Russian fishing trips cancelled

phatagrova

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I was speaking to a couple of guys recently who had been due to fish in Russia a fortnight ago , I believe the rivers where formerly run under the ASR , Ive forgotten there names , The reason the trip was cancelled was that the Russian military where carrying out manoeuvres in the region and the had closed down the place . These anglers had been numerous times , one of them told me it was his 11th trip, they had booked directly through whoever runs the river , and not any of the sporting companies that we may be familiar with in UK .
They are currently unsure if they will be offered another date , but obviously had all their plans in place visa , flights , overnight, accommodation on route etc .
Ive never been , but this would certainly put you off ,
Anyone else know of this happening , I hadn't read of this before. Buyer Beware !
 

Jock

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Keirstream is out there just now and is not having a good experience because of this. Many of the rods from the rivers where fishing has been cancelled are heading to where he is and it is getting busy. Apparently some Russian knowing this bought up many of the licences and is know reselling them at 6000euros a pop. :eek: I am sure he will tell you all about it on his return.
 
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Ker.bwft

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Went to ASR, fairly sure in the booking letters they offer alternative dates if they get cancelled. But yes the flights etc would be a nightmare!
 

Greegs

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One of the boys I fish with is over there just now.
I heard him talking about this a few weeks ago.

Not a great situation to be in.


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pot belly

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Guessing I could well be one of the guys you spoke with.
It's all I a bit of a mess. To be fair the ASR have been pretty good and have offered us a few alternatives. They don't have to do this as its quite clear in the "small print" that by booking trips You accept the associated risks that are clearly stated on the booking instructions. The insurance they recommend does offer decent protection.
I know the same happened to a small number of guys last year but this season it does appear to be a bigger issue.
Will I think about returning? If the travel companies can engage with local authorities to provide some guarantees that fishing weeks will be protected then I'd happily book again.
The fishing last week in Donegal more than made up for missing out!!!
 

Tangled

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I'm off to the Kola in a couple of weeks - where are the manoeuvres?
 

Oscar

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Just one of the reasons (along with the choppers!) I wouldn't risk the huge prices to go to Kola.

As fantastic as it may be, it seems to me that the Russians are a bit 'flightly' to inspire confidence that all will be well!

Oscar.
 

phatagrova

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Guessing I could well be one of the guys you spoke with.
It's all I a bit of a mess. To be fair the ASR have been pretty good and have offered us a few alternatives. They don't have to do this as its quite clear in the "small print" that by booking trips You accept the associated risks that are clearly stated on the booking instructions. The insurance they recommend does offer decent protection.
I know the same happened to a small number of guys last year but this season it does appear to be a bigger issue.
Will I think about returning? If the travel companies can engage with local authorities to provide some guarantees that fishing weeks will be protected then I'd happily book again.
The fishing last week in Donegal more than made up for missing out!!!

Nice to have met you and Nick at the Lodge, the place to be given water , good you both bumped into fish in tight enough conditions . Might see you around, I'm hoping there is water next week . Hope you get sorted for Russia.
 

pugdoggy

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Guessing I could well be one of the guys you spoke with.
It's all I a bit of a mess. To be fair the ASR have been pretty good and have offered us a few alternatives. They don't have to do this as its quite clear in the "small print" that by booking trips You accept the associated risks that are clearly stated on the booking instructions. The insurance they recommend does offer decent protection.
I know the same happened to a small number of guys last year but this season it does appear to be a bigger issue.
Will I think about returning? If the travel companies can engage with local authorities to provide some guarantees that fishing weeks will be protected then I'd happily book again.
The fishing last week in Donegal more than made up for missing out!!!



I'd agree, it's worth the risks but the ASR are a respected outfit, and IMO the best in the Kola, by a country mile. I don't think any organisation can stand up to the might of the Russian Military.

