Friday 21 June 2013

Beat Number 5

At Kitza yesterday there were two notable fish amongst the 24 the team landed, the first being a lovely sea-liced 10lber caught by Jose M L in Upper Beaver Pit (one of eight he caught yesterday). We seldom find sea lice on our fresh run salmon until mid-June but from now onwards, and particularly when Charlie will be back up here in September, they are quite common; the White Sea is just too cold for them to multiply in any numbers until around mid-summer.
Peter J with one on the small skater
The second fish of note from Kitza yesterday was the largest of the season, estimated at 18lb – 20lb and landed by young Jamie (aged 12) from Kitchen Pool after a nerve wracking 30 minute battle. There are some photos which, time permitting at Murmansk tomorrow, I hope to download onto the lap-top.

Jo and Daniel
Pana reported 27 salmon last night, Andrew C M was top rod with 7 fish from Lansdowne through to Ponzoi.  The radio reception was poor this morning so I do not have an update on that but it is good to hear that they are still getting down as far as Ponzoi and I hope they manage it again today, their last day.

Here at Middle the salmon were just not in the mood and we struggled a bit to move them. We ended with 14 salmon landed with the catch pretty evenly spread and no obvious leader on the board. Under a bright, bright sun we tried all sorts of tactics including switching back to intermediate tips and small brass tubes, Red Francis and Snaeldas etc. Peter J had a frustrating time that summed up the day, losing four on the trot fishing ‘slow and deep’ in Dunkery, then landing two on a tiny skater with a single handed rod, then in the evening losing two more at the net in Generator fishing pretty conventionally with a floating line and small brass tube.

Hugh and Myriam at a Beat 5 lunch last week
This week we have had a beat rotation at Middle Camp with five beats and five pairs of rods, the pairs moving down one number each day. Beats 1 and 2 are in Yovas at the top and much sought after, however Beat 5 includes Generator (one of the most productive pools and easy wading) and, as a bonus rather than a pic-nic on the bank, the pair of rods have lunch in Camp. Everyone loves Beat 5; great fishing with the prospect of a really good lunch and then a rather leisurely afternoon in Generator and Party Pools where the wading is not likely to be too much trouble if that extra glass of wine has been consumed.

Maryke, Francis and Tim S at yesterdays Beat 5 lunch
For our last day this week we drew lots for the Beats, all hoped for Beat 5 and it went to James and Jo. Good news for Jo who has been nursing a really sore throat and heavy cold all week; this morning he said, with the true focus only Norwegian salmon fishers have, “now I go fishing”. He is the sort of person who might get on the helicopter tomorrow in his waders. Maryke has their beers chilling in the fridge and is preparing a delicious quiche and salad. It looks very good indeed I think I shall declare myself a ‘Camp Administration Morning’ and join them for lunch!

Francis and Misha, one from Birthday Pool yesterday under a blazing sun
Tomorrow we go to Murmansk fairly early, I look forward to resuming normal blog service on Sunday.

Christopher Robinson

Thursday 20 June 2013

Kitza fishing excellently

Kitza had another wonderful day yesterday with 49 salmon to their eight rods, well out-fishing (again) the other camps. Jose L A led the score board and was delighted to land 13 for the day, 12 of which came from Third Island down to Old Dam. The water height continued to rise during the day and by the evening radio call was up 2.5”. Tom reported fish throughout all the beats but said they were a bit more concentrated in pockets and if you found them you did well.
James F (right) and Daniel
The team at Pana had 19 salmon for the day, nine of them coming from Ponzoi and five from the float trip, again not a vintage Pana day but all were happy to be doing better than the previous week.

At Middle Camp the rise in water started to steady off by the end of the day and we had hoped to really get stuck into fish but for some reason it did not happen and we ended with 19, level with Pana which pleased them up there. The upper section in Yovas did not produce the usual numbers but on the other hand the lower beat around Camp did really well; Jo and James had four each, including a brace from Party Pool which, in this higher water, is now back on form.

Tim S with his big 'un from Dunkery
On the upper beats the lower number caught was more than compensated for by the larger fish landed, notably a really good cock fish of 16lbs or more landed by Tim S at Dunkery Corner. We had another encounter with a really large salmon earlier this week in the same pool that eventually took a massive run down stream and straightened the hooks.

Peter D in Generator
With the water level now well up we have been able to re-position the boats back at their normal parking space by the camp which saves the stroll up to the top of the Island. There is not much rain in sight on the forecast and soon the river will start its normal steady drop and we may have to adopt our low water regime at some point. Not that that is any great hardship as I believe that many of the salmon pools at the Middle Camp fish better in really low water rather than in the in-between stage from normal to low.

