Tuesday 24 May 2016


Well that was interesting.  135kms west of here lies the town and river of Umba which we have kept a close eye on for a long time as it owned by our partners here on the Varzuga.  In February, for various reasons, the lease became available and we agreed to take it on.
Umba Lodge
Bill and I went over there yesterday and were seriously impressed with what we saw.  A really dedicated and enthusiastic guide team, a gorgeous and really comfortable lodge, 18kms of double banked fly water to die for and it was much, much prettier than I had imagined.  Photos of big fish adorn the walls and at almost every pool and fishy spot we saw, the guides competed to tell us of fishing adventures that they had there in the past.

Umba dining room
It has a reputation of having a poaching problem and there is no hiding from the fact that this has been an issue in the past.  However, we had excellent discussions with the military and our partners over here and with an increase in man power on the river and better relations with the locals than the previous lease holder, it does seem as if we can make a real difference.  We are nearly sold out for this season but if you do want to fish one of the nicest rivers I have seen for a long time, at a really good price then please contact the office.

Miles and miles of perfect fly water
Now, back to why you are more than likely to be reading the blog…!   Need I say that yesterday was another staggeringly hot day?  Water temperatures are now around the 13 degrees mark and we are fishing floating lines here with flies in sizes 6-8 as well as Sunray’s and hitched flies.

Boo V on Beach
On Kitza, their lake system is doing as we would expect and their water temperature is nearer 9 degrees.  Whilst water levels are dropping like a stone here (I don’t think we will be boating all the way down the river by the end of this week), levels over there are holding up well.

At last! A good picture of the bear we have seen pretty much every day
They landed a further 52 fish yesterday with Findlay F proving that youth is no barrier to success as he led the way with 8 fish.  John M and Steven Brand were close on his heels with 7 apiece and it was a happy but rather tired team over dinner last night.  They are still on intermediates and half inch tubes but if this weather carries on then we can expect that to change before too long.

Craig P on Bear Corner
Here at Lower we had 22 for the day but actually a number of those came from fishing after guided hours.  That was the first time the sun had been off the water as the beat is quite open and exposed (Kitza and to some extent Middle are in tighter valleys and so the sun does not have quite the same impact) so it made sense that the fish would be slightly more obliging given a bit of shade.

Middle Varzuga finished on 52 fish with Ralph and Stephen C having 8 and 5 respectively with the rest fairly evenly spread.  Good numbers for sure but in truth we have seen this beat produce many more fish at this time of the year and it is a bit patchy.

Jeremy V on Upper Beach
It is yet another blisteringly bright and hot day and those of you coming later in the season should pack mozzie protection as they are already making an appearance – ridiculous to be typing that on 24th May.

Today will be fairly busy as we will fly to Pana to set that camp up and this evening will fly to Kitza to do the mid week changeover – I might have a job persuading the Kitza rods to get on the helicopter…

Charlie White