The fishing on the Finn was great, but the company was **** :)
 

Linloskin

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I was supposed to be fishing lower yokanga last week. Found out on the Wednesday that the fishing was cancelled due to military operations. Pretty gutting two days before I was due to fly out. This only affects rivers in military zone areas which are asr rivers rynda and karlovka and the lower yokanga managed by roxtons. Both companies are first class and I know for a fact that roxtons will make sure that none of their fishers loses financially. They offer either a full refund, roll over to next year or book another trip elsewhere. They really are first class to deal with. It is disappointing but the Russian military have the absolute final say, there is nothing anyone can do to change their minds..... including the Russian oligarch who runs the asr!
It has happened in the past but if it becomes a regular occurrence then it will become a problem. Anyone who has fished in Russia knows it is part of the unpredictability of this wonderful country...... and accepts it as part of the “charm”!!!
What is even more disappointing is that last week the river was in perfect order and the fishing could have been fantastic..... this week the river temp is up into double digits and the fish are racing through and not stopping!
I did get a few from my local river last week......so could have been worse!
LL
 

keirstream

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It has happened in the past but if it becomes a regular occurrence then it will become a problem. Anyone who has fished in Russia knows it is part of the unpredictability of this wonderful country...... and accepts it as part of the “charm”!!!
What is even more disappointing is that last week the river was in perfect order and the fishing could have been fantastic..... this week the river temp is up into double digits and the fish are racing through and not stopping!
I did get a few from my local river last week......so could have been worse!
LL

I wouldn't call it "charm", it is infuriating the way senior Russians go about their daily routine and treat foreigners with absolute disdain and total indifference. It is certainly unpredictable as the Russian camp we were in was a totally disorganised mess, nothing short of a shambles. The Kola itself had no fish in it, a very unusual situation indeed. Our party had only 2 between us for the 10 rods when 100 would be an average for then. That is uncontrollable and outwith anybodies ability to alter. However, the general situation with military intervention affected everyone out there and the Kola was rendered impossible to gain access to the best beats as one camp, obviously well in the know and run by a very wealthy Russian had bought up all the licenses for these beats and was selling slots in his camp at 6000 Euro a week. It was fairly obvious that his plan didn't work as most of the prime water lay unfished.
The Russian hierarchy have a very dismissive attitude towards foreigners, its almost as if they merely tolerate you in their country and that is the reason Roxtons got thrown off their camps. The Russians kept fishing Yokanga but it would appear you have dodged a bullet as the word is that no fish were getting caught there also.
As for the fish racing through, several of our party fished well up the system in Upper Kitsa and Kola.
There was nothing there, no splashes, no takes, only water it would seem.
There is clearly something more wrong in salmon rivers, even more than we can think. There were no fish in Kola during a prime week. The guides could not understand what was wrong, all they kept saying is that this should have been a bumper week. They all worked like bears but as the week move on, you could see that they were dispirited and apologetic. It was not their fault.
That this is happening now is a huge eye opener.
That the Varzuga is experiencing a record year is simply perplexing.
Its maybe a bit like the Far North in Scotland fishing well whilst the rest of Scotland struggles.
There are now no guarantees wherever you go. We had good water all week.
 
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marty31

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I'd agree, it's worth the risks but the ASR are a respected outfit, and IMO the best in the Kola, by a country mile. I don't think any organisation can stand up to the might of the Russian Military.

The fishing on the Finn was great, but the company was **** :)
a few fishermen are no match for the red army! look what happened to napoleon then hitler
 

Linloskin

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Hi KS,
I'm sorry to hear that your trip to Kola did not turn out as you hoped. I have fished there a couple of times and IMHO your expectation of 100 fish to 10 rods as being 'normal' for a prime week is optimistic. Around half that would be realistic - but there is a real chance of a 30-40lb'er - that is why we go there - for the chance of a BIG fish.
A lot of the time we never saw many fish showing - but still caught. It is a curious thing that from my experience the Russian fish do not jump/show as much as in the uk - but they are more aggressive
I agree that many of the Russians in authority can barely hide their disdain for foreign visitors! I find it rather amusing to watch! It is better than it was - believe it or not!

Rods going to the Kola river should know that the fishing is not exclusive - and this brings its own problems. The rules seem to always be changing and never predictable - one of the reasons I stopped going to Kola river - if things do change though I'd love to go back.

The fishing operations can be chaos - last visit I wondered why there was a hole in my bed sheet (which was on top of an old sprung bed). After a while I figured it out - it was a sheet from an operating theatre! Same place we had to switch off all the electrics before taking a shower, otherwise you got electric shocks when showering (some of the party kinda liked that!!).
Fishing Kola river has more than a touch of the 'wild west' about it - and you need to treat it as an adventure. If you want fine dining, exclusive access to the best water and an operation that runs like clockwork - don't go to Kola.

Operators like Roxtons remove a lot of the hassle, have much better running operations and and operate exclusive beats- but the cost is at least double...

