Kharlovka Fishing Reports 2011
Vladimir Rybalchenko’s Address to the Friends of the Atlantic Salmon Reserve
Probably you know already about an important event that took place in the ASR. On 16th June, it was announced at Kharlovka that Peter Power has handed over his camps, famous throughout the world, to me, Vladimir Rybalchenko. It was not a simple decision for me to undertake this responsibility of securing the future of the ASR. It would have been much more comfortable for me to come over to Kharlovka and Rynda as a guest. We spent many an hour with Peter Power dwelling on the future of these wonderful rivers and made a mutual decision that Peter would hand over the safe keeping of the ASR to me.
Peter Power is a great man who has set exceptionally high standards on the rivers’ conservation and organization of fishing. I will do everything possible to preserve these standards. For me this is not a business. My goal is to preserve the salmon and trout waters of Kharlovka, Eastern Litza, Rynda and Zolotaya in the way that he has done.
Dear friends of the ASR! Many of you know me, since we fished together. I hope to get to know many others in the future. I will be happy to meet you all on both the magnificent Atlantic Salmon and Wild Brown Trout programs. I promise that the fishing will continue to be international. I also promise to protect the rivers and lakes from poachers and to be very careful about the fragile nature of the entire ecosystem.
I am sure that many exciting and great fishing adventures await us in the future!
SECURING THE ASR FOR FUTURE GENERATIONS
An important event took place on the evening of Thursday 16th June. All guests and staff received an unexpected but exciting invitation from Peter to join him for a party at Kharlovka House. Guests were told that he had something to tell them about “…the future of the ASR”. Of course this set off wild speculation up and down the rivers from “is this the end” to “is the beginning of a new dawn”.
The Kharlovka guests and staff who, along with the boys that were lost somewhere over on the Litza, were all brought together for a magnificent summer BBQ up at Kharlovka House. Whilst waiting in anticipation for the arrival of Peter, the guests happily bonded away sharing their week’s fishing trials and tribulations under an unforgettable polar sun.
Orchestrated with a military precision that has come to define the Northern Rivers over the years, at exactly 20:00 an MI-8 helicopter thundered in and touched down on the upper pad near the house. Out of the helicopter poured a full contingent of guests from Rynda, led by Peter looking unusually smart.
There was a noticeable breeze of suspense circling through the air. Once inside Kharlovka House, the Russian guests along with their interpreter were invited to gather along Peter’s side for simultaneous translation. With everyone’s attention focused, not to mention the various cameras and videos standing by at the ready, silence fell across the room.
Peter began by reminiscing about his 14 year project on the Northern Rivers, going back to the very beginning when he first arrived to restore order on the chaotic camps. Early on he introduced innovative yet meticulous new ways of working and thinking. The staff agreed to trust Peters approach unquestionably and together they have created the finest and most exciting salmon fishery on earth.
Peter thanked the staff profusely for creating first class facilities, for their professional service as both guides and employees, and for their dedication to the highly successful ASR Conservation Program.
He then reflected back through the seasons of salmon fishing covering 4628 guest weeks comprising 2271 individual guests who had enjoyed the ASR. Many had returned every year since the beginning. He expressed his enormous gratitude for their support and felt a profound sense of privilege in “The Power to Please”… which may yet be the title of a book!
Peter proudly described his fresh silver 42-pound Rynda record – going on to playfully say that “Although it will be nice when one of you lands the first 50+ pounder here, I admit I was rather hoping it might be me!”
He reminded guests of how appreciative we should all be for the support and understanding of the Murmansk Region Authorities and the Northern Fleet, paying particular tribute to Governors Evdokimov and Dmitrienko. He described the ceremony surrounding the Rynda Cross with the blessing by the Father Gennadi of the Russian Orthodox Church arranged by his friend Archbishop Simon, as the proudest moment in his life. Peter wanted everyone to know that his period in the Arctic had been the most exciting and fulfilling of times, and he had always respected the territory as a precious Russian national asset.
The anticipation of what Peter might be leading up to rose as he switched the tone back to his inevitable retirement. For the past five years he had been looking for a worthy successor to carry on the mandate of the ASR. After meeting with many organizations and individuals, everyone said that it was going to be impossible for him to find the perfect Russian to carry on his mission. Well they were wrong!
He announced “Finally all of us have had the most extraordinary piece of luck”.
One fine day at the Rynda a successful Russian businessman and fishing fanatic arrived for his third visit to the ASR along with his enchanting wife who outcasts many of the boys. They were invited up to Rynda house to review the ASR Mandate and watch the film “Home for Salmon”. Peter and the couple found themselves to be kindred spirits in harmony with nature, in tune with the philosophy fly fishing and the concepts of the ASR. It made for the most delightful evening. At some point the gentleman asked him “So what do you plan to do?”
Well in to the white night overlooking the majestic Rynda falls the trio sat up discussing the possibilities for the future of the ASR. The gentleman explained that running the ASR should not be part of a normal business venture; it should be more of a passion for whoever might be so lucky to take over Peter’s mantle.
With this in mind, Peter eventually turned to his charming friends and said, “I would like to choose you!” With this the gentleman replied that the future of the ASR could be looked after by his family for future generations whilst preserving the ASR mandate.
It was with this vision that the relationship continued to grow until both sides finally came to an understanding in May of this year. The gentleman and his family would proudly take control of the business and be the custodians of the Atlantic Salmon Reserve provided Justin and the Northern Rivers Team would remain on board, and Peter would actively support the business through the learning process.
To the surprise of all attending, Peter then turned to one side to shake hands with a Russian Guest. He announced, “Ladies and gentleman, the perfect Russian I have been referring to is Vladimir Rybalchenko, who along with his son Vladimir Junior (who is with us today) and his wife Svetlana now own the business.” A huge applause and cheer filled the Kharlovka House.
Congratulations Vladimir! We are all behind you – long live the ASR!
Justin – Peter
Three Rivers report for the week ending Friday, 9-Sept-11
The story about our second exciting week on the Three Rivers program began in Murmansk airport on a sunny Saturday afternoon when 11 anglers boarded the big white helicopter bound for one of the most beautiful places on earth. Flying over the Tundra in its amazing autumn gown the guests’ excited exclamations drowned in the roar of the helicopter rotors. Fifty-five minutes later when the beating of the blades stopped our travellers left the mighty machine in impatient anticipation. The vast majority of them had been here many times before – great to be back!
For seven days the weather played its own wicked game testing the nerves of the fishermen. One day the temperatures went below zero and the wooden bridges and cabin steps got covered by the white frost however the rest of the week was more like midsummer with temperatures reaching to nearly 30 degrees. The water level started with the mark of 4 and kept stable for a while, but later with the warm winds and hot sun the level dropped to that of 1 cm.
