Saturday 25 June 2011

The last day

The last day

A brief blog; sadly we close the camp down today and last night hauled all the boats out of the water and secured them well above (we hope) next Springs river ice break.

We ended the season on a happy note here at Middle Camp with another excellent day, although I know the fishing in this low water has been tougher than normal up on Pana.

At Middle Camp we had a strong upstream wind all day, not easy fishing at times and in Yovas Rapids there were strong gusts from all directions. Despite that our six guests landed 42 salmon with Richard D catching 12 to take him to over 50 for the week – not bad for a youngster who had only caught 3 salmon before he came here!

Ian C at Royal Dee in Yovas Rapids
Middle ended the week with 230 fish to six rods, much better than last year and well above the long term average. At Pana I’m afraid the team struggled slightly in very low water conditions, even so they had 119 for their team of eight.

Shortly the helicopter arrives to take our guests back to Murmansk and thence to home. Tiffy and I will go to the village this afternoon, find our car and retrace our steps back to Norway to see our friends on Lakselva.

This is always a sad moment – how the season flies by. A huge thank you to Genadiy Nagirniak and all the Russian teams in Kitza, Pana, Middle and Lower Camps for all their hard work, support and friendship this year. I look forward to being back in May next year.

Andy B with one of his 50 salmon for the week
 Charlie will summarise the season on the blog early next week. In the meantime we will all take home wonderful memories of this remarkable river, the stunning scenery and the warm hearted people of Varzuga village.

Christopher Robinson

Friday 24 June 2011

Warm Water

Another bright day yesterday with a reasonable breeze that caught you out occasionally if your casting got lazy. Ian C and Andy B were first away, eager to get up Yovas Rapids. Ian, having fished the Varzuga with us for most years since 1991 has stuck to his Bomber pretty much all week, knowing that he might land more on a conventional fly but happy to experiment and have some fun. He came home having banked six salmon.

Peter and James D with Misha returning to camp
Andy B, in his first trip to Varzuga has been determined to make the most of the numbers of fish here and landed 9 yesterday using an intermediate sink tip and his special killer fly. The fly is of his own tying and he brought three with him, one he kindly gave to James D, a pike dealt with the second yesterday so, on his last day he has one left. Not too much of a problem as he is not one to knock off flies on rocks when casting.

The last of Andy B's special flies
The water temperature crept up to 17⁰C yesterday and the level continued to drop, the salmon have started to move out of the slower and medium paced flow into the fast stuff. This was very noticeable yesterday and caught us out a bit in the morning.
Hugh landing Jemima's first salmon
With only two days left here, Hugh took Jemima out in a boat to see if she could land her first salmon – which she duly did, a nice 8lber from Simmons - celebrated with a banya and a swim in the river!

The first salmon smile
We ended the day here at Middle Camp with a creditable 32 salmon plus Jemima’s first. The Pana team struggled with the warm water and bright sun and had 15.

Our last day today – the season has just flown by, it is cloudy and quite windy again. Overall good conditions but tough casting I suspect.

Christopher Robinson

Thursday 23 June 2011

Just around the corner

The water level continues to drop and as it does the pools are becoming more attractive and defined. We haven’t seen the water as low as this in June for many years and exploring new spots is fascinating and often rewarding.
Yovas Rapids, Royal Deeside pool
Lawrence and Richard D walked up Yovas Rapids yesterday, I explained that there was no need to go all the way to Scotts as the lower and middle section was fishing well and full of fish (the beats here are so long that it is seldom all the pools can be covered in a day).  In fact they did walk all the way to the top and came back with 21 salmon between them, most from the area of Scotts. Lawrence explained that as they walked up they’d see a pool and mark it to be fished on the way back, then the fisherman’s inherent curiosity kicked in and they walked to the next corner to have a look – another fabulous pool – so, inevitably, they were drawn further on. They hardly fished the middle and lower sections and the two groups going there today are champing at the bit to get going.

James D and Misha with one of James's four salmon yesterday
We completed a great day with an after dinner Bomber demonstration on Generator by Ian C where he rose, hooked and landed a fish for the gallery. That took us to a tally of 36 – not bad for very bright conditions.

Pana reported 20 yesterday with a really nice fish of 15lbs falling to Alistair M in Lunch Pool.

Andy B broke his rod on Tuesday and borrowed one of our Guideline ACT 4 rods kindly supplied by Guideline Director Espen Myhre. He rated it very highly and had seven salmon on it from Simmons, one of which was a cracking 10lber straight in from the sea.

Andy B in action with the Guideline rod
Only a light wind today thank goodness, quite warm and overcast – looks good.

Christopher Robinson

Wednesday 22 June 2011

Mid Summers Day

Mid Summers Day announced itself with a weather front of howling upstream wind and rain, the team knew casting into it was going to be tricky at best and enthusiasm for the day ahead was somewhat subdued.

Andy B and Ian C took the Royal Deeside area of Yovas Rapids where, despite the conditions, Andy had nine fish by 2 o’clock before his double handed rod broke. He struggled on with his light single handed in the wind and came back in the evening with his mind querying what the score might have been had he been able to cover the water. Ian C had 10 fish from Green Bank and Royal Dee, four on a bomber and the rest on Sunrays; he declared the beat ‘heaving with fish’.