LL
 

rotenone

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Hi KS,
I'm sorry to hear that your trip to Kola did not turn out as you hoped. I have fished there a couple of times and IMHO your expectation of 100 fish to 10 rods as being 'normal' for a prime week is optimistic. Around half that would be realistic - but there is a real chance of a 30-40lb'er - that is why we go there - for the chance of a BIG fish.
A lot of the time we never saw many fish showing - but still caught. It is a curious thing that from my experience the Russian fish do not jump/show as much as in the uk - but they are more aggressive
I agree that many of the Russians in authority can barely hide their disdain for foreign visitors! I find it rather amusing to watch! It is better than it was - believe it or not!

Rods going to the Kola river should know that the fishing is not exclusive - and this brings its own problems. The rules seem to always be changing and never predictable - one of the reasons I stopped going to Kola river - if things do change though I'd love to go back.

The fishing operations can be chaos - last visit I wondered why there was a hole in my bed sheet (which was on top of an old sprung bed). After a while I figured it out - it was a sheet from an operating theatre! Same place we had to switch off all the electrics before taking a shower, otherwise you got electric shocks when showering (some of the party kinda liked that!!).
Fishing Kola river has more than a touch of the 'wild west' about it - and you need to treat it as an adventure. If you want fine dining, exclusive access to the best water and an operation that runs like clockwork - don't go to Kola.

Operators like Roxtons remove a lot of the hassle, have much better running operations and and operate exclusive beats- but the cost is at least double...

LL
A couple of big fish a day on Kola 3 upstream when the fish are there is normal enough , seen days of 5 plus fish for rods from kola 3 it was only last year a pal had 6 in a day from my own experience on this river it can be first class and I have fished it many seasons, this year simply no fish in the river and whole new system and changes was a complete *******s from the get go.

When a group of experienced anglers like ours are not catching they simply are not there I had 2 takes in the whole week last season there was fish everywhere but impossibly hot conditions in June.

As keirstream mentioned the other problems we faced exasperated the poor fishing for me the Kola river has huge potential but right now it is not a viable destination with the changes made from last season.

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Linloskin

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Hi Rotenone
Sorry to hear there were so few fish in the river. I had heard that there was a fish farm located at the mouth of the Kola for a few years - don't think it is still operating as all the fish got diseased and died - this could have destroyed the smolt run when it was in operation??? Just a theory and I have no hard proof.

I agree it has huge potential - there are some MASSIVE fish run it - it just needs sensible rules and controls put in place. Did you get to fish above Junction? We only managed on to this stretch once and there was some great fishing up there - but it was essential to have a boat. Otherwise it gets busy at the usual spots - aquarium, pump, monica etc

Regards

LL
 

keirstream

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Fishing Kola river has more than a touch of the 'wild west' about it - and you need to treat it as an adventure. If you want fine dining, exclusive access to the best water and an operation that runs like clockwork - don't go to Kola.

Operators like Roxtons remove a lot of the hassle, have much better running operations and and operate exclusive beats- but the cost is at least double...

LL

I've been with both Roxtons twice on Varzuga and Frontiers on Ponoi. I knew exactly what to expect with a Russian operation on Kola, except that the company we went with could only aspire to reach the very basic standards I expected. It was simply chaotic and that is a kind description of the week. But, having slept in hundreds of mountain bothies over the years, I know how to rough it.
The fishing however was deeply disappointing. Completely putting talk of 10+fish to a rod on the back burner, I went with my eyes wide open and expected maybe 3 or 4 good fish for my week. The 10 rods didn't even achieve a quarter of that number. I searched everywhere in the water column from intermediate and plastic tube to sink 8 with a heavy snaelda. There were no fish in the river. Why? I don't know, but the word is that none of the northern Kola rivers are fishing well, so a fish farm in the Kola estuary can't be a plausible reason.
Anyway, unless someone can persuade me otherwise, it will be back to Varzuga grilse next season and leave chasing the trophy fish until the next time I see a unicorn. Are they indigenous to Norway?
 
