Sunday 14 June 2015

The First Salmon

I got back up here on Thursday morning, 11 June; almost to the hour a month ago on 11 May we were waiting for breaks in the ice to boat down to the Lower Camp. What a contrast! – it is difficult to imagine when you are back at home just how fast the seasons change in the far North.
Varzuga village - 11 May

Murmansk airport was busy, very busy, yesterday. We are approaching the peak of the Kola season when all the rivers on the peninsula are up and running and the camps are fully booked. The airport bar was really noisy – lots of friends chatting away while in the background we made sure the 80 or so fishers got on to the right helicopter with the right baggage.
Varzuga village - 11 June

Our 28 guests were all in the camps, Pana, Kitza and Middle, by 4.30 and here at Middle Chris and Ian beat the record and were in waders and kitted up within 15 minutes of landing. Harry P, who had not fished for salmon before, was not far behind them, indeed Tim, his dad, had not had time to put his waders on before Harry was off to try Generator Pool.

It is a one of those wonderful moments in life when your son or daughter catches their first salmon. And all the better if you are there to witness it. Harry achieved his goal within an hour or so of touching down here. His smile said it all and Tim was a very chuffed, proud father – albeit it a bit damp, without waders on he had taken his shoes off, rolled his trousers up and helped Harry beach the fish. A great moment in life.

Harry P with his first salmon

Stefano M too had his first salmon pretty quickly and we settled down for dinner with a handful of fish already landed, two were ‘first salmon’ and there was lots of enthusiasm for the coming week. The water level has steadied off and will now continue dropping unless we get heavy rain. It remains quite a bit higher than this time last year, good news from a boating point of view but not quite ideal conditions yet for the Middle beat in June which, in my view, is at its best and most interesting when the river is lower. That said Kitza and Pana want higher water, the better to access all of the vast amount of fishing they have at their disposal.

One wet but very happy Dad !

The water temperature is 13⁰C this morning and the weather seems settled – floating line conditions. However with the higher water most are sticking with intermediate tips for the moment, but there was talk at breakfast of trying Bombers and surface fishing. I guess everyone will give the standard fly patterns a mornings work before experimenting once they have a few fish under the belt.

I have to post this blog down a painfully slow connection - so the photos are quite compressed, but I trust they will give you a feel for life and fishing up here. More news tomorrow.

Christopher Robinson