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All news for: Week 4

Enjoy hearing more about what has been happening at Ponoi

The Good Old Days are Now

Week 4 Report

This past week, Ryabaga Camp welcomed a diverse group of dedicated anglers from Russia, USA, UK, Dominican Republic, Sweden, and Australia. Most of these guests have visited Ryabaga in previous years, and some have fished with us many times. I am pleased to report that once again Ryabaga and the Ponoi lived up to expectations: though the fishing was not terribly easy, the week’s anglers went home with an average catch of 23 fish per rod for the week. 10% of these fish eclipsed the 10 lb. mark, 5% broke the 15 lb. mark, and in the first four days of fishing, 4 salmon tipped the scales past the 20 lb. mark. As the week progressed we saw more and more sea-liced, summer-run fish. To say that fishing was good would be an understatement.

The weather this week was again somewhat non-typical for this time of year, with stronger winds that persisted throughout the week, and cooler temperatures in general. The river continued to drop throughout Week 4, but the water temperature stayed between 11ºc and 13ºc, giving anglers the chance to catch Ponoi salmon using just a floating head with an intermediate tip. Several anglers were even able to take fish on skated flies.

We were excited this week to launch three different day trips to the Purnache River, Ponoi’s largest tributary. The Purnache is a beautiful, smaller river that holds fish in pools that one can cover easily with a single-handed rod while wading. Exploring the Purnache affords guests a lovely opportunity to experience the privacy and isolation that defines the far north. To prove the point, several of this week’s anglers spent whole days catching fish while not seeing or hearing another person. Though we all say regularly that Ponoi is arguably the best salmon river in the world, it is weeks like this that remind us that the Purnache is right up there too.

The wealth of angling opportunity never ceases to amaze visitors to Ryabaga Camp. Ryabaga staff is always eager to ensure that every opportunity to fish and explore is realized, and that the adventure is lived to the fullest extent by our guests. It is an ongoing gift for all in camp to both experience and share Atlantic salmon fishing at its very finest. Wonderfully, on Ponoi we need not recall the good old days that have come and gone, as the best days in Ryabaga Camp just keep coming.

Until we meet again, tight lines.

Agustin C. Lo Greco

Ryabaga Camp Manager

And Then It Was Summer

Week 4 Report

On Saturday, June 16th at about 2:00 pm we once again welcomed a helicopter full of familiar faces, and a few soon-to-be “new old friends”. After sharing a round of handshakes, hugs, and smiles by the helicopter, guests settled into their cabins and rigged their tackle. Quite a few anglers were pulling on waders even before the helicopter turbines had cooled down… needless to say all of the guests were excited about their arrival in Ryabaga!

Several of the guests in camp this week have fished the Ponoi for years, and for them the prospect of the Ryabaga Home Pool marked a welcome return after a year-long wait. Other guests had arrived in camp for the very first time, and for them the river offered untold opportunity. The Ponoi did not disappoint: not long after the first angler laid out the first cast of the week, Ponoi salmon began to fulfill expectations and to reward anglers.

Following the inaugural Home Pool session on Day 1 it was time for the first dinner of the week. After briefing our guests on the fishing schedule and river conditions, the Ryabaga Guide Team began to lay out their plan of attack for the days to come. After dinner several guests just couldn’t resist the call of Ponoi salmon, and minutes after dessert there was again a contingent at Home Pool, swinging flies and catching fish. Other guests welcomed the first evening in camp as a chance to re-group, and several stayed at the bar to share stories and catch up on the past year with old friends.

Sunday arrived with lovely weather and a full day of fishing. Between 9 am and 6 pm our group of 20 anglers managed to land 167 fish! This week the tundra finally decided to let the winter weather go, and Ryabaga guests welcomed long days and a proper summer. From the start, anglers celebrated clear skies and lovely 25ºC temperatures, along with an incredible week of salmon fishing. On Friday at 5:59 PM, the guides told their anglers “last cast”, and all returned to Ryabaga to tally the numbers and recap the triumphs of the week. As the guides reported the day’s results and we finished compiling the numbers for the week, all were amazed by the outstanding result: a total of 951 fish where landed, with an average catch of 46 fish per rod! To add to the impact of these statistics, 20 of these recorded fish were fresh, chrome Summer-runners.

Once again, we remain in awe of all that the Ponoi holds. We were fortunate this week to have conditions that enabled us to celebrate the Purnache River too, much to the delight of Ross S. and John S., who took the opportunity for a full-day float trip down to Purnache-Ponoi confluence. That day, with the masterful assistance of guide Matthew Solon, the duo landed 24 fish on skated flies, surface flies, and riffle-hitched tubes. This adventure, and the highly visual fishing that accompanied it, made for a day that Ross, John, and Matthew will not soon forget

At the final dinner on Friday night, the common sentiment was “I don’t want to leave”. All were delighted by the week, and fond memories of the Ponoi and her salmon were again etched into the lives of guests and staff alike. As we welcome the true arrival of summer in the Arctic, we look forward to making more such memories in the days and weeks to come.

Until we meet again,

Agustin C. Lo Greco

Ryabaga Camp Manager

The Greatest Summer Run

Our fourth fishing week of the season just finished, leaving us with a host of memorable moments, both on the river and in camp.