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phatagrova

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I wouldn't call it "charm", it is infuriating the way senior Russians go about their daily routine and treat foreigners with absolute disdain and total indifference. It is certainly unpredictable as the Russian camp we were in was a totally disorganised mess, nothing short of a shambles. The Kola itself had no fish in it, a very unusual situation indeed. Our party had only 2 between us for the 10 rods when 100 would be an average for then. That is uncontrollable and outwith anybodies ability to alter. However, the general situation with military intervention affected everyone out there and the Kola was rendered impossible to gain access to the best beats as one camp, obviously well in the know and run by a very wealthy Russian had bought up all the licenses for these beats and was selling slots in his camp at 6000 Euro a week. It was fairly obvious that his plan didn't work as most of the prime water lay unfished.
The Russian hierarchy have a very dismissive attitude towards foreigners, its almost as if they merely tolerate you in their country and that is the reason Roxtons got thrown off their camps. The Russians kept fishing Yokanga but it would appear you have dodged a bullet as the word is that no fish were getting caught there also.
As for the fish racing through, several of our party fished well up the system in Upper Kitsa and Kola.
There was nothing there, no splashes, no takes, only water it would seem.
There is clearly something more wrong in salmon rivers, even more than we can think. There were no fish in Kola during a prime week. The guides could not understand what was wrong, all they kept saying is that this should have been a bumper week. They all worked like bears but as the week move on, you could see that they were dispirited and apologetic. It was not their fault.
That this is happening now is a huge eye opener.
That the Varzuga is experiencing a record year is simply perplexing.
Its maybe a bit like the Far North in Scotland fishing well whilst the rest of Scotland struggles.
There are now no guarantees wherever you go. We had good water all week.

Sorry to hear your trip was poor keirstream, considering there was a group of yous fishing good water, a trueful report on the difficulties that can arise , not counting the financial cost , I've never been , many of us think this is bonanza salmon fishing because its Russia,
Certainly strange that there where few fish about with only 2 caught in your group
 

rotenone

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Hi Rotenone
Sorry to hear there were so few fish in the river. I had heard that there was a fish farm located at the mouth of the Kola for a few years - don't think it is still operating as all the fish got diseased and died - this could have destroyed the smolt run when it was in operation??? Just a theory and I have no hard proof.

I agree it has huge potential - there are some MASSIVE fish run it - it just needs sensible rules and controls put in place. Did you get to fish above Junction? We only managed on to this stretch once and there was some great fishing up there - but it was essential to have a boat. Otherwise it gets busy at the usual spots - aquarium, pump, monica etc

Regards

LL
I fished there many previous seasons last year the fishing was hard due to high temps but the river was alive with fish, this year where they were who knows highly unusual I've sung the praises of this amazing river for a few years but being run like this it is no longer a viable fishery.




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Linloskin

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Hi KS,
When everyone is catching fish, problems with organization etc can be overlooked... but when there are nae fush then every problem/issues becomes significant. I feel for you and all those that went on the trip - I have been there too. However (and I don't want to sound glib), with the passage of time the bad memories do fade - and you will remember the good bits - even if that does not involve catching fish!
A while back I made a conscious decision not to go with any expectation on the fishing front... and most importantly to enjoy the trip - no matter what!, the people you meet (even the *rseholes - every camp has one!) and the scenery (ok on kola maybe not so much the scenery - did you go to Shongui??!!).
Some of my best memories are now of visiting the local villages, being allowed into the churches and places of worship, visiting the memorial to the merchant seamen that stands above Murmansk... and even a night out in Murmansk. The scenery out in the Tundra is very special. These are places you would never get to visit were it not for our love of fishing.

I do not think your expectation of around a fish a day is unreasonable btw... but for whatever reason they were not there.

I was on Varzuga last year -perfect water, but a 'poor' run if fish - we still managed to get a few!! This year they have had a bonanza!!!!! That's fishing I suppose... and why its called fishing and not catching!!:eek::eek:

Fisherfolk live in perennial hope... next season will be better.. it is the only emotion that can keep us going. It would still be nice to strike it perfect occasionally though... just don't go fishing with me because I always seem to be in the right place at the wrong time!!:D:D:D:D

LL
 

keirstream

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A while back I made a conscious decision not to go with any expectation on the fishing front... and most importantly to enjoy the trip - no matter what!, the people you meet (even the *rseholes - every camp has one!) and the scenery (ok on kola maybe not so much the scenery - did you go to Shongui??!!).


LL

Shongui is a revelation, these must be among the poorest people on earth living in the most basic of accomodations. The village store is an interesting place as well, appearing to sell mostly more vodka than basic foods which gives you an indication of the local diet. What you have to remember is that these folk live for 2 months a year without ever seeing the sun, no wonder they are dour!!!!
What really gave me such a negative view of the river, and especially Kola 2, was the amount of rubbish left at peoples arses the whole way up the length of the river, the ooo's of plastic and beer bottles and cans, the miles of industrial strength nylon lying discarded everywhere.
Walking down to the best pools through the equivalent of a derelict scrapyard is also pretty disconcerting and yet there are dozens of beautiful holiday houses built in the middle of all this squalor. It's a place that is difficult to understand and reconcile with.
Then you go to the Tundra and it's a totally different world you are occupying.
Quite frankly, it's a mind f**k.
A few good fish though, and all would have been well with the world.
If only.
B.T.W. the last fly I lost on the last day fishing at Water Pump was tied by Tommy Shaw in Thurso.
It was, rather inevitably and poignantly called---------------the Eternal Optimist.:)
 
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fishpond

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The eternal optimist is a great fly devised by the late Mick Williams to mimick a yellow belly devon minnow - sadly for salmon fishing on the river of its birth (Tweed) and elsewhere in the year of the Atlantic salmon it's not a good one it seems for catches on this fly or any other

Tight lines

Richard

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troutcontrol

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There is a pool on Kola called "Control Net".

Every (!!!!) year for at least 20 years they install a net across the river on 1. June. It is located between Zone 2 and 3 and installed from 11.00 - 09.00, so this are 22 hours.
At this time of the year you can only fish on Zone 1 + 2 if you want to catch a fish, cause no fish can pass.
All guides tell you, everybody knows.
An now we know too...

Would I have booked a trip to a closed river if anybody told me before ??? I don´t think so.....

By the way: Nice fishing buddies !!!

Cheers
Martin
 

Linloskin

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KS,
You are so right - I have never witnessed such a disparity between the 'haves' and 'have-nots'. There appears to be no social welfare system and huge numbers of people are just 'forgotten' by society. The level of poverty is very humbling. What it is like in the depths of winter - with only very basic housing - …. no wonder the local shops best selling product line is vodka!
With no refuse system there is rubbish anywhere there is habitation. Evidence of the 'old' communist system is all around with abandoned factories etc. Saying it is a mind-f*ck is a good description - Id never quite thought of it like that.

The net across the river (I am led to believe) is run by the Russian scientists (PRNO or something like that). It is a research system where the fish are trapped and recorded. I was told that in years past all the small fish were removed and killed... and all the big fish were released to carry on … thereby modifying the population toward big fish. I don't know what the system is now. It was never a problem in the past with fish getting past and as Rotenone says the river has been full of fish in recent years...as always the Kola river seems to throw up more questions than answers!!
 

rotenone

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KS,
You are so right - I have never witnessed such a disparity between the 'haves' and 'have-nots'. There appears to be no social welfare system and huge numbers of people are just 'forgotten' by society. The level of poverty is very humbling. What it is like in the depths of winter - with only very basic housing - …. no wonder the local shops best selling product line is vodka!
With no refuse system there is rubbish anywhere there is habitation. Evidence of the 'old' communist system is all around with abandoned factories etc. Saying it is a mind-f*ck is a good description - Id never quite thought of it like that.

The net across the river (I am led to believe) is run by the Russian scientists (PRNO or something like that). It is a research system where the fish are trapped and recorded. I was told that in years past all the small fish were removed and killed... and all the big fish were released to carry on … thereby modifying the population toward big fish. I don't know what the system is now. It was never a problem in the past with fish getting past and as Rotenone says the river has been full of fish in recent years...as always the Kola river seems to throw up more questions than answers!!
There is some mis information here control net is not a problem it's not there to stop fish running but to take scientific study, when there is enough fish in this net normally they are released, this year the run was very small control net operated the same last season but there was fish everywhere.

Basically control net was not the problem the lack of fish was, usually Kola had lots of salmon and very big salmon but they just were not in the river as I previously mentioned the low numbers of fish compounded the other problems with the new fishing system which simply was not viable for a group of anglers, as the river clearly could not cope with amount if anglers fishing so it became chaotic.

It was a great shame because as this year was nowhere near a reflection on how good this river can be, I've had amazing fishing and quality fish from the Kola but it was really poor on all levels this year

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keirstream

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By the way: Nice fishing buddies !!!

Cheers
Martin

Hey Martin, it was good to enjoy a dram in the evenings with yourself and our multi cultural pals wasn't it? Helped the pain caused by the poor fishing and general chaos surrounding us.:thumb:
I'll look you up next ime I'm in trouble in Berlin.
Is the Kit Kat club still operating??:lol::lol:
 
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