The Stars Align
Week 19 Report
Over the last few weeks we have seen the strength of the Fall Run, with fish moving in great number through Ryabaga waters. That said, weather and river conditions have posed real challenges to anglers and guides alike of late. This week, everything came together, as the Ponoi calmed down enough to show guests just what it had in store. Water temperature, water level, appropriate winds, cloudy skies… everything aligned and the fishing responded right away. Reports of great fish began to circulate through camp just minutes after guests landed in Ryabaga. Joseph B. went down to Home Pool upon arrival and immediately connected with what ended up being a fantastic 15 lb. fall-run fish! This fish seemed to foretell what was to come…
The first day out was undeniably good, especially for Genady D. and Sergey S., both of whom caught their first Atlantic salmon. Gerard P., who was fishing the Ponoi for the first time, landed a 21 lb. beast in Tomba, and Len S. (who was remarkably fishing his 60th week in Ryabaga!!) landed an 18 lb. chromer. On Day Two there was no sign of slowing, as Duncan B. and Henri A. each landed a 19 lb. salmon. Timothy Y. landed a 21 lb. and Martin V. landed a 22 lb. fish. It seemed this week that all the fish we knew were in the system decided to play the game, and our anglers rose to the occasion. Through the week we saw an increasing number of fish entering our waters, and sea-liced fish were a daily sight through all beats. On Day Three, Simon B. landed a 20 lb. and Martin a 19 lb. salmon, proving that these boat partners had a way of working together. On Day Four the weather took a bit of a turn, bringing colder temps and even a snow shower, and yet the numbers remained strong. The biggest fish of the day went to Ian B. who landed a 19 lb. silver beauty. Day Five arrived, and beautiful conditions remained; the fishing was great. Martin V. landed a 19 lb. bar of silver, and just minutes after releasing it he hooked, played, and landed what is currently the biggest fish of the season: a 24 lb. slab of perfection.
On the final fishing day of the week, the fish were still quite willing to take a fly. Dean M. landed an 18 lb., while Duncan B. & Gilbert P. each landed 20 lb. fish.
By the end of the week, anglers had landed an average of 28 fish per rod, and over 90% of them were bright, broad-shouldered Osenkas.
The fishing was wonderful this past week, and all in camp were grateful. Nonetheless, what made the week even more enjoyable for guests and staff was what our old friend Peter R. refers to as “the X factor”. According to Peter, there is something unique that characterizes the Ryabaga experience. That something may be impossible to pinpoint or fully describe, but it is there no less and recognizable to the guests who come to love this place. The magic that is Ryabaga is real, both on and off the water.
With just one week left in our 2019 Ponoi Salmon Season, the excitement remains palpable. All look forward to seeing what may enter our river in the coming week. As our final group of anglers arrives, spirits are incredibly high, in part because this past week represents a success story that goes beyond the numbers in a statistical spreadsheet. Week 19 was confirmation that the great efforts made to protect these fish, and to ensure their survival, are paying off.
As the weather cools and the days keep getting shorter, we are warmed by the certainty that even when the Ponoi decides to take its winter sleep, the promise of something truly special will hover beneath the ice, ensuring the ongoing success of Ponoi anglers.
Agustin C. Lo Greco
Ryabaga Camp Manager