Sunday 17 May 2015

The first Finair charter aircraft of the Kola salmon fishing season arrived yesterday at Murmansk from Helsinki, on board were our guests for both Middle and Lower Camps. With only 18 on the first flight this year they cleared through immigration and customs quickly; as always it took a bit of time to sort the bags out and make sure the helicopter was loaded correctly, however by just after 2 p.m. we were all in camp. A point to note - the time zone has changed this year - Russia is only 2 hours ahead of UK time.

Middle Camp and arrival helicopter in the background
The weather in Murmansk was pretty foul, about 4⁰C, grey and drizzly, but once into the Varzuga water-shed we arrived to a wonderfuly warm, sunny, spring afternoon. At Middle Camp Terry and Donna had laid out welcoming drinks, coffee, soup and the ever present Middle Camp bloody mary jug on the veranda. At Lower the fire was lit and Markye’s home made chocolate chip biscuits made us welcome.
Midnight last night
Since I left on Friday morning the river had dropped at least a foot. At Middle it was running clear, at Lower we had a touch of colour still in the water, but the trend looked good.
Tackling up this morning - quite chilly and a real contrast to yesterday
Our arrival day is not really a full fishing day. In other words if we get into camp early enough, of course our guests can put up their rods and have a go. But is also the guides’ day off, so it is a bit of self-help (bonus) fishing. Up at Middle they landed a handful of salmon, inevitably from Generator. Here at Lower we fished Heli Pool only and did not manage to land one, but we all noted the dropping river and at dinner we were chatting about the improving prospects for the week.

Michael H ready for action this morning
This morning, Sunday, the river has dropped steadily over night; it is not yet at the optimal spring height, I think we need a couple more days, but it looks increasingly better. After the bright, warm spring day of yesterday this morning the weather has turned again; we have a cold upstream wind, it is grey and dull and really quite chilly. Although not really pleasant to be out in at least it will slow down the snow melt and we can now commence fishing knowing that each day increasing numbers of salmon will come in.

Christopher Robinson