However the spirits of the fishermen were never down. Due to a last minute cancellation the guests were divided into smaller groups of two rather than three guests to one guide as had been planned – meaning the guests were delighted to receive more water and attention from the guides. There was further relief for the guests and staff alike with the big news that Justin had returned to the camps. Volodya seemed to be the most pleased declaring “It was like losing our main generator on the first week and then having to run the rest of the season on the backup. Everything is brighter now!”
Each day brought good news. The anglers demonstrated their inimitable skill and patient determination in the most exciting amongst other activities. Mikael Frodin – a person whose name is familiar to every fisherman – landed three salmon with the largest of 15 lbs a couple of hours after the arrival. One fish an hour must have been his fishing pace!
The weather on Sunday reminded everyone of the camp’s northern location and demanded the guests put on warm fleece hats. However, despite the chill the fishermen kept warm climbing the steep paths and balancing on the slippery rocks. Equipped with all sorts of flies Mikael went on landing fish teaching along the way the correct pronunciation of Phatakorva – a fly originating from Finland. Among his catch were a ‘fresh farmed’ 12lber and a 16 pounder. With a broad smile on his face, Iain easily hooked four nice salmon contributing to the common score. His partner Mike also won in a battle with an eighteen pound beauty – his first salmon ever caught! The only trio: Clare, Liz and Johnny added three more fish with the biggest one for Liz. She landed her 19 pounder in Barrel. Johnny had a fifteen pounder Personal Best. Kharlovka veteran angler David improved the total catch with a twenty pound salmon caught by the campsite.
Monday froze everything around, but the cool air waves made the fish move even more energetically and take the flies rather willingly. The total result for the day was remarkable 28 fish with the striking catch of Iain who managed to land a fresh grilse with sea lice, another perfectly silver sixteen pound salmon, a twenty pounder and a tagged 34 pound monster. Amazing! The only fly pattern he accepted was a self -tied Sunray Shadow. Another fresh sea liced salmon was hooked by Richard together with a nineteen pound Osenka he caught in between the entertainment show performed by hilarious lemmings.
The following day turned out to be the start of an Indian summer or Babje Leto how it is called in Russia. Despite some misfortunes (John’s morning swim and Richard’s broken rod) the fishing went fine and some fresh salmon was caught by Liz and Mikael. With a feminine grace Clare landed a beautiful twenty-one pounder and thus got the biggest fish of the day as well as Clare’s PB.
Wednesday weather was fabulous for everyone. Comfortable air temperature and still cool water contributed to a good catch. Mike was lucky that day. He felt the line go taught when the first salmon took the Sunray Shadow in Litza Falls. Strong and agile the salmon made Mike struggle with its pull for several minutes from the height of the rock but in the end the salmon was in the guide’s net. Another one (14 lbs) got hooked in Flat Stone splashing the water drops around in acrobatic jumps.
Fritz and John – a team of good friends from different continents; the tallest and the shortest members of the group proved to be excellent anglers. Each day they caught salmon, tied flies and entertained the other guests with funny stories. That day was the apogee of their friendship as almost simultaneously they both hooked a salmon making their guide Volodya run from one to another with the net.
The evening was noted by a Birthday cake with candles for Iain who celebrated his 40th Birthday in Kharlovka camp.
Another day of autumn was unseasonably hot. The air temperature must have gone far above 25 C. On one hand the guests could enjoy terrific weather conditions, but on the other, same heat caused the slowdown of salmon activity and made fishing hard work. However our guests were ready for this new challenge. Having turned up the sleeves of their shirts the anglers fought with sweat and dozy salmon. Mike was very close to getting a thirty-plus monster and he even held it for a minute, but…the fish took off the hook taking away the title of ‘the best fish of the week’. Mikael and his triple catch were among the few who were lucky to land a salmon that hot day. The other to make the ‘lucky 5′ were Johnny, Liz. Iain and Richard.
The last day of the fishing week got a little cooler and the results went up immediately. John, Fritz and Mikael went fishing instead of breakfast and shared three salmon between the three of them. John didn’t catch a fish but he managed to be a great operator for Fritz, whose silver sixteen pounder got filmed in the best traditions of the ASR Studios J Liz landed another 20 pound fish in Ledge to celebrate the end of the week. It was the same for Richard and Mikael who performed at the very best to add to the best results of the ‘family group’. One for all and all for one – as goes the popular saying.
By the end of the day all speeches were made, all PB and the ‘Best Fish of the Week’ certificates handed in to the happy anglers… another wonderful week, a week full of good news has come to its end. On their way back the anglers will undoubtedly reminisce about all the fishy moments, the stunning arctic colors and the sunny joyful days they spent amongst friends on Kharlovka camp.
Maria and Justin
Three Rivers report for the week ending Friday 2nd September
This was to be the first of the Three Rivers Weeks with our team of 16 anglers fishing 2 days each on the Kharlovka, Litza and Rynda Rivers. Grouped into teams of 2 or 3 there were miles of river to be covered and for this week the knowledge that the rivers had been unfished over the previous fortnight.
As with any week on the ASR guests approach it with a heady mix of anticipation, expectation and hopes of a fish that might sit alongside the record 47lb monster salmon gracing the walls of the Kharlovka Camp. For those following the fishing and weather reports there was also a level of apprehension as the Kola Peninsula has had a long record hot summer to date.
On arrival in Murmansk cloudy skies and an updated weather report suggested encouraging rainy conditions. With the Kharlovka gauge showing a record low of -19 the change of weather was greeted with anxious anticipation in a manner that only salmon fishermen can appreciate seriously inclement weather. The heavy rains that were forecast arrived on Sunday with the rivers rose a welcome 18 cm and then a further 4 cm over the course of the week ending up at a respectable but still unseasonably low but more respectable height of +3. The weather turned colder throughout the week and this again was a significant improvement helping lower the tepid water temperatures of high summer.
For the 5 anglers who had never salmon fished before, with no bench-mark to compare the rivers it was all new and exciting but for the more experienced and veteran rods it meant having to relearn the rivers and to a certain extent the techniques needed to winkle out a lethargic leviathan or two. Areas that would normally be white-water now revealed glassy holding spots with fish moving away from some of the main pools in favour of the more highly oxygenated areas.
Heavy fog on the first Saturday afternoon prevented a two rivers deployment but all 16 rods spread out over the full length of the Kharlovka from National Park to Sea Pool and despite the extremely low-water a reasonable amount of action was experienced even if it did not translate into big numbers in the book. Vyacheslav, who headed a team of three Russians showed Maxim and his 14yr old son Gregori, (both of whom had never fished before), how it was done with an 18lb fish from Tail of Canyon as well as loosing a second good-sized fish. Henrik one of three ‘Super Swede’ brothers landed his first ever salmon on a fly.
