Summer Newsletter

Posted on 26/08/2020

Summer Newsletter

Dear Friends and Guests, Needless to say, it has been quite a year and we hope that all of you and yours have remained healthy, safe, and sane. The ASR has been missing our overseas fishing friends. With the recent news that the Russian Federation has begun re-opening its borders and is resuming international travel with a select number of countries, including the United Kingdom, we wanted to give you an update on how the season has unfolded thus far as well as how the prospects are looking going forward. Water flowing through the birch on the Kharlovka Home pool This last winter saw record snow and ice packs that were followed by some of the highest recorded spring river levels since the ASR was established – reaching 1.8m on the Kharlovka river scale. The Kharlovka home pool picnic area was flooded and the rising river blew out half the staircase (and walk bridge) that led down to the river from the lodge. Early spring levels on the Rynda reached the sauna. High spring flows on the lower Rynda However, unlike the previous high water season back in 2017, this year the more prolonged thaw in June meant that the unprecedented flows turned out to be short lived with the rivers receding a meter and a half and waters warming to 13C by the end of the month. The warm dry conditions continued into July with water temps rising to 20C for a couple days of high summer before dropping back down to a current temp of 14C. In comparison to last season, the rivers started off in the spring 1.4m (78%) lower yet were flowing 45cm higher with cooler water temps of 8C at this same time last year. In spite of the annual variation in conditions (with seemingly greater fluctuation from one year to the next) as well as the lighter than normal fishing effort resulting from the international and domestic Russian travel restrictions, there has been some excellent fishing. There have been 49 determined and fortunate Russian fishing guests that made it into camp so far this season. With small groups spread through the first 10 weeks of the season on both the Kharlovka and Rynda camps, our Russian guests managed to land a total of 745 salmon thus far which works out to an average of 15.2 fish per angler. There were seven guests fishing on Kharlovka and Litza rivers during the first week of July who had an exciting week releasing 210 salmon. Even in the lower water of Week 30, on the Rynda four guests landed 81 salmon during an exceptionally bright week with temps in excess of 30 degrees. Vladimir Jr. with a 28 pounder from the Litza Tent pool Happily, with international travel into Russia now possible again and with Russian visa centres having reopened in London and Edinburgh, UK nationals...

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Kharlovka week 33 ending 14th of august 2020

Posted on 26/08/2020

Kharlovka week 33 ending 14th of august 2020

by Justin Maxwell Stuart. I first visited the Kharlovka Camp, part of the Atlantic Salmon Reserve 18 years ago. Coincidently it was over the exact same week and it was also a result of an impulsive short notice decision. On that occasion, it was to explore the opportunities to fish in August which up until that stage, was after the normal closure of the camps. Suffice to say it was an extraordinary success with 5 fish over 30 lbs being caught, in part due to great water conditions and has become one of my favourite times to fish on the ASR, a combination of affordable rates and great fishing! When I received a ‘last-minute opportunity’ to fish Week 33, requiring an almost immediate answer to allow for the requisite travel clearance required by the authorities, I jumped!! I looked at the email for no more than 5 minutes before sending a response signalling my interest. Quite possibly irresponsible and impulsive, but having spent the last 3 months cancelling and rolling over a whole season’s worth of WhereWiseMenFish bookings, including a number of hosted trips I was due to be running, I was quite determined that I would lead from the front and not miss out on yet another opportunity. August 2002, 18 years ago, to the week. 20lbs from Litza Falls , a week that set me on a very enjoyable career path! With just 3 weeks to the actual trip departure date on 7 August, entrance into Russia by any foreign nationals was pushed back from the planned date of 15 July with a review rumoured for 1 August. The ASR let those of us on the trip know and gratuitously once again offered to roll over our trip to next year should we feel unable to come. Obstinately or determinedly I, and as it happens 3 other Scotsmen, held firm! Miraculously, (if you are an incredibly eager and passionate fisherman suffering from lockdown anxiety), the United Kingdom and 2 other countries were given the OK to travel to Russia. COVID clear certificates were required to be presented on arrival, taken within 72 hrs and of course, Russian visas obtained, always a point of concern due to the lengthy forms and implications of an undetected spelling mistake. (Personally, I have always found the Russian visa staff helpful and obliging at both the Edinburgh and London office). COVID clear we were set to travel!! We were due to be the first international anglers to fish at the ASR this year and I would hazard a bet the first to do so across the Kola in 2020. We may not have been pioneers in the original sense but we were certainly breaking new ground. Taking off from Moscow just after midnight and touchdown in Murmansk at 2.30 am – MADE IT!! The regular and convenient scheduled charter flight from Helsinki...

