Ponoi Museum

25 years of history in just one room

All great salmon rivers have great histories. Plying the hallowed waters of the world’s best salmon rivers is in many ways as much about taking part in their rich angling heritages as it is about catching fish. Rivers such as the Alta in Norway, the Vatnesdalsa in Iceland, the Cascapedia in Canada or the Tweed in Scotland, to name but a few, all have fascinating angling histories that greatly add to their allure. The Ponoi River in Russia, widely regarded as the best salmon river in the world today, is certainly no exception.

Despite its relatively brief presence among the world’s elite salmon rivers, the Ponoi has earned an incomparable reputation, and compiled an equally rich history over the years. Since intrepid fly fishermen first started exploring the Ponoi when the Kola Peninsula was opened to foreigners in the late 1980s, the photos and records have not all come under one roof. That is, until now. In order to preserve the history of the Ponoi for posterity, Ponoi River Company (PRC), together with Frontiers, are embarking on a comprehensive “Ponoi Museum Project,” that will document and present an in-depth history of the river. Our ambitious goal is to collect and organize twenty years worth of important events, catch statistics, scientific data, photographs, anecdotes, and memorabilia, and display this information in an on-site museum at Ryabaga camp, and online on the PRC website.

In order to accomplish this, we need your help. As a prior guest who has had the good fortune of experiencing this great fishery, it is our hope that you will take the opportunity to become an integral part of Ponoi’s growing history by contributing your personal photos, stories, miscellaneous memorabilia, etc. We are hoping to collect as much material as possible, so if you have something that you would like to submit, please contact our project manager, Steve Estela, at sestela@ponoiriver.com. Steve ia also Ponoi River Co. CEO,  former Ryabaga Camp guide and with many years in the fishing industry, Steve has been leading this project since day one and still does with great enthusiasm. 

If you have something that cannot be sent via email, such as old photos, hats, fishing licenses, flies etc, we will happily prepay for shipping, and if need be, return your item(s) after they have been documented. We may not be able to include absolutely everything that is submitted, but everything is of course highly appreciated.

Thank you in advance for your help in creating and being part of Ponoi History.

A collection of historic and memorable moments are displayed on the walls...

Several years of dedication have succesfully collected an incredible array of memorabilia: USSR fishing licenses: stories; hats; t-shirts and testimonies of the great Ponoi history; VIP's fishing Ponoi; photographs of the original camp and facilities, longtime guests and staff; 25 years of fishing statistics; memorable catches, stories and much, much more.

Ryabaga Camp, Ponoi Timeline

Starting from 1988 the Ponoi timeline gives you a detailed account of the most significant events in the history of Ryabaga Camp

From the day its location was chosen to its owners, managers, fishing records, camp improvements...

The Ryabaga Camp timeline takes guests visiting the museum on a journey from the very first pioneers that flew in on the bi-plane in the photograph, above all the way to present day. It documents where the first Ponoi camp was at Pacha, the subsequrnt relocation to the present day site chosen for its topograhy, access to clean water and the amazing Home Pool, through the four owners of the camp and how they each took the camp to the next level, the key camp managers and leaders who ran the camp through the years and helped maintain the standards which have kept Ryabaga as the leading camp on the Kola Penenisula. The majority of the great guides, chefs and mechanic characters over the years are featured along with the major changes to the camp structure and equipment.

The timeline takes the reader on a very interesting and sometimes amusing journey through the years of developement of one of the most recent but famous fishing camps in the world.

Ponoi Museum

Our history, your history.

Help us celebrate the rich history of the Ponoi

If you have photos or items you are happy to share, do contact us lets celebrate the Ponoi together.

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