Rynda Fishing Reports 2008
The Rynda Report for Week 36 ending Friday, 5-Sep-08
This week the use of Rynda Lodge and the Lower Rynda fishing up to the power line were given to the Murmansk Fly Fishing Club of which I support as an Honorary Member. The Chairman, Gena Shelyak, and Kola Baleev organised a delightful week of fishing combined with schooling in the art and culture of fly fishing. Some experienced members of the club together with our own guides gave up their time to help and we were particularly pleased to be joined by Gennadi Zarcov (with his daughter Anna 12 years) who is a leading member of the Russian fly fishing movement.
The week was divided into two three day sessions starting with 6 youngsters of 16 and 11 years of age. It was an absolute delight to have them running around the camp in awe of the facilities and excited by the fishing. They all succeeded in landing fish or, in one case, bringing a fish to the net. The prize for best performance goes to Anna (12 yrs). Anna took her first salmon ever of 13 lbs on the first evening and then went on to land a 22 lbs fresh ‘Osenka’ at Rock Island finishing up with a further two fish at Zolotaya on her last day of 12 & 5 lbs. Then came 7 young men of an average ago of 25 years. They lived life to the full and had a thoroughly good time. This time around the prize went to Alexander with 6 fish with his largest at 14 lbs. All of us here at Rynda thoroughly enjoyed the week.
Also during the week we were honoured to be visited by the Director of the Russian Salmon Fund, Grigory Mazmariants, together with a fellow Board Member, Faina Zakhorova. They explained their numerous objectives which from our point of view was the conservation of salmon in the Russian Federation and the encouragement of sports fishing tourism. We are very pleased there is now a supportive organisation in Russia which we hope will gain in stature and influence as the NASF in Europe and the ASF & WSC in the USA. They were extremely complimentary about all aspects of our program. In particular, our policies as expressed in the ASR Mandate: and the extraordinary success of the ASR Conservation program. We agreed to various measures of cooperation and support. It is envisaged we will be a ‘Partner’ member of their organisation.
Rynda Report for Week 34 ending 23-Aug-08
This week as I have been at Kharlovka and Yuri has been away leaving camp like in the capable hands of Nikolai and Nina. We asked for daily notes on activities at Rynda. Clearly it was a great week with lots of good humour combined a variety of fishing skills and persistence. Instead of producing the usual report I thought you might like to have the notes as handed to me. Some of these young men know a lot about fly fishing for salmon at this time of year and their comments and techniques are well worth taking on board.
For the last 7 weeks Rynda had beaten its five year average by 42%. Despite the very late start we are 26% up on last season. We are all very proud to be involved with the continuing success of the fishery.
Next week is allocated to teaching fly fishing to two young groups (3 days each) of 10 Russians all under the age of 19 as a gift to the local community. It will be lead by Nikolai Baleev and our guides will give their time free. During the week we will be visited by a VIP’s from the Moscow based Russian Salmon Fund. I shall be giving a talk on the ASR Conservation Program and ‘Life at Rynda’.
Week 34 notes
- Hart brothers start off with a bang. 3 fish including a 20 pounder for Simon. What a way to start off a fly-fishing career for salmon. (Reindeer X)
- There was no holding back for the Hart brothers. (aka team Chuckle)
- 8 fish for team Chuckle! (Zolotaya)
- All fish taken on micro tubes and hitches
- Good day with 18 fish.
- Dave catches his first Russian salmon on fly, pair of fresh fish off the tide. (Power pool beat) All fish taken at 2nd waterfall.
- George nonchalantly lands his quota which he never seems to fail on doing. A brace of fresh fish from Iron Gate.
- Dave hooks into the fish of his life which spits the hook at the net. Estimated 25 lb +
- Charles lands a nice 14 pounder from Twin Slabs.
- Andy has a great time at Zolotaya with 3 fish well earned.
- This time of year is what separates the average from the good.
- It is for believers only.
- Those who cast well, yet also control the speed and depth, fish the pocket water and cover the river effectively, leaving no stone unturned are the ones who do well.
- Twitching, skating, bombing, small, large, bright, dull, high, low, you have to do it all. The fish are there but need extra enticing.
- Some who proved it can be done and they did it everyday without fail.
- Trout fishing has been exceptional with Caspar and Euan catching 29 great fish up to 6 pounds! (upper Rynda above lake Rynda)
- David and William have a 7 fish bonanza including a fresh 16 pounder. (Twin slabs beat)
- Hart brother land another 4 fish including a fresh 18 pounder for Simon! (Reindeer X beat)
- Team Chuckle never seem to fail no matter what the weather, beat or time of day!
- All fish taken on micro coneheads and small bottle tubes tied Phatagorva style.
- Caspar lands a nice brace of fish
- Simon skates up a 15 pounder to a chicken sunray at Power pool
- Johnnie hooks into a good fish which strips all his fly line off breaking the backing. The guide promptly runs downstream finds the broken fly line 200 yards down river, reattaches it to the backing and 5 minutes later a 6 pound sea-trout is landed. (this fish was landed on a 5 weight trout rod)
- John M. has a great day with a brace of 15 pounders from Red Creek and Norway respectively.
