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All news for: Week 2

Enjoy hearing more about what has been happening at Ponoi

The Arctic Comes Alive!

Week 2 Report

This past week of the 2019 Ponoi salmon season saw a relatively dormant Arctic landscape explode with life. The energy on and off the river was lively and joyful, made more so by some remarkable catches, and a wonderful group of guests.

This week Ryabaga Camp welcomed a group of seasoned anglers from Ireland, the UK, South Africa, Iceland, and Finland. Most of these guests had visited our river and had enjoyed the bounty of the Ponoi before. They were predominately anglers who had seen what a spring week in Ryabaga can offer at its best: huge beats, seasoned guides, impeccable accommodation, and cuisine, and most importantly bright Ponoi salmon.

The week did not start out easily. Gale-force winds had blown through the previous weekend and had stirred up the headwater lakes that feed the river. In turn, water clarity was disrupted, and underwater visibility became almost non-existent. Despite these challenges, the Ponoi did not fail to produce fish. Guides leaned on their experience and ingenuity and worked their magic to find fish in suitable locations, and to get the fly within the salmon’s reduced field of vision. As often is so often the case, the hard work that the Ryabaga guides put into finding “takers” paid off.

Although colored water remained for the first half of the week, the Ponoi kept on producing as conditions continued to get better and better. Water clarity, temperature, and level improved steadily, allowing our anglers to end the week on a “high note”. By week’s end, Ryabaga anglers had landed an average of 25 fish per rod, some of which were truly exceptional examples of Ponoi salmon. All of the fish were memorable, of course, and countless stories of moments on the water were shared among old and new friends in the Big Tent.

Often in Ryabaga, it is this time of recounting the day’s events that is the most meaningful. Relaxing in the warmth of the Big Tent, stories emerge about the biggest fish ever hooked, and the one that got away. There are colorful descriptions of salmon rising to a riffle-hitched fly that was skated beautifully, and occasional stories about the sighting of a brown bear, or a herd of reindeer. Ryabaga Camp is a place where all of these experiences are made possible inside of a single week. A week on Ponoi so often becomes that piece of the year that guests cherish, but that goes by entirely too fast. I guess that means that a week in Ryabaga is something to be savored, and something to be revisited.

On behalf of the entire Ryabaga staff, we thank our guests for choosing to share that savored week with us. It is a privilege to spend our days with such fine people in such a lovely place.

Tight Lines,

Agustin C. Lo Greco

Ryabaga Camp Manager



Dauntless Anglers and an Amazing Week 2

Week 2 Report 

Once again it is that time of the week when we pause for a moment to reflect on the last seven days. It seems that every time we slow down enough to look back, we arrive at a remarkable shared feeling of amazement. No better word describes the sentiment cultivated among both anglers and guides during a week of fishing the Ponoi River out of Ryabaga Camp. This feeling of amazement results not only from the sheer number of fish in the system, but also from a growing awareness of new friendships forged on the boat, around the bar, and at the dinner table. We were certainly amazed this week that despite far-from-ideal conditions our guests managed to land a total of 1021 fish! Strong northern winds that brought cold temperatures, snow, hail, and sleet were unable to sway the anglers’ determination, or perhaps stubbornness (as any non-angler might say)!

Three of our guests this week came to Ryabaga to catch their first Atlantic salmon, and, true to form, all found themselves nothing short of amazed at the end of Day 1. That day Mark P. landed his first Atlantic salmon ever and went on to land fourteen more. Tom T. landed his first Atlantic salmon as well, alongside seven others, while a young Bobby Joe T., fishing a fly rod for the first time, landed his first-ever Atlantic salmon. The rest of the group had a fantastic day too, during which over 370 fish were hooked, and 248 were landed.

Following a remarkable Day 1, the weather took a turn for the worse, and for the rest of the week numbers were to be a bit more modest. That said, at the end of the week the average catch per rod revealed that each angler had landed over forty fish, much to our collective amazement once again. John W. landed a 21 lb. brute, and two days later Yasuji S. landed a fish of similar size. John M. and Tom L. each landed a 19 lb. salmon, while Robert S. landed an 18 lb. brawler. We ended up the week with over twenty fish that eclipsed the 15 lb. mark, but of course the biggest fish were those that got away. Sometimes it seems that those lost fish are the ones that provide anglers with the best stories, which in turn are told and re-told at dinner or around the bar in the Ryabaga Big Tent.

At week’s end, with memories made, casting arms tired, and plenty of stories to tell through the coming year, the helicopter turbines roared and receded, carrying a full complement of guests back to Murmansk. Undoubtedly, all on the helicopter were already thinking about their next trip to Ryabaga Camp. We are always so pleased to know that the experience anticipated by our guests was realized, promising that both seasoned salmon anglers and first-timers alike are “hooked” on the Ryabaga Camp offering. With that we’d like to wish a fond farewell to our friends from Ireland, USA, UK, Finland, Japan, and South Africa. Until we meet again…

Tight Lines,

Agustin C. Lo Greco

Ryabaga Camp Manager

Things are Looking Up

Week 3 Report

After what was arguably the toughest week of fishing in the history of Ryabaga Camp, we entered the official third week of the 2017 season with a mix of hope and uncertainty. Though all who know Ponoi understand that the resource is incredibly resilient and the river returns to its normal glory very quickly, a late spring and similarly late ice-out had delayed the 2017 season significantly. By the end the first fishing day of Week 3 the Ponoi had amazed us once again. A swollen and very cold river produced over 100 salmon, thanks to the perseverance of optimistic anglers and undaunted guides.

