All news for: Week 7

Enjoy hearing more about what has been happening at Ponoi

Ryabaga Continues to Deliver Despite the Odds

Week 7 Report

This past week officially capped the first half of the 2018 Ponoi salmon season. As we move into the Midsummer Break it is interesting to note that though conditions were challenging through the bitter end of the first half, our steadfast guests remained resolute in their desire to make the most of the experience, and never lost hope that Atlantic salmon could and would be caught on swung flies. Despite challenging conditions, our group of 19 guests this week managed to land an impressive number fish, all of this through weather that was representative of a proper “tundra summer”. Air temperatures reached the high twenties and water temps soared to the high teens, reaching twenty on the last day of fishing. These conditions, marked as they were by very sunny days, were pleasant for anglers but presented some of the most challenging circumstances under which one might try to catch a salmon.

Ryabaga Home Pool lived up to its reputation as the most productive salmon pool in the world, producing more than 35 salmon after being fished only lightly each day under high, bright skies. Regulars on Home Pool included a group from Spain. This crew was jokingly dubbed “The River Wolves” by their fellow anglers in light of their perseverance and success. Beyond Home Pool, the fishing rewarded the faithful, and the group of 19 anglers that joined us this week reported an average catch of 22 fish per rod.

As Ryabaga says farewell to the last angling group of the Spring/Summer season, all who took part are compelled to look back at seven weeks of incredible fishing. It was certainly not always easy fishing, but is was remarkable indeed, not only for size and quantity of the fish taken, but for the quality of fish as well. It is truly stunning to think that the Ponoi is able to provide with such consistency, enabling our guests the astounding average catch per rod per week of 35 fish for the first half. And with that number in recent memory, it is again time for Ryabaga Camp to take a short break. In the coming weeks we will rest and regroup, work through some improvement projects around camp and let the promise of fresh, fall-run Ponoi salmon enter both the river and our collective dreams. These dreams will no doubt be shared by those anglers who are, like us, waiting for the second half, and the chance to do battle on the incomparable Ponoi.

Tight Lines

Agustin C. Lo Greco

Ryabaga Camp Manager

A Strong First-Half Finish

Week 7 Report 

Here on Ponoi, the middle of July brings about our midsummer break, as we mark the end of the first half of the season’s fishing. The long­est winter in over a century made the beginning of the season quite challenging to say the least, and the ice pack for­ced us to cancel angling on our historic Week 1. Though we were able to open for guests on Week 2, we nonetheless struggled a bit with unseasonably cold water. Fortunately, from Week 2 on the fishing picked up considerably, and we ended the first half with very good numbers over the last 4 wee­ks. This past week was yet another example of gr­eat summer fishing on Ponoi. Fifteen anglers landed over 550 fish, averag­ing nearly 37 salmon per rod. To make things even better, with the entirety of the Summer Run now in the river, br­ight fish composed 34% of the total catc­h. Such a vigorous Summer Run leaves us with the highest hopes for the upco­ming fall.

This week, the water temperatu­re just kept on rising. The river en­ded up near 18°C, with exceptional clarity and a steadily dropping level. The Ryabaga guides opted for progressively smaller tu­bes in addition to the classic Ponoi Rubberlegs to tease out spooky fish. The rubberleg patterns have pro­ven to be invaluable at prod­ucing strikes in such low, clear, midsummer conditions. Home Pool once again fished wonderfully, producing catches during each evening and morn­ing session, resulting in a total of 62 salmon for the week.

It was a pleasure to welcome guests from Japan and the US this week, as well as a select group from France’s storied Grand Fario Club. For most of our guests, this was the fir­st trip to Ryabaga, but we are confident that a combination of excellent fishing, the typical premier service standard, canny guiding, and top-flight facilities ma­de this a memorable week for all in attendance. We look forward to having any and all back in Ryabaga soon.

As I write this report, several members of the Ryabaga Team are headed back to their homes for a visit, or taking some rest and relaxation on vacations of their own. Some will of course remain in camp during the break to keep working on a host of standard maintenance projects as well as camp upgrades. Notably, the team will be upgrading fuel capacity, improving camp roads, and refurbishing the staff banya.

Ryabaga will be working at full steam once again in early August when Erkki and 19 of his guests will join us once again. Though we always welcome this midsummer break, we nonetheless remain excited and incredibly optimistic about the magical fall season. Come August, it's all about the colors, the northern lights, and of course the spectacular Fall Run on the incomparable Ponoi.