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2019 ASR Salmon Season Summary

Posted on 25/09/2019

2019 ASR Salmon Season Summary

While some fortunate fishing friends timed everything just right – 2019 will be remembered by many as the season that most of us missed! We approached the 2019 season with great optimism and, with a lighter snow blanket over last winter and a thaw well advanced, all the ice was already through the system by the time the camps were scheduled to open. Unfortunately, in what proved to be the forerunner of a complicated season, we had to delay the opening of camps by two weeks as a result of a late notice military restriction which affected all the camps on the Northern Kola. Once we did get underway on 8th June, we had a promising start, with runs on all ASR systems showing early signs of a strong season. The 39 salmon of over 20lbs released on the first week give an indication of the possibilities that were in prospect for the season. Unfortunately, this proved to be a fleeting confirmation of our optimism as there followed a series of late notice restrictions that would last into late July and cause immeasurable frustration to guests and ourselves. While smaller groups of regular Russian guests were assembled to fish the prime Kharlovka weeks, there were multiple other weeks of the season when the salmon and unfortunately the staff were rested. Although conditions started off similar to the previous season, the early warm spell this spring would turn out to include some of the warmest days of the entire season, as the winds abruptly shifted back to the north with the arrival of our first guests. Despite the record heat wave that would eventually settle in over much of Europe and other northern regions for extended periods of the summer – the conditions on the far northern coast of the Kola Peninsula remained on the cool – breezy and moist side for vast majority of this short arctic fishing season. In fact, air temps were rarely up into the double digits until the last week of June which resulted in fresh water temps that were remained in the single digits across the water shed throughout much of the season. The Kharlovka river had a mean water temperature for the season of 9.13C. As for the Northern river levels – following a normal spring thaw, the rivers flowed above normal throughout the summer weeks well into September – with a mean water level of 26.5cm vs. an extreme low mean for last season of 1.5cm. When the rivers were fished, the results were impressive. Those fortunate Russian guests that were permitted into camp and the Western guests who were able to fish the limited weeks that were free of restrictions, saw some excellent fishing. To illustrate, Week 27 from 27th July – 3rd August – which was fortunately open to international guests and coincided with the mid summer spate, saw a...

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Trout Fishing Report 7a – 2019

Posted on 24/09/2019

Trout Fishing Report 7a – 2019

First time as a group leader on the Russian tundra so I was thrilled to put together a group of fishermen and let them explore the tundra and how trout fishing can be if humans hasn´t affect the nature. Nobody in the group had tundra experience except me, but they are really successful and experienced trout fishermen from waters in Sweden to around the world. Three days before the trip started, I checked the weather forecast. Nice temperatures, 16-21 degrees, almost no wind and everything looks super. The day before we left Stockholm, I did a last check and the forecast now tells the opposite. 3-7 degrees, heavy wind from the north and rain every day. This trip wouldn’t be easy but tundra is tundra and the trouts doesn’t care about the weather, they need to feed anyway. Arriving at Murmansk airport late evening on Friday 13 degrees and cloudy, realizing that all our luggage is stucked at Moskov airport. Luckily we get some help from Kharlovka company with the translation our luggage arrived at Azimut Hotel in Saturday morning. David Olsson, André Nilsson, Emil Westrin(Group leader), Simon Svahn, Christoffer Nilsson & Jon Hansson. Leaving Murmansk at lunch on Saturday and on the bumpy road out to Tumanny the expectations starts to build up. Disinfection and loading the helicopter was quick and smooth and we head for our fist stretch. Bush, in East Litza. A stretch that I haven´t heard much about but was thrilled to test it out. A quick briefing after landing, put the camp up and we was ready to see what Litza has to give. Simon and Christoffer went upstream from camp, Me, Jon, David and André went downstream the little lake. In the first pool, downstream the neck we find the first rising fish and the three newcomers drag stick to see who’s the first guy to fish. David won this battle, tackle a elk hair caddies and I don´t think he cast more than five cast until the trout took his fly and went downstream. First fish was landed! David with his first Kola trout. Caddis feeder on 2,2kg We fished the whole stretch of bush, bout downstream to the lake and upstream to the next lake. And what a fishing place! We caught trouts in almost every pool and neck, but it was touch. The name of the stretch gives you a hint about the surroundings. Lots of bushes around the river and the heavy wind made it sometimes impossible to do ”fine art fly fishing” Luckily we were prepared with 7 and 8 weight single hand rods and short belly lines. If you are going to Kola with a thought that you only should fish light rods and small dry flies, think again. The weather can be extreme, and you go to Kola for catching big trouts. Be prepared. Both with...

