Week 16 Report: And They Just Keep Coming…
As Week 16 comes to an end we all pause to celebrate the season. As Head Guide Max Mamaev said this week: “Welcome to Ponoi, one of the best salmon rivers in the world…”. This past week was a fine example of that maxim (or Maxism, as the case may be!!).
Ryabaga Camp welcomed a group of seasoned guests this week as well as some who were in camp for the very first time. The conditions seemed to indicate that summer refuses to leave the Kola Peninsula, with temperatures more representative of early August than mid-September. The water remained around 14ºc and this kept the salmon on the move. Most days, anglers and guides reported countless fish jumping as they moved upstream. Though these reports bode very well for the future productivity of Ponoi salmon, it can be quite challenging for anglers to get fast-moving fish to take a fly. On one particular day this week I counted 72 bright fish in Home Pool alone in 1.5 hrs. Though two experienced anglers covered the water from top to bottom, and though fish routinely jumped over their lines, neither angler was able to elicit a take.
Sunny, warm weather was somewhat intermittent this week, and it was particularly noticeable how the spells of cold and overcast weather had a clear positive effect on the catch rate. As they say, “a nice day for the anglers is no good for the fishing”. Though there were easy days and tough days this week, the fall-run fishing in Ryabaga remained incomparable. Bright, broad-shouldered Osenkas between 6 and 20 lb. did battle in a most spectacular manner, forcing anglers to give chase. By week’s end, anglers had landed an average of 14 fish, the vast majority of which were bright. Nearly twice as many fish were hooked as were landed, showcasing the incredible number of fish that are running up the Ponoi this autumn. This strong fall run combined with active fish of superb quality, we look forward to good times in the weeks ahead. With rain in the forecast and lower temperatures on the way, the best is yet to come.
Let’s not forget that the Ryabaga experience is not entirely about the fishing. Ryabaga is beloved for all that happens around the edges of the days on the water. This week several “jam sessions” that featured the guitar of Leif S., guide Andrey Federov and Agustin Lo Greco made the experience even more special, as did the backgammon and card games played by guests and staff around the bar. And we must mention the laughter that filled the Big Tent throughout the week in response to the stories shared by our Irish friends. We thank our guests for the laughter and the goodwill, and for making the Ryabaga experience possible. We also thank all of you for playing a critical role in our battle to protect wild Atlantic salmon.
Agustin C. Lo Greco
Ryabaga Camp Manager