Christopher Robinson

Wednesday 19 June 2013

River well up

Kitza had a good rise in water yesterday, the heavy rain of Monday pushing the water up 7” in 24 hours, which for Kitza with its lake system, is quite a fast rise. They saw plenty of fish but suspected that the rising water put them off the take a bit, even so they produced a good result with 26 landed, Carlos with 7 of them.

Peter D in Generator
Pana too had a fast rise in water, also up 7” on the day. This enabled Dima to get his boat down to Ponzoi later in the the afternoon with Willie and George where they quickly picked up 3 salmon each. Ponzoi will now be back on the beat rotation which all up there are understandably delighted about. They landed a total of 23 for the day, Guy being top rod with 7 fish from the tail of the Lagoon and just below.

Francis with one of his eight salmon for the day
Here at Middle Camp the water continued to rise, albeit much more steadily than at Pana and we were up a couple of inches for the day. The slower, steady rise did not seem to effect the fishing too much and a good day was had by all with everyone catching salmon and 36 in the book by the end. Hugh went up to the top with Tim S and Francis where, after some deep wading to get to the right spot, Francis had four salmon in five casts from Pashas Rest; he ended the day with a personal best score of eight.

Anthony also had a good day, two nine pound salmon in the morning, a snooze on the bank after lunch and his degree results from Reading University in the evening – a 2:1 – he was justifiably delighted and the party continued well into the early hours.

The last photo of Tim I playing a fish that we will take!
Tim I now has a horror of cameras, when he hooks a fish we get a camera out and the fish promptly jumps off. This has happened too many times and he lost another two with me yesterday afternoon. So the above is the last photo you will see of him playing a fish on this trip, we will keep our cameras in our pockets until the salmon is in the net.

Looking upstream from Pasha's yesterday
Quite chilly this morning, the air temperature was only a shade over 5⁰C at breakfast, but it looks settled and with the fresh water in the river we could have a good days fishing.

Christopher Robinson

Tuesday 18 June 2013

Rising River

A muggy day yesterday with heavy clouds threatening rain. At 4 p.m. there was a bright flash of lightening and a massive clap of thunder right over Generator Pool where I was with Peter D and Peter J. Being thoroughly British, neither of the Peters' wanted to be seen making a hasty retreat from the water; their guide, Sasha, sensibly saved any loss of national face by declaring it time for a cup of coffee.

Peter J with a good salmon taken on the small skater
Peter D showed that uncanny ability to find fish that regular guests on this river have and had seven salmon from Generator whilst Peter J did well with four, his last of which was on the small ½” skater – a first for him. Generator is the most extraordinary pool, it does not look much, indeed there are many other places here that look more appealing to the salmon fisher, however it produces salmon consistently in any height of water. At the moment, in low’ish water, we are catching salmon from right at the top by the mid-stream pyramid rock all the way down to the direct track from Camp to the lower section – a distance of just under half a mile. It is also the most perfect pool for a skated fly and a great place to experiment. Fishing Generator with a small skated fly after dinner, with the arctic sunset/sunrise at midnight as a backdrop, is pure salmon fishing heaven.

Scott's at the top of Yovas yesterday
Middle ended the day with 31 salmon taken well spread out throughout the Camp Beats although no one fished Simmons yesterday so that is well rested for Tim and Michael this morning. Kitza again out fished us and on the radio Tom is sounding rather smug nowadays! The team had 34 salmon for the day, the water level remains steady and the fresh fish continue to run in from the White Sea.

At Kitza young Jamie, aged 12, has taken to fishing like a duck to the water (I may have mixed metaphors there) and after landing his first salmon within an hour or two of arriving, managed to net four yesterday taking his total to eight in two days. These are the sort of figures that make people at home choke over their early morning coffee as they look to see how we are getting on - and, I hope wish that they were here and not in the office.

Sonya (aged 7) helping me measure water height
Pana had a much better day with 27 salmon, a good day by any accounts but not great for Pana I know, but there was an audible upbeat tone to Damian’s report over the crackly HF radio last night. Guy R and Willie G had had seven fish from the float trip and had had much more action than that number would indicate. The water on Pana is up 6” since this team arrived on Saturday evening and today they will try and boat further down river.
Tim I in action with Vova
Here at Middle the river has risen steadily by an inch or more a day since the rain of Friday; yesterday the guides got the boats all the way through to Scott’s right at the top. We have had heavy, steady rain since dinner last night and we went to bed with the rain pattering on our tin roofs, just the sound needed to send a salmon fisher off to sleep content that all will be well. This wet spell should secure us enough water to keep us topped up well into next week for Rob W’s group. The water height here moves so slowly, a great advantage as we do not often get radical changes, but difficult to predict as the high ground is some 100 miles to the North and we do not know what is happening up there in terms of rainfall. So, as usual up here, it will be ‘all change’ and we will adjust to the new water levels over the next few days.