The most noteworthy fact about the season to date has undoubtedly been the arrival of summer-run fish. With an early spring and the best Week 1 on record we started the season off in great form. To build on that fine start, this season’s summer salmon entered the Ponoi both earlier and in greater number than ever. The fishing during the last few days of Week 3 hinted at a truly impressive summer-run catch, and by the end of this week we can say that our expectations were exceeded: a total of 109 bright, summer-run fish were landed in the last 6 days of fishing! What’s more, frequent rains and cool temperatures encourage us to think that there might well be more bright fish on the way. The 2016 summer run is shaping up to be one of the greatest in Ponoi history.

The week started with a bit of off-color water, but conditions improved quickly, and over a 100 fish were landed on Monday. Conditions remained favorable for the rest of the week, with slightly less productive fishing sessions on the brightest days. The total count for the week was 546 fish.

Angling techniques were the usual: floating lines with intermediate to slow sinking tips and mid to big tube flies in bright colors. The more adventurous guides have done quite well with some “designed-on-Ponoi” rubber leg patterns.

Fishing was accomplished largely from the boats for the comfort of our guests, but those who decided to wade did so with great success. The top rod this week was Ross Spence, who managed to catch most of his 63 fish from the bank. The options for wading in this river are almost limitless, and when conditions are right, wading can be very productive. It is always refreshing to remind anglers that wading Ponoi can be gratifying, and a nice alternative to the comfortable and social boat fishing we are known for. Wading alone through the innumerable runs in the Ponoi is a magical experience that we recommend to everyone that has the option to try it.

In camp we celebrated the return of many longstanding guests, some of whom have made over twenty visits to Ryabaga waters. It is always nice to see Ponoi veterans sharing their love and passion for this place with those visiting for the first time.

PRC owner Ilya Shervobich spent the week in Ryabaga with his family. As a group, the Sherbovich anglers fished the Ponoi every second day, interspersing their salmon days with some ‘off the grid’ fishing adventures. One of these excursions to a remote part of the Kola made for a memorable day, as the crew was able to take good numbers of large Sigg (a relative of the north American whitefish) on dry flies.

As we look ahead, we welcome the 5th week of the season with tremendous enthusiasm. The river is in great shape, and some nice weather is on the horizon. We have every reason to believe that the flow of silver coming up from the White Sea will continue onward into this remarkable summer.

Until Next Week,

Joaquin Arocena and the Ryabaga Team

Summer Runners in the Spring

Another week has passed on Ponoi, and with it the last official week of spring. Despite daily rains, the weather this week was a bit more forgiving than in previous weeks, allowing our 19 anglers to land 719 salmon. This pulse of rain maintained good water levels and cool water temperatures, and in turn encouraged the first summer-run fish of the season to arrive. On Wednesday, Peter R. from New Zealand landed an amazing 16 lb. sea-liced chromer that, after a display of aerial virtue, demanded to be chased downstream. Welcome to the 2015 summer run! Fishing this week was accomplished mostly with floating shooting heads and intermediate tips. Fly choice was skewed towards medium-sized tubes, though those inclined to see some top-water action were not disappointed. Nikita dedicated much of his energy to skating tubes and dries with great success, and on Tuesday he landed 7 nice fish including one of 14 and one of 10 lbs. Salmon are spread evenly through the system now, and our beat rotation is running smoothly, giving anglers access to great fishing throughout the PRC waters. Home Pool, as always, continues to produce. Camp this week was filled with both fresh and familiar faces. Tim from Scotland had his first encounter with Atlantic salmon, and both Peter and Fergus completed a maiden voyage to Ponoi. As for the rest, we were pleased to welcome back so many old friends, namely Jon, Hubert, Richard, Horst, Paul D and Pierre. There were four angling couples in camp as well, most notably Cheryl and John D., who respectively managed a 17 and a 20 lb. salmon on their 50th wedding anniversary! Shore lunches again were a high point of the week, especially when Ross Spence, executive chef of the lauded Marcliffe Hotel in Aberdeen, Scotland, was at the fireside. Ross dazzled us all by preparing incredible lunches al fresco, making maximum use of the Kola’s bounty. Needless to say, we were all pleased to join Ross in congratulating his father Stewart (also present) on his recent MBE (Order of the British Empire), granted for his life’s work in tourism. In PRC’s steadfast effort to maintain the ecology of the watershed, owner Ilya Sherbovich welcomed ornithologist Sergey Ganusevich and his team to Ryabaga this week to continue an ongoing study of Gyrfalcons throughout the Kola. Gyrfalcons are the biggest and most threatened species of falcon in the world. As they only breed above the Artic Circle and do not migrate during the winter, they are quite at home in our northern territory here in western Russia. Populations fluctuate alongside ptarmigan numbers, and Sergey usually comes in early April to locate nests, and then returns in June to monitor falcon chicks and determine both nest fidelity and genetic dispersal. This year, we are happy to report two nests not far from Ryabaga. We wish to thank Sergey and his team for their ongoing work protecting these unique birds, and ensuring the health of the Ponoi ecosystem. In the last few days the river has risen, meaning that the frequency of summer-run fish can only increase. The guide team is looking forward for some ongoing action, and a steady increase in the numbers of bright fish. So too are we looking forward to the arrival of so many friends, all eager to see what 2015 has to offer. Until next week, we wish you the best.