All news for: Week 3

Enjoy hearing more about what has been happening at Ponoi

Kelts, Over-Wintered, and Sea-Liced

Week 3 Report

This past week once again displayed just how unique the Ponoi River is. Our guests were not limited by landing several kelts, fish that have spent more than twenty months in the river system and are working their way back to the ocean. Our guests also landed an impressive 885 fish that had entered the river in the months of August and September 2017, and are now waiting to spawn in the coming October of 2018. In a unique twist, these over-wintered fish will be joined by the five fresh, summer-run fish that rounded out this week, plus all of the summer runners that will make their way up our river over the next two months.

The conditions this past week were once again far from ideal, at least to start. Strong northern winds brought cold from the North Pole, but despite challenging weather spirits remained high. It was a wonderful group of anglers that chose this particular week to celebrate the unspoiled beauty of the Ponoi; some of the week’s guests have been returning to Ryabaga for more than twenty years! Even longstanding visitors were delighted by the many different elements of the far north that came to bear on this particular week, not the least of which was the fact that we went from winter weather to a “high summer” essentially overnight.

And so it goes that a week of contrasts comes to an end, a week wherein our long-time friend Len S., who has now spent fifty-eightweeks in Ryabaga Camp, emerged as top rod with a total of 74 fish for the week. Wonderfully, Len will be back soon to attempt a repeat performance, proving that you can never have enough of the Ryabaga Camp experience. We saw great contrast too in the angler’s techniques. Some of our anglers were hooking fish on skated flies while others were plying the depths of the Ponoi with full-sinking lines. Some even chose to fish unconventional flies, like Jon S. whose tactics have been refined over the many weeks he has spent in Ryabaga since the camp’s inception some 28 years ago. It was Jon who demonstrated the spell that the Ponoi has over him, as he swung his beloved White Muddler to great success throughout the course of the week.

It was a week of beautiful contrasts, something like a musical masterpiece where harmony, melody and rhythm keep things interesting, transporting the audience to intangible, beautiful places. To maintain the metaphor, this past week on the Ponoi was an “angling masterpiece”; varying weather, a range of techniques, and all sorts of seemingly trivial details came together to transport our guests even further into the wonder and enjoyment that is the Ponoi.

Kelts, over-wintered, and sea-liced fish all added contrast to the third week of the 2018 Ponoi salmon season, resulting in nothing short of a Symphony.

Until Next Week,

Agustin Lo Greco, Ryabaga Camp Manager



The River is Shaping Up Beautifully

Week 4 Report


Though water levels remained somewhat high to start, the Ponoi witnessed a steady drop over the course of this past week, and in turn the river was able to showcase a more typical view of itself. High water forced the guide team to remain nimble, but guests were nonetheless able to access many of the traditionally favored spots, and great fishing was found throughout the 40 km of river we fished this week. Despite a powerful and cold north wind during the last two fishing days, the catch remained consistent and well above the 100 salmon/day rate, affording a total of 764 fish for the week. 

The river looked and fished more like it has during past Week 1’s, with silvering kelts still in the system and, as of last week, a majority of fish taken very close to the banks. Anglers and guides walked the boats downstream and/or waded to access these close-lying fish, especially on the lower beats where the river speeds up, and there are few places to execute the typical drops that allow both rods to fish in tandem. These conditions once again offered a significant advantage to those anglers willing to both fish from the boat as well as wade. Ross Spence, who was our top rod for the week with an outstanding catch of 72 fish, only fished from the boat on select occasions, and spent much of the week fishing hard while wading and walking the banks. Though wade fishing Ponoi can be physically demanding, there is some great sport to be had for the adventurous anglers who are willing to give it a go.

Home Pool remained unfishable for the first few days of the week, with just a small section of water slow enough to hold fish. On Wednesday, Bruce landed the first salmon of the season from Home Pool, much to everyone’s delight. We are confident that as soon as the water drops another couple feet, Home Pool will again start producing catches in line with its reputation.

