Every week on the Ponoi is unique, and last week was no exception. The first week of September in Ryabaga marks the seasonal turning point when autumn arrives to stay. Nights grow longer and cooler, allowing guests the chance to witness the magnificent Northern Lights. The leaves on the birch trees that cover the riverbanks turn golden, and the clusters of aspen go from the brightest gold color to hot orange and red within a week. All of these changes set the stage for something even more spectacular: the arrival of hundreds of adult Atlantic salmon making their way upriver. These fish announce their arrival with enthusiasm, showing themselves with acrobatic displays and running through Ryabaga waters with incredible speed. It is remarkable to consider that after spending up to three years in their feeding grounds around the Faroe Islands and Iceland these very fish find their way back to their natal river to fulfill their mission. More remarkable still is that some will manage to do so more than once. The gold in the bankside trees and the bright silver moving up from the ocean meet each autumn in a most singular way.
This past week, anglers bore witness to all of this wonder, and experienced first-hand the joys of September fishing in Ryabaga Camp. The two anglers that came to take on Atlantic salmon for the first time accomplished their mission rather early in the week: as we always say, there will be only one “first”, and we congratulate Todd M. and Diana M. for their respective first-ever Atlantic salmon.
Even though bright fish were running in number, the unseasonably warm water temperatures kept them running at great speed, making it difficult for anglers to connect. When a pod of fish came through each window of opportunity the anglers were afforded only about 5 minutes to present a fly effectively, and to entice a take. On the upside, the rapid movement of fish meant that fresh salmon were caught all the way through our waters each day. By the end of the week, 50% of the catch was comprised of bright Fall-Runners.
Seeing downstream fish jump in the distance, and then seeing those fish get steadily closer until they are jumping around you takes the heartbeat up a notch or two. Whether you manage to get a take or not is a different story, and this makes salmon fishing frustrating at times, but always exciting. The only solution this week was persistence and consistency in both the presentation and the general angling strategy. Our anglers were compelled to cover as much water as possible, and the fish did cooperate often enough. With just over half the fish that were hooked successfully landed, opportunities were naturally not all finalized as a “victory” for the angler. In many occasions, the fish won the battle, and this is the nature of angling. Regardless of the number of fish landed it was once again an exciting week shared with friends in one of the most beautiful and wild settings in the salmon-angling world.
Agustin C. Lo Greco
Ryabaga Camp Manager