Sunday 13 May 2018

And we’re off

As ever, it is great to be back on the Varzuga and to catch up with old friends.  Friday night in Helsinki is one of the best of the year with anticipation levels off the charts and a bubbling cauldron of excitement.
Getting on to our new heli
After a very early morning start, it was onto the charter and a smooth passage to Murmansk.  With only Lower and Middle Varzuga up and running, there were just 20 of us and so it was a very quick in and out of the airport meaning we were in the chopper by 11:45 - a record I do not expect to be broken any time soon.
Lakes still frozen but most of the snow has gone
As we flew over the tundra it was noticeable that there is very little snow left but that most of the big lakes are still covered in ice.

It was very encouraging to fly over Middle Varzuga and see that most of the banks are fairly free of ice and Generator looked fishable in more than a few places.  There is still a huge ice wall at the top of Bear which will make that difficult to access for a day or two.

Generator pool at Middle
At Lower the river is pretty much bank high and we decided to save our powder for today as wading was not a good idea with the trees and branches that you would have to walk through to get to the water.

Andrew T with the first fish of the 2018 season
However, the team at Middle went out and landed 4 fish with Andrew T being the first to kick off our season.  There are limited places at present to really access the water but with nearly all of the snow gone and temperatures around the 12 degree mark, it will drop rapidly. 

The water temperature is 4 degrees and now that most of the ice has been dragged off the banks, the river is clearing nicely. 

Donald S on Generator
We are probably within 36 hours of the “perfect” ice break and opening week river conditions and as all of the boats set off this morning there was a palpable sense of anticipation.  After months of looking forward to it, we are off.

Charlie White