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Trout Fishing Report 7b – 2019

Posted on 24/09/2019

Trout Fishing Report 7b – 2019

Pina river 27th of July to 3rd of August 2019 Just came back home from another great trip at the Tundra! This year we were only 4 fishermen. 4 fishermen, but with 25 weeks Tundra experience. And this particular week we needed all the Tundra experience we could get. Because this week had one of the roughest conditions I have experienced in my 12 years on the Russian Tundra. I think all of us gained a little bit more Tundra toughness after this week which I’m sure will come in handy later. My group consisted of from the left Alex, Igor (Chief Camp Officer), Magnus Svendsson, Helge Olsen, Roy Refsnes. Front Eivind Hagen (group leader) And to the report itself: But it all started off nicely. The groups who were in a week before us had nice weather and we were hoping for the best. Packing the helicopter in record speed. Always a pleasure packing the helicopter. In just a few hours we will be on the Tundra looking for monster trouts When we came to Pina on Saturday late afternoon we arrived to perfect condition. It was 12 degrees, not much wind, perfect water level and 11 degrees in the water. Pina camp is located on the brink of a canyon. One of the most idyllic camps in the program After making our camp I went upstream and on my second cast I caught a fat 4 kilo trout on a small cdc caddis. We had great fishing the first 24 hours and caught 17 trouts. After a delicious dinner and a couple of vodka’s to celebrate we all thought the great fishing would last. Me with a nice 4 kilo’s taken on a small CDC caddis fished dead drift just 200 meters upstream camp Magnus with a nice 2 kilo trout taken on his usual black skater The next day everything changed. The strong northern wind changed the Tundra completely. At peak we had 90kkph (25m/s) northern wind, 2 degrees and rain. And Pina has no shelter. It is a canyon with no trees and it transformed itself into a massive wind tunnel. Imagine standing up in a convertible driving in 90kph trying to cast with a flyrod That is what it felt like. A release of a nice 4 kilo trout #letemgosotheycangrow But the wind was not our worst enemy this week – maybe what worsened our conditions more was the shallow lake upstream Pina. In the heavy wind the lake grubbed the mud around as a washing machine making the water dirty. We had perhaps just 50 cm sight in the river due to this. It became difficult for the trout to see our dry fly’s and we had to try with intermediate and different sinking lines to get our flies in the sight of the fish. A lucky shot, the rainbow was there for...

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Kharlovka week 33 ending 16th of august 2019

Posted on 11/09/2019

Kharlovka week 33 ending 16th of august 2019

After receiving the news early on that we would not be able to operate the later autumn 3 Rivers weeks due to military closures, we were absolutely delighted to welcome our international fishing friends back into camp! Team Scotland arrived in their traditional kilts as usual. Sunday morning all the guests were awoke to the beautiful sound of traditional Scottish pipe played by Jamie Junior. Number of Rods: 17 Nationalities: Scottish, English, American, Swiss, Norwegian, Japanese, Danish Number of salmon: 226 Best Salmon: 33, 28 and 27 pounds There were 6 personal bests: Koichi – 15 lbs – Home pool – he lost a much bigger fish but was still very happy he hooked it;) Rolf – 19 lbs – Litza Falls – fishing for salmon of fly for the first time Jamie Junior – 20 lbs – Litza Flat Stone – 1st proper salmon! Bjoern – 22lbs – Litza Flat Stone Stuart – 25lbs – Kharlovka Falls Ralph – 33 lbs – Reindeer Rapids The fishing conditions were on the mild side for most of the week with temps ranging from 8 to 17C – while water temps warmed from 8 to 11C. The ideal conditions helped the group average about 45 salmon a day until the winds shifted slowing down the action late week on the Thursday when a dense layer of fog moved inland from the Barents Sea. That day the rivers rose 4cm before starting to slowly away again on the final day of the week. While everyone had their stories and unforgettable moments – here are a few of the highlights from the week: On the first day straight off the helicopter – Jamie Junior landed a 20-pounder from the Flat Stone. His ASR veteran father was very pround as it was the first proper salmon that his son has released and moreover it was hooked on the famous family fly – the Big Baldy! 28-pounder landed by our great Scottish friend Allan on Rynda’s Tail of Canyon. We’ve arranged the quick transfer of the ring from Rynda and gave it to him along with our congratulations and champagne during the dinner. The fish was 106 cm long and 54 cm around. Our new friend Ralph who never fished for salmon before this trip to the might Kharlovka landed his first salmon on fly on opening Saturday afternoon which was a 5 pound grilse. Later in the week he managed to improved his PB significantly up to 33 pounds which was landed on the Reindeer Rapids pool on lower Litza. The fish was very fat – 113 long and 60 cm around. In addition, our new Norwegian friend Rolf who also is fishing with fly for the first time – also started with a grilse then improved his PB up to 19 pounds. Bjorn also derserves honourable mention for his bright silver Rynda salmon....

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