Record Ryagaba Week


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Record Ryabaga Week

In the first week of June I had the great good fortune to enjoy what turned out to be a record week at Ryabaga camp. I have just been sorting through some photos of the trip and thought I would share.
I first visited Ryabaga in 2011 as part of a group led by Springer.

This was to be a “once in a lifetime” trip to mark a special birthday and imminent retirement. Needless to say, having experienced the Ponoi once I decided that I just had to return, so I postponed retirement in order to fund a trip to fish the famous fall run in September 2012.
The 2012 fall run was exceptional and we caught many spanking fresh fish like this –

and some that had been around a while like this –

A strong fall run with the likelihood that many fish would enter the system after the season had closed signposted good spring fishing in 2013. So retirement was postponed again and on 31st May I headed off on what was now a familiar trek to Helsinki, Murmansk and Ryabaga –

A now familiar sight.

News from the previous week was of large numbers of fish in the river, many falling to skated flies so anticipation was high. On arrival I bumped in to Dominic who was part of the group in 2012, and who had fished the previous week. He had just come off the river having landed over 30 salmon on changeover day. It was clear that we were going to have a great week. Dominic ended up with 307 for his 2 weeks – quite an achievement.

Everything about the camp was excellent as always. Great food, helpful staff, excellent guides and a friendly international group of anglers. Francois was my boat partner for the week and a Ponoi veteran - this was his 16th visit to Ryabaga - and a pleasure to fish with.
Francois is a keen cook and one of the delights of the week was lunch of fresh salmon or sea trout cooked up by Francois using pre-prepared spices and flavourings, and cooked in his personal frying pan that he transports all the way with him.

Bankside Chef

Water levels were good and continued to drop slowly over the week. However, atmospheric conditions were difficult enough at times with bright sunshine, big temperature variations, and a persistent stiff breeze that was mostly upstream. However this did not deter the Ponoi salmon who seemed willing to respond to most offerings be they wet, dry or skated.
One aspect of the week was the bank fishing. On many beats the fish were to be found holding in any well oxygenated water, often easily accessed by wading. On one morning Francois had 10 from the bank in a couple of hours.

This was my biggest fish of the week caught on our first morning and weighing in at 17lb. It’s amazing how strong these fish are having spent a winter under the ice.

This fish came to the net 5 times before we slipped the anchor and landed it from the bank. It was not as big as we thought, but when we saw the size of its tail we understood why.

Matthew wanted a photo of the tail

The “after hours” fishing on Home Pool was exceptional. It was not
unusual to find a few of us fishing long in to the Arctic evening. The glide at the top of Home Pool where the Ryabaga tributary comes in was particularly productive with frequent heart stopping moments as a big bow wave indicated a fish following the fly out of the stream into the quieter water. Often a few short, fast strips would induce an explosive take.

Top of Home Pool

On the lower beats there was still some ice that had yet to melt

It wasn’t all fishing. Here is my roommate in the aftermath of a session on the Bushmills

Ryabaga have records going back 22 years. The final tally for this week was 1,666 salmon, which was the best week 2 on record and the second best week in the history of the fishery. My personal tally was 87.

Retirement still awaits:)

Tarquin Millington Drake of Frontiers who are agents for the fishing was also present this week and has put together a short film highlighting the surface action. Here is the link-
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You are far too young to retire yet Bonny Lad, see you next year! ;)

David B

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Well done Sam. I'm not jealous (just green with envy). Hopefully I will go back but at a time when I don't get bitten to death. I really suffered the last time, took weeks for the lumps to go. Nice pictures, particularly the group one at the beginning;)


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Yes, well done indeed Sam you had a great week and thanks for posting. :)

Well done Sam. I'm not jealous (just green with envy).

Just remember you are retired and poor Sam still has too work.

Nice pictures, particularly the group one at the beginning;)

Right pair of bookends in that pic. :rolleyes::D Is the taller guy in the middle Sam's dad?:D

No Ponoi for me this year:(....I'm retired:eek: Will have to make do with a week up north with Tyke 777 next week, given a bit of water we will be reeling them in..... if sober enough to do so:rolleyes:

Might post a few pics, they will of course be PC;) so as to not upset some of the forums more delicate souls:D

Grilse Boy

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River Forth somewhere
Makes you think how crap our rivers are nowadays compared to that if only we had runs like that in the uk.
NOT THAT I AM JEALOUS OR ANYTHING LIKE IT :cool::cool::cool::cool::cool: