Friday 24 May 2019

“I never knew salmon fishing could be like this”

One of the great privileges of working up here is getting to know clients really well as they come back time after time but perhaps the highlight is seeing the pleasure new rods get out of it.  With Youtube, blogs, chat rooms etc it is easy to find information about how a trip “might” be but until you are here, it is impossible to get a true sense of the place.

Stewart H with one from Moscoi
We have got a really fun group here at Lower;  4 of whom have seen it all before and 4 for whom it is the first time.  That blend of satisfaction that the river is fishing well combined with the sheer awe of the people who are seeing it for the first time makes for a heady mix.

Dom F - it may be his first time here but this is one of 16 he had yesterday
It was another very productive day across all three of our camps.  Here at Lower it was the old hands of Sean McG and Stewart H who led the way with 31 (27 of those in guided hours) and 18 respectively but having landed 16, Dom F has got the hang of the river pretty quickly.  A total of 86 for the day was enough to keep everyone warm on what was another bitterly cold day.

Tony B with a nice one from Middle
The 11 rods at Middle landed 105 fish yesterday with Craig C having a cracking time in Generator landing 16 out of a total of 22 for his day.  Jack has decided to put Generator into the rotation as Simmons is not producing quite as we would expect and so it makes sense to fish where the fish are.

Glyn D on Larder
With running fish it is all about finding them and making the most of when they are there.   Steven O is making the most of his first time on the river landing 11 as did John R who has been here many times.

Paul P with a still from his Go-Pro
Kitza had another excellent day with the 9 rods finishing with 68 fish.  Hamish reported that all of the rods were landing fish and that they had lost almost twice as many as they had put in the book.  They are still fishing high water with withies all around them and it is very easy to snag fish on those as you bring them in to land them.

Stewart with another perfectly formed fish
Perhaps the only downside to what has been a great week has been the fact that we have not managed to have a picnic on the river with everyone.  It has been seriously cold and we have got everyone back to the lodge for lunch each day.  The water temperature is now 7 degrees whilst the air this morning is 4 degrees.  That has not stopped the river dropping though and each day new parts of the beats are coming into action and it is looking spot on.

Lower this morning - it has dropped quite a lot compared to the picture on 13 May...
No blog tomorrow and I will look forward to welcoming the new teams into all of our 4 camps whilst rounding up everything on Sunday.

Charlie White

Thursday 23 May 2019

A big pike – and over 300 fish

I don’t think there are many places in the world where you would walk into a fishing lodge to see 11 people, who had just landed over 100 Atlantic salmon during the day, to find that the main topic of conversation was about landing a pike – that is what happened last night!

Mark and Dania - both required to lift the pike
After a very cold boat journey up to Middle, it was great to see such a happy team tucking into the most delicious dinner.  Our four cooks this year are simply fabulous and everyone has commented on it.
A happy team at Middle
They had landed 116 salmon plus the huge pike that Mark J landed on Peartiha, on a fly.  He says he wasn’t targeting it but no one in the lodge believed him…  I sat next to Peter W for dinner and I asked him how he got on – “oh not bad, had a dozen for the day” A nice throwaway line that was good to hear.

John R
I got back quite late last night and after spending about 20 minutes defrosting by the fire, it was clear that there had been an excellent days fishing.  124 fish have been landed to the 8 rods since they got off the helicopter from Kitza. 

Great to see Artyum back
There have been some extraordinary individual scores with Sean McG landing 34 whilst Paul P has had 30 of them.  Dom F has landed 16 and I hear from Bill that supper was great fun.

A bit of a fuzzy pic but a lovely fish for Paul
Kitza continues to march on and the 9 rods landed 81 for their day.   Michael E has been coming here for over 20 years and that knowledge of the beat helped him to be top rod with 25 fish but the fishing seems to have been very evenly spread across the whole team and it sounded as if there were some sore heads this morning.

Cause for celebration
A late blog as I have been in the village all morning.  The fishing has been great and so have the evenings to celebrate it so a top up of wine and beer is needed in all camps - a good sign.

Charlie White

Wednesday 22 May 2019

Action packed

It was always going to be a busy day off the river yesterday but I could not have predicted how busy it would be on the river.
Loading the heli to fly to Pana
We flew to Pana in the morning to find the river looking in perfect shape.  For those of you who know it (not many as a maximum of only 32 people fish it per year!), Hippo rock is just showing and the camp is looking in great shape.   It is one of the highlights of the season to catch up with the Russian team at Pana as they are great fun and really care about the lodge and the fishing.

The Pana team reunited
It was then time to refuel the helicopter at the village and fly back to Lower in order to take our clients over to Kitza.  The 9 rods who have been fishing Lower had another wonderful day on the river and once we had counted it all up, they had landed 302 fish for their 3 days – great fishing and great fun.

Jim A - loving his time on the river
I was talking to Jim A who was trying to tally up how many he and his son Alex had caught but after a couple of attempts he said “I give up and I don’t care – just brilliant!”

A great pic from Jack of a crow mobbing an osprey
We flew over to Kitza and found a very happy team of 8 rods who ended up with 196 for their 3 days.  As can sometimes be the case when lots of fish are being landed, the talk tends not to be about how many they got to the net but how many they had lost and how much action they had had throughout their fishing sessions.  It is dropping over there but the water still essentially remains high and cold (around 5 degrees)

Bryony - our cook at Kitza with her first ever salmon
Middle had the day that I thought they might.  An exact score of 100 fish to the 11 rods was more representative of the number of fish that we have seen traveling through here and it was clear from Jack that it had been pretty much non-stop action.

