Kharlovka Fishing Week 28 – 2012
With the exception of that one afternoon when the skies suddenly turned dark and the fog rolled in off the sea making it very difficult to even see downstream let alone attempt to cast a fly, all in all, it was actually a very pleasant mid summer’s week of mild temperatures ranging from 7 to 15 degrees and partly cloudy skies. Obviously it must have been a few degrees warmer farther upstream on the tundra as the temperature of the rivers remained steady through the week at 14 C. Although we could use a bit more rain now to freshen up the rivers which are starting to run low again at a level of 6 cm on the home pool scale, we really can not complain about the conditions around here last week.
Due to a last minute scheduling shift that included moving a small group forward to the same time next year, we had a nice cozy group of eight (which quickly became six because of some urgent business development back home) lucky gentlemen fishing here with us last week. Although Michael and Michael have been here with us many times before, it was obvious from the minute the rest of the gang leapt off the helicopter with the price tags still dangling from the gear, that they were about to embark on the adventure of a lifetime. It was like an advertisement for Simms – Sage and Hatch as all 6 of our new Russian friends were all geared up and ready for action.
Mikhail and Valery might have started off a bit slow however by the end the week we had them casting like champions. Setting off every morning with their custom one liter hip flask, followed by catching their first half dozen salmon during the day, to jumping into the scorching hot banya every night to sweat it all away – these two characters were in serious holiday mode for the very beginning. With their skills and experience nearly doubling everyday, it was Mikhail giving the lessons in the end pulling out 5 nice salmon from the Litza Falls pool on his very last day.
It was the head guide Vasiliy that wisely decided to start Andrey and Yuri out on the first sunny morning with 3 hours of learning to cast from the same spots in the middle of Guys pool. With sparks flying they frothed the water and gradually began to get the hang it. After building up again with a hot bowl of soup Vasiliy marched the boys up to the Falls and turned them lose with the their new and improved casts. From that first unforgettable afternoon on Andrey and Yuri went on to land their first 22 salmon ever breaking their previous personal bests many times along the way.
We also had a visit on the ASR last week from the crew of the Russian Travel Guide. With our good friend Dimitry as the star of the show and their 3 cameramen constantly on the go we flew them for 2 days on the Rynda, 2 days on the Kharlovka/Litza, 1 day of Tundra Trout, 1 memorable morning sea trout fishing, followed by a final back breaking afternoon of collecting firewood from the coast of the Barents sea. All in all, we were very pleased with their results going on to capture the spirit of the ASR in addition to 10 nice salmon – 5 strong sea trout – 50 fat browns – along with a few splinters from all the wood! We are looking forward to their 3 part series that will be coming out close to the new year.
From Michael’s sad story about hooking a 35+ pound monster in the tail of the Kharlovka Falls with his tiny nymph only to have the hook easily straighten moments later when his salmon shot down the rapids out of the pool – to his partner Michael’s tragic 24 pound break off which occurred the moment his salmon hit the the shallow shingle bank of the Snowbank pool (“Kola should be punished for not diving onto as I wanted to get the photo!”) – to the 5 good salmon that Valery long distance released on his final day – in fact none of the really large salmon that were hooked by everyone on the team last week ever made it into their hands. By the end, they were all in agreement that “it was better to have loved and lost than to never have hooked them at all.” With unfinished fishy business, I think that it is pretty safe to say that our new friends with all their shinny new gear will be back again next year.
Thankfully our Russian friends all spoke perfect english which led to an exciting cultural experience that included hundreds of toasts around the dinning room table. Considering the size and skill level of the majority of the group, and all their first salmon and new personal bests, and the enormous amount of fun we had socializing, we were very pleased with our result of 68 for the week. Nastarovia!
The rivers are currently flowing low at a level of 5cm and with a temperature of 13.5C on the home pool scale. Last week we had most of our success on Sun Rays and small hitched flies and tubes. They are forecasting a few hot summer days followed by buckets of rain which is just what the doctor ordered!