- Bernie has an exciting morning on the dry fly, raising many fish. After hooking and losing a 25 pounder on a bomber, he was eventually rewarded with a 16 pounder on a dead drifted bomber! A personal best.
- Up at 3rd water fall, Caspar connected to his dream fish which took him down the rapids towards the fan. After a 15 minute tussle, his 30 lb + fish wrapped the leader around a large boulder breaking not far from the flyline!
- Caspar exclaimed that this is by far the largest salmon he has ever set eyes on!
- Finished the week with 101 fish – which is exceptional for week 34.
- Large male bear seen at Zolotaya. Chara, the camp hound saw it off, however the roles were soon reversed at Chara camp hurtling back with the bear in hot pursuit but this turned out to as a half hearted attempt and when the bear realized that there were humans around, he made for the hills.
- The geese have been gathering in large numbers and will soon be heading to their winter feeding grounds.
- Dibbling, skating and generally pocket fishing techniques have proved effective this week.
- Adding movement to the fly, including stripping striping and twitching the fly are particularly effective at this time of year.
- Those who used unconventional methods such as upstream nymphing, dibbling, dry flies and micro hitches were well rewarded.
- The majority of the larger fish were caught on sparsely dressed bottle tubes with subtle nuances of orange and yellow and very little flash and coneheads dressed in the same manner.
- Large Francis tubes in either black or red fished close to the bottom usually claim several of the largest fish at this time of year.
- At this time of year, orange and red begin to produce good results.
- Soon the big silver Osenka will arrive and the residents will become aggressive once again.
Best wishes to you all
The Kharlovka – Rynda Report: Week 34 Ending Friday, 22-Aug-08
This week I will resume the Kharlovka Report and you will find Rynda under the last Rynda report of the season under ‘Life at Rynda.
Apart from a couple of windy days the weather has been good but the latest team inherited the lingering spate conditions from last week. The river has been flowing unseasonable warm at 13.6C, finally peaked on the Sunday evening at a mark of 23cm on the home pool scale. Slowly dropping 2cm a day, it wasn’t until the Thursday morning that our river temps finally started to equal out with the air.
While Sunday may be considered a day of rest along some salmon rivers of the world, that was not the case last week on the Lower Litza. Around midday, Geir was stepping along the stones of the reindeer rapids when he spotted a massive salmon showing far out into the pockets. For the next two hours Geir, along with Big Alex, proceeded to go through the fly box. After carefully presenting one of nearly everything they could think of, they tried my favourite fly – The laerdal Sunray Shadow.For the next 45 minutes, Geir cranked away on his reel while Alex forged through the strong currents, rescuing the line various times from the boulders. Miraculously, nearly one hour later (with his video tape now completely full) his great salmon somehow managed to make it to the net. Stretching the tape to 119 X 65cm = 41 pounds!
Inspired by the Norwegians tremendous achievement, Steven found himself in the same delightful situation the next day. It was reported that after watching his 40+ pounder take the fly from high above the rocks up at the Kharlovka Falls, it shot the rapids heading straight down for the Guys pool. As his giant salmon came charging into Guy’s another great fish was disturbed. All of a sudden his joy quickly turned to panic as they could see that the fish was twisted, rolling over the line. Unfortunately, only meters away from the net the fly slipped loose, leaving them all with a burning memory that will never be forgotten!
A lot of big fish were lost last week but there were plenty of moments to shout. Take that perfect Thursday for example, when everyone returned smiling back to the lodge with their digital cameras in hand. Five of the seven pairs were delighted with big fish that day with 21, 21, 22, 26, 29 pounders. Then unfortunately on our final day, while the team was certainly all tuned up and ready to finish strong, the dreaded fog ended up grounding us close to home. Nevertheless, all will be hoping to improve on their most respectable 134 salmon catch which is yet another record for the Kharlovka books. There were 6 personal bests and all of this was accomplished despite a wild brown trout detour to land 50 fish of 1Kilos plus and about 20 beautiful char.
All of the rods proved to be true fishermen, they relished every precious minute of the day (and night) as if it were their last. My congratulations to you all!
The Kharlovka – Rynda Report: Week 33 Ending Friday, 15-Aug-08
The Russian immigration authorities have determined quite correctly that business visas (as opposed to tourist visas) are not valid in the ‘restricted zone’. Unfortunately this means your two regular scribes have to reside outside the main camps but within the ASR. This is a temporary problem and our relationship with the Murmansk Government is excellent. However it falls to ‘Yours Truly’ to step into the breach in the hope that you will accept less than the usual standard of reporting without complaint or query.
Last Saturday our guests arrived into the camps just as the fog and mist began to settle down to the extent the pilot decided there would be no further flying that day. Without hesitation our intrepid younger rods marched off towards the very top and bottom beats. Our charming Swede friends filled in through the middle, leaving the odd Dane and a few Englishman to roam about close to home. Two and a half hours later they all staggered back into camp soaked yet far from beaten. Sunday was much the same character-building scenario for the Kharlovka rods – with no flights again to Litza. While across at Rynda, despite similar challenging conditions, everyone was successfully deployed to their beats resulting in a solid start for their week.
