Tuesday 5 July 2016

2016 season review

This season was our 25th year on the Varzuga and as ever, we were hugely looking forward to it.  By early April we start to pay closer attention to the Russian weather forecasts and anxiously await news.

Yuri D
As our advance party did their final bits of shopping in Murmansk it was clear that they were experiencing far warmer conditions than they would expect and that all indications were that we would have an early ice break.

Moscoi Island out of the water by 16th May, unheard of
The ice broke on April 28th which is early but not ridiculously so but the weather either side of the ice break was incredibly hot and whilst our Russian friends welcomed the heat after their long winter, it gave us slight cause for concern.

Jonathan B will a chunky one
Sadly those concerns came home to roost.  The relatively early ice break combined with warm and low water meant that the fish decided to run fast and hard very early.  Sadly, a big proportion of the run of fish had run through our beats and were in the headwaters pretty much before we got there.

This rather sealed our fate with the first three weeks of the season being solid, if not spectacular but after that the fishing got progressively more difficult.

Fishing with old friends
It is a measure of our expectations that a final tally of 3,240 salmon over our seven week season was, at best, disappointing.   This has been the lowest scoring year of our 25 seasons on the river and a seasonal average of 17 fish per rod per week compares against our long term average of 36 fish per rod.
Jonathan makes the frame again
The season started with very hot weather and also finished the same but fortunately in between we had sufficient rain that we could boat to pretty much all of the river over the whole of the season. The exception to this was Kitza which defied all logical explanations by falling to a very low level by mid June despite having a lake at its head.  Another odd thing in a fairly odd year.

Catch and release throughout the season
We had some cracking fishing in all camps at various points during the season and as ever, the chance to spend a week in the remote wilderness with great friends, real comfort and mile after mile of epic fly water is not something that can easily be forgotten.

Findlay with a lovely fish from Beach
Our commitment to the programme, the well being of our guests, to our Russian partners and to the river itself is unending and we continue to strive to make fishing the Varzuga a lifetime experience.

Low water was a feature of our early season
History shows us that a poor year is followed by a good one and we look forward to being back on the river in 2017 to start the next 25 years up there.

Happy days
Thank you to all of you who entrusted us with your Russian fishing adventure this year and we hope that we will see you next season.  Finally, a big thank you to our Russian friends and partners, without whom we could not experience this fantastic river.

Charlie White