Sunday saw the start of the rain which although extremely welcome made for a very wet day which tested clothing to the limits. John, another salmon fishing novice who had made the long trip from Australia with his wife Valerie, landed an impressive 4 salmon on the rising river whilst fishing partner Michael added another two from Lower Kharlovka. Over on the Rynda it was Krister who had a story to tell hooking a fish in Eagles Nest which looked set to beat his previous 28lb personal best (PB). Although the line initially hummed tight like a wire with concerns that the fly was attached to a boulder guide Sasha confirmed that this was no inanimate object and after a stubborn start the monster fish quickly found its legs and after tantalizingly showing itself tore off down stream into the rapids. After a significant chase and holding on grimly for survival Krister managed to ease the fish back to the pool but with 15 mins on the clock and when it appeared the upper hand had been gained the hook was gracefully returned to the owner.
With the rivers revitalized by the heavy rains by Monday expectations were high. Despite the promising outlook as is normally the case following a prolonged period of hot weather and low-water the fishing remained steady with 48 hrs being the time before an appreciable improvement is noticed. Never the less there are always surprises and of course notable exceptions, the highlight being a sea-liced 26lb Osenka (winter run salmon) from Middle Tent. Proving the maxim that you ‘won’t catch a fish unless your flies’ in the water’, Justin, having made a final cast from a rocky platform in the midst of the rapids of Upper Tent, with back turned went to navigate his way back to the home bank when the line went taught. With no guide or net to hand, a nerve wracking retreat from the centre of the river to the home bank was followed by a cliff dash down the side of ‘upper’ middle Tent, all to the encore of Chris from a scenic vantage point. Finally an almost continuously air-born and highly acrobatic sea-liced 26lb Osenka was subdued and pictures taken. A further fresh grilse and a 24lb salmon from Red Cliff rounded off a very memorable but not unusual Litza day. Elsewhere Harald landed a 25 lb Salmon from the Upper Rynda, his second ever salmon after just 4 days salmon fishing. Young Gregori delighted all and made his father Maxim especially proud taking his first ever fish, a 14lb salmon from Twin Slabs.
Thursday saw conditions substantially improve with 15 fish from the Litza and 11 from the Rynda. Dermot lead the Irish team with 3 nice fish from Litza including a fresh 10lber from the Falls and a 16 and 18 lb PB fish from Secret pool. Krister wielding a ‘German Flag Sunray consolidated the Swedish efforts with a 29lb Osenka from Red Cliff along with a 16,14 and a grilse. The Osenka looked likely to be unsurpassed as the fish of the week and showing true Viking form substantial celebrations ensued.
Krister with a 29lb Osenka from Red Cliff and Justin with a 28lber from Flat Stone
There were many victims in the aftermath of the evenings festivities but despite the casualties inflicted amongst the ranks it did little to dampen the catching power the next day. Chris, Sean and Justin managed 11 fish from the Upper Litza including a 28lber from flat stone, a 20, 18, fresh 16, 16 and a 15lber shared amongst Litza Falls, Flat Stone and Secret Pool. The best however was still to come with a monstrous 37lb fish from Ledge Pool. John, Harald and guide Gena could barely believe their eyes when first the head, expansive flanks and then spade like tail showed as the fish rolled on the surface. With a previous PB of 22lbs John kept a steady nerve even when the structure of the net collapsed under the weight of the fish as it was brought to the bank. A triumphant final day.
Over the autumn season on the northern Kola the rains will arrive. Exactly when is impossible to predict however when they do the Osenka (winter running) salmon will start to appear, dormant salmon will be revitalized and the rivers will yield their treasures. Beginners learnt to cast, everyone caught fish, numerous PB’s were broken along the way and all witnessed the sort of dreams that lurk beside large boulders and deep runs. When the sun shone the burnt oranges, yellows and red of the tundra reflected nature in all its glory. Reindeer herds were visible along the skyline, Lemmings, of which this season has seen an almost unprecedented population explosion, were visible at every turn of the river; squeaking defiantly, swimming occasionally and even climbing a leg … and all to the warming chink of raised glasses at the end of a fun week with great company.
Justin M. S.
Stop the Press – On the final day of the week we all arrived back to the exciting news that Justin McCarthy had been granted permission to return to camp for remainder of the Three Rivers program in addition to receiving a confirmed agreement for the 2012 season!
It was difficult to say who was happier to see whom? Justin or Volodya and rest of the veteran Kharlovka staff…
Low-water conditions looking towards Military Pool along with vivid reds and ever-present Lemmings
Kharlovka web report for the week ending Friday 12-August-11
We had a good week, the water level was evidentially tricky but the weather was consistent, fishy mid teen and over cast all week. The boys all prayed for rain but sadly they’re desperate vodka fuelled psalms where not heard by the powers that be….
August is not easy and we had to work for our fish (no surprises there), everyone was aware by the first evening that it wasn’t going to fall into our laps. As per normal there was the chance of fresh summer salmon on every tide and these fish entering the systems certainly assisted in waking up the old residents that by this time have had every fly under the sun, whistled longingly passed they noses. Tactics had to be original and those who dared! Won! Johnny had great success on the bomber and the Sunray seems to be the most appetizing of offerings.
On Monday at just before luncheon I believe I was the first to make contact with something bigger than norm! Sam and I had fished Canyon down twice with the standard willie guns and Green highlander combo but on my third trip I opted for a very sparkly sunray with ‘eat me’ eyes attached to the head. I was just working out a short line ( and WOOOOOSSHHH!! A fish came from the bottom of Canyon like a torpedo leaving a sub… The take was so violent my rod nearly left my hand, after a heart-in-mouth 25 minutes fight, which took me into lower canyon and nearly into the pond. Big Alex was as cool as a cucumber as he slipped he net under the 31lbs cock fish. I was quite emotional to land my dream of fish over 30lbs! It was a dream and now its reality, next target is 40…..
Sam fished the pool down again and sure enough he was into a fish strait away on the same Sunray! We’d found the magic fly of the minute… rather frustrating the spool decided to jump out of the reel and wouldn’t go back in! This meant Sam had to play the fish and I wound the reel and tried to stop the spool from the falling out. The fish was eventually landed and weighed in 10lbs.
Hectors Big Fish out of Secret pool was a mighty battle, running like mad to stop it going down the rapids, the fish eventually settled between two rocks, worryingly knocking its head like mad… Andrea declared the fish as was off!!! But Hector had faith and few moment later the rocks sprang into life, reel singing like again …. The beautifully marked 30lbs cock fish hit Andrea’s net and it was high fives and whoops bellowing down the Litza valley.
James Dawes put 7 fish in the book for the week, as did Archie. Edwin managed to winkle a big trout or a salmon out where ever he went, this being his 4th trip to the Kharlovka the harden veteran pulled a lovely 20lbs fish out of Flat stone wisely casting a stonefly nymph upstream.
I personally had a wonderful last day on the Seatrout, managing to bank 8 in the day, 6lbs,5lbs,5lbs,4.5lbs,4lbs,3lbs,3lbs and smallest at 2lbs….. proper sport on 9 foot trout rod.
As we left the seapool on the last evening ( no joke) a 30lbs Osenka did a mesmerizing jump and victory roll! Sounded like a 10 ton bolder had be dropped into the pool.
