Kharlovka Fishing Week 25 – 2012
Although the signs of summer have been with us from the very beginning this season, last week the weather conditions flipped around reminding us all again of our remote northern location some 300km above the arctic circle. After finishing up the previous week with scorching hots temps of 30 degrees C, we were fortunate to get the latest Kharlovka guests into camp just before the winds switched around and the temperatures started to plummet.
Vladimir Jr. with a nice 15 pounder just before the weather started to turn.
In fact, the ‘gear testing’ conditions were downright nasty for the first 4.5 days of the week. Our latest group of 14 guests (4 of them being good friends of Vladimir’s with very busy schedules who ended up flying home before the middle of the week) battled strong cold winds from the north along with days of drizzling rain and cool air temperatures in the single digits. If it would not have been for the new Euro Helicopter which has 3 times the mobility and fuel efficiency of the old outdated MI-2′s, we could have been stranded for many more days on the Litza. As it was, due to the extremely thick fog, there were only 9 of us for Sunday dinner to start the week on the Litza tent. Not only was it cold, damp and difficult to see but many of our flies were landing well upstream giving some of the boys little hope of temping a salmon up through the shallow warm rivers.
While cool air and warm rivers are not the perfect scenario, we were surprised and delighted to see so many good salmon coming up to the cold surface to have a look at our hitched Sun Rays and small tubes. However, this was certainly one of those weeks where the numbers only told half the story. Day after day the rods would return having landed only a small fraction of the big fish they had managed to hook or tease to the surface. Despite only logging 63 salmon in the Kharlovka book, this continues to be the season of the Big Salmon! For the third week in a row we had a fantastic time bonding together with old friends and new faces, who all worked hard in hopes of landing something very special. Thankfully there were another 6 great salmon landed here last week that were over 30 pounds giving the boys something to return home and brag about. That now makes 16 serious fish over 30 pounds landed on the Kharlovka and Litza rivers in the last 3 weeks, not to mention the fact that we normally land about 1 in every 5 of these great fish as our rivers are intimate and comparatively small and it’s up to you to outwit the salmon, chase them down the rocky banks and put them in the guides net!
Through the wind, mist and fog on the lower Kharlovka, Anton and Anotoly could see nothing but silver on the Sunday. Along with their trusty guide Valentine, they reported salmon jumping and running by them in good numbers all through the day.
There were so many splashing about on the lower Kharlovka that they never had a chance to move from Julian’s pool that day, eventually pulling out 5 salmon including a few nice 17, 22, 24, 26 pounders! All of them had long tailed sea lice!!
Despite not landing a salmon on the Litza that Tuesday – for the first time anyone could remember – Mark managed to start his day off right returning back to the Kharlovka lodge beaming red that morning after having a quick flick in the home pool before breakfast. With time to spare, Mark calmly downloaded the big fish pics onto his new ipad and joined the rest of the group with an extra special big fish story to tell. It turned out that Mark’s great salmon was wearing a tag numbered 03087. After reviewing the archives, this salmon was tagged on the lower Kharlovka back in 2009 with a recorded weight of 18 pounds. Remarkably, this salmon has returned home to chase flies and spawn again 3 years later now weighting in at 35 pounds (109cm)! Who said that ‘catch and release’ does not pay?
When the going gets tough, the tough get going! After showing the rest of the gang how it was done in the home pool, Mark went on to break his old standing personal best later in the week with a great 36 pounder (111cm) out of the upper tent pool.
And if that wasn’t enough, he also pulled another 30 pounder out of the Dream pool! Thankfully Mark is a gentlemen and managed to share a few salmon with his good friend Rae who did his best to pick up the big fish scraps landing 4 beauties of 20, 21, 21, and 26 pounds.
And then there was Mikael, who after taking a couple of days off during the week to kindly help the others in need and with the rest of the team suddenly electing to return back to the warm luxuries of Kharlovka camp that evening, suddenly found himself with the Litza tent pools all to himself?! After building up with one of Oleg’s tasty BBQ’ed steaks and then recieving those reasuring ‘tight lines’ wishes from Luba, Mikael set off like a kid on the loose in a candy store. Fishing sneaky little tubes like his black and green ‘Witch’ along with some micro Phatagorvas, it only was a matter of minutes before Mikael began to leave his mark. Two hours later, he had accounted for four memorable salmon of 12, 25, 34 (112cm) and 35 pounds (109cm)!
And last but not least, how can we forget about our good old guitar playing friend Leonid who definitely put a smile on all our faces with his catchy tunes. Leonid also managed to pull the right strings one gray day up at the Litza falls landing a bright 30 pound bar of silver that he will surely be singing about until we see him back again next year.
Currently the Kharlovka river has a level of 12cm on the home pool scale and a temperature of 12 degrees C. We are fishing mostly floating lines with small flies and tubes – also hitched Sun Rays.
They are forecasting another week of interesting weather ahead including lots of bright sun followed by very heavy rains. With good numbers of big salmon being caught so far this season, we are all anxious to see what might happen next………