Wednesday 12 June 2013

Be Careful What You Wish For

We joked yesterday morning over breakfast as the weather changed to the North. Tee shirts went back into the suitcases and the fleeces, woolly hats and gloves came out – Maryke’s rain dance had done the trick and our wish granted. Vova, who is as close to the nature here as anyone I know, shrugged his shoulders and with a wry smile said “Maybe snow”. Last night Camp Manger Misha told us that he would leave the generator on all night, a sure sign that they knew it was going to be a chilly night.

Gregoire with warm hat and gloves this morning
This morning at breakfast the air temperature was barely 3⁰C with a light drizzle and North wind adding to the chill factor. The water temperature has plummeted from 22⁰C on Monday evening to 9⁰C on Wednesday morning.

Jean Christophe with his motivational tee shirt
The howling wind from the North yesterday was a challenge and particularly in Yovas the casting was testing to say the least. Myriam sensibly took a day off from the river and settled down with a book by the fire place in the Lodge. The banya was stoked up to warm up the guests and guides at the end of the day. We stuck with floating lines and smaller flies with success and recorded 41 salmon for the day. Gerard went on to prove he has the hang of fishing and banked three and Ian S again led the board with 11 for the day. Peter J had a memorable battle with a really good, strong fish which was eventually netted by Ivan after various adventures around rocks and estimated at 9lb – 10lb, Peter’s personal best and he was delighted.

Peter playing his best ever salmon
Over at Kitza the salmon continue to be caught throughout the river and Heli Pool is fishing really well, a sure sign that fresh fish are still coming in off the tide. Joshua and Alan showed remarkable stamina by walking right up to Rackmann’s and fishing down from there. Charles W was top scorer with eight for the day followed by the Team Head Richard G with six ; the total for the camp was 38.

The Pana fishing remains a bit of a mystery, they had 20 yesterday and given the experience and knowledge of the team there we would have expected a lot more. It is almost as if the salmon are holding right back in the main river system somewhere and not running up Pana as usual.

Talking of salmon behaviour I had a really bizarre incident yesterday. I have taken to carrying a small spinning rod with a chunky 8cm surface popper for pike when I am out guiding; the Russian cooks love pike and there are quite a few about. Walking back to camp along the reedy margins of the now totally still lake (200 meters below the Banya for those who know Middle) I saw a good swirl about 5 meters off the reeds which had to be a pike chasing minnows or dace. I chucked out the popper and as it splashed over the spot I had seen the swirl there was a savage explosion and I hooked a strong fish. After a good battle I landed a 10lb female salmon, beautifully spotted and almost certainly a second spawner.

The salmon that thought it was a pike
The water depth where it took was knee height and with absolutely no movement. What on earth the salmon was doing there and why it was so aggressive on the lure will remain yet another salmon mystery.

Christopher Robinson