Wednesday, 1 July 2015

Finn The Fish

Some say he eats lemmings for breakfast, others say that he can survive on river water alone – who knows? – all we know is that we call him Finn the Fish.
Finn the Fish
He set the bar pretty high yesterday; one salmon before breakfast, then six in the morning – and he allowed himself a Diet Coke at lunch to celebrate.

Michael H at Scotts
The weather repeated the pattern of the past few days and, after a dull start, by mid-morning it was bright and clear; in the afternoon the sun beat down on the river and it became pretty quiet and sleepy. A few rods changed tactics in the afternoon swapping floating lines for intermediate tips and smallish brass tubes and Michael H and Gordon S found that worked for them up at Scotts.

Fortress yesterday

Between the team we managed 14 salmon to take us to 86 at the mid-week point. Finn the Fish is comfortably ahead on the score sheet, as indeed he was last year (by ‘comfortably ahead’ I mean double that of any other rod). We do not know quite how he does it, he seems not to fish that much out of office hours but when he does fish the salmon just give themselves up.

Gordon S and Ivan
We have a much cooler morning today, it is 7⁰C and quite chilly in the breeze, certainly not mosquito weather. Gordon B repeated his daily routine of a salmon before breakfast from Generator, Paul R filmed a bear swimming the river and we watched the video over eggs and bacon.

I’m off to watch Finn the Fish today – I feel I can learn something.

Christopher Robinson

Tuesday, 30 June 2015

Counting Waders

We are lucky this far north to have 24 hours day light for most of the season. In early and mid May, when the sun dips down towards the horizon in the evening, it can get quite cold after dinner and the fishing can go off. However from early June, when we can expect warmer nights, we can have some of the most productive fishing in the evenings and early morning.

One fisher out
At Middle Camp the veranda of the main lodge looks out over the 6 guest log cabins, each accommodating two fishers in single rooms with a bathroom. My routine in the morning is to start fairly early, grab a large mug of coffee and from the veranda I can count the waders hanging up outside the bedrooms. In the evening too we can see, by the gaps in the waders, who is still out fishing.
Looking South at midnight
The team this week is pretty keen and this morning there were three pairs of waders missing. Finn, Paul and Gordon came back in for breakfast with five salmon landed between them in Generator – a good start to the day. I mentioned yesterday that I thought it felt ‘dour’; and so it turned out to be. The grey morning soon transformed into a really bright, almost painfully glare’ish day. Sunscreen was applied at lunch and in the afternoon we persevered knowing that it was not going to be an epic fishing day.

Looking North at midnight
After dinner I took Stewart and Dominic out in the big boat to fish Generator, both with single handed rods, Stewart fishing a Bomber, Dominic a small skater. Just before midnight a rain shower came through and the most extraordinary rainbow appeared over us. To the North was a setting sun, glowing bright red, to the South a rainbow arch, the like of which I have never seen before, right over us. Magic stuff and the fact that we did not land a salmon became unimportant.

Gordon B with a good salmon from Yovas
We had 18 salmon yesterday, well down on the day before, and I think part of that was due to the heavy rain we had on Sunday night. The river rose an inch or so and it just did not feel settled to me. We have had a much better start to today so let’s hope for a productive day – it feels better to me.

I’ll give you an update on the wader count tomorrow.

Christopher Robinson


Monday, 29 June 2015

Sartorial Elegance

As any fisher girl (or man - Ed) will tell you – it is not easy to look elegant in waders. Why do they not make decent, tailored waders? And what about the colour choice? "Yes ‘mam, we have a wide choice of colours – from light grey to dark grey."
Dressed to fish the Varzuga
I can always trust on Paul R and Michael H to set the tone here – if there were a choice of colours in waders they could cut even more of a dash. As it is they do pretty well. Paul this morning in a fetching pink shirt and The Hat. Michael in a bright checked shirt and his newly ordered tweed cap.

Do the salmon notice? – Maybe. We had a much better day, the best since 18 June and put a further 36 salmon in the book yesterday to add to the 18 of the first evening. The results were really evenly spread, everyone did pretty well. Smaller flies and floating lines were working well, but a few guests stayed with the safe option on an intermediate tip.

Michael H and the new tweed hat
Paul and Gordon B came into breakfast this morning after their customary hour on the river before Donna’s scrambled eggs with a salmon each and the chatter over the breakfast table was about trying surface fishing today. It is quite still today, warm’ish, and it feels a bit dour to me. We had really heavy rain for a few hours last night and the river has not dropped – I could do with a few more inches off it yet.

Party Pool and a Kola sky
Last week at Middle the team of 10 rods landed 119 salmon – great fishing in most places but not epic by Middle Camp standards. We had one really odd day, as did Pana. On 25 June we only landed eight, and up at Pana the team of six only had four salmon. The Pana team really do know what they are doing, Guy R, the team leader has only missed one year in the last 24. So it was not ‘operator error’ and I have no idea why the fish were so off that day. Pana finished with 123 for the week. Guy and the team mentioned that although the numbers of salmon compared to the record year of 2014 were down a bit there were many more large fish - something we are seeing too here at Middle Camp.

Benjamin G-B and a chunky Pana slamon
Kitza too had an unusual week – normally it fishes really well in late June being a later river than Varzuga. They recorded 69 for the eight rods – something to celebrate elsewhere but not up to our usual standards here; however it is the most delightful river to fish, probably the prettiest on the Kola and the team seemed content and happy with their week when I saw them on Saturday at Murmansk.

The salmon do seem to have responded to the brightly dressed team here this week. Let’s hope it continues in the same vein.

Christopher Robinson