And So Goes September
Week 18 Report: And So Goes September
In many ways it is a challenge to describe just how special this past week in Ryabaga was. After all, only a precious few know the magic of the Fall Run in late September, when the tundra is fast tumbling towards winter. By the last week in September the Ponoi has taken on a unique quality: a dark and frigid season looms ever closer, but the salmon continue to arrive, often in great numbers both in size and in quantity.
We welcomed a group of 21 anglers in Ryabaga this past week, most of whom have visited the river this same week historically. Of particular note was Len S., who was with us for the 59th time!! We welcomed new friends too, and folks like Chris F. saw what Ryabaga, and salmon fishing in general, has to offer for the very first time. Chris succeeded in catching his first Atlantic salmon with us, and then many, many more, much to the delight of all. It was Jane S.’ last week of her typical three week stay in camp. Jane, and so many others, illustrate the point that when considering Ryabaga and fishing the Ponoi, it is impossible to get enough. This place, and this experience, have a certain magnetism…
The week was special for many reasons, but we will try to focus on the fishing, which was once again incredible: of the 250 fish landed this past week 77 broke the 10 lb. mark, 35 broke the 15 lb. mark, and we had 6 fish that tipped the scales past the 20 lb. mark!! And all this despite some chilly fall weather that caused ice build up on rods. The bigger fish were all fresh, dime-bright Osenkas (Russian for “Fall Run Salmon”). Even for those who have spent a few weeks fishing for salmon each season over a period of many years, nothing can compare to the potential of Fall fishing on the Ponoi. Stephen C., who has fished many of the hallowed “big fish” salmon rivers around the world, caught his biggest salmon ever this past week. Stephen’s fish was a lovely 21 lb. bright salmon in perfect condition, though he also landed a 17 lb. and a 14 lb. fish during his stay. Len S. landed a 19 lb. beauty on the first day fishing, as it did James E. Also on that day, Achile C. landed his own 21 lb. and Michael G. landed a magnificent 20 lb. sea-liced brute. Gert B. had a good start too, landing a 17 lb. Osenka, all on the very first day of the week! The second day was a bit slower, but the big salmon were still very much in a taking mood; on this day Stephen landed his 21 lb. chrome, his dad David C. landed a 16 lb., and Rupert D. landed another 16 lb.
Our French friends did not lag behind: Jean-Pierre C. and Jean-Pierre L. had a 15 lb. each. On the third day out the numbers picked up again, and Jean-Pierre C. landed a 20 lb. brawler. Richard White landed a 17 lb., and James E. and Michael G. took a 16 lb. each on Day 4. On the fifth day of fishing the biggest fish taken were three 17 lb. caught by James E., Rupert D, and David N. The last day of fishing this week let anglers finish on a high note: three 16 lb. fish by Achile C., Stewart L., and Rupert D., two 17 lb. fish by Len S. and Peter R., and one incredible fish by Gert B. who caught his first ever Atlantic salmon last season while fishing with us. Gert’s fish last year was a 19 lb. fresh fish, and this year he managed to raise the bar even higher by landing a 20 lb. Osenka, his last fish for the week. And the biggest fish of the week was John C.’s glorious 22 lb. All in all, a great week with an average of 12 fish per rod, 80% of which were bright.
It was another exceptional week on the Ponoi. Every night around the bar there were endless stories shared among friends, rounding out great days on the river. Though all of our anglers enjoyed catching a few, it’s the shared experience that becomes all the more significant in a place like Ryabaga. Here, our anglers find a home and a family, if even only here just for a week. To this fine family we bid a farewell; you’ll always be welcomed in Ryabaga, your Russian home.
Agustin C. Lo Greco
Ryabaga Camp Manager