All news for: Week 6

Enjoy hearing more about what has been happening at Ponoi

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 12-15˚C 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

Unseasonable weather

Week 6 Report

As we approach the Summer break, the weather remains determined to convince us that it is still early Spring. For the past week we have had cold, cloudy weather and some rain, and it seems that things are going to remain this way for the near future. As if the weather were not evidence enough of a non-typical season, there appeared in the Kitchen this week the first harvest of mushrooms (mushroom collecting being Ryabaga’s second favorite sport). A good haul of mushrooms in early July is quite unusual in our Northern territory.

Nonetheless, the weather has caused no complaints among the guests, who did not journey to Ponoi for the sunbathing, after all. The consistent rains have helped maintain good water levels, and water temperature did not rise over 13ºC this week. As a consequence, the overwintered fish, though colored as they slowly approach to their spawning season, have remained in good shape and strong. 496 fish were landed this week.

The most notable result of this cold wet weather is the good summer-run fishing we saw in these last few days, with 13% of the total catch comprised of bright fish. 64 bright fish in total were landed this week, to the delight of Ponoi anglers.

The Big Tent was as festive as ever through the week, as laughter, fervent conversation in several languages, and the occasional flurry of Finnish song took place each night. As is the custom during this week, Erkki Moisander joined us on Ponoi with a group of old friends from Finland. Among these regular Ponoi anglers we also welcomed Mauri, who made his first acquaintance with Salmo salar, and was blown away by the Ponoi experience.

Another group of experienced anglers joined us this week in Camp, this one a Spanish party composed of Inigo and Juan, who had visited Ryabaga before, alongside Eugenio and famed fly-tier Pedro, who were both new to our water. All had a fine week and are looking forward to returning. We were very pleased to have Bill P. and family, who hail from the US, back in camp. Bill, a Professor and Dean Emeritus from Massachusetts Institute of Technology, was delighted by the new cabins. If all goes according to plan, we will meet the trio again next season. Completing the group of 20 were Aleksey from Russia and Nigel from the UK, who met in the Murmansk airport and became a great team, both on and off of the water.

In all, it was another successful week in Ryabaga, and our last before the Summer break. Spirits in Camp are as high as they were on the first day of the season, and we are looking forward to the remainder of the Summer, and a host of new and old friends. Until then, tight lines!

All the Best,

Joaquin and the Ryabaga Team