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All news for: Week 6

Enjoy hearing more about what has been happening at Ponoi

A Magical Week

Week 6 Report

This past Saturday around 2 PM the Mi8 again landed at Ryabaga, and a host of 21 eager anglers set foot on the banks of the Ponoi. Among the group were mainly old friends, some from France, some from the UK, and a large contingent from Finland. This lovely group was compiled by one of Ryabaga’s most veteran and loyal guests, Erkki M.

Erkki has been coming to Ryabaga with friends and family since the very start, some 28 years ago. This week, the Ponoi received the group with open arms and favorable conditions: water level, clarity, and temperature were within the optimal range, and this bore itself out in the catch. Throughout the week the Summer Run continued to grow stronger and stronger; for the first 3 days of fishing this week the percentage of bright fish was over 40%. That said, overwintered fish made a strong showing, and in the first half of the week four fish that eclipsed the 20 lb. mark where netted. The most notable of these big fish was taken by Urho J, a 17-year-old angler who was fishing for Atlantic salmon for the very first time. Urho’s first Atlantic salmon was a 20 lb. brute that he pulled from the Purnache beat. Not a bad way to begin a career in Atlantic-salmon angling…

After the first three days of fishing it was clear that the lower beats where producing more fish, so the beat rotation was adjusted to ensure great fishing for all. With the help of our new hovercraft, we were able to send boats as far as Hard Curve and beyond without compromising fishing time or comfort. We are thrilled about the opportunities that the new hovercraft affords, as there is now no piece of water that lies out of reach. We were able to fish everything between Kolmak and Brevyenny Home Pool with ease, and it was worth it. The new hovercraft is indeed a major upgrade.

This week’s fishing made readily apparent one of Ryabaga’s unique aspects, namely that our anglers do not need to wait at a single beat hoping for fish to arrive. To the contrary, our beat rotation and beat size always allow our anglers to seek and find fish rather than forcing them to wait in one spot, praying for the fish to come. We pride ourselves on being nimble, and ensuring our guests the most freedom and opportunity to fish productive water.

The second half of the week was as exciting as the first, and the flow of fresh fish spreading throughout the beats made this week one of the best summer fishing weeks we’ve ever seen. Salmon this week were both bright and sizeable: on the last three days of the week Jean-Pierre C. landed a 16 lb. salmon, Janne L. had an 18 lb. fish, and to top it off, Harri S. broke his personal best (set earlier in the week) with a 22 lb. fish that remains the biggest fish of the season thus far. We hear too often that people feel that Ponoi is not a big fish river. Apparently, this whole spring has been about proving this conjecture wrong. Just this week, Ryabaga anglers went home having landed an average of 23 fish, 44% of which were bright, and many of which were in the high teens and beyond.

This was truly an exceptional week in Ryabaga, in large part due to the intangible, inexplicable, and magnificent experience of Atlantic-salmon fishing at its best. Where else can an angler surround him or herself with untouched wilderness, wonderful people, and the most remote luxury lodging experience in the world? We’ll never succeed in our attempt to explain adequately what a week in Ryabaga is… what our guests see, hear, taste, and experience. Nevertheless, we’ll keep trying, as what happens here is magical, each and every day. There’s nothing more rewarding than to hear old friends and first-timers alike say “it was my best week ever!!”

Tight Lines,

Agustin C. Lo Greco

Ryabaga Camp Manager

The 6th Week: A Retrospective

Week 6 Report

On Friday night, a full complement of diners sat in the Big Tent listening to Turo L. and Sylvian C., who were representing the Finnish and French groups respectively. Turo and Sylvian regaled the assembled guests with their impressions of the week and of the greater Ryabaga experience, attempting to put into words what a week on the world’s finest Atlantic-salmon river feels like. Wonderfully, a theme of quality shone through in their reflections, and not just the quality of the angling resource; both men described the quality of accommodations, quality of gastronomy, and quality of hospitality. Most noteworthy, however, was Sylvian’s recognition of the fundamental quality of the personal experience cultivated by the Ryabaga staff. It is this warm, personal touch that allows guests to feel that there is a second home for them on the remote tundra.

This past week was filled with epic stories of great catches and of course some tales of the ones that got away. Wonderfully, we all also enjoyed some lovely after-dinner “a cappella” singing by Janne L. The fishing itself was nothing to sneeze at either, though the weather was not quite ideal. This past week our group of 19 guests landed 504 fish of which 34 were fresh, summer-run fish. 28 fish of our total catch for the week were landed by Sylvian C., whose success was all the more impressive considering that he’d come to Ryabaga to catch his very first Atlantic salmon.

Ryabaga Camp and the Ponoi River once again displayed a remarkable versatility, allowing guests the range of experiences that makes a week chasing salmon with us so unforgettable. Some guests chose to fish from the boat throughout their entire stay, while others preferred to wade; some guests this week fished skated dry flies while some opted for heavy sink-tips; some guests chose eggs Benedict with coffee for breakfast while others enjoyed waffles with tea; many took advantage of countless pre-breakfast and after-dinner Home Pool sessions. The beauty of the Ponoi and of Ryabaga Camp is that both can be what you want them to be, and the quality of the experience will invariably exceed expectations. Whatever guests choose to do while visiting Ryabaga, they will benefit from what many anglers regard as the best guide team in the world, and a camp staff that is without peer among the great angling destinations of the world. In Ryabaga, we are fortunate to see our operation as a sum of remarkable parts, each of which serves to surprise and delight guests throughout the summer salmon season. With that as our standard we step into midsummer, eager to see what else the mighty Ponoi holds in store.


