Friday 25 May 2018

Different day, similar outcome

At the risk of being unoriginal, I must admit that I could pretty much “cut and paste” yesterday’s blog and put it on here today with a few different photos.

Bursts of action followed by fallow periods with very fresh fish being landed.  The water is dropping away nicely and it is now 12 degrees on Varzuga whilst it is at 8 degrees at Kitza.  On Varzuga we are fishing floaters and intermediates but they are still fishing T-10/14 over on Kitza.  Small aluminum tubes and doubles in sizes 8-10 are now the most common.

Roddy C on Mall
Lower Varzuga landed 29 yesterday with Anders H responsible for 9 of those from Bear Corner and Green Bank.  Jamie H and Roddy C had a really busy session on Bear Island which resulted in 3 double hook ups but sadly the final photo was missing as the vital one was lost each time.

Jamie H on Bear Island
A trip to the village after fishing was a great success and was fascinating as per usual.  It is difficult to comprehend how tough it must be in winter here and leaving a very comfortable lodge to get a small insight into our Russian friend’s lives is always worthwhile.

It was steady away at Kitza with 14 landed – all the way from Deluxe to Third Island.  Joan G was the top rod as is often the case but it was all a bit slower than we would hope.

Sean O'D with one from the boat up at Middle
Middle Varzuga had a carbon copy day of Wednesday but instead of landing 41, they landed 42.  Pretty evenly spread across all of the beats and you just needed to be there when the pods ran through.

Mark J with another
It is a really warm morning today and I have a feeling that it might be more productive to come up the water column a touch.  Over breakfast there were several people keen to try a skated fly and we hope that is productive. 

As per normal, there will be no blog tomorrow as we fly to Murmansk to change over guests and I will round up this past week on Sunday.

Charlie White

Thursday 24 May 2018

Lynsey Mair, take a bow

I am not quite sure what to make of yesterday.  We landed 79 salmon across the camps to 29 rods – sounds good I know but there is a nagging feeling that it should have been more.

Jack, Ollie and Bill all reported that fish were running hard through their respective beats and it was more a question of being in the right place at the right time rather than fish being in all beats.

Lynsey on Green Bank - still high water as you can see
Here at Lower we had 25 of those but perhaps the 2 most important fish were landed by Lynsey Mair.  Whilst Lynsey has landed fish before, these were the first “unassisted” fish she has caught and for someone who has barely fished before it was a great achievement.   Anders H landed 6, whilst Jamie H and Bill McS had 5 and 4 respectively.

One from the boat 
Kitza landed 13 fish to their rods with Marc W and Graham J at the top of score sheet once more.  Ollie reported seeing many more fish in their lower reaches but for whatever reason, they were difficult to connect with.

Jamie H on Bear Corner
Middle had 41 and it was very much a case of everyone chipping in.  They are seeing pods of fish and having action for a bit and then it goes slow again.  It is strange in that we are now picking up masses of kelts which we would have expected to have been gone by now – maybe it is just a later season than we would expect given the conditions.

Mark J 
After a curious case of the home pools not really producing so far at Middle, they have landed 8 fish this morning before breakfast and Jack reported that everyone was in their waders in record time as the rods are keen to make the most of what we hope may be a better day.

Good to see Big Misha guiding again, looking healthy and well
It is the same here with Jamie H landing one from the Heli pool before coming in for his cooked breakfast and despite a fairly heavy night; the team are raring to go.

Charlie White

Wednesday 23 May 2018

Pana set up and Kitza changeover

As anticipated, yesterday was a busy day.  It was also extremely hot and blindingly bright which was fine for those of us flying but not ideal for those fishing.

The Pana renunion
After seeing the clients off at 9am this morning we started to load the helicopter with the first tranche of the Pana provisions and then flew to the village to pick up the Russian team.  As ever, there were huge hugs, smiles and perhaps a small shot of vodka to mark the reunion and it was lovely to see them all again with Dima still the head guide which is great news.

Hippo Rock well out of the water
After a stifling flight we landed to find the river looking practically perfect.  For those of you who know the beat (there are not many who come into that bracket as only 32 people fish it every year) Hippo Rock is well out of the water.  It looks stunning up there and I think our Spanish friends should have an excellent first week.

"How did you get on"? Lower and Kitza clients swapping stories
It was then back to Lower in order to get things ready for the 7pm changeover with the Kitza clients.  It was a frustrating day that the rods had here at Lower in that we landed 17 but lost 42 more!  Nice to see all of that action but it was very puzzling as to why so many fish dropped off and the book could have told a very different story.

Middle also had a bit of an odd day.  They landed 35 fish which is obviously a great days fishing but this team would expect more than that. 

Graham J on Lower Sviats
I just wonder if we are being conned a bit by the weather and the fact that we started with such a high river.  It feels to us as if the river has dropped by miles and that we are in the middle of June because of the high temperatures (it was 27 degrees yesterday with the water temperature at 11 degrees) but the reality is that we are still faced with a big river and it is only just late May. As ever, time will tell.