All of us got into the helicopter pondering on the thought- that had we had another foot and half of water we might have had a few dates with these mysterious Osenka…
Harry and Maria
Kharlovka Web Report for week 9 ending Friday 29-July-11
It was a truly international party that arrived at Kharlovka camp on 23rd July. There was Jeff from America, an international sportsman who has been the terror of fish and birds worldwide. Then there was Trond and Kristjan from Norway and Iceland respectively who are two of the best salmon fishers from those Salmon rich countries. Eugene comes from the West of Ireland and is one of the few successful organic salmon farmers. Brian and Simon come from the North of the Emerald Isle and arrived without tackle or clothes as these were lost by British Airways. No party would be the same without our Russian brethren and this consisted of Gennadiy and his daughter Anna who, it will be seen proved to be the star of the party. Finally there were a gathering of Brits; Mike and his son Hugh, David, a veteran of the Kharlovka who was paired with Hugh, who had never before ventured further than the Deveron in Scotland, and George an old hand at both Kharlovka and Rynda. There was an immediate bonding which clearly proves that all politicians should fish and thus make international relations happy and easy.
It was not an easy week as the river was lower than anyone could ever remember and there was often blazing sunshine. However, on the Tuesday rain poured down in a tropical torrent and the river rose 10cms. As the rain fell and the helicopter was about to arrive Eugene gave a cry such as would have driven the Vikings from his native Connemara, and was hooked into an obviously big fish. This turned out to be a beautiful 20lb salmon which was his personal best.
There was obviously a good run of grilse as both Hugh, son of Mike, and George returned each day with approximately 10 between them. Hugh’s father, Mike, usually returned soaked through having yet again fallen in! Almost as successful at disaster was Simon who sadly was broken by leviathans four times in two days before landing a magnificent 18lb fresh cock.
After the rain hopes were high but it seemed to make little difference as the fishing was still hard. However, with a massed experience of nearly 1000 years the team stuck at it and every day there were smiling faces and stories of joy and disaster. However, the greatest tale of the week came from 15 year old Anna, daughter of Gennadiy, who with typical female determination and fervour eventually threw success into the face of failure. Poor Anna had lost no less than 10 fish over the week, some of them of a good size. She did not whine, she did not grizzle, she stuck at her task and eventually fate bowed to her persistence and on the last day she caught 4 wonderful salmon with the biggest at 20lbs without assistance or interference from the lesser sex! Finally on the last day the gods had smiled on the party and sent a big run of fresh fish and grilse into the Kharlovka and Eastern Litza, nine of which were caught at Litza falls by Trond and Kristjan, the biggest being 19lbs.
As always it was a truly memorable week, full of laughter and happiness with some great fish thrown in for good measure. It was typical of the two rivers that they seem coyly to hold back their treasures and then award them to those who persist.
Michael and Justin
Kharlovka web report for week 8 ending Friday, 22-July-11
A varied group of American, English, Scottish, Irish and Danish anglers entered camp this week with some trepidation after reports of 30 degree weather and low water. There can be no doubt that this has been a strange and unusual year not just within the ASR but across the Kola as a whole. The snow pack which had been quite normal lost a huge amount of its water content after hot weather in April the water reserves melting away rapidly in late May.
It became evident fairly early on that a reappraisal of tactics was required as many of the larger early running fish had taken the Kharlovka Falls at least a month earlier than usual or assumed a state of semi-dormancy due to high temperatures and low water. Large salmon were reported in numbers by our trout programme members more than 60km from the sea. Salmon fishermen by nature are not without optimism and it is to the credit of our team this week that they went up and at them whatever obstacles Nature had contrived to place in their way this season. Fortunately light rain and cloudy conditions pushed water and air temperatures down in the early week and reasonable runs of grilse and smaller summer salmon decided to leave the estuaries and hit the rivers.
Pods of fresh fish could be found in pockets of highly oxygenated water and switching between skating small hitch tubes and Icelandic style micro flies resulted in decent results from time to time with very aggressive surface oriented fish. This been said long time rod Eddie had little time for small fly nonsense continuing to heft out big flies for big fish! Eddie may not have put many in Big Alex’s net over the course of the week but anything he did get was in the high teens of pounds including a colossal 36 pounds fish from National Park a personal best from his many visits to the ASR. His fishing partner Nick kept with the pace to the end landing five nice fish from Julians Pool, a place he also favoured to illustrate his fine swimming style to his colleagues after pirouetting on a cunningly placed boulder.
Our Northern Irish contingent were a walking advertisement for the best of modern flyfishing gear and nobody can say that they did not put the hours in, particularly Brendan whose early morning exploits on the Home Pool met with frequent success. Alan made note of this to good effect and ably assisted by Vassili landed four salmon one morning as Brendan slept in his cabin. Clive would have partaken in the early morning stints however his onerous duties as a late night raconteur meant that he delegated this experience to his more alert friends. Richard from the USA was attached to the group as a token Irishman and from someone who had never picked up a double handed rod before he became a very capable caster after careful tuition by Dima. Apart from catching some nice fish he was thoroughly surprised to be presented with a small birthday cake at the dinner table on the last evening, never let it be said that Volodoya does not have an eye for detail!
The veteran and much loved Sue and Nico put in an additional stint at Kharlovka being picked up wader clad en-route. Their easy style and measured observations made their company a pleasure for all with a vast range of lore encompassing all Kola rivers from the very earliest days. Neither have lost a sure touch with the salmon and several were dutifully landed even in the most difficult and trying conditions. Sue particularly enjoyed the spectacle of Brendan quickly gearing up for trout when fog meant that the helicopter made a safety stop on the tundra beside a small creek and lake system, several three pounders resulted as necessity was made the mother of invention.
Sean, Dominic and young Felix fished assiduously with fourteen year old Felix putting a personal best of 14 pounds in the book. Sean did some serious damage with small flies often to be seen making repairs at the vice in the evening to a bedraggled Stoats Tail readying it for action the following day. Due to a baggage mishap en route Sean arrived as classic “Naked Man” but a bit of rummaging in the stores and tweaking of equipment had him up and running and all credit to him for not letting this detract from his sport. Dominic is an example to us all of perseverance in the face of adversity and skilled use of one of Peter’s small craft and hard work by Igor meant that he made a valuable contribution to the weeks total.
Alan and Rasmus walked many kilometres and put in a serious amount of casting effort continually improving and adding to their abilities as salmon anglers. Alan picked up a nice 8lb sea trout from the Island Pool of Kharlovka along with several salmon, but catch of the week must go to young Rasmus who after landing four grilse by conventional means tickled (and returned) a somnolent grilse from the Eastern Litza with his bare hands!!!
Richard and Andrew came to a rapid conclusion that they were going to have to draw upon their experience of dibbling the Kyle of Sutherland rivers and put these tactics to good effect daring to fish a dropper through the pots and runs reckoning that should an errant crocodile grab hold they would make do and mend. They were not fortunate enough to see this happen albeit one rod lost a 25 pounds plus fish on the Eastern Litza after it popped it’s head out amongst a group of grilse and snaffled a size 12 Black Bear double before ending matters with a 2 metre backward somersault.
