Tuesday 10 May 2011

Arrival - River Clear

Welcome back! Another fascinating season on the Varzuga is about to begin, we’ll try and post a blog every day for the next two months.

I first saw and fished the Varzuga in June 1991 and to celebrate 20 years of fishing this stunning river, I decided to drive up here this year. There were a few Doubting Thomas’s who thought this a mad idea when relatively easy flights exist. Never people to turn down a challenge, Tiffy and I left Wiltshire on Sunday 1st May in faithful 'Tommy the Toyota' and reached Murmansk on Friday 6th May. Jenna (Lower camp cook and logistics guru) joined us for two days' scurrying about Murmansk obtaining the last supplies needed.

On Sunday evening we picked up Hugh and Jemima (Middle Camp) Jesse (Lower) and Keith (14 years as our mechanic, friend and repairer of anything) and drove South along the frozen White Sea coast to the village, arriving midday yesterday.

The new roadside memorial to Sviat
We stopped to say a prayer at the site where Sviat tragically died last August. A sad moment for us all. Tiff and I scattered the first of the rose petals from home this spring.

Huge hugs awaited us as we arrived by the river to unload. Misha, Feodor and Losha were there with the boats to greet us after the 10 month break.

Unloading 'Tommy'
The river broke steadily over a number of days in late April and early May. It is now running a touch lower than I would expect – but not unusually low - and is 3⁰C which is perfect this time of year. Misha says the river is rising at the moment as the mild air melts the ice on the lakes. There are some ice walls on the banks but, with only a few exceptions, the best beats at Lower Camp are fishable – and they look really good at this height. The next few weeks look promising.

Perfect water height
Tiffy had a chance to fish before supper and very quickly secured the first bright salmon of the season.

The first spring salmon
Today we get a chance to really assess the amazing new accommodation here at the Lower Camp and to look at the river in more detail. I hope to see Middle Camp on Wednesday - I’ll keep you posted.

In the meantime, if you are coming to join us on 14 May – it looks pretty fishy to me!

In slight haste after a busy arrival day – more tomorrow.

Christopher Robinson