Full-sinking lines were used quite extensively this week with good success, though we are seeing lighter tackle in use each day. With good water visibility and water temperatures around 9˚C, the salmon are starting to travel the extra meter up through the water column to take a big and shiny tube. We assume that for next week, sinking tips on floating lines will prove the kit of choice, and heavy lines will be reserved for especially deep runs.

A very cheerful group of regulars joined us in Ryabaga this week: the Spences, the Siewrights, P. Davidson as well as J. Mcmillan, and H. Balls remain among our most loyal guests, and its always nice to see them return.

PRC owner Ilya Sherbovich and his son Kostya joined us on several evenings in the Big Tent, and they fished the Ponoi every second day, taking the rest of the week to target trophy brown trout on surrounding waters with excellent results. Kostya managed the biggest trout of the week, which tipped the scales at around 12 pounds!

Weather for the coming week looks favorable. There are great numbers of salmon already in evidence within Ryabaga waters, and a dropping river will soon start to show its features in typical fashion, allowing guides and anglers to target the most productive sections. In the coming days we fully expect the mighty Ponoi to show its historic bounty.

Until Then,

Joaquin Arocena and the Ryabaga Team






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

Kites Rise Highest Against the Wind

Week 3 Report

With a strong 2015 salmon season underway, expectations last Saturday were high among guests and guides in Ryabaga. But as we all know, Arctic weather is never predictable, and it was certainly a challenge this week. Nonetheless, all persevered, and a solid Week 3 ended with 816 salmon caught, including a noteworthy 22 lb. beauty for Francois!

During four of the six days of fishing, the Ponoi experienced some of the windiest conditions seen in recent years. Winds gusting to 30 knots made fishing through many miles of river quite difficult. That said, by employing the fleet of jet boats and the hovercraft, Ryabaga guides were able to access sheltered spots throughout PRC water, and in turn they found some fish. Flies and lines were adjusted accordingly to buck wind and roiled water, and fish responded to a tactical approach. By Friday the water had cleared and the wind had dropped, and 160+ fish were landed on that day alone.

On Friday, Len took 33 fish in one fishing session, 5 short of his personal record of 38! It was a memorable day for Len, who was back in Ryabaga for an unbelievable 49th week. Loyal friends filled camp this Week 3: John M. enjoyed his 35th week in Ryabaga, and the Boleys marked their 25th week accompanied by the Taylors and Jobe. Francois was not to be outdone, and he enjoyed his 18th week of Ponoi fishing. The Boleys had further cause for celebration as this week marked their 65th wedding anniversary. All present were honored to take part in a Big Tent celebration. Of the other guests, Ray, Terry, Bob, Neil, Dick, Art, and Jim have become reliable friends, and we are happy to receive them year after year.

Yuri joined us on Ponoi for the first time, and he was thrilled with 8 fish in the 12-20 lb. range that he took on his first day fishing Ryagaba waters. Mark P. was another new face in Camp, and after his first week fishing for Ponoi salmon, he seemed determined to make it back. Home Pool was productive through the week. The Purnache River and Ryabaga Creek join the main stem of the Ponoi just above Camp, and the resulting influx of fresh water guarantees clarity in the Home Pool regardless the wind. A group of dedicated anglers composed of Lawrence, Keith, Neil, Richard and Bill made good use of the clear water. As a crew they landed 54 fish out of Home Pool, and further cemented the reputation of that stretch of highly productive water.

A special mention should be made of the now-famous shore lunches prepared by Francois. These lunches are a delight that fellow guests and guides universally enjoy, and through days of difficult fishing, a long lunch and even an extra bottle of afternoon wine were very welcome. So too were guests pleased to cut the windier days a bit short, and to relish long evenings and great camaraderie in the Big Tent.

Another full week lies ahead, with a camp full of old friends. We are expecting some more rain in the near future, but the wind seems to have calmed down for good. All of us in Ryagaba are looking forward to seeing what the Incomparable Ponoi has to offer in the days to come! Until then, be well.


Joaquin Arocena and the Ryabaga Team