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All news for: Week 5

Enjoy hearing more about what has been happening at Ponoi

The Summer Run in Force

Week 5 Report

As mid-summer approaches on the Kola Peninsula, another week of salmon fishing comes and goes. This week, Ryabaga Camp welcomed a group comprised largely of new Atlantic-salmon anglers who arrived in camp to see some non-typical conditions. Ryabaga waters rose dramatically early in the week, impacted by a heavy, sustained rain that brought the water level up four feet overnight. Luckily, the river remained fairly clear, and with visibility suitable for fishing and a strong pulse of fish entering the system, our anglers were positioned to enjoy a productive week of salmon angling on the incomparable Ponoi.


With the heavy rain on Sunday, guides and guests saw the river transform before their eyes, as the whole character of the river changed and angling tactics had to follow suit. Fishing is not easy in a rapidly rising system, but the Ponoi did not disappoint: on this first day of fishing, the five anglers who had journeyed to Ryabaga hoping to catch their first Atlantic salmon did just that, much to everyone’s delight.

Monday’s fishing was much improved, due mainly to the fact that the river was dropping once again. With the Summer Run in full swing and the increased flow opening up more of the river, the percentage of fresh fish entering the system increased steadily. As the week progressed, more and more sea-liced fish were caught throughout the entire stretch of Ryabaga waters, and on Monday alone anglers saw a 40% increase in catch rate over Sunday.

Tuesday was a day of contrasts. Heavy showers and sunny weather alternated throughout the day, but the fishing kept improving, most notably with regard to the number of fresh salmon in evidence. On Wednesday guests woke to a bright Arctic sky that would quickly be engulfed with some strong showers. Fishing improved yet again, only to be interrupted on Thursday with several lightning storms that poured rain and hail and kept anglers off the water in the interest of safety. This unstable weather translated into slower fishing, but the sight of fresh fish moving into the river kept spirits high. By afternoon the weather had settled a bit, and 30% of the fish caught were bright and powerful, fresh from the sea. Many more bright fish were hooked and lost, encouraging us to think that the Summer Run is strong and continues to get stronger. For better or worse, the heavy rains returned at day’s end, and they would stay with us for the next 15 hours.

On Friday anglers ventured out to find a river that was as high as it was on the first day of the season. This high level is extremely unusual, especially at this time of the year. It was a slower day fishing-wise, but like any day on the mighty Ponoi, it was a great day nonetheless. The week ended with an average of 24 fish per rod for the week, with 24% being bright, summer-run fish. The resounding sentiment in camp and around the bar was undeniable: all guests in Ryabaga shared the opinion that they would “have to come back and do this again!!!” I for one could not be happier. There is no finer feeling than knowing that our team worked hard through variable conditions and that in the guests’ eyes every expectation was met or exceeded.

With the advancing summer we, the Ryabaga Team, continue to look forward to what lies ahead. I leave you with a quote from our friend Daniel B., who this week was fond of saying “How can you not love it?!”

Tight Lines,

Agustin C. Lo Greco

Ryabaga Camp Manager





Ryabaga Camp: Where the 2018 FIFA World Cup is of Secondary Importance

Week 5 Report

The 5th Week of our 2018 season comes to an end with the departure of a group comprised largely of first-time salmon anglers. As we say goodbye to this group, we are fortunate to reflect on a week of fantastic yet challenging fishing that was shared with old friends, new friends, and what we have come to call “new old friends”.

Our longtime guest Orazio G. was in Ryabaga this week, accompanied by a group of his friends from the northern regions of Italy. Among them were Filippo B., Freddy B., Gianpietro S., and Fabio L., all of whom had come to Ryabaga with the hope of catching their first Atlantic salmon. Wonderfully, the Ponoi performed as we’ve come to expect, and all of these anglers managed a to land a salmon (and then some) on their very first day out on our beloved river. It was something of an unusual week due to the fact that the stories around the dinner table gravitated as much towards salmon angling as they did towards football (or soccer, for those Ponoi friends from across the pond). Needless to say, there was much to talk about both on and off the water.