We were then surprised by two warm sunny days so that all the rivers shot back up into the mid teens ending in torrential rain through the night raising the height of the rivers. With the barometer bouncing up and down through the week the winds proceeded to pick up to nearly un-fishable speeds – gusting to 80kms an hour. The howling gale force whipped up the pools – clouding most of the river with algae washed in from shallow pool margins, rendering the fishing very testing indeed. Meanwhile our off-coloured rivers were once again on the rise – up 12cm at Kharlovka and about 6cm at Rynda. In short neither camp was really given a fair chance.
Although both the Rynda and Kharlovka have been on a serious roll lately – landing over 400 salmon for four consecutive weeks in a row, the reality is that not every week can be a record. Despite the appalling conditions the Kharlovka catch was 111, the Rynda catch was 122 and the combined ASR total of 233 was well over the five year average and not that far short of another record week. It should also be noted that nearly as many salmon were lost as many of them simply kept parting company. Hopefully, next the water will drop, the algae will clear and things will be back on course for a record season.
We have been a bit short on MSW3 salmon this season which is much to do with high water but we should see a few more crocodiles landed as the rivers lower and the water temperature drops. It is wonderful how the combined experience of guest and guides has learnt gets the best from the ASR’s rivers in all conditions.
Rynda was an ASR Youth Program week with Hugh Daunt 11 years of age with best fish 12 lbs, Hannah Sharp 12 with a 14 lbs, Joe Ranson 13 with a 16 lbs, James Sharp 14 with a 14 lbs, Brynmoor Ferris 16 and William Morley 16 all with admiring mothers and fathers fishing alongside and accompanied by the ‘twins fishers’ Jonathen & Duncan who took a 22lbs bright fresh salmon in Zolotaya Lower rapids and by some miracle landed it in Long Pool 2M higher up river 200M away. His explanation for this remarkable feat was: ‘I didn’t want loose it down the rapid like last year.’ The spot is now called ‘Duncans Rush’. It was a week of pure delight and happiness never to be forgotten. Although all of them had their fishy tales to tell, it was little Hannah, who despite only being 12 years of age, fished like her life depended on it, going on to inspire the entire team with her bright smile up to the very last cast.
We will be sending out the invitations from the UK for next season in the near future. We have suffered horrendous cost increases this last year and 2009 will not be much better. The Russian management is currently struggling to figure out the best that can done for us all. My current project is to ensure the future of the Atlantic Salmon Reserve for international sports fishing and environmental protection in perpetuity. It is 11 seasons now and just as exciting as it always has been.
Best wishes to you all
This weekend Peter returned from a short visit to the UK to entertain and hold discussions with dignitaries of the Murmansk Region. At Kharlovka House with Governor Yuri Alexeevich Evdokimov and at Rynda House with Vadim Vissarionovich Sokolov, Head of the Fishing Department and Marina Vasilievna Kovtun, Head of Tourism. On his return to Murmansk the Governor was pleased to make a brief visit to inspect Rynda Camp following the completion of the new en suite guest cabins, making his departure from the Rynda Cross.
Rynda diary for week beginning Saturday 03-August 2008
I never lost a little fish
Yes, I am free to say.
It always was the biggest fish
I caught, that got away.
Eugene Field (1850-1895)
The cool weather continued throughout most of the week, warming only ever so slightly towards the weekend. The water temperature hovered in the low double figures, rarely exceeding 12 degrees, which is significantly cooler than the average water temperature for this time of year. Frequent bouts of rain kept the river level more or less consistent, dropping on two inches before the weekend. Apart from one or two cold defying kamikaze mosquitoes which took full advantage of Edward who, being far too busy fighting salmon to notice the bombardment – was almost devoured on the river bank! Generally speaking, the nasty little critters appear to have been affected by the cold and are on the decline. The reindeer too have noticed this and are slowly drifting back from the high ground where the strong breezes afford them some respite from the blood sucking diptera – which have been known to cause local stampeding! With the summer flowers waning, it will not be long before blue berries and mushrooms fill the camp larder.
Saturday heralded the arrival of a mixed group of Rynda regulars, with a few newcomers to boot. After a short briefing on the fishing last week, lunch became a very brief affair indeed and with the hope of tasting silver splendour, it wasn’t long before everyone arrived togged up and rearing to go. The week certainly began with a bang as up and down the river expectations were exceeded. Rods who have fished this week before exclaimed that they had never seen the river fishing so well at this time of year. Sunday was an exceptional day with just short of 50 fish before dinner! Towards the end of the week, fish began to move through the system and some of the upper beats faired particularly well. However fresh fish were caught on daily basis and some rods commented that – bar one or two – all fish landed were fresh! Generally speaking in August, the beats below the home pool begin to slow down somewhat, but remarkably, this season have shown no sign of doing so and continue to produce great sport. The number of fresh fish still running the river is particularly encouraging and will most certainly boost the latter part of the season.
After another sensational week’s fishing culminating in 184 fish in the record book, we also managed to establish two additional records. The first, a joint effort in the number of rods expended over an extremely short period of time; and secondly, the record for the most number of ‘swims’ by one Angler! A remarkable feat when you consider the Angler in question managed to fill his waders at least once a day for the most of the week, that is, until he resorted to the most effective wading support system on the river – ‘the human wading pillar’ – and all remained high and dry from then on!
