Friday 31 May 2013

Bad weather for fishing? Not here

Fishing abounds with theories regarding the best conditions for salmon fishing and some say that if Mother Nature is against you then you are better off leaving the river alone.

However, the fact remains that if you have a river with a great deal of fish in it, you will triumph regardless of the conditions and this was amply demonstrated yesterday. With temperatures well into the 90’s, a glaring sun and as still as it could be, the 4 camps recorded a total of 305 bars of silver – amazing fishing in any event but given what we are working with weather wise, it was a simply phenomenal display of what this river is capable of.

John G with a Beach beauty
Kitza had another great day with 64 salmon landed to the 10 rods. Michael G has been coming for a few years now and had his best day ever by landing 7 fish from Old Dam whilst Mark M was again the top rod with 12 for his day. I spoke to Tom this morning who reported that they had had a very relaxed evening with everyone tired but delighted. I am sure that the Kitza kitchen party tonight will mean that everyone will be tired for different reasons tomorrow.

At Pana the 8 rods finished with 46 in the book. Benjamin B continues to set the pace with 10 for the day whilst Jose FM had a tremendous session on Rockface and landed 9. Carlos MA is making the most of his first ever salmon fishing experience and landed 4 yesterday to follow up the 7 he had the day before.

Bruce B about to land another from Bear Island
At Lower, we had an excellent day with 50 fish to the 9 rods. Peter H and Stephen T had 9 between them for their morning session whilst Joe M went for an exploratory walk down the right hand bank below the camp and found the perfect spot where he took 5 fish in short order. After supper and during a glorious evening, Andrew W-D found a spot above the Wires where he caught a fish and also had an unplanned swim – not a bad combination in this weather, intentional or not.

Stephen T with one from the boat at Fyodor's
Middle Varzuga had one of their best days of the season so far and the 12 rods landed 144 fish – a stunning day in every respect. Paul C finished with 19 for his day whilst Alan S had a fabulous time on Simmons Bar where he had 10 fish for his morning session. As ever, they are working hard and putting in the hours but with the fishing this good, there seems little time to waste.

The ever smiling Roma, preparing a picnic in the sun
The last day of the week has, as ever, dawned too quickly and we will be going to Murmansk tomorrow for the weekly changeover. Much as we are looking forward to seeing the new teams it will be sad to wave this party goodbye as we could not have had a more fun week. More on Sunday when I hope to report that the new rods have already landed some of these superb salmon.

Charlie White

Thursday 30 May 2013

Another day in the sun

With the sun beating down yesterday it was difficult not to feel slightly lethargic and it seemed as though the fish were in a similar mood. The story of the day across all of the camps was that we hooked and played as many fish as we could possibly hope but that actually landing them was a different thing altogether. They were not quite going for the fly in the same aggressive manner as they have been in the past few days but once hooked they fought incredibly hard and many were lost.

Bruce B in the brightest of conditions at Larder
At Middle the 12 rods landed over 90 fish and again catches were spread evenly across everyone. Boating up there is fine at the moment and Hugh still has the big boat going up and down the beats which indicates that they have found plenty of channels to cover the whole river.

Whilst the water temperature is up to 12-13 degrees (which would normally mean floating lines are the best option) we are finding that an intermediate tip and a weighted fly is actually working the best. It seems as though the fish are just dropping down in the water column to keep away from the very bright conditions up top.

Phillip L-J below the Wires - not a monster but it took him well into the backing
The 8 rods at Pana also lost a lot of fish but they are hugely enjoying fishing water that is completely new compared to their previous experiences. They landed 35 for the day with Ponzoi (where they can still boat down to) being the most productive pool which would indicate that the bulk of the fish that we have seen down here has not quite got there yet.  Benjamin B landed the biggest fish of his life at 18lbs to continue his run of landing the larger salmon that are always at Pana.

Bob M and Mark M took joint top honours for their day at Kitza landing 9 apiece. Bob was fishing the very bottom of the beat and Mark the very top – great to see the whole river producing fish and they ended with 51 in the book.

Yesterday's picnic on Jannaways - hard to beat
Here at Lower we celebrated Lucy M’s best days fishing yet with 3 fish in her morning session from Bear Island. Her father Joe also had a great day landing 8 from Bear Island and Jannaways. We finished with 43 fish to the 9 rods but there was a serious lecture at supper for John G-H and Joe to ensure that we can have a picture of one of Lucy’s next fish for the blog.