Early in the week it seemed that summer had finally settled over our piece of tundra for good. We started the week with air temperatures in the low twenties, and strong warm winds from the south. On the third day out, however, guides and anglers where greeted by some of the most challenging conditions for the Atlantic-salmon fly angler: due to strong south winds over the shallow headwater lakes of the Ponoi, a pulse of off-color water had moved downstream, rendering clarity and underwater visibility close to nil. Nevertheless, everybody kept right on fishing, and despite sub-optimal conditions our anglers continued to land fish. On day 5 the strong winds had shifted to come out of the north, bringing with them rain and a strong reminder that summer in the Arctic Circle offer up any range of weather conditions. By week’s end the temperature had dropped considerably, and anglers were reaching for extra layers even as they continued finding fish. In fact, these lower-than-normal air temperatures kept the water temps ideal, allowing anglers to land a total of 478 fish this week, 22 of them being fresh summer-run chromers. Once again we witnessed nothing but generosity from our river.

There were two 19 lb. beauties taken this week by Orazio G. and David C., a couple of 17’s too, several 16’s and 15’s, and countless fish taken on dry flies. Generosity indeed… and we couldn’t be any more grateful to be here, experiencing a river and a fishery in its prime.

Already 5 weeks of the 2018 season have passed, and the Ryabaga guides have helped anglers land more than 4300 fish! These numbers, and all of the people who have played a role in making them a reality, are nothing short of spectacular. We would like to thank all of the guests that have joined us in Ryabaga thus far. It has been a pleasure to share so many memorable days in this fantastic place. We are grateful too for the days still to come, and for the salmon that the river continues to promise. Until next week, thank you all, and tight lines.


Agustin C. Lo Greco

Ryabaga Camp Manager

A Sad Passing

It is with great sadness that Ponoi River Company announces that on July 1st the angling community lost a friend and longtime champion of Atlantic salmon conservation, namely Mr. Orri Vigfússon. Mr. Vigfússon was widely known among angling communities as the founder and chairman of The North Atlantic Salmon Fund (NASF), and it was from that platform that he spent nearly 30 years fighting diligently for the survival and restoration of Salmo salar. Mr. Vigfússon’s humble but steadfast advocacy earned him numerous accolades and the respect of environmentalists worldwide, but perhaps his greatest attribute was his ability to inspire support across legions of anglers, who in turn enabled a series of remarkable conservation efforts to be realized. As a result of Mr. Vigfússon’s work, wild Atlantic salmon stocks continue to gain in strength and number across the drainages of the North Atlantic.

Mr. Vigfússon is survived by his wife Unnur Kristinsdóttir, 2 children, and 3 granddaughters. He was 74 years old.

Summer in Ryabaga

This past week of the 2016 salmon season represented the definitive start of the summer on the Kola Peninsula. The week started with mild weather and overcast skies, during which our group of anglers averaged 5 fish per rod per day, with more than 20% the catch being bright, summer fish. From the third day of fishing on, however, the sun shone brightly and the temperatures rose, posing some challenges for anglers and guides alike. We ended on Friday with temperatures above 30ºC, and, the catch rate responded in kind.

In a constant search for the most productive fishing tactics, our team of guides and anglers explored many different techniques. In some specific spots - usually big, deep, slow pools - full sinking lines and big flies were quite effective. Others opted to target fish in the more oxygenated broken waters of the innumerable points with small, bright flies. Another group cast heavily weighted rubber-leg tubes fished with energetic twitches and strips. These techniques, plus some more traditional approaches, worked with a certain level of success, but as would be expected the conditions determined most of the results, and fishing slowed as the temperatures rose.

Several fine old friends joined us this week in Ryabaga. Gianni from Italy was our top rod with 37 fish. At age 85, Pat made his usual 2-week excursion to the Kola Peninsula with his family friend Peter, and entertained us with stories of the adventures that took him around the world. It was also nice to welcome Cyril and Alexander back in camp once again.

A special note should be made about our dear friend Bill Young who came to camp this week with his son Willie. “Youngie” (as his friends call him) has been fighting a hell of a battle with cancer for some years now, and we were thrilled to see his resolve in returning to Ryabaga. Youngie is not only a passionate angler, and one who has fished the world’s famed salmon rivers, he is above all a passionate person, full of amazing stories and charm, a man who takes life into his arms and embraces it fully, and having him here back was an inspiration to us all. Until next time, Youngie.

From here, we are fully in the throws of Kola summer, and we are looking forward to more fine fishing and more friends before our summer break. Week 6 looks like a promising one, with a full camp and 20 skilled rods on the water. As with all things in the far north, the weather dictates much, but we are confident that good conditions and fine anglers will collide with a wealth of Ponoi silver. As we enter another week on this remarkable river, we are confident that 2016 will continue to be a record-breaking season.

Until Next Week,

Joaquin Arocena and the Ryabaga Team