With the particularly cool weather we have experienced over the past fortnight, the water temperature is now much cooler than is average for this time of year. As a result, we anticipate that, over the next few days, it will drop into the single figure margin. On the technical side of things as far as the fishing is concerned, we will have to begin concentrating our efforts well below the surface once again. Small conehead and bottle tubes seem to do the trick and have certainly been the order of the day. The Conehead Francis did particularly well for a second week running and so do bring a good stock of both black and red variety. Other patterns which did particularly well last week were the CH. Willie Gunn and a Black & Yellow tied on a quarter inch bottle tube. It appears that, more important than the actual patterns themselves are the sizes and weights and so it is advisable to bring a range of tube weight/lengths and fly sizes rather than as many patterns as you are able to get your hands on
Very soon, the long sunlit days and greenery of summer will give way to a myriad of autumn hues, subtle golden light and crisp dark nights. This is a favourite time of many and has to be experienced to be believed.
For those of you about to join us, please bear in mind that the weather at this time of year is highly changeable and so do bring your warm clothing; wooly hats, gloves and thermals.
We look forward to seeing you all soon.
Rynda diary for week beginning Saturday 26-July 2008
The take instantly validates our efforts, conferring a
measure of definiteness and closure to an enterprise
otherwise riddled with uncertainty and inconclusiveness.
Few things in life, I think, have this to offer.
The Habit of Rivers (1994)
Living in the far northern reaches of one of the last true remaining Tundra biosphere wildernesses, it soon becomes evident that the only thing certain up here is the relentless uncertainty of it all! Take the weather for instance. Invariably the question asked more than any other (bar that of my name of course), ‘what’s the weather gonna do today then?’ ‘Well, lets see…it’s going to be quite cloudy with intermittent sunshine and several good rain showers in between… the wind will start in the north and end in the south with squalls up to 30 kmph… and then tomorrow probably the same but all in reverse’ The further north or south of the equatorial latitudes the smaller and more changeable the weather systems become. Not two days past, someone casually remarked that – apart from snow – we’d experienced every kind of weather imaginable. Today, I can quite honestly say that now we have experienced four seasons in one week! Yesterday afternoon, in between the rain, drizzle, mist and sunshine, it actually snowed and in a space of no more than several hours, there was as much need for thermal gloves and wooly hats as there was for bug spray! Despite some of the most changeable weather conditions experienced for many years, the Rynda dealt yet another royal flush delivering what one can only describe as the utopian experience that we all dream about! All fears of a quieter than average season have now been firmly quashed and are soon to be forgotten!
The arrival of some of Rynda’s fly-fishing al supremos certainly helped with this week’s outstanding tally, but then it must be pointed out that as a result of adverse weather conditions, there were only 2 evenings when rods were willing to part company with their amber filled tumblers and the roaring log fire. Considering this, everyone did exceptionally well with no less than 247 fish recorded this week. Furthermore, an unprecedented 80 % of all fish caught were fresh! The implications are far reaching and certainly bode well for the remaining weeks of the season. Daily rainfall has stalled what was a consistently falling river which will certainly make a significant difference the later weeks. After dropping nine degrees towards the end of last week, the cooler weather – the daily maximum rarely exceeding 10 deg. C. – saw the river falling a further 3 degrees from 13.3 to 11.4 Celsius by the weekend. A continuation of the summery high pressure systems which prevailed towards the beginning of last week would most certainly have made for challenging conditions this week as the water temperature neared the brink of known maximum tolerance levels of both Salmo Salar L. and Salmo Trutta L. Beyond 20 degrees Celsius, both species become lethargically inclined due to lower dissolved oxygen levels found in warmer water. Fish move from pools into the cooler well oxygenated rapids and under such conditions – longevity threatened – are far less likely to take a fly or anything else for that matter! Adverse changes of weather in the arctic north, simply put, is nature’s balancing act.
This week, the combination of the ‘freshening up’ of the river and a sudden drop in the water temperature had some very exciting results indeed. The river has been ‘alive’ with fish throughout the week with 35 to 40 fish days becoming the ‘norm’!! More importantly, is that the cooler weather did just what we had hoped it would do! It brought the big fish on the take! On Tuesday, 4 great fish between 20 and 25 pounds were landed. Roddy arrived back at camp with that all too familiar thousand yard stare. A few beers later it became apparent that, having hooked a very strong fish in the tail of Power Pool, he was literally dragged into the rapids below at a frightening pace! A combination of lightning reactions; awe inspiring rock jumping, tree negotiating and cliff scaling by guide Jenya, saved the day and after a 350 yard run, Roddy duly landed his personal best – a bright 20 lb bar of silver, the result of a great team effort!