Despite the heat, ice walls remain on the bank
The weather today? You guessed it – bright blue skies, soaring temperatures and the exact opposite to that you are having at home. Whilst some rain and some cloud cover would be nice, it is hard to deny that it is stunning being here in these conditions and as long as the fish continue to play ball, there will be very few people here who want to change it very much.

Charlie White

Wednesday 29 May 2013

32 degrees at 39 Steps

Yesterday was the hottest day of the season so far and at one point in the afternoon the temperature reached 32 degrees. A burning sun and a still day meant that whilst it was obvious that all of our rods at Lower were catching fish throughout the day, I was slightly concerned as to what news there would be from the other camps – an unnecessary worry.

Middle had their best day of the week so far with 130 fish recorded to the 12 rods. Paul C had 20 for his day having had a particularly busy session at Korevi Pots. Stephen C also did very well landing 17 to his rod whilst Chris C took 14. Several of the rods have been coming for a long time and reported that they had seen more fish running yesterday than they had in many a year.

John G with one from Kitza
The same was true here at Lower. After a delicious picnic on Jannaways, we walked down to the Beach with Jonathan D and Simon J. Leaving Simon on Red Rocks, Jonathan went on to the Beach where the river was simply alive with salmon showing everywhere. Between the two of them they played 14 fish and landed 8 – a great fun session in a day where we recorded 49 in total.

Joe M yesterday with a fish that was weighed at 15lbs
At 7pm we flew over to Kitza and it was obvious from the grins on everyone’s faces that they had had a pretty special day. They boated up to Rackmans which is a long way up but with channels dug through Tricolore, they got up there fairly easily. The 9 rods then proceeded to have a bonanza - 84 fish were recorded which I think is a record for a day at Kitza. Andrew W-D landed 21 of these with Bruce B and John G contributing 13 and 15 respectively. Being lake fed, the Kitza tends to hold its water for longer than the tundra fed Varzuga and all of the clients who are now here at Lower were hugely enthusiastic about the fishing and the stunning scenery over there.

Upstream from Kitza camp last night
Pana also had a cracking day with the 8 rods landing 50 fish. Benjamin B netted a 16lbs fish from White Rock and the float trip was a great success. The two rods landed 14 fish between them and caught fish all the way from the Old Bridge back to the camp.

Another very hot day has dawned today and everyone has gone out with big smiles and hopes are high that the fishing remains as consistent as the weather.

Charlie White

Tuesday 28 May 2013

The weather doesn’t change but nor does the fishing

It feels as if we are in the middle of a major heat wave up here at the moment. Day time temperatures of around 20 degrees and bright blue skies give the impression that we should all be donning shorts as opposed to waders but fortunately the fishing remains excellent and putting on waders is no chore at all.

The team at Pana landed 50 fish yesterday with Jose FM putting 13 of these in the book whilst Pablo PR had a beautiful fish of around 16lbs from Ivan’s. They are boating down to Ponzoi at the moment but for how much longer the head guide is not sure. This would normally be slight cause for concern as Ponzoi can be very productive but the fish are all around the camp at the moment so it is not such a pressing issue. Two rods are going up to the Old Bridge today for the stunning float trip back to camp and it will be very interesting to see how they get on.

Mark M with a cracker from the Beach
The 9 rods at Kitza had another excellent day with Peter H landing 13 fish from a total of 51. They too are going up river this morning to take a picnic all the way up to Rackmans and beyond to see if the fish have reached the higher beats yet. It is one of the most beautiful parts of the whole river system and regardless of how many fish they catch, I know it will be one of the highlights of the week that will be discussed over dinner here tonight once we have done the mid week changeover.

Bob M with one from the Wires
Middle continues to be very productive and they landed over 110 fish yesterday. Quite a few rods were out after Hugh had gone to bed and many were up before breakfast this morning so final numbers are hard to ascertain but it was obvious they had all done well. David C had 7 in the morning from Green Bank followed by 8 in his afternoon session on Royal Dee whilst Chris C landed 13 from Snake Pit down to Peartiha. Brian W also weighed in with 11 fish for his day showing that there are fish in all of the beats up there.

Michael G on Heli with Colin S
At Lower the team put 44 in the book with some really nice fish landed. Bob M has been coming for a few years now and put his knowledge of the beats to good use, landing 14 throughout the day. We are splitting the teams up so that we can cover the river as best we can as boating below Bearlets is now no longer possible. 5 of us had a picnic on Bear Island yesterday and as we watched Arctic Terns dive on the smolt run it was hard to think of a better place to have lunch.

Sobacci Rapids yesterday - hard to believe that 20 days ago it was a raging torrent
Another boiling day today means that we are short on suncream but we remain long on cold beer and fish in the river so we have things in the right order.

