Pre-Trip Information

Fishing on the Northern Rivers of the Kola Peninsula:

The Northern Rivers of Russian’s Kola Peninsula including the Kharlovka, Eastern Litza, Rynda and Zolotaya must be considered some of the very best Atlantic Salmon rivers in the world today. The territory of the ASR is extremely remote and unspoiled by human intervention. The whole operation is efficiently managed with military discipline. Both intimate and manageable in size, the Northern Rivers provide unique challenges to our guests with the possibility for huge rewards. The following pre travel document will explain the conditions you will encounter, the tackle and clothing that we feel is necessary and some general background information. Before leaving for the Atlantic Salmon Reserve we suggest that you use the following guidelines to help equip yourself suitably. Basic Itinerary for the week.

Please look for exact flight info for your week on the travel page:

Date
Time
Activity
Remarks
Arrive Friday
to Helsinki
AnytimeStay Friday night in Helsinki for charter flight to MMK SaturdayOvernight in Helsinki Hotel
Saturday
morning
Depart 08:15 amFinnair Charter to MMKCheck-in International Terminal with Passport and Visa
Saturday
afternoon
Arrive MMK 10:00 Clear Customs. Depart with Helicopter to camp --pmArrival to Murmansk Helicopter transfer to lodge1 hour flight time to the lodge Lunch upon arrival evening fishing session
Sunday -
- Friday
09:00 am deploy for fishing
18-19:00 return back to lodge
Daily Routine08:00 Breakfast
14:00 Streamside Lunch
20:30 Dinner
Outbound
Saturday
08:00 Breakfast
--:-- Depart camps for MMK
11:40 Depart MMK for Helsinki
13:25 Arrive to Helsinki
Returning from the camps to HelsinkiEstimated arrival time to Helsinki is 13:25 followed by International connections back home

Please note this itinerary is shown as a guide only and local times may change due to unforeseen circumstances.

Russian Visa:

Everyone is responsible for obtaining their own visa. Please double check your passport and visa well before you leave your home country. Remember a passport must be valid for 6 MONTHS AFTER date of planned departure from Russia. Your visa must have your name exactly as it is written in your passport and the dates in your visa must cover your entire visit to Russia.

Unfortunately, Russia recently changed their visa requirements for British passport holders to include the submission of finger print scans. https://www.gov.uk/foreign-travel-advice/russia/entry-requirements
Therefore, we are sending our British friends their Russian invitation letters early to allow extra time to complete the process.
VISA APPLICATION NOTES FOR UK GUESTS1
Application Example
We can also recommend the following Visa support agencies:
Visa Services in London (Carolina). Her telephone number is 020 7229 4784.
Other agencies include:
http://www.scottsvisas.co.uk/russia
http://www.therussiahouse.co.uk/visa
http://ru.vfsglobal.co.uk/index.html
We apologise for any inconveniences this may cause. Please do let me know if we can be of further assistance. Looking forward to seeing you on camp! Kind regards, Maria

Booking Confirmation:

Your booking is not confirmed until a 50% non-refundable deposit is received. Approximately 90 days prior to your holiday, you will be sent a final confirmation letter requesting the remainder of the payment. All guests are reminded to take out appropriate travel and cancellation insurance.

Travel:

Helsinki to Murmansk Charter flight – operated by Finnair Saturday Flight Details – season 2017. Please note exact travel times for your week on the travel page.

Tickets & Check-In:

On Saturday’s passengers should be in the Helsinki Airport for check-in no later than one hour before departure where they will be issued with their ticket. We will send you a confirmation boarding pass. Just show your passport and visa and, provided they are in order, they will give you your ticket and check you through. Please arrange with the hotel for a suitable wake up call and remember that a meal will be served on the flight. The Helsinki to Murmansk flight number will be posted as soon as it becomes available. The 2017 Flight Number will be Finnair MMK-HEL _____. We advise that outbound flights from Helsinki be booked to depart after 16:00pm. Finnair and the Kharlovka Company are not responsible for ramifications of any delays (i.e. missed flight connections).

Helsinki Accommodations:

ASR guests are encouraged to make their own hotel reservations at the Helsinki Airport Hotel for the Friday night the day before their departure.