In total the rods reached comfortably into three figures despite a few days of soaring air and water temperatures and admiringly maintained morale in testing circumstances. The majority of fish caught were spanking fresh grilse and smaller summer salmon but several fish were into double figures and due to the very small flies and fine leaders – a considerable amount of fish were lost. More temperate weather moved into the area on Friday and heavy rain and cloud have hopefully left a sound foundation for next weeks anglers with a 6cm water rise on the morning of departure.
Gordon and Justin
Kharlovka web report for week 7 ending Friday, 15-July-11
Last week it was a family occasion on the Kharlovka including 3 fathers and sons, a young nephew and another mum and son team from the countries of England, Northern Ireland, Canada, and Russia. Unfortunately this joyful bunch was arriving to what would turn out to be some of the hottest and cruellest fishing conditions that we have seen this far north for many years.
In addition to the low water conditions, the guests had to contend with scorching temperatures that soared to 35 degrees C during the first half of the week. This in turn brought the river temperatures up to 20 degrees C and many of the salmon down to the depths. On Tuesday and Wednesday it rained like cats on dogs in Murmansk raising the big river up 15 centimetres leading to some of the best fishing this summer. Unfortunately on the Northern Rivers there was only a few sprinkles – some large temperature and barometer fluctuations – heavy fog and very strong winds.
The boys from Belfast.
A record of the air/water temperatures and the river level – taken each morning at 07:30.
Despite the tricky start to the week Elizabeth proved that pheromones do work in all conditions pulling in a salmon the very first evening and then another one the next day in addition to some large trout up at the Kharlovka National Park. Young Freddie and Finn had a blast up at the Kharlovka Falls each landing their P.B.s of 16 and 17 pounds. After landing a couple nice salmon as well the father Tom wisely decided to join the boys by jumping off the rocks to cool off in the pool. After you beat them – join them!
Apart from their glowing faces – all the big trout and the time they each went diving in the pool – other salmon fishing highlights during the week included Jonathan’s spanking fresh 22 pounder off the lower Kharlovka. It would have been a real day to remember for our mate from Belfast if he had been able to hang onto the 30+ pounder that came off before Valentin could put it in the net. James proved it was possible on one of the hottest days with his trusty Sunray landing three up to 14 pounds at the Litza Falls.
During the middle of the week the drastic cool down into the single digits – strong winds and warm rivers made the going especially challenging. Ron did seem to take much notice as he displayed his skills that day on the Lower Kharlovka going onto land three salmon including a couple of very satisfying 14 and 20 pounders just before the helicopter arrived. Adrian and young Will continued to battle through with Will taking lead over his father. The next day in addition to losing the fight with two monsters they also lost their fly box down the river during the struggle.
Thankfully Big Alex was there for Freddie when he thought he hooked the boulder. Having made this mistake before Freddie wisely looked to Alex who gave him the signal to back off the tension just in the nick of time. After a good battle that went on for some time, Freddie managed to put his new 20 pound P.B. into Alex’s net. Both Freddie and his Father Simon had an exciting last morning up at the Litza Falls taking 5 salmon up to 18 pounds before lunch. Richard and Jonathan struggled the last day on the middle Kharlovka however after a quick drink back in the lodge Jonathan went for a short walk to pull out 4 in a row up to 17 pounds out of the Grilse Stones.
The fishing guides are certainly tanner than we have seen them for many years! Reindeer have bunched into great numbers atop the hills along the breezy coast of the Barents Sea. Cool air and a grey mist have replaced the heat and bright sun they all arrived to. It appears that high summer on the northern Kola is finally coming to an end. With a bit of rain and some cooling temperatures we are optimistic for the big results that are surely still to come!
Justin and Katya
Kharlovka report for week 6 ending Friday, 8-July-11
Due to the poor conditions last Saturday across the Kola Peninsula our latest team was delighted to finally arrive late afternoon in the Kharlovka camp. Peter and Vladimir were also there to greet and welcome our international guests as the came together from the counties of Switzerland, Spain, England and Russia. It was all especially exciting for our new Russian friends as this was one of their first fly-fishing adventures ever.
Sunday started off with a bang as Volodya went down to test out the Home pool in the morning and ended up hauling in his second salmon of the season. During an epic 45 battle, Volodya radioed up to the lodge to call for assistance and a cameraman. Thankfully his cries for help were heard by Katya as well as Egor the generator man. Katya started snapping photos and the Egor turned out to be useless in this situation as this was the largest salmon he had ever seen and was scared to death of losing it and getting fired! Volodya ended up netting his own satisfying 108cm – 34 salmon himself.
If that wasn’t enough to get the troops fired up on Sunday then the short story about Matt’s successes on the upper Litza surely was. Sneaking up to the Sercet pool with his Sunray Shadow Matt hooked into a monster on his second cast. “The fish first went up then turned round and went down – actually it was going wherever it wanted!” Alex shouted: “Don`t let it go down!” Matt was pulled down – then fish again turned upstream again. Matt’s hands were trembling – he lost a camera lens cover – before he finally managed to slide his new 114cm P.B 36 pounder into Alex’s net – shattering Matt’s old Litza P.B. of last season of 31 pounds. Matt went on to find three more tiddlers that unforgettable day of 14, 15 and 18 pounds.
Armed with their cameras and video equipment our Spanish amigos did well the first day with 9 super salmons up to 19 pounds. The Russians celebrated a great day as well with 7 of their first salmon ever including a couple of 19 pounders that were followed on with many evening toasts and birthday songs for Sergey. Sergey was so inspired that his wonderful evening toasts went on through the week. There was a nice atmosphere as the Russians bonded with the west raising their glasses to the foreigners who had influenced and changed their attitudes to fly-fishing – catch and release and protecting nature. Sergey great speech was met with an applause from his new friends from the west.
Other fishing highlights during the week included Paul’s new 22 pound P.B. which he lured in with a Collie Dog in record time. With the video camera running his partner in crime Bruce ended up chasing after his 15 pounder for some 30 minutes as his salmon went crazy jumping and running all over the place. Hugo had a nice day following the camp dog along the trails going on to pick up a pleasing 22 pounder followed by a couple more medium salmon down in the shallow pockets of the Grilse Stones. Tuesday seemed to be Rodion and Vladimir’s day on the Lower Kharlovka where even though Vladimir ended up falling in twice – they had the fishing day of their life landing 6 salmon including a couple of 26, 27 and 27 pounders! The next day it was Vyacheslav’s (a complete beginner) turn where with the help of his trusty guide Vasiliy managed to land a 23 pounder after a memorable 50 minute battle. He said that the key to him finding this great salmon was that he started his bad casting well above the hot spots so that he has a decent chance when he gets down to where the fish are.
