Thursday 12 May 2011

Visited Middle Camp

Snow flurries first thing yesterday morning and a decent frost overnight. A typical early May day on Varzuga, a mixed bag of weather and at times large snowflakes drifting over us on the wind, illuminated by bright sunshine – quite surreal.

During, these first few weeks we watch for Nature's signs of spring – last year one pied wagtail arrived, it was quite warm, the next day we saw four; shortly afterwards the ravens who nest opposite camp arrived along with the Middle Camp fish eagles. Yesterday I saw not even the one pied wagtail that was here on Tuesday, nor any of the saw billed ducks that will soon been feasting on the smolt run.

The lemmings are emerging from underneath the duck boards and the mice we turfed out of our storage container (they ate and nested in all the nice napkins I left last year!) are now eating the grass seed that has been scattered over our lawn damaged by the building work.

Loading up supplies for Middle Camp
We flew the first load up of supplies up to Middle this afternoon. The camp is just as we left it last year and looks good. While we were there Tiffy popped down to Generator and in 20 minutes landed one and lost two with quite a few other ‘pulls’. I was not able to take a run up river beyond the island, but the bank at Generator is clear of ice and very fishable. Later this week we’ll have time to take a look further upstream.

Generator bank, clear of ice

We have the same team of guides at Middle this year, Misha, Sasha, Sergi, Volva and the brothers Anton and Artum. Hugh Coulson is our camp manager and Jemima Palmer-Tomkinson the cook.

Middle camp from the air yesterday
On the fishing front it looks pretty good. Jesse and Feodor went down to Bear Island here at Lower Camp where they had ‘quite a few’ between them, Feodor lost a huge fish after 20 minutes, the biggest he’d ever hooked. A normal sink tip with a short leader and reasonably heavy fly seems to work well – that is what Tiffy is using. If you cast well a heavier sinking tip might be an advantage, in the cold water the fish are sitting just off the current and reasonably deep. Successful flies are 1” or bigger well dressed tubes of any colour. Jessie likes bright, I like black! - we agree to disagree.

Christopher Robinson