Mark J with one of 5 he landed yesterday
Kitza landed 10 yesterday before we went to pick them up and swap over the clients.  The team had really enjoyed their 3 days over there and were full of praise for Ollie and Lucy. 

As soon as the helicopter landed at Lower, Anders H looked at the river and decided it simply had to be fished.  3 fish in just over an hour was more like it and despite another cloudless morning with very strong winds, hopes are high for a more “normal” day.

Charlie White

Tuesday 22 May 2018

Off to Pana

We had a really fun day yesterday here at Lower with Alex A landing his first ever salmon in the morning followed by two more at Beach in the afternoon. 

Bill Drury having guided Alex A into hooking his first salmon
Peter V also landed his first Russian salmon and as a result there were many celebrations on the river as well as a very good party last night.  A total of 24 fish were landed but perhaps a better example of the action we were having was that Marc W landed 4 in the afternoon as well as losing 8 more.  It was the first time that we have really seen Beach come alive and it felt very much as if the grilse run had arrived.
Jim A with a lovely fish from Beach
At Kitza they landed 22 and it is encouraging to see their scores heading in an upward direction.  Ollie said that the river is dropping nicely but then said they have still hardly been able to properly wade so I guess it must still be very high.  We are flying over there at 7pm tonight for the weekly changeover and so I should be able to get a better handle on things.

Matt and Beanie - manager and cook at Pana
Many of you who have been out here or have spoken to the office about coming out here will have, at some point, dealt with the legend who is Lynsey Mair.  She handles all of the administration of everyone’s trips and is entirely unflappable.

Lynsey getting ready for a boat trip to Middle
She has come out here this week to refresh her memory of why this place is so special and last night we both went up to Middle for dinner.  A beautiful, warm and sunny evening was the perfect time to do it and we had a stunning boat trip up there. 

John R with a "half a fish"
We found a very happy team of clients but they had had a rather difficult day of fishing compared to the norm up there.  29 fish were put in the book and a combination of a building run of fish, very high winds and simply “fishing” were to blame for their slightly disappointing numbers.

Today we are off to Pana to set up that camp for the forthcoming guests whilst also swapping the Kitza clients with Lower this evening so it looks like a busy day in the helicopter – I hope when I get back it has been a busy day on the river.

Charlie White

Monday 21 May 2018

An odd day

Yesterday was a bit strange.  Bright sunshine in the morning meant we all packed suncream and were looking forward to a picnic lunch.  By the time lunch came, it was pouring with rain accompanied by a cold upstream wind.  Almost as soon as everyone had eaten their rather soggy quiche, it brightened up again to lead to a lovely afternoon.

Joan G with one of 3 she landed yesterday
I am not sure if that is why catches felt a bit flat all day but I doubt it helped.  At Middle they landed 53 fish for the day with catches fairly evenly spread although Julian T was perhaps the standout rod with 8 from Upper Fortress and Beach. 

Regular blog readers will know that we have a very hard working rod at Middle and he had 18 for the day which is perhaps the best indication of the run of fish that we have this year.

Graham J on the Mall - despite dropping water it is still a high river
At Kitza I know that they landed 14 for their first full day of the season.  Whilst communications are improving daily here on the tundra, I still could barely make out what Ollie was saying and so I don’t know the breakdown of that or how far upstream they were fishing – details for this evenings catch up I hope.
Jim A who may just have enjoyed his day...
At Lower we totaled 24 for the day with Graham J the top rod with 6.  I know that sounds pretty good fishing to 8 rods but in truth, I thought we would catch more than that.  Water temperatures are now at 10 degrees and my suspicion is that a lot of fish are running the middle of the river which we can’t quite reach yet. 

Marc W on Heli
This is a week which is normally hosted by Michael Evans and he always reckoned that there were always a few days when the river hadn’t quite dropped enough for the fishermen but had for the fish – it would seem that yesterday was one of those days.

However, as I am typing I have just seen Sue C land a fish from Larder and as she said over the radio, “normal service is resumed”

Charlie White

Sunday 20 May 2018

A round up

Last week was a classic opening week.  High water with catches improving every day and bigger fish being landed. 

So bright it dazzled him...
Lower fished well on Friday and we finished with 91 for the week.  Not epic by Varzuga standards but still a great week.  Middle had another very good day but fell just short of the 400 mark.  392 really good fish to 11 rods was a fantastic result and it was clear in Murmansk that they had all really enjoyed it.
One from Peartiha
It was very smooth through the airport yesterday and everyone was in their respective camps by around 2pm.  After a very early morning start in Helsinki, many were quite tired but most had a crack at the river.
Jonatha B on Moscoi
At Kitza, the first 5 fish of the season were landed whilst at Middle they had 11 for their short afternoon.  At Lower we had 5 on the bank as well as a rod broken whilst playing another fish.

Fish have been landed this morning across all of the camps although a very cold morning probably didn’t help productivity and it was ones and twos rather than more than that.

Rob T with another lovely fish from Clarks
It was very bright first thing but it is now rather overcast and so we hope that the first day of the week is set up nicely.

Charlie White