All news for: Week 19

Enjoy hearing more about what has been happening at Ponoi

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.

Tight Lines,

Agustin C. Lo Greco

Ryabaga Camp Manager

Another Season Gone

Week 19 Report

Another week comes to an end in Ryabaga, but this past week was an especially significant one, as it was the last week of our 2018 Ponoi salmon season. As we said farewell to our last group of guests we had the usual feelings of accomplishment and sadness; that said, we were yet again pleased to look back over a fantastic ending to a great season.

This past week we welcomed a group of 20 anglers in Ryabaga. We started the week with the hope that the push of fresh fish that arrived in Week 18 would carry on steadily, and to our delight it did. Throughout the week we saw sea-liced fish caught every day, and the steady pulse of these bright fish into our waters made for some wonderful angling opportunities. Again this week we had anglers of all experience levels in camp, with some who had come to catch their first salmon ever, and others who have been fishing for Atlantic salmon for more than 30 years. All in camp were thrilled when Vadim K. took his first Atlantic salmon this week, and equally pleased when Alexei S. and Alexander B. did the same.

The weather was consistent with what might be expected for a first week of October within the Arctic Circle. We saw frosty mornings and cold water, but the salmon were undaunted, and continued to enter the Ponoi. Our anglers landed an average of 8 fish per rod for the week. The fishing was not easy, but it was certainly rewarding. As is the case in these types of conditions, guides chose either Skagit lines with 15’ sink tips (in the T-10 to T-14 range) or occasionally full-sinking shooting heads to get the fly even deeper. Both tactics had positive results. The quality of fish was again remarkable, as is expected on Ponoi, and we saw stocky, silver fish with the broad shoulders that we expect from our Ponoi fall-runners. Gilbert P. and Martin V. posted lovely 19 lb. beauties, Birger B. took an 18 lb. brute, and Lois S. on her first visit to Ryabaga managed a 17 lb. and a 16 lb. brawler. A great week, indeed.

Perhaps the best news is that fresh fish are still coming into the Ponoi, and this bodes extremely well for 2019’s spring fishing. Ryabaga is still a very busy place, with so much to do before the last group of Mechanics leaves camp and the full clutch of winter covers the tundra. Several camp upgrades are still in store for the coming days, and then the camp will be officially put to bed.

It has been a fantastic week for all of us here in Ryabaga Camp, and an equally fantastic season. As we look towards the coming year we can only hope to again share great moments with friends in what is certainly one of the most special places in the world.

Until Next Time,

Austin C. Lo Greco

Ryabaga Camp Manager

Another Season Passes

Week 19 Report

The final week of the 2017 Ponoi salmon season has come to an end, and with impressive numbers of bright fish still pushing through our system, we were privileged to finish the year on a very high note.

As in previous weeks, the weather remained as favourable as can be expected for this time of the year, particularly as cooler temperatures and shortening days made the approaching winter more evident. Though we did see some wet moments, the wind was quite mild, and the continuous overcast kept air temperatures well above freezing each night, as water temperatures hovered around 6°C.

Though the Fall Run arrived somewhat late this season, it came on strong as the last days of the season approached. A new historic record was achieved in Week 18, and if we hadn’t suffered the last-minute cancellation of a few guests we might well have had another week for the record books in Week 19. Salmon numbers within the system kept increasing through the week as evidenced by the sea-liced fish taken right up until the last session of fishing. We witnessed an average of 45 fish per rod this week, and with the steady pulse of fresh fish entering the system we can only assume that the 2018 Spring will be something quite special.

As was the case over the last couple weeks, the fishing was done mostly with Skagit heads, fast-sinking lines, and triple-density sinking lines fished in conjunction with the traditional Max tubes. We were all thrilled to note some lovely fish taken by Ryabaga anglers this week: Katia landed a lovely fish that tipped the scales at 21 lbs., and Head Guide Max Mamaev achieved his personal best with a 22 lb. salmon from Lapynyarka. William had a mind-boggling day with 5 fish over 15 lbs., and Dan was the envy of all in camp when he caught a 16, 17, and a 19 lb. salmon in a single fishing day with a single-handed rod!

This size, number, and quality of salmon that we saw through the week made for a great way to wrap up the season. With such a strong run still moving into the Ponoi system, the prospects for the coming season seem more than promising. It always feels good to head home at season’s end with full confidence that we will return to find a river full of salmon come May. As we learned through a challenging spring season in 2017, the weather and conditions will play a significant role in 2018 Spring angling, but for the time, things couldn’t look better.

It was with some sadness that we saw the last anglers of the year depart, but the team turned quickly to the work of putting Ryabaga to bed for the winter. As of now the camp is growing quiet; only the team of mechanics remains on-site readying the buildings, generators, boats, and vehicles for the long, cold, Arctic winter. In the coming days all will be silent, as the long nights of winter will witness the Kola at rest once again. Nonetheless, under the ice and snow and shortened days, the great salmon of Ponoi will lie in wait, filling us all with boundless hope for what the future holds.

Until then, we will celebrate the memories built this year, and cherish them. For those memories, we are indeed grateful.


Joaquin Arocena and the Ryabaga Team

Great finish! Fresh fish are still running.

Week 18 Report

Another great week of fall fishing marked the end of a very successful 2015 Ponoi salmon season.  Though the coming winter made the weather slightly more challenging than in recent weeks, our group of 19 did us proud by catching almost 300 fall-run fish.

We started the week in great shape with 66 bright fish on Day 1. On that day, Alexander had a remarkable session in which he landed a 20 and two 17 pound fish. Unfortunately, frequent rains and the consequent off-color water hindered the numbers for the next couple days. Conditions improved toward the end of the week, and we finished on a high note: the strong finish was punctuated by our friend Jim Curry, who in one off the best fishing mornings in a prolific angling career landed 9 bright fish including a 20+ pounder.

The slightly off-color and rising water, coupled with the decreasing water temperature, changed our tactics somewhat. As a general rule sink tips gradually gave way to sinking lines, and flies were fished on slower swings.

The vibrant fishing was complemented by wonderful activity in camp. This was another week full of members of the multi-national Ryagaba family with representatives from Russia, UK, US, France, Canada and Sweden.

Whether as a consequence of the special mood that arises during the last week of the season, or simply due to the wonderful group of guests, the atmosphere in camp was especially festive on Friday night when proper dancing was on display in the rollicking Big Tent. The celebration was also a time for farewell, as after 25 years of hard work on the Ponoi banks dear mechanic Sasha Klovkov announced his retirement. After some words of comfort from his associate Sergei Zhurin (and a strong Nasdrovia) we commemorated the beginning of a well-deserved rest for Sasha. We wish him all the best; he will certainly be missed.

Ryabaga is currently in a very different space, as out of the 60+ people that spent this last week in camp, a small group of only 8 remain in our little village. All remaining are working hard and fast to prepare buildings, boats and machinery for the fast-approaching winter.

So goes another Salmon season; soon all of us will be back to our families and loved ones and there will be time to recall the memories we’ve shared in this place through the 2015 season. To all our guests and to the remarkable group of staff that make this place possible we cannot thank you each enough. We look forward to your return in 2015, when the salmon leap again in the face of another blossoming spring!

Until Then,

Joaquin Arocena and the Ryabaga Team