Although Josep did not catch quite as many as his Spanish friends he had a real talent for being the last one to cast into the pool – using the same fly as his friends and then pulling out the largest salmon – Josep was very proud of his hard earned 19, 21 and 27 pounders. Carles and Dima had an amazing day up above the Kharlovka fall in the National Park. With the low water conditions the salmon have begun to jump the Kharlovka falls much earlier than normal as Carles proved they were definitely up there landing three great salmon of 20, 23, and 26 pounds.
The Kharlovka team had an exciting end to the week pulling in 24 salmon on the final day including 28, 26, 23, 22, 22, 22, 20, 20 pounders! It was the third cast into the Lower Tent that produced the big results for Sergey as he broke his P.B with a spectacular 28 pounder. The day was so good that Hugo managed to land 7 of the 12 salmon that he hooked on his favourite small in addition to making time for three tundra naps! Despite all the sun and low water this season, there have also been lots of happy campers lately as the rivers continue to produce the big results.
Kharlovka Web report for week 5 ending Friday, 1-July-11
Our latest team of international guests from England, Japan, Austria, Iceland, and Russia arrived last Saturday to some of the warmest – low water conditions so far this season. Reaching to nearly 30 degrees C on the opening day the rivers started out with a frustrating first evening temperature of 19.4 degrees C.
Thankfully the conditions gradually cooled down during the first half of the week with the air temperatures dropping back into the high single digits. Although the water would remain warmer than the air for the first several days, the fishing results would began to slowly improve as the rivers cooled to a midweek temperature of 12C.
The second half of the week was breezy with more warming temperatures followed by some promising scattered showers. On the final day of the week the warm drizzle changed into a cool fog with low clouds and poor visibility which led to outbound delays across the Kola Peninsula.
Despite the low water and variable weather conditions on the north coast lately there have been plenty of highlights to keep the boys smiling. Starting off with our Bolshoi friend Leonid who after warming up the previous week on the Kharlovka with his secret weapon of porridge and onions for breakfast along with several great salmon including the 41.8 pounder – landed five more up to 23 pounds to start his second weekend off right. Tim had a cracking 23 pounder as well out of the Litza Military pool putting an early smile on his face. Richard got off to a frustrating start loosing a couple of beauties in the mid twenties including a 25 pounder that bounced off the guides net the first day on the upper Kharlovka. It was also reported that Valery had some problems getting started losing his first two big salmon to straighten hooks!
Early in the week Egor was off to the Kharlovka races successfully chasing down his 25 pounder while singing sonnets as he sprinted from the Washing Machine all the way to the Home pool. Unfortunately Arnica lost the big one going 1 for 7 up at the Kharlovka falls. It was Arthur who seemed to have the hot hand to start the week getting everyone excited with the news of his 30 pound Litza Dream breaking his old P.B. by several pounds.
Other highlights included Peter and Vladimir’s midweek dinner visit to the Kharlovka leaving all the guests with a good feelings about the exciting future of the ASR. Valery went on to impress the team as well where after nearly being blown into the river he managed come back to break his P.B. with a fantastic 32 pounder from the Litza Reindeer pool on his favourite Golden Killer fly.
After loosing a couple of good ones down in Julian’s pool, Gerald was rewarded for not giving up with a nice 20 pounder just before the helicopter was due to arrive. Meanwhile his mate Richard was getting dragged around on the island pool finally putting a fine pair of 17 and 22 pounders into Kola’s net. And let’s not forget about our other friend Richard and Arthur and Big Alex who landed seven salmon up to 24 pounds their last blessed day up at the Litza Falls.
As we all know by now, no matter what the unpredictable conditions may be up here, the mighty Kharlovka always seems to produce the big highlights. It must also be said that, there were certainly many more fish hooked than actually made it to the nets. Nevertheless, the boys managed to make up for any loses with their nightly saunas and socializing back in the lodge. “Fishing is about pleasure!” The Russians proclaimed. “There is no rush to do anything. You must make the most of every precious summer day.”
Stay tuned for the next Kharlovka fishing clip which will appear later in the week.
Kharlovka web report for week 4 ending Friday 24-Jun-11
Don’t miss the 1st Kharlovka video teaser clip of 2011.
An interesting mix of international gentlemen arrived to the Kharlovka camp last week from the countries of England, Scotland, US, Spain, Japan and Russia – nearly all of them familiar faces who had been with us many times before.
So far this season the weather conditions have been all over the place with periods of extremely hot sunny weather followed on by windy cold snaps. This week would be much the same with the team arriving to cool unsettled conditions before shifting midweek back to another warming trend with gusty winds. The already shallow rivers went from a perfect starting temperature of 10 degrees C up to a warm 17 degrees C by the final afternoon.
Craig who was returning to the Kharlovka for the 12th time along with the rookie Chris – both got off to good starts to the week with a couple of lively 23 pounders. Next it was the veteran Stewart holding up a super 25 pounder for the camera to take the early pressure off in the Lower Canyon. Then it was our Spanish amigos Enric and Pepe – along with their box full of Sunray shadows returning from the Litza to log in seven buenos salmons – that ranged through the upper teens to 23 pounds.
Jeremy seemed to have the hot hand on Monday battling a cool northern breeze and pulling in seven more through the pools of the lower Kharlovka with the aid on his trusty Monroe killer. Next came the cool cat Leonid who managed to Sunray in a fine brace of Litza 20 and 26 pounders. Our good friend Sugai from Japan followed that stunt on the following day pulling in nice pair of 21 and 24 pounders off the Kharlovka falls.
By midweek Chris was quickly losing his rookie status teasing in three more bright silver Litza beauties of 18, 18, and 20 pounds off the middle Litza with his collection of Sunrays and Collie Dogs. Chris deserves extra credit for successfully chasing down that 20-pounder, which shot the rapids out of the Tent pool. Unfortunately his fishing partner lost seven good salmon for Scotland the very same day!
As the weather conditions improved later in the week our Russian friends began posting some big results of their own. Although Dimitri did well to land his 19, 23 and 24 pounders and Valery and Vladimir were most pleased with their 22-pound prizes – It was Leonid that ended up stealing the show.
After casting away like a champion through the morning to no avail, Leonid wisely decided to take a break on the island at Guy’s pool. This gave time for Big Alex and his fishing partner Igor time to cross the river and fish their way down towards the Lower Canyon. Before leaving the pool Big Alex noticed a huge salmon roll on the surface. After waving over to Leonid to give him the big fish sign, they continued working their way downstream. Faced with a difficult decision Leonid chose not to go with his favourite Golden Killer this time and went with a good sized Sunray. It wasn’t long thereafter that he was hooked up to something very solid. For the first five minutes he didn’t think that it was any bigger than the 26-pounder he landed the day before but not wanting to take any chances he began to whistle for his life. Thankfully his cries for help were carried down to the lower canyon on the back of a swift southern breeze. While Leonid was waiting he decided to try to persuade his great salmon towards the bank when he realized that it was far too large and powerful to attempt on his own. Leonid later reported that it felt like a week had passed before Big Alex and Igor finally returned. With everyone now in position Leonid lifted his tired rod to its breaking point one last time and slid the monster into Alex’s net. Measuring 117cm and 41.8 pounds – Leonid shattered his long standing previous P.B. of 28 pounds. That evening everyone gathered around to see the photos and raised their glasses for several toasts – to the big salmon and also to Vladimir and for the promising future of the ASR.