Finnair Charter Baggage Allowance:

This is 35 kilos + rod case in the hold and 8 kilos carry on of reasonable volume. However, please bare in mind that travel to and from the Lodge and Murmansk is by helicopter, and the weight is limited. We would suggest that you take one large bag of up to 25kgs, with a reasonable sized carry on bag and a rod tube. It is a good idea to ensure your baggage carries the name of the fishing lodge you are visiting along with a contact number.

Lost Luggage:

Our charter flight will not wait for lost baggage. We suggest you instruct your airline to deliver lost baggage to your Helsinki hotel to await collection on your return journey. We strongly recommend all guests carry one medium (not large or your airline might put it in the hold) sized hand baggage with vital clothing, washing kit, medicines, cameras and equipment etc. Think carefully about this. We have in camp spare jackets, waders, rods and rough clothes for example so that in emergency you only need your reel, leaders and flies and even these could be supplied.

International Travel:

Everyone will make their own arrangements to arrive at Helsinki Airport on or before the Friday of each week and for their home departure on Saturday. Where possible on the return journey you are advised to allow at least three hours for transfer due to possible late departure from Murmansk. However, all guests must appreciate there can be considerable delays on returning from our camps in the Arctic Tundra through Murmansk Airport such as fog, helicopter delays, airport procedures & baggage handling. It must be clearly understood the company is not in a position to accept responsibility for missed international connections.

Missed Flights:

If you arrive late and the check in gate is closed telephone us immediately through Maria on +7 921 772 6857 and give her your cell number if you have one. If you miss our charter flight the only way to get to Murmansk is to make your own arrangements via Moscow or St. Petersburg. Stay calm – It has all happened before. We will discuss arrangements to get you to the camps as quickly as possible.

The Kharlovka and Rynda Lodges:

The Kharlovka camp has undergone a  complete facelift over the last few seasons. All guests are now accommodated in private wooden cabins with full en-suite facilities including warm heaters, drying closet, and 220V European two pin plug power points. The cabins are interconnected with the main lodge by an intricate network of walkways to preserve the fragile tundra below.

Depending on the conditions, guests to the Kharlovka camp spend up to half their week fishing on the Litza River with some having the chance to spend the night there in the upgraded Tent camp. A maximum of 7 beats or 14 guests a week will fish the Kharlovka and Litza rivers. Over the last several years, the Rynda Camp has been improved to the highest standards. We have enlarged the dinning room area last year and have built a new sauna. Peter Power has created an enduring tradition of organizing house parties to fish the Rynda who will continue to experience something extra special. Nowhere else will you see the meticulous attention to detail, evident throughout the whole ASR, displayed so prominently and hence the overwhelming popularity of the Rynda for those wishing to take ladies and or children.

All 12 guests are accommodated in the most sophisticated and fully fitted private log cabins on the Kola Peninsula, with views looking onto the Rynda Falls and Home Pool. The food is of the highest standard and the streamside lunches including the hot russian soups are a welcome daily treat.

If requested, and many days if even not, there will be a roasting hot sauna prepared for your arrival back to the lodge where rods can relax after a hard day of fishing.

There are also nicely stocked fly tying facilities at both of the camps in addition to a complete selection of fishing gear should you need to borrow anything.

The Rivers:

Kharlovka with its sister river Eastern Litza, are two of the world’s most prolific rivers for big Atlantic salmon. The combination of awesome big fish and the manageable size of the rivers is a great asset when compared to other Kola destinations. Both wild and demanding they provide the biggest challenges along with some of the biggest silver rewards anywhere. The Rynda and Zolotaya Rivers fall through more gentle gradients than the Kharlovka and Litza Rivers. There are some 75 interesting named salmon pools that require the angler to read the water and consider each cast. The successful angler approaches the fishing carefully in intellectual contemplation and, however experienced, listens to the guide. Some say the rivers are reminiscent of Iceland. They, and the accommodation, are attractive to lady fishers as we are to them! Although Kharlovka & Litza have twice the annual water flow of Rynda & Zolotaya – it is a stunning fact that every year Rynda produces nearly as many landed salmon. The difference is that the size of the MSW Atlantic Salmon is likely to be 20% less. A 25lbs fish from the Rynda is more likely to be a 30lbs fish at Kharlovka and so forth. The best fish taken at Rynda was 42lbs whereas at the Litza it was 47.5lbs.