Further upstream at Five Pools, using a small red conehead Francis to deadly effect and after taking several good fish in Rupert’s Pool, Ed finished off his day ‘rather’ nicely with a cracking 25 lb personal best from Eagles Nest! Earlier in the day, fishing partner Conolly hooked into what can only be described as a serious fish but it was not to be and after a solid 15 minute tug-of-war another potential personal best parted company, adding to this weeks long list of ‘hooked and lost’. The very next day the whole process was repeated upstream, albeit this time with a fish that defies comprehension and of dimensions that would probably discourage a few from deep wading ever again. Having completed a comprehensive tour of the Canyon pool, the large brute decided a rapid rock hopping adventure downstream was in order. Having navigated his way through 300 yards of precipitous rapids and the fish beginning to show signs of tiring, at last, Conolly caught a glimpse of the future as his thoughts turned to where he would hang the great fish! Guide Genna stood downstream of the fish with the nest poised like a harpoon for the ‘Coup de Grace’…time seemed to stand still… the big fish simply would not move from the sanctuary of the current. Desperate attempts at netting were thwarted by the powerful flows which simply washed the net clear of the huge fish. The great fish spooked and a powerful surge downstream was more than the 23 pound Seagar could withstand… the rod shot skyward and with it Conolly’s mounted dream.
Losing big fish is always tough, but it is after all why we keep coming back for more! Our fascination of salmon and catching them can be attributed to the simply fact that, much of the time is spent fishing, watching and waiting in anticipation with only occasional moments of glory now and again. This is best summed up by John Buchan (1928) who lamented that the charm of salmon fishing is that it is the pursuit of something elusive but attainable, a perpetual series of occasions for hope. None is truer than the pursuit of large multi-sea winter Atlantic salmon and this past week was certainly no exception!
Whether it is just the time of year or the drop in water temperature, the big fish have certainly woken up, leading to several personal bests being broken. What is most interesting is the size of flies which most of these large fish are taken on. Although the likes of big sunray shadows and sizeable sunk tubes do seem to take a fair share of big fish at this time of year, it is more often than not the tiniest of flies which seem take the largest fish period. However, the smaller flies do tend to take a bit of a beating and after prolonged battles sometimes bend under the intense strain and sadly many a behemoth parts company in the final stages of the battle.
We have reached a time of year when fish wind back the memory clock to a time when they were no more than a few inches long and behaved much like trout. The longer adult salmon spend in fresh water the more they revert to the behaviour of their juvenile form, namely parr. This may answer questions as to why such huge fish fall ‘victim’ to such small flies! Parr feed voraciously on any aquatic form small enough to swallow and upon reaching a certain size they become piscavorous and may even prey upon their own species. It is because of this that small parr are inevitably found in very shallow water with a suitable substrate in which to hide. Having entered a river system and after spending most of the summer in fresh water, adult salmon undergo significant hormonal changes. Such changes cause the male fish to become particularly aggressive and it is not uncommon for the larger cock fish to attack anything which may venture too close to his territory, including trout, ducks and cormorants. It is for this very reason that towards the end of the season, both male and female fish will take large flies fished deep.
Red and Black Francis tied on heavy tubes do particularly well from now until the season end. This past week, the Red Francis – known to some as the furry carrot – was remarkably successful, accounting for several fish up to and including a 25 pounder. Of the lesser known patterns, there were at least three warranting special mention in dispatches. Their creator a certain Mr. big fish puffer Rippingall – a well known Rynda aficionado, was most generous with his flies this year and so their success was widespread. Among them, the Golden McNasty, the Yellow Klunge and the ever so deadly Barking Spider certainly accounted for a worthy number of the big fish both caught and many lost! For those of you who are about to embark on your Rynda sojourn, Mr. Rippingall sadly misplaced a large fly box (highly sought after) stuffed full of the latterly mentioned patterns (not to mentions several other Rynda specials) in the Red Creek area and so a mention to good look around downstream could may rich rewards!
What a phenomenal week it has been and it certainly wouldn’t have happened without such a great team who remained dedicated right through to the end! A big well done to you all! Interestingly enough, the returns for this week were 34% higher since the records began. When one considers that there was very little evening fishing due to relentless arctic squalls (and exceptionally fine single malt whisky in the lodge) a return of 247 entries is – to say the least – quite extraordinary! Throughout the Atlantic Salmon Reserve’s Northern rivers, the past three weeks have been outstanding, so much that we are now well on our way towards a record breaking 2008 season. After several days of rain and cooler weather conditions, the rivers is in superb condition for the coming weeks and so hold your breath and don’t leave this space!
Rynda diary for week beginning Saturday 19-July 2008
“There will be days when the fishing is better than one’s most optimistic forecast, others when it is far worse. Either is a gain over just staying home.” Roderick Haig-Brown
Saturday saw the arrival of an extensive and very summery high pressure system, weather more akin to equatorial latitudes and of course 12 rods who’s excitement was scarcely manageable! After lunch on Saturdays, generally speaking, those who arrive first are flown upstream and so there is no correlation between flights and beats – it’s first come first serve basis. We fisherman love to tinker and fiddle with all our new gear; checking that nothing has been forgotten and under normal circumstances readying ones self for the first afternoon’s fishing takes quite some time. Team Graham and Howell certainly set a new record, arriving fully ‘booted and suited’ before even the last remnants of lunch has been cleared! Gagging at the bit and rearing to go, Sasha – Biggles – whisked everyone upward and outward to their various beats for their first afternoon of Rynda magic.
The weather outlook at the onset of this past week spelled tough times ahead. A forecast of large symbols of sun, no cloud cover and summery temperatures into the high 20′s raised concern among some. Regardless of geographical location, on most Atlantic salmon Rivers – Scotland, Norway or Canada – such a forecast would inevitably mean longer more lavish lunches with little fishing in the afternoon, a days golfing or perhaps an afternoon at the clays. However, the fortunate few who found themselves fishing the mighty Northern Rivers this week had little to worry about!
