A Magical Week
Week 6 Report
This past Saturday around 2 PM the Mi8 again landed at Ryabaga, and a host of 21 eager anglers set foot on the banks of the Ponoi. Among the group were mainly old friends, some from France, some from the UK, and a large contingent from Finland. This lovely group was compiled by one of Ryabaga’s most veteran and loyal guests, Erkki M.
Erkki has been coming to Ryabaga with friends and family since the very start, some 28 years ago. This week, the Ponoi received the group with open arms and favorable conditions: water level, clarity, and temperature were within the optimal range, and this bore itself out in the catch. Throughout the week the Summer Run continued to grow stronger and stronger; for the first 3 days of fishing this week the percentage of bright fish was over 40%. That said, overwintered fish made a strong showing, and in the first half of the week four fish that eclipsed the 20 lb. mark where netted. The most notable of these big fish was taken by Urho J, a 17-year-old angler who was fishing for Atlantic salmon for the very first time. Urho’s first Atlantic salmon was a 20 lb. brute that he pulled from the Purnache beat. Not a bad way to begin a career in Atlantic-salmon angling…
After the first three days of fishing it was clear that the lower beats where producing more fish, so the beat rotation was adjusted to ensure great fishing for all. With the help of our new hovercraft, we were able to send boats as far as Hard Curve and beyond without compromising fishing time or comfort. We are thrilled about the opportunities that the new hovercraft affords, as there is now no piece of water that lies out of reach. We were able to fish everything between Kolmak and Brevyenny Home Pool with ease, and it was worth it. The new hovercraft is indeed a major upgrade.
This week’s fishing made readily apparent one of Ryabaga’s unique aspects, namely that our anglers do not need to wait at a single beat hoping for fish to arrive. To the contrary, our beat rotation and beat size always allow our anglers to seek and find fish rather than forcing them to wait in one spot, praying for the fish to come. We pride ourselves on being nimble, and ensuring our guests the most freedom and opportunity to fish productive water.
The second half of the week was as exciting as the first, and the flow of fresh fish spreading throughout the beats made this week one of the best summer fishing weeks we’ve ever seen. Salmon this week were both bright and sizeable: on the last three days of the week Jean-Pierre C. landed a 16 lb. salmon, Janne L. had an 18 lb. fish, and to top it off, Harri S. broke his personal best (set earlier in the week) with a 22 lb. fish that remains the biggest fish of the season thus far. We hear too often that people feel that Ponoi is not a big fish river. Apparently, this whole spring has been about proving this conjecture wrong. Just this week, Ryabaga anglers went home having landed an average of 23 fish, 44% of which were bright, and many of which were in the high teens and beyond.
This was truly an exceptional week in Ryabaga, in large part due to the intangible, inexplicable, and magnificent experience of Atlantic-salmon fishing at its best. Where else can an angler surround him or herself with untouched wilderness, wonderful people, and the most remote luxury lodging experience in the world? We’ll never succeed in our attempt to explain adequately what a week in Ryabaga is… what our guests see, hear, taste, and experience. Nevertheless, we’ll keep trying, as what happens here is magical, each and every day. There’s nothing more rewarding than to hear old friends and first-timers alike say “it was my best week ever!!”
Agustin C. Lo Greco
Ryabaga Camp Manager