Customs Limits:

It is important not to bring into Russia more alcohol and tobacco than the legal allowance because it can cause a major hang up at the airport. The allowances are: Alcohol=2 Litres Total; Cigars=50; Cigarettes=200; Tobacco=200 grams

Communications at Lodges:

For the most part our operations are within a “Restricted Military Zone”. Under new rules it is forbidden for guests to bring satellite phones to the camps. Our comprehensive “certified” e-mail and telephone systems will be made available to guests for outgoing communications for which they will be charged. Thankfully there is no mobile phone service in the area yet. In coming guest communications will be relayed through

maria@kharlovka.com,
Telephone: +7 921 275 9821 or
MMK Office +7 8152 275 628.

Both fixed and tented camps are equipped with HF radio linked to all other camps and to the head office in Murmansk. Most of the time guides can communicate by VHF radio to the camps and with each other. Generally guests are fishing within walking distance to the camps for the guides. When we venture beyond walking distance, to Kharlovka Park for example, we plan to use hand held satellite telephones. The in-camp hosts have satellite telephone/fax that can be used by the guests in emergency.

Strictly Catch and Release:

NR have substantially invested in a major conservation program, called “Back to Nature”, for the protection of the Atlantic Salmon in particular and the “tundra” flora and fauna in general – In accordance with the Mandate of the Atlantic Salmon Reserve established in June 2007: ALL FISHING SHALL BE BY “CATCH & RELEASE” ONLY. Please remember the following guidelines:

  • Never pick up a fish by its tail.
  • Never drag a fish up onto the bank.
  • Keep the fish in the water as much as possible while unhooking and photographing it.
  • Never handle a fish with dry hands.
  • Use barbless hooks, pinching down barbs is sufficient and do not use treble hooks.

The Fishing Programme:

On arrival, on Saturday afternoon, the camp manager will make a brief orientation and safety speech to advise you about the weekly routine. After a hearty breakfast, each team is deployed by helicopter to the beat designed as per the fishing schedule. Depending on weather conditions Kharlovka guests will have the opportunity to fish during the week on the Litza River. The same for the Rynda guests, who conditions depending should each have a day on the Zolotaya river.

Fishing hours run from early morning to late evening in coordination with the camp manager. Rod Sharing may be allowed in special situations. We operate a team system of one guide and two anglers.

Our local Russian guides are ‘tundra-smart’ with intimate knowledge of the area and with all skills needed to ensure safe and enjoyable days out. Their English is good. The Guides are long standing experts on the rivers with the majority of them having more than 10 years of experience, we are proud to have these dedicated and hardworking men onboard. They know where the fish lie and the flies and techniques to catch them in all water conditions. They are fully equipped to support your days fishing.

A hot and rich lunch is prepared on the riverbank. In the late afternoon the rods are flown back to camp for drinks, dinner and stories. If they wish guests may continue to fish after dinner in the Home Pools, or indeed further a field if accompanied by their guide. There also is high standard trout and char fishing in the vicinity and guests will be facilitated if they wish to enjoy this experience.

Helicopters:

The MI-8’s are used throughout Russia and in many countries worldwide and have an enviable reputation as a workhorse helicopter that is reliable in all situations. We do provide hearing protection for your daily flights.

Boats:

Rubber dinghies are available in the majority of the pools for the guides to transport guests across the river. All fishing is done by wading and never from the boats.

Safety:

We always recommend the use of life jackets especially when using boats for river crossing and these are readily available to guests. It must be clearly understood that salmon fishing in fast flowing rivers is a dangerous sport. This is especially so in isolated tundra conditions and made all the more so by the use of helicopters. We use all reasonable efforts to properly maintain our equipment and train our staff in matters of safety however all visitors must understand that safety standards in the wilderness may not always meet those they are used to.

Please let us know in advance of any serious health problems you may have. If you have any special dietary requirements due to ill health, such as if you are diabetic or require a low fat diet, please advise us as soon as possible.

Medical:

We have a fully qualified doctor in residence throughout the season. In addition certain members of our staff have basic medical training. In the event of more serious needs we would generally expect to reach a hospital in Murmansk by helicopter within two/four hours. If necessary hospitals in northern Norway or Finland can be reached via air ambulance.

FISHING TACKLE RECOMMENDATIONS:

Rods, Reels and Lines are again very much a question of personal taste. It is essential that reels contain at least 200ms of well maintained backing and that they have a reasonable drag system. Clear nylon or fluorocarbon in breaking strains 12-35lbs should take care of the business end. Many of our fish are large and unusually strong – given the chance they often run out long lengths of line. The Windcutter type lines with interchangeable tips cover most situations however many of the guests are now changing over to Guideline type shooting heads. Later on a light standard sinktip or a full floater is about all one needs.