The fact that the water very nearly broke the 21 degree mark made little difference and our concerns were soon put to rest! Once again the Rynda didn’t let us down and despite experiencing some of the most testing conditions this season, another exceptional week was enjoyed by all. With an unprecedented 245 entries in the book, this past week is certainly going to be hard to beat! If the great fishing continues as such then we could be well on our way to another record season!
The infamous Roy of Roy’s Bath began his week rather well, opting for another bath, albeit this time, a good dunking in Rebecca’s pool! With son Nick in tow, the father son team were in every sense of the word – quite unstoppable – and with their mini-micro-coneheads and Bryson’s sheep tubes, set a pace that anyone would be proud of. Zolotaya in its usual bounteousness manner yielded 12 bright fish, including several fresh long-tailed sea liced beauties well into the teens! The micro-conehead tube in question has to be seen to be believed! At – of an inch long – merely a wisp of yellow, black and orange hair behind the smallest of coneheads imaginable – is a classic example of how effective small and sparsely dressed flies can be when faced with warm water conditions. By the end of the day, Roy’s tiny tube was more tube and cone than fly, the remnants, barely identifiable to that of its original state.
Exceptionally warm and bright conditions saw a considerable rise in water temperature, which peaked at 21 deg C. on Tuesday. The small and light approach – hitched singles, micro tubes, riffle hitches, muddlers and bombers were responsible for most of last week’s action. The Sunray shadow worked exceptionally well for Tom, accounting for 90 % of his Tally. For mother Angela it was one of three flies, namely a green, black or red riffle hitch which, the big fish just couldn’t resist and resulted in her landing several great fish up to 24 pounds, not forgetting an exceptional fish lost after a hundred yard dash and tiring 20 minute battle Fishing partner and son Edward who, with his tight loops, small blue charms on long delicate casts and uncanny fishing prowess, certainly deserves a mention in dispatches after a phenomenal red letter day which most people only get to read and dream about!
Interestingly enough, there were those who did well using a lesser known alternative. New Rods, Granville and fishing partner Roy certainly knew their game, both in the lodge and on the river! Their approach – fishing heavy flies in bright weather- proved very effective indeed, rewarding them with an impressive number of double figure fish into high teens. Well done to you both! We look forward to seeing you next year! Father and son team, Richard and Johnny were both on form this week taking several great fish including Johnny’s personal – a bright 17 pounder! Gerald and son Harry were hard to beat this year, with Harry certainly showing his ‘old man’ a thing or two! Fishing either a small Icelandic hitch or a Portland hitched single, Gerald enjoyed more than his fair share of the action, including a bright 26 pounder from the neck of Tolstoi pool. Incidentally, Tolstoi is now in good ‘form’ and has begun to produce an encouraging number of larger fish. Over last few days, several great fish were taken from this pool, not forgetting several heart stoppers which managed to make good their escape!
Last but most certainly not least, was an Englishman from Dubai. Mr. Singleton, a rather dapper young man reigning from the midlands – although currently enjoying the sweltering heat of the Middle-East – regaling us with his most insightful and fascinating anecdotes on proper gentlemanly conduct in foreign territories of diverse ethnic and cultural standing – reduced the lodge to a state of hysteric amusement! An evening at the fly-tying vice also proved most entertaining and was no doubt appreciated by all those in close proximity. Notwithstanding the brightest plus-fours seen at Rynda yet, it must be noted that after several fruitless years on the river Spey in Scotland, over the course of his week here at Rynda, Mr. Singleton managed to break his personal best no less than five times! Surely one for the archives!
On a slightly more serious note, thankfully, by the end of the week the warm southerlies came to an abrupt halt with sighs of relief all around! There was certainly much concern at the rate of the rising water temperatures and just how high it would have risen! There is certainly no doubt that another week of high pressure systems and warm southerlies may have put a serious damper on the fishing front. Fortunately, infinitely poised in a perpetual state of balance, Mother Nature came to the rescue! A 180′ change in wind direction plunged the water temperature back down to a very fish 12 degrees. A 5 day forecast of rain and chilly arctic squalls will certainly brighten our prospects for the coming weeks as water temperatures are likely to drop a further 3 or 4 degrees!
Although the mosquitoes have gone quite for now, in this land of the midnight sun anything could happen and so arrive prepared for every eventuality!
Rynda diary for week beginning Saturday 12 July 2008
Fishing always reaches its peak at a time when the bugs are thickest. And bugs are thickest at the places where fishing is best…. So whenever and wherever you enjoy good fishing you can expect to find mosquitoes, black flies, midges, or deerflies, all lusting for your life’s blood
H.G Tapply (1964)
This past week was certainly no exception and despite the heat, multi-layer attire became a necessity! Fortunately everyone arrived with a myriad of anti-bug gizmos in varying sizes, shapes and forms. Among them, high frequency mosquito repelling contraptions to the most powerful deet formula concoctions! You name it, they had it all! And so fortunately, everyone seemed to have enjoyed their fishing in relative comfort. As Peter aptly pointed out; ‘Mosquitoes are a state of mind, just slap on the bug dope and forget about them!’ To which he added; ‘As soon as you start sweeping, slapping and swiping them, you can forget about trying to fish!’ In a nutshell this is not far from the truth and no matter how unnerving you might find mosquitoes, it is essential that – provided you are suitably covered and your bug dope well applied – you concentrate on that perfect cast and watch that fly swing through the current! You are likely to find that the mind soon becomes impervious to the hoards hovering about you! Hopefully within a week, perhaps two, the cycle will subside and become of little concern to those of you fishing later in the season. ‘Hopefully’ is the operative word here and so please don’t take our word for it!
