This past week of the 2016 salmon season represented the definitive start of the summer on the Kola Peninsula. The week started with mild weather and overcast skies, during which our group of anglers averaged 5 fish per rod per day, with more than 20% the catch being bright, summer fish. From the third day of fishing on, however, the sun shone brightly and the temperatures rose, posing some challenges for anglers and guides alike. We ended on Friday with temperatures above 30ºC, and, the catch rate responded in kind.

In a constant search for the most productive fishing tactics, our team of guides and anglers explored many different techniques. In some specific spots - usually big, deep, slow pools - full sinking lines and big flies were quite effective. Others opted to target fish in the more oxygenated broken waters of the innumerable points with small, bright flies. Another group cast heavily weighted rubber-leg tubes fished with energetic twitches and strips. These techniques, plus some more traditional approaches, worked with a certain level of success, but as would be expected the conditions determined most of the results, and fishing slowed as the temperatures rose.

Several fine old friends joined us this week in Ryabaga. Gianni from Italy was our top rod with 37 fish. At age 85, Pat made his usual 2-week excursion to the Kola Peninsula with his family friend Peter, and entertained us with stories of the adventures that took him around the world. It was also nice to welcome Cyril and Alexander back in camp once again.

A special note should be made about our dear friend Bill Young who came to camp this week with his son Willie. “Youngie” (as his friends call him) has been fighting a hell of a battle with cancer for some years now, and we were thrilled to see his resolve in returning to Ryabaga. Youngie is not only a passionate angler, and one who has fished the world’s famed salmon rivers, he is also a passionate person, full of amazing stories and charm. He is a man who takes life into his embrace fully, and having him here back was an inspiration to us all. Until next time, Youngie.

From here, we are fully in the throws of Kola summer, and we are looking forward to more fine fishing and more friends before our summer break. Week 6 looks like a promising one, with a full camp and 20 skilled rods on the water. As with all things in the far north, the weather dictates much, but we are confident that good conditions and fine anglers will collide with a wealth of Ponoi silver. As we enter another week on this remarkable river, we are confident that 2016 will continue to be a record-breaking season.

Until Next Week,

Joaquin Arocena and the Ryabaga Team