Charlie White

Monday 27 May 2013

Great fishing and a few firsts

We had a really good days fishing yesterday across all of the camps – the morning was better than the afternoon for reasons we cannot work out but everyone caught fish and with another day of bright sunshine it was a lovely day to be on the river.

The team at Pana landed 40 fish to their 8 rods with Carlos MA landing his first ever salmon and then going on to land another one in the afternoon. As is always the case at Pana, they landed some really good fish with plenty in the mid teens. The water is dropping a couple of inches per day and they are fishing floating lines already which is early for Pana as it tends to be slightly cooler up there.

Harry M with a good fish from Bear Corner
The 12 rods at Middle have really hit their stride early on in the week. They landed 57 fish after the helicopter landed on Saturday evening and had another 121 in the book for yesterday. I asked Hugh if there was anyone who we should highlight having done particularly well. He said he would double check in the book and 5 minutes later read out 12 names! In the end we should probably pick out Robert H with his 15 fish for the day.

Simon J on Jannaways
At Kitza there was another first ever fish and this time it was Lucy M who was the star performer. Having done little to no fishing in the past, Tom took her out for an hour’s lesson in the morning and left her to get on with it for a while. 20 minutes later he came back to find her white with excitement having hooked and landed her first ever salmon. In fact, it was her first ever fish full stop. As with Carlos, there was no stopping her and she landed another in the afternoon to cap off a great start to her fishing career. Kitza fished really well yesterday and the 9 rods finished with 63 fish – their best day of the season so far.

Mark M into one of his 9 fish yesterday
Here at Lower we had a really good day and the 10 rods landed 56 salmon. Mark M had 9 of those which was a particularly good effort as he and his son Harry had been traveling for the best part of 48 hours by time they started fishing having been affected by the problems at Heathrow. Simon J also did very well on his first full day of salmon fishing with a fly and had 7 in the book before calling it a day. He was out early this morning and hooked 5 fish before breakfast but each had got the upper hand on him and he was determined to convert more of his chances later on today.

Low water = busy mechanic. Glenn at 10pm last night
Boring though it is to report, it is another bright day today. Slightly cold but the huge blue skies above us show no sign of changing – it does not seem to be affecting the fishing in any sense but we could do with some rain to make boating up and down the river that much easier.

Charlie White

Sunday 26 May 2013

Changeover day

Yesterday was a busy for day us and clients alike. We flew out of the camps at 8am and it was great to catch up with all of the clients before they flew home. It is always fun hearing the experiences that everyone has had throughout the week and it was particularly gratifying that so many people are already looking forward to returning next year.

All of the camps fished well last week with Michael E and his team, who started here at Lower, finishing with 386 fish to the 10 rods. We picked them up from Kitza in the morning and it was not long before one or two were fast asleep having had a particularly good and particularly late party on the last night.

Alan M on the Wires on the last afternoon
The team who started at Kitza and then finished at Lower recorded a total of 295 to their 10 rods. Our last night was not quite as wild as many of them fished late into the night to make the most of their time. After supper we were fortunate enough to have Valentine come down from the village who entertained us with his accordion before waders were donned for those final few fish.

Valentine and his trusty accordion
The team at Middle finished the week with 556 salmon for the 12 rods. Peter W landed over 100 of these with his fishing partner also doing very well. Peter A hooked a huge fish on Pashas on Friday which took him 200 yards into the backing before a rather violent “ping” signalled the end of the affair. A great week was had by all and we hope to see many of the same faces this time next year.

With the Heathrow incident we have had clients arriving from all sorts of different directions but everyone is now in their respective camps; tired but happy to be here.

Mark B on Middle
It was very good to see our Spanish team, who are returning to Pana, as we always look forward to seeing them. They normally relax on the first evening and don’t fish but having spoken to Damian this morning it was clear that the temptation of seeing fish moving just outside the camp was too much and they made an exception this year. 9 fish were put in the book to give them a great start to their week.

Having dropped off the very experienced team at Middle, who went straight out onto the water and had several fish before dinner, we then picked up the clients going to Kitza and Lower. We got to camp later than expected but Simon J went out straight away and landed his first ever salmon on a fly. To prove it was no fluke he got up early this morning and landed another bar of silver before breakfast.

"Your license please" - meeting the guides this morning
It is a different day altogether today with a cold wind and high cloud cover. With water temperatures creeping up to 10-11 degrees everyone has gone out armed with small intermediate tips and a fairly light fly. We can only hope that the fishing this week starts in the same fashion as we finished the last.

Charlie White