In its full summer adornment – ecological niches nearing their peak- the great cycle of nature is happening all around us. On the feathered front, throughout the Rynda and Zolotaya river basins, a remarkable number of buzzard nests have been recorded this year, attributable, perhaps, to the proliferation of rodents this season.
There was some disparity regarding the species of the fledglings in the nest near Red Cliff, but fortunately this past week, Piers managed to secure a sequence of great photographs of these juvenile raptors and so their correct identity has been revealed as the common or rough legged buzzard. On the upper Zolotaya near Peter’s pool, the buzzard chicks are no longer in the nest and appear to have joined their parents riding the thermals high above the valley slopes. The flourishing rodent community will – no doubt – facilitate an easier and quicker apprenticeship period for the young birds and it will not be long before the adult pairs force the youngsters to find and establish territories of their own.
As we know all too well, the arctic Tundra is a land of great wonder but also one of great extremes. On Sunday, the clouds cleared – the wind switched to a warm southerly – the air is now heavy with humidity and the rich fragrance of flowers drifts on the breeze. Up here in the far north it seems a case of either feast or famine. Simply put, there is no middle ground! The past several days have been very warm indeed, with peak day time temperatures soaring into the high 20′s. High pressure systems bringing warm air and clear sunny skies have significantly raised the average day-time water temperature from 11 to 16 Celsius, with a corresponding effect in lowering the river level from 72cm to 65 cm by the weekend. Incidentally, pools such as Peter’s pocket, Saami and Birch Trees, are now at a good fishing height and promising numbers of salmon are beginning to move from the slower pools to the pocket and voss water.
The fishing has been excellent and many of this past week’s rods have experienced not one but several bonanza days in a row! With an impressive 235 silver stories, this week is going to be hard to beat! Surface action was enjoyed by most, with bombers and riffled hitches being responsible for most of the larger fish. Some rods caught their first fish on bombers and seemed rather surprised at how successful this method can be. Although, saying this, there were days when heavier tubes and getting flies down to the fish worked successfully, albeit for the most part, fishing small flies either in or on the surface film accounted for the vast majority of this week’s tally. The Zolotaya, now in it’s prime, has accounted for a remarkable number of fish this week and scores of 8 to 10 fish are now commonplace! Water levels for this time of year remain marginally higher than the five year average, albeit the prevailing southerlies – without further rain – will most certainly close this gap as the river continues to fall away. I see that there is some serious rain forecast next week which, given the recent conditions, might be a welcome change! Salmon fisherman are never content!
On Sunday, Peter decided to get the old ‘dodo’ boat back into action and it wasn’t long before he was seen bobbing down lower home pool. After taking 3 good fish, it was off to Rock island with the hope of a good fish in the channel beyond Per’s place. For those of you who are unfamiliar with a ‘Dodo’ boat, it is not too dissimilar to a trout fishing U-tube, excepting that the Dodo is slightly larger and propelled with the use of fixed oars.
Shortly after arriving at Per’s Rock, several fished showed in the tail close to Lonely island. Moving the Dodo boat into position, Peter cast a small green highlander just above where the fish had showed and line barely had time to straighten before the fish was on and moving swiftly towards precipitous rapids below. Peter exclaimed that there was barely time to react and by the time he had reached the shore the salmon was already 150 yards downstream, showing little sign of halting! Fortunately after peeling a further 100 yards of line off the Bogdan, the fish halted, affording Peter and Dennis an opportunity to close the gap. Suddenly the line went very taut and it was thought to be wrapped around a boulder. Dennis was handed the rod and asked if he could dislodge the line. Not quite sure what he was meant to do, Dennis decided that a mighty good pull at the line was in order and after giving it several good yanks, Peter was sure that the line was going to break, but the violent tugging action had the desired effect and – much to their surprise – the fish appeared very much still intact! After what Peter described as being one of the most memorable salmon moments of his life, a solid 15 lb + fish was duly landed. Very often its not what you catch but where you catch it that makes the moment and on the Rynda there are many cases where fish of modest proportions have surprised even the most seasoned northern river veterans.
Resplendent under summery blue skies, the bright conditions made for challenging conditions but the bomber saved the day once again. In the tail of Twin slabs – converted bomber aficionado, Tom, began to raise fish after fish to his now favourite ‘green machine’ bomber. Presenting the fly in a drag-free fashion, a good fish rose taking the little green dry-fly in that classic head and tail fashion that we all dream about! Fifteen minutes later, Tom duly landed a solid 19 pounder – a day he will be sure to remember! After landing a further 8 fish on bombers, both Tom and James talked about nothing else for the rest of the day! Apparently fish were raised in almost every pool and pocket between Twin slabs and Five Pools, resulting in one of their most memorable days fishing on record. Looking at the fishing book, James’s black mouse bomber is sure to raise a few eye brows!