Joaquin Arocena and the Ryabaga Team

Into Midsummer

Our 7th week just passed, and with it we marked the end of the first half of our 2016 Ryabaga salmon season. In retrospect, the season thus far has been productive despite its extremely early arrival. The premature onset of spring in the Kola allowed us to see the river in optimal condition for the arrival of our first guests. We saw record catches in the first week of the season, and welcomed a memorable “summer” run that arrived in the river earlier, and with greater strength, than ever before. Unfortunately, the accelerated pace of the season also meant that the weather and the fish condition advanced early, which proved detrimental to our fishing over the last couple weeks.

This week found us with a quieter than usual camp. About a third of our staff left on a cutting-edge exploratory trip to the most remote corner of Russia in search of Taimen and other native species, an adventure sponsored by PRC owner Ilya Sherbovich. Those remaining in Ryabaga gladly welcomed an international group of guests, representing the UK, US, France and Russia. Each evening was filled with rich, long conversation impelled by fine wines, cognacs and single malts. Also this week we were joined in camp by PRC President Steve Estela, his wife Pata, and their sons Santiago and Simon. This wonderful family dynamic contributed to the relaxed and familiar atmosphere in the Big Tent.

Rain was a steady presence this week, either during the fishing days or through the nights, and the river level rose steadily in response. With more rain expected next week, it seems that we have already passed through the hottest part of the year, and we certainly expect to see some fall-run fish when our next group of guests joins us in mid-August.

As usual, a part of the Ryabaga staff will stay in camp through the break. There is always so much to do at this point in the year, and several projects have been started already. Among other upgrades a new mooring deck will be installed, new bathrooms will be constructed in the Big Tent area, the firefighting system will be upgraded, additional storage will be built, the Guest House will be repainted, and the new Guest House banya will be completed.

We look forward to seeing these refinements come to life as we plan already for the start of the upcoming and near-fully booked second half of the season. We trust that the mighty Ponoi will be waiting for us with some bright autumn fish on the run. Until then, be safe, and dream of Ponoi silver.


Joaquin Arocena and the Ryabaga Team

Midsummer Comes...

Week 7 Report

Week 7 has just come to an end, and with it the first half of the 2015 Ponoi salmon season. Needless to say it was a fine first half, with wonderful guests in Camp, and the high degree of client satisfaction we’ve all come to expect. Per-rod catch numbers remain above average over our 24 year history operating on Ponoi, and we ended the 7 weeks with a total of 4282 salmon landed, which is indeed an impressive result for any salmon river in the world.

This week, conditions remained steady with unprecedented wet and cold weather, particularly for this time of the year. This weather has resulted in high water levels and low water temperatures. Also in keeping with last week’s trend, the percentage of summer-run fish has increased, as well as the number of sea-liced fish. Needless to say, everybody has seen their share of Ponoi silver. The weekly total this past week was 307 salmon, of which a considerable number were bright, summer-run fish.

Orazio and Giovanni from Italy join us again this season, and while Orazio was, as usual, one of the week’s more productive anglers, it was Gianni’s turn to catch the biggest fish. This beast proved the largest taken not only of the week, but of all the fish landed in the first half of the season. Gianni’s fish, after running into the Ponoi system last fall, spending the winter under the ice, and weathering both the spring and what portion of the summer has passed, maintained an incredible condition. Much depleted, it still tipped the scales at 24 lbs. By our best estimations, this fish would have gone in the 26-28 lb. range when he first arrived in the Ponoi system; in either case, it was a truly remarkable fish. Congratulations Giovanni!

France was well represented by six anglers. Jean Pierre and Achille had a memorable first day in Tomba with head guide Max Mamaev when they landed 16, including 5 bright fish and 7 in the 10-15 lb. range. Neither gentleman will soon forget that fine day.

As we approached the summer break, we bid farewell to a portion of the multinational Ryabaga team, who left Camp for a few weeks of respite. Camp has been slightly quieter with these departures. As you read this report, a portion of the remaining staff will also be headed to their homes for a midsummer break, while others will stay in Camp as they dedicate quiet moments to the projects that will be undertaken in the next four weeks. Midsummer is always a fine time to re-group and make refinements within Ryabaga, and this year is no different. With this continued effort, we can guarantee that the next part of the season will begin in great shape, with Camp running at top condition.

After two low-water seasons, the steady water levels are raising expectations for the upcoming fall run. Though the summer has continued to produce, the autumn could prove to be truly epic. We are already looking forward to see what lies ahead for the Incomparable Ponoi.

Enjoy the Break,

Joaquin Arocena and the Ryabaga Team