Tired but happy after a long day in the wind
Opposite them Peter D had six salmon before he too broke his rod - it was one of those days. Lawrence and Richard D drew the ever productive Simmons and landed 13 between them and we finished the day with a remarkable 40 salmon to six rods in pretty atrocious conditions.

Midnight at Middle Camp
Up at Pana the team again had 30 fish, yesterday evenly spread amongst the team. The water up there is really clear and low and a certain amount of experimentation with flies is going on, today they will try blue – not a colour we usually use here.

Tim Scott Bolton painting at Green Bank
We had the artist Tim Scott-Bolton out here for a couple of weeks and he has created a wonderful collection of paintings of the river and Varzuga village. His exhibition will be held at the Tryon Gallery from 6-9 December.

A typical 'big sky' on Varzuga
The wind dropped last night, looks much better today although quite bright. More tomorrow…

Christopher Robinson

Tuesday 21 June 2011

Another good day

The forecasters delayed our expected rain for 24 hours and we had a bright, sunny day. Pretty good conditions which were only marred by a strong up-stream wind that kicked in about 2 p.m. By the time we finished fishing at 6 p.m. it was blowing a gale. For the first time in many weeks no one fished after dinner, preferring a banya followed by arm chair fishing by the fire.

Lawrence D in action
At Middle Varzuga our team of six landed 31 salmon. The fish seem evenly spread throughout this long beat and here were no particular hot spots, other than Simmons again from which James D had 5 fish. Lawrence and Richard D put in a long day, walking with Hugh our Camp Manager up from Blue Rock to Scotts and fishing back down. They had six salmon apiece and returned tired but happy.

A beautifully marked salmon for Richard D
The fishing at Pana picked up and they landed 31 for the day with Charlie McV and Paddy D-P top scorers with seven each. With a ferry boat now in the Lagoon, access to the lower fishing is easier.

A happy father and son
We had quite heavy rain last night and the Longest Day of the year has dawned damp and very windy. Hoping for a clearer evening as we are planning a midnight BBQ, and some fishing on Generator of course, to celebrate mid-summer just 6 km short of the Arctic Circle.

Christopher Robinson

Monday 20 June 2011

Mixed Blessings

Low water brings mixed blessings here at Middle Camp on the Varzuga. On the plus side the pools become more defined, fishing effort can concentrated on the more obviously productive salmon lies and the river looks stunningly beautiful. On the down-side boating is tricky to say the least. Yesterday we all clipped rocks in a couple of places so today there are two shallows where we shall get out and walk the boats through, it does not take long and is well worth the effort.
Lawrence D below Pic-nic
We had a great start to the week; having landed eight fish in Generator on their first evening our six rods set off with the sort of enthusiasm that deserved reward. Andy B and Ian C walked up from Blue Rock to Scotts – their effort paid a handsome dividend in the form of 21 salmon between them. Ian experimented a bit and had four on a Bomber with numerous others risen. Andy stuck to his Mediator tied specifically to Jim Fisher’s instructions and finished his ‘best days fishing ever’ catching four more out of Simmons on the way home - giving him a total of 17 salmon for the day. The team finished with 44 in the book, the biggest at 13lbs for young Richard D.

Richard D with one of his 10 salmon since Saturday evening
The low water hampered the experienced team at Pana. They just got into double figures, with the float trip again yielding the best results. Today we are adjusting the pre-positioning of the boats which should improve access to the lower beats.

Simmons in low water - nine salmon were caught here yesterday afternoon
Rain is forecast today, no sign of it yet and anyway unless we have a massive amount the desperately dry tundra will just soak it up. Pana would welcome even a shower, here at Middle I suspect the team would prefer to enjoy the river as it is.

Christopher Robinson

Sunday 19 June 2011

Low Water

Last week we dusted off the seldom used file marked ‘Low Water Drills’. The river continued to drop steadily and by the end of the week access by jet boat to some areas was denied to us. All camps were having to adjust their beats; Pana struggled to get down-stream to Ponzoi, but despite not fishing Ponzoi for three days they finished with a solid 376 fish to the eight rods.

Laurence L in action at Simmons
At Kitza the pools above First Island had to be walked to. I saw team leader Richard G at the airport, he reported good runs of fresh fish coming in but with low, warm water the fish were not stopping much in the lower pools by camp. His team had made good work of the conditions with 120 for the week.

Dreamy water - Scotts, at the top of Yovas Rapids
 At Middle we finally stopped boating the Yovas Rapids on Thursday evening. Friday saw two teams fish up the rapids by foot – an enjoyable ‘expedition’ with a pic-nic lunch and BBQ’d salmon by Green Bank. We finished the week at Middle Camp with 307 salmon for the 11 rods. Just about level with the long term average.

Frans Van S and Hans K pic-nic on Green Bank
The new teams were all in camp by 4:30 yesterday. By 5:30 here at Middle Richard D (our youngest guest of the season), guided by his father Lawrence, had landed his first Varzuga salmon and went on quickly to a total of four by the time dinner was called! Seldom seen a smile like that one!

Frans van S with one of four fish from Scotts
Very bright today, but a good start with Ian C having two before breakfast from Generator. More tomorrow...
Christopher Robinson