Sunday 28 May 2017

The season has started

It is a fantastic feeling to be back on the Varzuga.  After the coldest spring in living memory, the river is now fully open and we have all of our four beats up and running.

Whilst I have seen the river higher for an “opening” week there is no doubt that a lot of the snow has already melted into the system and my guess is that it will consistently drop away from these levels.

The frozen Kola river yesterday
One of the unexpected benefits of the other rivers on the Kola having to cancel their opening weeks was that Murmansk airport felt like a ghost town yesterday.  38 clients went through in record time and we were all in camp by 3pm.

It is fair to say that it was pretty obvious that all of our team were keen to see new faces after weeks of confinement and our arrival had a celebratory feel to it.

Snow in camp this morning
However, winter has not let go entirely; it is still very cold and in three of our camps the first thing everyone did was to head for the fire and a cup of tea/glass of wine/whisky – pretty much in that order.

At Middle Varzuga no such indulgence was tolerated and pretty much everyone went out.  A score of 12 by supper was a good effort but I suspect the fact that the river has stopped rising this morning will have a very beneficial effect on their numbers by this evening.

A high but dropping river
It is snowing hard this morning and it was not hard to take the decision to have lunch back in camp. This normally leads to a certain amount of dissent as there is no doubt that coming back, as opposed to having lunch on the river bank, cuts into the guided fishing time but no one murmured and as everyone put on indecent amount of layers this morning I think it will be a cold bunch that we welcome back in a few hours time.

Sunset at Kitza 
Fifteen feet of T-14/17 with short leaders, heavy flies and thermals are the order of the day and although it is chilly, all of us are delighted to have the season under way.

Charlie White