Along with another honourable mention for Jeremy who finished off with four more for the road on the middle Litza including a pleasing brace of 22 pounders – the final highlight of the week certainly belonged to Anatoly who had a wonderful time hauling in back to back to back salmon of 15 – 20 and 34 pounds out of the Red Cliff.
Although the low warm water and variable conditions have proved challenging thus far, it has always been much more about quality than quantity on the Northern Rivers with plenty of big silver highlights being spread amongst the boys. Clouding over once again to end the week with the sound of distant thunder in the air, we remain optimistic for the coming weeks ahead.
Last week’s Kharlovka team consisted of a bunch of good ol’ English mates, a couple of fishing fanatics from Switzerland along with some Great Russia friends – in addition to Sugai from Japan (who returning for the 18th season was going into his third Kharlovka week in a row!) and the super Swede Mikael -who just can’t seem to get enough of the Northern Rivers. After surviving some of the hottest spring temperatures that any of us could ever remember on the second week of the season including a midweek Litza river temperature of 15 degrees, we were all delighted when our latest group arrived to covered skies and cooling temperatures.
Not surprisingly it was our reserved friend Rae that broke the international ice by cracking a few bear jokes to loosen the lads up and get the party rolling. Despite getting off to a decent start including a couple dozen salmon the first weekend and a 34 pound Litza monster for Mark which excited them all, the fishing would remain challenging through the week mainly due to the fact that the water temperatures remained several degrees warmer that the air. It really wasn’t until the very end that the cool air and warm rivers finally began to level out again.
Unfortunately Mikael had to check out early and return home on the Monday for family matters. Along with our condolences, Mikael managed to pull in 10 salmon including a couple 20+ers along with several in the upper teens on his single-handed rod before his unexpected early departure. Mikael wanted to thank his friends again for dragging those 5 large kit bags back to Arlanda for him! He owes you all!!
Our buddy Karl got everyone fired up again early week with his Monkey fly and the encouraging news of his 31-pounder out of the Litza Snowbank pool. As big fish Mark and Karl were paired together – a bottle of fine champagne suddenly appeared that was appreciated that evening amongst the team in celebration of their early brace of 30 pounders! Next is was David and Johnny’s turn returning from a successful overnight run down the middle Litza with a total of 13 salmon including a brace of fine 26 and 27 pounders. It was reported that their trusty guide Big Alex had to forge the river after one of Johnny’s salmon that had shot across to the other side wrapping itself around the rock. After freeing the line from a boulder Big Alex wasn’t taking any chances taking the decision himself to scoop up the salmon with his net mid stream.
And let’s not forget about those great guys from Switzerland where after first losing a good sized salmon on tent pool and then another one on the upper tent pool, that his guide Dima estimated to be in the 30 lbs range – Juerg finally managed to tease in a gloriously fresh 22 pounder out of the upper tent pool. Unfortunately Ulrich – his partner in crime who thankfully managed to land an unforgettable 17 pounder will be remembered most for those back-to-back pike he managed to pull in from the same spot!
Although certain sections of the rivers were producing great results, the cool air in combination with the warm waters proved to be tricky on some of the other beats. Most of the taking salmon seemed to be staying through the lower halves of the rivers while the upper pools continued to be challenging through the week. Later in the week Vladimir and Andrey had a nice time rolling down through the middle Kharlovka splitting seven salmon between them. It was also reported that Michael and Hammish had a couple of the most exciting fishing days of their life on a Litza overnight adventure pulling in 9 salmon – beating their old P.B’s several times over with a few great fish of 18, 22, 24, and 25 pounders! Simon and Rae finally had their day on the Litza going on to land several in a row including a double hook up at the same time – eventually pulling in 9 salmon including a couple of 21.5 and 25 pound beauties.
On the wildlife front – it seems that there was a lively group discussion about this mystical animal that Simon managed to photograph swimming late one evening in the Home pool. The group concluded that it was a beaver however Volodya who has been in camp since time began swears that we are located much too far north into the arctic tundra for there to be any beavers living here? It was agreed that Simon’s photo would be published to the web for you all to decide yourself.
Kharlovka Web Report for week 2 ending Friday, 10-Jun-11
Following an exciting opening week with abnormally warm temperatures and plenty of silver highlights for our previous boys, this time around it was our good friend Mikael Frodin who was back again for the 14th time to lead the way for an eager team of Master Class apprentices.
Everything looked suspiciously perfect to start the week. After a short helicopter ride across the stunning north coast they touched down about an hour later to summer-like conditions. Along with the lush green leaves on the birch, their was also an encouraging first day water temperature of 7.1 degrees C – warm covered skies with 15 degrees C along with a good water level of 69cm on the Home pool scale.
As usual Mikael jumped off the helicopter first to proclaim – “Unbelievable it feels like July – Fantastic! During all my years here I have only seen an early spring like this once before! Unlike the low single digits temperatures that we normally have to battle with this time of year – This looks very, very good! ”
Last week we did our best to take Mikael’s Spey rod away from him and make him wear the professor’s hat. For 20 minutes every morning and evening through the week, Mikael led a professionally prepared power point discussion on all the finer points of our beloved yet sometimes bewildering sport. Not surprisingly he also managed to sneak a few salmon in along the way!
On Sunday we were all blown away by the extreme change in weather! It went from 23 degrees C to a howling north wind that took the temperature back down to 5 C again in a matter of hours! It was a strange start to the week as a few hours later the sun came out and we watched the thermometer rise back up to 15 C! To top things off the midnight sun shinned well into the night like nothing had ever happened!
Lesson number 1 – Salmon never ever like dramatic changes in the conditions! The water temperature was up to 9C before the weekend was over. Keith took the fish of the day for Scotland even though he proudly adorned the “Super Swede” tie for dinner.
On Monday the team woke up to another fantastic day with bright blue sky and temperatures over 20 Celsius. Mikael coached his way through the groups and had already spent a few hours with all his Master class pupils. He declared this to be a talented group of fishermen with most of them casting 25 yards with full control. Today saw the fifth Master Class lecture – including the importance of the “speed of the fly” which along with Sunday’s lesson about “The perfect drift” seemed to be the most appreciated lessons so far. Mikael’s lectures often led to heated discussions stemming from the group’s varying fishing experiences. Power Point presentations that were projected to a screen over dinner were a great success! Everyone including Mikael seemed to learn something new each day – the only thing we needed were a few more salmon to run in and for the weather to settle back down!
Johannes was the king of day after winning a hard fought 40-minute battle with a fantastic 25 pounder out of the Home Pool. Mikael couldn’t resist following Johannes down to get his first Kharlovka 16 pounder of the year! “Covered in sealice it was super nice!!”