Double handed rods in 14-16’ for line weights #9-12 are favored in the early season and 12-15’ in weights #8-10 at summer height. A single handed rod for #7-9 lines is perfect for dry fly and other surface oriented tactics, although much of this can be done with the double hander too. A 15’ #10 rod would be the ideal all rounder. We keep a good stock of SAGE rods, along with reels etc., in the camps for the clients’ use. A broken rod will not spoil your holiday!

As to fly selection it again varies with the season. Early on bigger and gaudy tubes of 3/4” and 1 ½”, like Temple Dogs and Willie Gunns are called for, with Sunray Shadows tubes soon to follow. The tubes are fished with Loop type double tube hooks. Salmon are salmon and all the old favorites from home will have their day. We feel that fly size and presentation overrules patterns. Experimentation is one of the joys of fishing and stone fly nymphs and even trout flies have been used to great effect. Our American and Canadian friends have also proven the worth of Bombers and riffled Muddler type flies. Other summer killers include small bottle tubes, Sunray Shadows, Frances, Alistair, Baby Temple Dog, Snaelda, Willie Gunns, Green Highlanders, Cascade & Green and Red Butts. Please remember to bring a pair of good pliers to help release fish when you are on your own.

We have a limited stock of Salmon (Salar) Flies available for the guests to purchase on the camps for the 2017 season.

Clothing:

Throughout the season on the north coast of the Kola there are likely to be sudden swings in the conditions you will encounter while fishing. Often dramatic changes occur during a 12-hour period that will involve adding or subtracting several layers of clothing. It is important to ensure your layering system accommodates all the extremes that you will encounter at the time of your visit. Extremes of cold may be encountered at the beginning and the end of the season, and at any other time temperatures can range from below zero to 32ºC.

Waders:

Neoprene is suitable for the early but may be rather hot during the summer. Gore-Tex is suitable throughout the season, layers being added when necessary. Chest-high, stocking foot waders with separate felt-soled boots is the best choice.

Trip Insurance:

You are reminded that Kharlovka Company does not provide any form of insurance or refunds/credits. All guests should have adequate arrangements in place to cover their personal circumstances. There are potential dangers and inherent risks in your fishing holiday. You will be living and fishing in the remote wilderness amidst rugged terrain and sometimes wading in fast flowing rivers. In the tundra transport is by Russian helicopters or boats or inflatable dinghies. International travel arrangements and/or your holiday in Russia can be disrupted by adverse weather, regulations by government or military authorities or other factors beyond our control causing you additional travel and accommodation costs and/or termination or cessation of your holiday. The Kharlovka Company cannot be held responsible for events that may occur. By confirming your booking with us you have accepted that your holiday and associated travel is taken entirely at your own risk.

Tips / Gratuities:

There is no charge for drinks of any kind and all necessary gear or clothing will be lent to you without charge. Our stock of flying tying materials is at your disposal to make your own flies – indeed you can ask your guide to make your special fly for you. Even the use your host’s satellite telephone is free for a genuinely short check in call to the family. In return, if you happy with our staff and the service they have given you, we would like you express your appreciation in your tip to the staff. We recommend that you consider $300 towards the camp staff and also $300 for your guide for a total of $600.

Contact Information:

Maria Kolotova, Office Manager
Naberezhnaya Reki Moiki 18A, office 1N,
191186 St.Petersburg,
Russia Office: +7 812 611 04 17
Mobile: +7 921 77 268 57

We normally send out the guest’s final booking confirmations about 3 to 4 months prior to their fishing holiday. Then upon receipt of your final payment – You will receive a downloadable/printable PDF of this Pre Travel Document including confirmation for your place on the Helsinki Charter, along with your Russian visa invitation and instructions.

After your trip:

When you return from your adventure to the ASR we would like to hear how you got on, if you enjoyed your experience, and how we might be able to improve our operation. We value your comments and want to continue improving to make sure that we are offering the best standards and services possible. Have a good trip and we look forward to hearing about it on your return! Thank you for choosing to join us on the Atlantic Salmon Reserve. We believe the whole experience to be the opportunity of a lifetime. We wish you a successful, rewarding and enjoyable trip and look forward to seeing you on the camps again very soon…
Sincerely,
Vladimir and Justin