promise of something truly special will hover beneath the ice, ensuring the ongoing success of Ponoi anglers.

Tight Lines,

Agustin C. Lo Greco

Ryabaga Camp Manager

Another Season Gone

Week 19 Report

Another week comes to an end in Ryabaga, but this past week was an especially significant one, as it was the last week of our 2018 Ponoi salmon season. As we said farewell to our last group of guests we had the usual feelings of accomplishment and sadness; that said, we were yet again pleased to look back over a fantastic ending to a great season.

This past week we welcomed a group of 20 anglers in Ryabaga. We started the week with the hope that the push of fresh fish that arrived in Week 18 would carry on steadily, and to our delight it did. Throughout the week we saw sea-liced fish caught every day, and the steady pulse of these bright fish into our waters made for some wonderful angling opportunities. Again this week we had anglers of all experience levels in camp, with some who had come to catch their first salmon ever, and others who have been fishing for Atlantic salmon for more than 30 years. All in camp were thrilled when Vadim K. took his first Atlantic salmon this week, and equally pleased when Alexei S. and Alexander B. did the same.

The weather was consistent with what might be expected for a first week of October within the Arctic Circle. We saw frosty mornings and cold water, but the salmon were undaunted, and continued to enter the Ponoi. Our anglers landed an average of 8 fish per rod for the week. The fishing was not easy, but it was certainly rewarding. As is the case in these types of conditions, guides chose either Skagit lines with 15’ sink tips (in the T-10 to T-14 range) or occasionally full-sinking shooting heads to get the fly even deeper. Both tactics had positive results. The quality of fish was again remarkable, as is expected on Ponoi, and we saw stocky, silver fish with the broad shoulders that we expect from our Ponoi fall-runners. Gilbert P. and Martin V. posted lovely 19 lb. beauties, Birger B. took an 18 lb. brute, and Lois S. on her first visit to Ryabaga managed a 17 lb. and a 16 lb. brawler. A great week, indeed.

Perhaps the best news is that fresh fish are still coming into the Ponoi, and this bodes extremely well for 2019’s spring fishing. Ryabaga is still a very busy place, with so much to do before the last group of Mechanics leaves camp and the full clutch of winter covers the tundra. Several camp upgrades are still in store for the coming days, and then the camp will be officially put to bed.

It has been a fantastic week for all of us here in Ryabaga Camp, and an equally fantastic season. As we look towards the coming year we can only hope to again share great moments with friends in what is certainly one of the most special places in the world.

Until Next Time,

Austin C. Lo Greco

Ryabaga Camp Manager