Bill Drury on Lower Mall
Craig C landed 16 with 9 from Beach whilst John R had 12 of them, 8 of those from Party Bar.  Simmons can be a tough wade as Tony B found out.  He landed 6 fish before going for a swim and then landed 4 from Generator whilst drying out.

Peter W with one of 11 he had for his day
It is really cold this morning at around 4 degrees and with a biting wind but Paul P was unfussed and has landed 7 before breakfast from Heli. All I can see from my office are scores of fish moving through Larder and so we hope for another busy day.

Charlie White

Tuesday 21 May 2019

Lower rules

As we know, fishing is not all about the numbers – until it is.  There is a gentle rivalry between the camps and yesterday it was Lower’s turn to shine.

Caspar A on Beach
At lunchtime it looked as though we were on for another 100 fish day and that became the focus – so much so that it almost felt like a disappointing day when we only counted 95 in the book last night.

Bill in the sun on Lower Mall
Michael E was again our star turn with 24 fish to his rod while Joan G had one of her best afternoons on the river to have 11 fish after lunch and Caspar A, fishing for salmon for the first time, landed 10.
There were salmon all over the beat but it was very much all action or quiet – they are running in pods and seem to be running very hard.

Gert B on Larder
As a result, I had rather expected Jack at Middle to struggle to count up all of the fish that they had landed but that was not really the case.  49 fish to 11 rods is not exactly a poor days fishing but it was not quite the result I would have predicted.

Craig C on Party pool at Middle
Over at Kitza the 8 rods had another superb day and landed 60 fish.  Paul P and Sean McG were the top rods with 14 and 19 respectively but it sounded as if everything else was evenly spread.  They are fishing up to Third Island and there do seem to be fish in all of the beats that they have tried so far.

Joe B with one from the boat
A shorter blog today as I can already hear the guides helping to load all of the Pana supplies.  We will fly up there today to let Matt and Beany get the camp ready for their first guests who will arrive on Saturday.  This evening we will be doing the mid-weekly changeover of Lower and Kitza clients so it looks like being a busy day on the helicopter

Charlie White

Monday 20 May 2019

Kitza kicks in

Shakespeare wrote that “pleasure and action make the hours seem short” – which would account for why yesterday seemed to fairly fly by.

Father and son making a formidable team
An excellent day across our three camps made for hectic fishing and dinner last night was pretty noisy and a lot of fun.

Joan G with one of 14 she landed yesterday
Our 9 rods here finished with 112 fish in the book which was a superb start to the week.  Michael E was top rod with 26 fish while Sue C and Joan G had their best day here with 14 apiece.  Sue and Joan were fishing the Larder pool in the morning which is opposite my office and every time I looked up from my computer I saw one or both of them into a fish.

Tony B at Middle
That everyone said they had lost twice as many as they landed will tell you all you need to know about the action throughout the day.  Again, our bottom pool of Beach was very productive and more and more fish are coming into the beat.

Michael E who landed 26 fish yesterday
Kitza had its first full day of fishing and we had a cracking start to their season.  72 fish to the 8 rods was an excellent result and Hamish reported a very happy camp.  We are communicating via satellite phone as, for some reason, the local service provider at Kitza seems to have simply packed in so details on catches are sketchy but even across a staccato line, it was clear that everyone was very upbeat.

Caspar A on his first salmon fishing trip
Middle had another very good day with 83 fish landed to their 11 rods.  One rod had 29 of those whilst Craig C and Jeremy B landed 12 each.  Jack reported bursts of action and then quieter moments which we have seen before when the run is building and my guess is that Lower’s days of superior numbers over Middle are probably not for the long term.

Pleasure and action....
It remains very cold and the water temperature is still only 7 degrees so sink tips and tubes are the way to go at the moment.  It is a bright morning though and I have told the rods who are fishing the pools nearest camp this morning that they may well see a poacher – it will be me.

Charlie White

Sunday 19 May 2019

Off to a flyer

Yesterday was as smooth a changeover as I have known.  We left camp early and were in Murmansk by 9am.  Having waved goodbye to a very happy homeward bound team, we moved terminals to meet the incoming clients.
Lee B who had a happy knack of landing the bigger fish
They reported a good night in Helsinki but to be honest I don’t think they had slept much as there was a very definite air of excitement amongst everyone. Fair enough really as last week gave them much to look forward to.

Our 11 rods at Middle Varzuga achieved their aim of landing over 100 fish on the last day which put their final tally over the 500 mark – 508 to be precise.  It was great to hear them all being so enthusiastic about their week and it was clear that Holly had done an excellent job in the kitchen.

Tom A with one from Middle
Our 7 rods at Lower had their best day of the week on Friday and landed 70 between them which meant that they finished with 257 bars of silver for their 6 days of fishing.  Just a great fun week and we look forward to welcoming them back next year.

Lee B with another
Having taken no time at all to clear immigration and to load the helicopters, we were all back in camp by 2pm and in haste, waders were being donned and rods being put up.  We only fish the home pools on the Saturday afternoon as we normally get back later than 2pm and it is the guides’ day off so any fish are really just a bonus.  68 fish felt like quite a bonus…

Guide Ura from Middle
The first mini session at Kitza produced 12 fish to the 8 rods which is a fantastic start with 4 of the team landing their first Russian salmon.  Here at Lower, Alex A was our star player with 6 taken in quick succession from Coconut Corner in a total of 21 whilst at Middle, 35 fish were landed.

One of our regular rods at Middle landed a fish last night which meant that he has now landed over 7,000 salmon from this river – a simply mind boggling statistic.

And again with another cracking fish
This morning has dawned bright but very cold with a bitter wind.  We will have lunch back at camp but the cold has done nothing to dent the enthusiasm and layers were being added in quick time so that everyone could meet their guides at 9am on the dot.

Charlie White