Strong Early Summer Run at Ryabaga
After a challenging Week 2, weather and general fishing conditions drastically improved over the last six days, and catches returned to the impressive numbers that we expect to see on Ponoi.
Arguably the most notable news this week was the very early and prolific arrival of summer-run salmon. Historically, the first summer-run fish are caught sometime around June 20th, but we landed our first bright salmon on this week’s first day of fishing, nearly 10 days earlier than expected. This early arrival instigated some debate regarding whether these fish were actually summer-run or late fall-run salmon that had stayed in the estuary for the first part of the spring. 2 days later, when we started to catch some sea-liced fish, that was the end of the discussion: THE SUMMER RUN WAS HERE!
Proportion and number of bright fish did improve steadily during the week, and even on the last day of fishing, with some really strong wind and a bright sun, 15% of our catches were fresh fish. By the end of the week we had landed 776 fish, 60 of which were chromers, with the majority of bright fish taken in the last 3 days.
These summer fish were not only early and numerous, they were also big! Normally the summer run tends to produce a dominant proportion of grilse, but this year proper bright salmon from 9 to 15 pounds were landed quite consistently, and we saw several bright fish pushing the 20 lb. mark. Regardless of size, these chromers were truly beautiful, and notably powerful. Fishing tactics were the usual for Ponoi at this time of year, but those anglers wanting to target bright fish were successful fishing bigger and faster water with big bright flies. Of these, most fished Max’s tubes, swung with good speed or stripped.
With 4 couples in camp, the Big Tent was lively, and a great tone was present every night. We were visited by a number of regulars: Jim and Paddy, Francois, Ray, Terry, Bob and of course Len (who was enjoying his 53rd week in camp!) have maintained their annual week at Ryabaga for over a decade; we are always very happy to welcome them back, and proud that they have chosen to join us.
There were also some first-timers here on the Ponoi this week. Keith came to camp with his wife Olga, who landed her first Atlantic salmon, and followed that up with an unforgettable Thursday when she landed 6 fish including an 18 pounder. Also enjoying his first Atlantic salmon experience was Evgeny from Russia, who proved to be a natural: he landed an 18 pounder as well, and 2 more fish over 15. Not new to Atlantic salmon but first-timers in Ryabaga were Karen and Kevin, who I’m sure will visit us again, as will Teresa and Robert who came back to Ponoi after 9 years hiatus.
In all, it was a wonderful week in every respect, showing us very good potential for the rest of the first part of the season.
Until Next Time,
Joaquin Arocena and the Ryabaga Team