Wednesday 14 May 2014

Boats and Wagtails

The river maintained its slow rise yesterday, the ice continued to break up and we hauled the first boat into the water. A joyous moment for all, finally we felt we were able to do what we came here for, to get on the river.

Launching the first boat of 2014
This morning we have filthy weather – heavy, driving, up-stream sleet and snow – but the good news is that we watch a constant stream of ice as the river clears itself of winter.  The bad news is that it has made our internet connection terrible and I cannot upload pictures at the moment - as soon as I can I will add them in.

Feodor has made a couple of runs in his boat up to the village, not easy with the ice coming down and the rest of us will wait most of today before getting on the water, maybe until tomorrow morning. In any event tomorrow we will finally be fully mobile on the river and with our helicopter, tasked to be here at midday tomorrow, we will soon be over at Kitza and boating up to Middle Camp.
Watching the ice go
It remains remarkable to me how the birds know how to time things. Every year I watch for the arrival of the Pied Wagtails. They arrive, to the day, on the ice break. We have a hatch of large stone flies on the Varzuga just as the ice goes. They sit on the icebergs and in a big hatch the ice looks sooty with the quantities of them, almost like dirty old snow beside a road at home. Some years, if it is warm and the office window is open, they sit on the paper tray of the printer, I guess attracted by the white paper, and my printed lists of supply requests often have squashed stone flies on them. If we are missing tomato juice, it is a stone fly to blame.

Last night, just as the main break was kicking in, the first Wagtail arrived, looking cold, damp and hungry it scurried about on the duck boards looking for stone flies. I managed a poor photograph of it in the gloomy light, but I will be putting  it on the blog – Wagtails mean we’ll be fishing properly in a day or so.

The first Wagtail
On the subject of fishing – we have one rod remaining to join us on our second year of fishing the legendry Vosso in Norway, on the exclusive Bolstad beat. The dates are for five days fishing 7 – 11 July. This is a rare chance to fish this river, renowned as having the heaviest average weight of salmon anywhere. For more information on the week, and to learn more about the remarkable restoration of the run of salmon to this mighty river, please contact Charlie White at the office

Meanwhile, up here it is looking good for our first guests – the river is not that high at the moment as we have not had a huge flood but with this sleet and snow today it must come up more. So, the advice remains to expect a high, cold river and true spring salmon fishing.
Lower Camp this morning
More tomorrow and as soon as I can get the photos to download I will put them up.

Christopher Robinson

P.S. Terry has just flown the camera under his remote helicopter, not risking going over the river in the wind, so not the best shot but it will give you an idea of the river and camp today.