All news for: Week 5

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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

The summer run is here!

Week 5 Report

The first full week of Summer has come and gone here on the Kola Peninsula, with warmer weather and the a steady presence of summer-run fish. Needless to say, this influx made for us all feel quite happy about the prospects of another summer, and anglers were witness to Ponoi chrome throughout the week. Following a hard rain on last Friday and Saturday, the waters of the Ponoi rose a full 2 feet, and rising levels provided the conditions that the summer-run salmon were waiting for. A few fresh fish were landed in Home Pool on Day 1, and the following days proceeded in kind.

As the week wore on, the weather improved dramatically. Tuesday brought some high winds, making casting more challenging, but by Thursday the weather was so seasonal that some angers opted to leave waders in camp and to fish in shirtsleeves. The total count of salmon was 414 by week’s end, caught mostly on floating lines and intermediate tips with medium sized tubes. A 2-inch cone-head Cascade continued to be the most effective pattern.

We had another colorful group of guests this week. A party of eight from Ireland afforded steady entertainment at the Big Tent's bar each evening, and brought the Camp’s beer consumption to an admirable level. We also had the honor of welcoming Peter T. back into Camp. He was joined by Pat, who landed a strong 18 lb. salmon, and happily held the “biggest fish of the week” title until Kevin claimed the title with a 20-pounder late in the week.

Alfredo and Toño from Spain made their first journey to Ryabaga waters and seemed very impressed by the River and the operation. Toño (Puicercus) is an amazing artist who has provided most of the artwork for our new book, "The Incomparable Ponoi". Cyril from New York returned to the Ponoi with his friend Keith, who had the great pleasure of landing his first salmon on Sunday's Home Pool session. Also making his first acquaintance with Salmo salar was our lovely guest Alfredo from Argentina.

Our old friend Ueli from Switzerland joined us in Camp once again. The highlight of his week was a trek up the Purnache with Big Dan Shelekov, where Ueli landed several fish including a nice 15 lb. Atlanic salmon.

PRC owner Ilya Sherbovich hosted his personal friend Bill Young for a few nights this week. Bill the elder is of course a legendary angler, storyteller, and occasional magician who came in the company of his son, also named Bill. The younger Young is a noted bass player, jujitsu wrestler, and fine angler in his own right. The camaraderie of these two special people made this week even more memorable.

As I write, it seems that summer has only made a brief visit to our outpost here on the tundra. Temperatures this morning were chilly in Camp and on the River, and rain is forecasted.  This weather pattern bodes quite well for the fishing, and we look forward to welcoming another group of anglers into Camp this week, for what hopes to be a steadily increasing summer run. It is our pleasure to be sharing this place, and these remarkable creatures, with them. We hope to see you soon.

Joaquin Arocena and the Ryabaga Team