Kharlovka week 26 ending 27th of June 2014
Big fish like nasty conditions! Last Monday after warming up in the lodge with a hot bowl of fish soup, the newest addition to our ASR guide team Sergey Smirnov (an experienced tundra man who was Peter’s personal guide many years ago) along with our vip friend, wisely decided to wander back down to the mighty Kharlovka Home pool. Not long after Volodya arrived to point out the hot spots, they were into something very serious. A twenty minute battle ensued with the great salmon charging about at will until Sergey somehow managed to intercept the beast on an early approach towards the bank. Weighing in at solid 38.8 pounds without the net – this was sixth great salmon over 30 pounds landed during the last couple of weeks. In addition, there were others that also swore they had lost great fish of a similar size that memorable cold windy day.
Although the weather last week was a walk in the park compared to the storm that hit the previous group, fresh northerly breezes, cold temps in the single digits along with periods of rain – hail and snow continued to batter the boys over the vast majority of the week. Water temps dropped from near floating lines readings of 8+C last weekend down to a final temp of 6.3C. The good news was that river levels were finally receding by about 4cm/day down to a current level of 50cm on the scale.
When coming to play above the arctic circle, you certainly can’t do anything about the weather except come prepared and ready for battle. Needless to say, we are still using sinking lines and good sized flies as these are similar cold-high water conditions that we would expect on the early spring weeks. To make matters even trickier, the rivers are now at that challenging level when the majority of the salmon are running through the middle. The wild weather has made it difficult for the boys to even get the tip out at times, let alone a decent presentation anywhere near the middle of the run.
After many many consecutive years, it is always nice to see our good friends Matt and David back on the Same week every season. Opting to have their own personal guides Big Alex and Sasha who combined to make a formidable foursome. After pulling in a sweet brace of 23 and 25 pounders out of the Barrel pool, Matt lost his 40 pounder out the tail of the Upper Tent before going on a roll to land an impressive score of solid salmon of 22, 23, 27 and 28.5 pounds, in addition to a few in the upper teens as conciliation prizes.
Meanwhile David and Sasha were into plenty of big fish trouble as well – losing his monster salmon down the Snowbank rapids before pulling the next seven to the net fishing down through pools of the middle Litza. On the final day, David wisely decided to take it easy landing three more out of the Home pool up to 20 pounds. Unfortunately David forgot to bring the camera. Honorable mention also goes out to Nick and Stewart and John and also to Alexey and Sergey who all had some good salmon along with a couple of photos to go with them.
And then there was our good ol’ friends Gerald and Richard who have been joining us for the last 14 years. While they would have rather been hitching their boxes full of Sun Ray Shadows, experience obviously paid off for these two going on to dredge up 16 for the book including several to 20 pounds. It was reported that they lost at least as many.
After visiting us on the Rynda last summer, it was a pleasure to see the father – daughter team of Alexander and Yulia back for round II on the Kharlovka. In between her physics studies, Yulia has also learned to blast out a good line which earned the young lady several nice salmon including her new P.B 21 pounder – congratulations! Thankfully James was there with his pro camera to snap a wonderful family photo that included Alexander’s new P.B. 21 pounder.
Helmut also deservers special honours for booking back to back weeks here on the Kharlovka which led to multiple new P.B’s including that last memorable night over on the Litza where H returned completely satisfied with seven more for the book including the story of his 25 pounder that he earned wading out chest deep with a perfect 35m left handed cast. Helmut backed that performance up by landing five more in the upper teens out of his new ‘favourite Golden pool’ to add to his total of 17 salmon for the week. It should be noted that H only just became addicted to salmon fishing less than two years ago. Not surprisingly, our new friend has already booked up for the same two weeks again next year – only 51 weeks left to go;)
Considering that we have only had a couple precious days of summer here so far, and the abnormally cold-high river conditions that has required the use of different skills and great determination, we continue to be encouraged by the improving numbers of great salmon coming into the rivers this season. Unfortunately a couple of our friends had to cancel while in route to Helsinki airport last weekend, while another vip had to return to the office on Monday leaving us with a last minute team of 13 guests. In addition to the couple days Vladimir flew over from the Rynda to visit us landing 14 nice salmon up to 22 pounds, the team manage to scribe a happy total 130 salmon into the book this week. While all the boys deserve credit for landing their share of the silver, there were a couple more great salmon of 36 and 39 pounds plus another 22 greater than 20 that included salmon of 29, 28, 27, 26, 25, 25, 25 pounders… And most of them had long tailed sea lice!
Although the conditions remain fresh and challenging, the rewards so far this season have been plentiful. It will be very interesting to see what happens when the weather and the rivers finally warm up slightly to at least 10C. With good reason, we are optimistic for our next lucky group that has been limited to a small number of Vladimir’s friends.
* Stay tuned as Vladimir and our great friend Bruce just landed a couple of 30 and 32 pounders as the helicopter flew away this morning. By the way, our buddy Bruce was “sticking to his game plan” using his single-hand rod along with his own special hand tied Sun Ray variant when he landed his new P.B just after arriving to the Litza Dream pool – photos to follow next week...