With the tundra still partially frozen, weather conditions, water temperatures and visibility slowly improved through the first four fishing days of the week. A sudden warm-up on Thursday and Friday added a couple feet of water to the river level, reducing the catch a bit. That said, a slight reduction in the daily catch rate was a small price to pay to clear most of the remaining snow from the entire basin.

The final tally for the week was 627 fish. Although this figure is lower than the 25-year catch average for this week, it remains quite a showing considering the Ponoi’s initial spring condition and the current weather across the Kola Peninsula. Overall the fish quality was exceptional, with some late fall-run fish in the mix to provide anglers with hard battles. The unseasonably cold temperatures that we experienced until recently kept the overwintered salmon in great condition. We were also quite pleased this week to see that a more substantial number of bright fish than we supposed had spent the winter in the estuary, and are now moving into the Ponoi system. All of these fish provided action in a river that was still running fast and deep.

Ponoi guides explored a range of tactics this week, but many walked their boats down the banks to take advantage of the concentrations of fish near the slower shorelines. These conditions also rewarded those willing and able to wade for most of the day; consequently a few of our anglers surpassed the 40-fish mark for the week!

From a tackle standpoint the most productive rigs were full-sinking lines paired with big, bright flies. Most anglers also opted to carry a lighter setup for fishing the shallow banks. Numerous 15 to 18 pound fish were landed through this past week, but the highlight of the week was John Dale’s magical Thursday session at Hallway when the landed a 13, 16, 17, and a sturdy 23 pounder! Congratulations John!

PRC Owner Ilya Sherbovich joined us this week and joined us in welcoming three generations of friends! Anatoly Sr, Anatoly JR, and grandsons Sasha and little Max). Ilya, alongside his father Victor and son Kostya, shared Ryabaga’s magic with these longtime family friends. Members of these two families made some memories not only in Ponoi waters but also in other nearby Kola fisheries where trophy brown trout were the prize.

We look upon the coming week of fishing with a more clear view of what is in store, namely a river that is still high and fast and cold, but nonetheless full of fish that will become increasingly eager to take the fly as the days go by. For good reason we are very optimistic about what lies in store for the Ponoi.


Joaquin Arocena and the Ryabaga Team

Challenging week, the fishing stays strong.

Week 2 Report

After a record 1st week with over 1200 fish landed, our expectations for the second week of the 2016 season were appropriately high. The flows remained in good condition, and with a full camp of 21 rods, all were poised for yet another memorable event.

Mother Nature, however, had a slightly different plan for us. Weather conditions changed dramatically last weekend when strong north winds made matters challenging for both anglers and guides. As with all the main rivers of the Kola, the Ponoi is a shallow, lake-fed water body that responds negatively to 2 or 3 days of very hard winds. The resulting agitation of sediment can impact water clarity for a couple of days, much as it did through the middle of this past week.

Water color was not too bad on the first fishing day when we landed 134 fish. From Monday on, however, things were more difficult, and it was only by Thursday afternoon that we were able to see a considerable improvement in water conditions. By last Friday we were nearly back to normal, and on that day 131 fish were landed. On the whole nearly 700 fish were taken this week, with numerous salmon pushing past the 15 lb. mark.

We were grateful through the week for the steady performance of Home Pool which, with the influx of clear water from the Purnache and Ryabaga tribs, fished as well as we’ve come to expect. Anglers who frequented Home Pool managed more than 40 fish on this amazing stretch of water. On Tuesday, Yury D. waded the Purnache trib to great effect with Head Guide Max Mamaev. The Purnache is low enough to wade across it in different spots, and though the wading was at times challenging the reward was obvious with several fish landed, including two in the 10-15 lbs range.

Off-color water conditions demand bigger heavier and brighter flies, and this week we also saw some success with extra-fast sink tips. Our guides targeted shallower runs, and guests who attempted to do some wading performed reasonably well from the bank.

We enjoyed the return of several regulars this week: the Twigger’s group of six enjoyed their usual long, post-dinner conversations in the Big Tent. It was again very nice to welcome back Jon and Hubert who between them have managed a remarkable 58 trips to Ryabaga Camp. It was also a pleasure to welcome other guests who have not visited Ponoi in a few years; watching them enjoy the benefits of the new cabins was a pleasure. John M. was one of these returning guests and also our top rod of the week with 60 fish landed including a 21 pounder.

Another regular, Sugai from Japan, allowed us to finish the week on a high note by catching the biggest fish of the season so far. The beast was a 25 pounder netted by our big fish specialist Sergei Bistrov in a deep channel of the Hourglass Beat. Needless to say both guide and angler were pleased with the result of their work. Not to be outdone was young Kostya Sherbovich, son of PRC owner Ilya Sherbovich, who at 10 yrs. old managed a 19 lb. brawler on Thursday. Kostya followed up this catch with a 19 fish day on Friday alongside the beloved guide 'Uncle Nick' Sigov. It seems that Ponoi is kind to its children!

Weather conditions appear more normal for the upcoming third week of the season. Barring the challenges of nature, fish size and number look wonderful for the rest of 2016, and we are looking forward for some more Ponoi bounty in the coming days.

Until Next Time,

Joaquin Arocena and the Ponoi Team