Until Then,

Agustin C. Lo Greco

Ryabaga Camp Manager

Prime Time in July

Week 6 Report

The 6th fishing week of the Ponoi salmon season just passed as we said goodbye to a camp full of happy guests. With spring-like river conditions and fair weather throughout, our first week of July 2017 ended up with a tally of almost 800 fish for the 20 rods in camp!

The Ponoi looked and fished very much like a typical Week 2 or 3 this week, with the water level dropping steadily and the river slowly warming up. Under these conditions the fish held very consistently on the points, and they all seemed quite willing to take. At certain times on some beats the river afforded anglers a typical spring bonanza, meaning that every ‘fishy’ looking piece of water in that stretch held not just a fish but an eager fish, much to our delight. In retrospect, all that kept this week from surpassing the 1000+ mark was the fact that we have been fishing for a full 5 weeks already, and a few of the fish in the system have already tasted some steel. Overwintered fish have just started to get some color, but they remain strong and fat alongside the fresh summer-run fish. Indeed, the summer run is in full bloom, with a strong percentage of the total catch being bright fish. This summer run, which wonderfully began on schedule despite the late spring, continues to impress, with chrome-bright, inordinately strong salmon arriving daily.

Intermediate or slow-sinking tips on floating lines were the most preferred rig this week, but those anglers who went looking for some surface action found that the conditions for doing so were the best of the season so far. The water was quite clear, and at 12-15ËšC the fish were eager to come to the surface. Though as is often the case, dry flies did not produce the quantity of fish that we saw on subsurface rigs, but anglers were nonetheless overjoyed at the spectacular and aggressive takes that they saw on the surface.

Erkki Moissander, one of the most regular Ponoi visitors, joined us once again with a group of friends from Finland. Hosting Erkki and his crew is always a pleasure, and we are pleased that they will join us again in August. The group was rounded out by Thomas and Henning from Germany, and Rick’s party of six from the US, all of whom were first-time anglers for Atlantic salmon. It was certainly a great week in Ryabaga, with a busy bar and a rollicking crowd nearly every night.

Though there have been slightly more productive weeks over the years in terms of numbers, the quality of the fish we saw this Week 6, the amount of bright salmon taken, the overall conditions of the fishery, and even the absence of mosquitos made this past week one of the most memorable summer weeks ever. As the water keeps slowly dropping, the river is exposing more and more features, and as we enter the last week before the Summer Break the Ponoi is in absolutely prime condition. We are looking forward to seeing what the outcome will be this coming week, but in the meantime we will make sure to enjoy the ongoing wonders of the incomparable Ponoi.

More to Come,

Joaquin Arocena and the Ryabaga Team

Summer BLAST

As we near the end of the first half of this 2016 salmon season, we look back on yet another Ryabaga week with camp at full capacity, and guests from Spain, France, the UK, and the US.

The fishing for most of this past week was reminiscent of what we saw in the final days of Week 5. In total we had 6 days with +30ºC temperatures that spiked the water temperature up to 24ºC on Wednesday afternoon. This rise marked the peak of our heat wave, before some cloud cover gave us much-deserved relief. Such extreme conditions are rarely seen on the Kola Peninsula, and in a season that, though productive, has been very early, this warm spell did without a doubt handicap the overall catch.

Despite tough conditions, it was amazing to see the Ponoi continue producing good catches. There were even a few very good sessions like Thursday’s up-river day for Pedro, Eugenio, Inigo and Juan who among them landed 27 fish. And we must also mention Eric from France, who managed the biggest fish of the week, a brute of 18 lbs.

Home Pool was a productive spot this week, and 54 fish were landed in this stretch of water between dinners and breakfasts. Home Pool was especially productive in the first 30 minutes right after the sun had dipped below the horizon, bringing some much sought-after shade.

Once again, a range of patterns and fishing techniques were tested by our guides: some used heavy rubber-leg tubes and others employed small, traditional salmon flies. Several anglers made good use of small riffling hitches that proved to be quite successful at moving fish in the last couple days.

This week we welcomed two big groups of anglers from Spain and France as well as a couple from the US and two old friends from the UK. Though the fishing was challenging, spirits remained high, and the atmosphere in the Big Tent was quite jovial. We enjoyed several wonderful sessions during which Gerardo entertained all of us with his songs on the guitar.

Fortunately for the fishing, Friday’s evening temperatures dropped to more normal levels, and a welcome rain cooled down the water substantially. The fishing should respond in kind, and with these favorable conditions, and a continued number of fish in the system, we anticipate a strong and enjoyable Week 7 in Ryabaga.

Until Next Week,

Joaquin Arocena and the Ryabaga Team