Christopher Robinson

Monday 17 June 2013

The Spanish ahead

The cloud we expected yesterday afternoon got stuck somewhere and only appeared in the evening so we fished the day under a pretty bright sun. No one complained and simply enjoyed the stunning scenery, green birch trees and wild flowers.

Middle Camp in the sun yesterday
Pana had another dour day with nine salmon added to the eight of the first evening. Willie G landed a lovely 18lber from Grannies. With the water height up 4” or so over the past week we had hoped for a few more fish to run Pana, but they have not materialised as yet.

However over at Kitza fresh salmon continue to enter the river and our Spanish friends landed 43 – a really good score for their first day of the week. They are very pleased to see the river low as they love true Summer Salmon Fishing with small flies and floating lines. The Greenbank and Beaver Pit beat fished excellently with 18 salmon taken in those pools, leading the score board was Jose M L with 11 fish and Carlos RG with nine. Tom did not report any larger fish yesterday but was delighted to see more fresh fish running off the tide into the lower pools in the evening. I think this group will fish pretty hard, no one made it back to camp for Donna’s delicious dinner until 9 p.m.

Anthony M-J with Misha and a 12lber
Tom and the Spanish group at Kitza were delighted to have confirmation at this morning’s radio call that they had out fished Middle camp with two less rods one of whom is only 12 years old! At Middle we had 29 salmon with everyone catching fish and all the beats fishing well from Generator up to Scotts, although for some bizarre reason Simmonds did not yield anything. Sasha and Vova got their boats right through to Green Bank which is in the centre of the top beat, and also the most wonderful place to make a camp fire and have a pic-nic. Today Hugh has also gone up there with the two teams and I hope will get some good photos for us.

Ian S was top rod last week - here is a covert picture of his fly box!
Jo Arve A from Norway, new to the Varzuga, soon settled in and had eight salmon yesterday and this morning, before breakfast, he took a couple from Generator on his single handed rod and a small skated fly. Anthony M-J landed his first Varzuga first thing in the morning from Generator, a really good cock fish of about 12lbs. We are expecting some rain today, it is mild, fairly still and overcast and seems pretty ‘fishy’. The water has come up a touch overnight as Fridays rain slowly, slowly drains off the boggy tundra; good news indeed and we should now have sufficient water height to continue boating up to Green Bank for the remainder of the week.

All were off pretty promptly this morning – Anton’s back-pack clanking a bit as he walked up to the boats – I think he has quickly worked out that his rods, Tim and Francis, enjoy a glass of white wine with the pic-nic!

Christopher Robinson

Sunday 16 June 2013

A New Week

We bade a fond goodbye to last week’s guests at Murmansk, there was lots of “see you next year” and I noted that of our 28 guests last week only 5 were on their first trip to the river, all of those 5 being invited by existing rods. Which I guess explains why it can be hard to get a slot on the Varzuga in mid-June.
Farewell from the team at Middle Camp
I met the three incoming groups in the usual controlled chaos of the small arrivals area but we were soon out of the airport and on our way to the camps. Shortly after dropping the teams off at Pana and Kitza I flew back over Pana on a supply run and was delighted to see the boats down at the bottom of Lagoon and guests already out fishing. They caught 8 salmon and retired for dinner looking forward to their week.

The view from the dining room at dinner
Over at Kitza the rods too were soon in action and they landed 5 fish, the most important catch being a first salmon for young Jamie R F, who at 12 years old is probably the youngest fisher we have had on the river.

We got into Middle a little later than the other camps, had dinner and then it was off to the river under a wonderful midnight light. Hugh S got us off to a good start with 3 cracking fish from Generator before the whisky came out.

Hugh with one of his three salmon last night
Today has dawned bright and clear with the prospect of cloud cover this afternoon and perhaps some rain in the next 24 hours. The rain of Friday night has shifted the water level up a few inches, not enough to change the boating regime at Kitza and Pana, however here at Middle Camp Sasha and Vova are going to try and see how far up Yovas they can get their boats today. The water temperature is steady at 13⁰C and we are all on floating lines and quite small flies, size 8 through to 12.

Generator Pool at midnight
More tomorrow.

Christopher Robinson