The Summer Run in Force
Week 5 Report
As mid-summer approaches on the Kola Peninsula, another week of salmon fishing comes and goes. This week, Ryabaga Camp welcomed a group comprised largely of new Atlantic-salmon anglers who arrived in camp to see some non-typical conditions. Ryabaga waters rose dramatically early in the week, impacted by a heavy, sustained rain that brought the water level up four feet overnight. Luckily, the river remained fairly clear, and with visibility suitable for fishing and a strong pulse of fish entering the system, our anglers were positioned to enjoy a productive week of salmon angling on the incomparable Ponoi.
With the heavy rain on Sunday, guides and guests saw the river transform before their eyes, as the whole character of the river changed and angling tactics had to follow suit. Fishing is not easy in a rapidly rising system, but the Ponoi did not disappoint: on this first day of fishing, the five anglers who had journeyed to Ryabaga hoping to catch their first Atlantic salmon did just that, much to everyone’s delight.
Monday’s fishing was much improved, due mainly to the fact that the river was dropping once again. With the Summer Run in full swing and the increased flow opening up more of the river, the percentage of fresh fish entering the system increased steadily. As the week progressed, more and more sea-liced fish were caught throughout the entire stretch of Ryabaga waters, and on Monday alone anglers saw a 40% increase in catch rate over Sunday.
Tuesday was a day of contrasts. Heavy showers and sunny weather alternated throughout the day, but the fishing kept improving, most notably with regard to the number of fresh salmon in evidence. On Wednesday guests woke to a bright Arctic sky that would quickly be engulfed with some strong showers. Fishing improved yet again, only to be interrupted on Thursday with several lightning storms that poured rain and hail and kept anglers off the water in the interest of safety. This unstable weather translated into slower fishing, but the sight of fresh fish moving into the river kept spirits high. By afternoon the weather had settled a bit, and 30% of the fish caught were bright and powerful, fresh from the sea. Many more bright fish were hooked and lost, encouraging us to think that the Summer Run is strong and continues to get stronger. For better or worse, the heavy rains returned at day’s end, and they would stay with us for the next 15 hours.
On Friday anglers ventured out to find a river that was as high as it was on the first day of the season. This high level is extremely unusual, especially at this time of the year. It was a slower day fishing-wise, but like any day on the mighty Ponoi, it was a great day nonetheless. The week ended with an average of 24 fish per rod for the week, with 24% being bright, summer-run fish. The resounding sentiment in camp and around the bar was undeniable: all guests in Ryabaga shared the opinion that they would “have to come back and do this again!!!” I for one could not be happier. There is no finer feeling than knowing that our team worked hard through variable conditions and that in the guests’ eyes every expectation was met or exceeded.
With the advancing summer we, the Ryabaga Team, continue to look forward to what lies ahead. I leave you with a quote from our friend Daniel B., who this week was fond of saying “How can you not love it?!”
Agustin C. Lo Greco
Ryabaga Camp Manager