Mikael scribed a few notes about his midweek experiences on the Litza – “My first day at Litza this year! This is a fabulous river – the best in the world, in my world any way! Today I fished Snowbank and Military with my friends Hendrik and Thommy – Big T has double gold, World championships and Olympics and also my respect! I am sorry I couldn’t coach them to any great fish this morning. We even took the little rubber boat and changed side but it wasn’t meant to be. Next I took the young Russian fisherman Dima who was from the south near the Black Sea with me to Reindeer pool and to make a very sunny – windy story shorter – it was a big success! Two great salmon of 12 and 18 lbs gave us a crazy happiness with high jumps and Russian victory screams that none of us had ever heard before!”
The next day on the Litza Johanes had an interesting – no a frustrating time with a couple of fish in the Litza “Classics” that pulled and played with almost every fly he gave them – S%^*! Wednesday was ridiculously hot with a temperature of 30 degrees + in the shade! Some of us could remember back to last year at this same time when the temperature was just above zero! Very few fish seemed to be coming in and the ones that were ran straight through and were very hard to get to take.
Young Dima had the big rod again today with two nice salmon of 19 and 18 lbs. Jamie from Scotland also manage to land a well deserved after dinner salmon of 18lbs. By Wednesday afternoon the water temperature had reached 15 C and water level had dropped 25 centimetres since they all arrived on Saturday – July conditions?
It was not until Thursday that the weather really began to turn around and the fishing started to improve. Strong winds from the north finally cooled the air back down to 5 degrees C which brought the rivers back to a more seasonal reading of 10 degrees C. Everything seemed to be coming right as the team landed nearly half their salmon on the final day. Although the numbers fell short of our first week’s results there were enough silver highlights to keep them coming back for more. “Despite the challenging conditions last week we all really appreciated Mikael’s Master Class lessons! Besides bringing us together as a group, we all learned a few new tricks!”
Justin and Mikael
Kharlovka Web Report for week 1 ending Friday, 3-Jun-11
It all starts out every spring – with that long anticipated phone call from our tundra generals Volodya and Kola – arriving early into the camps with their veteran Russian staff to make sure that every detail has been addressed for the big season ahead.
Following another cold, dark arctic winter with an above average snowfall, cool spring conditions that seemed to be isolated this year to the extreme northern coast of the Kola Peninsula, held on through the middle of May. It was reported on the 17th that those stubborn single-digit days and short freezing nights suddenly transformed overnight into summer-like conditions. High pressure with bright sun along with several days of 20+ degree temperatures hit the north coast one week before the arrival of our first guests. As a result the ice began to break up and the waters quickly began to rise. The mighty Kharlovka River peaked just days before our opening with an estimated home pool reading – flooding to over 150+cm on the home pool scale.
On Saturday the 28th of May, thirteen hard-core-spring-salmon-fishing addicts arrived from England, Russia, Switzerland, Iceland and Sweden to the Kharlovka camp.
The early spring conditions turned out to be far better than anyone could have expected! Here is a snapshot of the home pool statistics that were gathered through the week at 07:30. (Centigrade/Centimetres)
Team Sweden, who will be returning later on again in the season for round II on the Rynda, was lured back again by Timo – their fearless leader. Despite their black shirts and military appearances, these good old-boys dream all season about the big salmon! So much so, that Timo has presented us with a summary of the first week’s fishing on the Kharlovka camp.
“Thankfully we were the first people of the season to cast our tubes into the Kharlovka/Litza! The group experience – which ranged from 1 week to more than 30 years – proved to be a winning concept.”
“For example – Big (Guideline) Dave, who was among one of the Kharlovka veterans, led our rookie friend Mathias to his silver PB one late night at home pool. Mathias was truly an inspiration to us all showing a never ending enthusiasm even though he struggled through first couple of days. He has now got the “salmon bug” and will travel home to convince his wife – of the necessity to return to Rynda with the rest of Team Sweden for round II – God luck with that Mathias!”
“More on Mathias the beginner! On the last hour of the week – a monster salmon was jumping at his fly at the Litza Military pool. Unfortunately our friend was not able to properly hook the fish and it went off after some minutes.. Mathias was completely “destroyed” after this encounter and almost burst in tears…. anyway he will recover and will be coming back with us for a second go!”
Big Dave and good ol’ John showed their experience landing several of the 20+ers on the week – including this 28 pounder!
It was reported that ‘good ol’ John had an adventurous 700-800m jog after his salmon down out of the Julian’s Pool. This all happened when his buddy Dave was fishing out on the Island together with his guide – so John had no support and was screaming like Hell to get their attention. We finally had to make contact through radio from the other side to get their attention!
Same thing happened to Hans-Olof at Julians, where his uncontrollable salmon ran off – In order not to repeat the encounter with his previous Litza monster the other day he decided to run after this Kharlovka monster! This ended up with a quite exciting show for us all – approx. 1k in distance – downstream following the fish all the way to Sea pool were it was finally landed!
Gretar – our new friend from Iceland – fished together with Diego and managed to improve his PB.
Peter & Michael had a nice morning for Team Sweden fishing Rock Pool with 3 bright sealiced salmon! Michael finally, after 24 years, broke his mental barrier of passing the 10Kg/22Lbs mark with a new PB. Magnus, also quite new to the sport, proved to be some sort of salmon Magneto – pulling in salmon after salmon – including his new PB.”
Hans-Olof – the most experienced in the Swedish Team had a “wonderful” experience fishing Snowbank one morning; first cast at the tail of the pool and suddenly a monster took the fly and off he went, emptying his reel within seconds – +180 meter of backing and 40 meter of running line went off and snapped. After following the fish downstream he then returned back up to the tail of the pool and put on a new reel full of line. First cast – BANG!!! A second monster come out of nowhere – the water exploded when it took the fly – there we went again…same story the fish just went down stream and with a steady pace emptying Hans-Olof’s reel once more. H-O tried to follow but when the reel was empty – the leader snapped! This was all in a period of 10 minutes. H-O was in a state of shock for a while before continuing his fishing. After 3 hours, down in the Classics pool below Snowbank, he suddenly hooked into his own backing and successfully managed to retrieve his lost backing and running line but the head had snagged between some rocks and there was nothing on the end.. Das Veedaniya!!!
“The nice weather continued through the week and the water levels kept on dropping and the temperatures kept on rising which increased the good fishing through the week.”
“As always the Kharlovka staff have done a tremendous job getting the camp ready for another season of “Chasing Silver”- Thank you Peter!”
“In all the week produced a very good number of pure Silvers – along with many many meters of Kelt there were 31 salmon – 7 great salmon were in the 20 pound class – including 4 new PBs and a bunch of new friendships! I am positive that Team Sweden – Iceland – England – Russia and Switzerland will all return to the ASR for another go at the Big Silver!”
Justin and Timo (Team Sweden)