The following day, slightly further upstream in the tail of the Canyon pool, using a small Stoat’s tail variant, Sue found herself attached to something more akin to a crocodile than a salmon! Fortunately, over the duration of the ten minute struggle with this great fish, both Sue and her guide Sasha were able to confirm that it was in fact a large salmon and not a crocodile! Their height and position, the crystal clear water and the angle of the sun collectively, enabled them to watch the fish for most of the fight and Sue -having just landed a 19 pounder – exclaimed that this fish was well into the 30′s as it simply dwarfed her earlier fish. Unfortunately, the great fish was lost after a heart-stopping ten minutes of being towed up and down most of the canyon pool! Back at the lodge, Sue exclaimed; ‘The only thing that one can do when losing such a big fish is laugh about it…but poor Sasha didn’t think it very funny at all and I don’t think he quite understood why I was laughing!’ Certainly a cathartic way of dealing with disappointment and, of course, not letting the loss of a great fish spoil the rest of your day or even the rest of your week! As they say, better to have loved and lost than not to have loved at all! After all, the charm of fishing for salmon is that it is the pursuit of something that is elusive yet obtainable, a perpetual series of occasions for hope! If these great fish were landed with such ease then, ironically all would be lost! Marshall, in his book – Reflections on a river (1967) – sums it all up rather nicely; ‘Fishing consists of a series of misadventures interspersed by occasional moments of glory’. This certainly applies to the pursuit of Salmo salar which must rank fairly high on the scale of unpredictability!
Despite the testing conditions, last week’s rods did exceptionally well with an average of 36 fish per day, resulting in one of Rynda’s best week’s on record! With the arrival of fresh fish off each tide we are expecting great things to come! For those of you fishing next week, small flies; Icelandic hitches, sparsely dressed doubles, bombers, dibbling flies and perhaps a few weighted stoneflies will not go amiss! Look forward to seeing you all!
Rynda diary for week beginning Saturday 05-July-2008
It is the constant – or inconstant – change, the infinite variety in fly fishing that binds us fast. It is impossible to grow weary of a sport that is never the same on any two days of the year
Theodore Gordon (1914)
The behaviour of Mother Nature can at times best be described as bordering on schizophrenic. Having endured an extremely prolonged winter, summer arrived and the notion of spring was soon forgotten. Just when we began to enjoy it’s warmth we were abruptly reminded of our geographical disposition and just how fickle Mother Nature really is after all. Saturday morning found Rynda shrouded under an impenetrable blanket of fog. Occlude two weather systems and the effect is a bit like a giant pea soup making machine! Which is not exactly what we hope for on Saturday morning and so it was up to the command bunker and time for contingency brainstorming! Suitable delays were coordinated and the waiting game began. Fortunately after several depressing weather reports, it was all stations go and we managed to slip away not long after lunch. In spite of the weather conspiring against us and the subsequent delays, everyone managed to get home on Saturday evening and the new rods even managed to squeeze in a few hours fishing before midnight!
The fact that the mercury struggled to rise beyond 5 degrees C. was a little reminder of our intimate relationship with that ‘piece’ of ice to our north and with it, the cataclysmic nature of operating at these northern latitudes. Fly-fishing in the cold presents little problem as most arrive with enough kit and caboodle to restock most fly-fishing outlets, however, when you throw in gale force winds and torrential rain – things do become a little desperate!
Fortunately, with the likes of Laurence and company, there was little to worry about and in the face of the elements throwing just about everything against them, they did us proud, finishing off the week with a very respectable 194 salmon.
Initially however, the abrupt change in weather appeared to have curtailed things for a while. The bottom fell out the barometer; an icy battering of torrential arctic rain and gale force winds followed, producing a significant drop in water temperature, with the mercury plummeting an impressive six notches from 14 down to 8 degrees Celsius! Now, with a marginal difference between the air and water temperatures, prospects brightened and much excitement ensued! In the face of conditions deteriorating, the fishing improved ten fold. With each new tide, wave upon wave of salmon have been seen racing through the lower river with sea-liced fish caught well into the top beats of the system.
The upper river is now fishing exceptionally well and Reindeer Crossing down to 3rd waterfall produced a fair share of the larger salmon, including several into the 20′s. Daily reports of large fish sighted on the upper parts are extremely encouraging and it won’t be long before someone experiences a bonanza up there. Perhaps with the higher water this year, the larger fish have taken advantage and moved through the system quicker than usual, however despite saying this, towards the end of the week, there were several sightings of very large fish in both the Home and Rock Island Pools. This is a particularly good sign, reaffirming the lateness of this season’s run, with several fresh fish over 18 pounds, including two sea-liced beauties over the 20 pound mark taken below the home pool falls! The arrival of this late run of MSW salmon is very encouraging and certainly bodes well for several great weeks to come!
As Walton aptly summed it all up – Angling may be said to be so like mathematics that it can never be fully learnt…The latter certainly applies to the pursuit of Salmo Salar – this past week is a classic example. Under the prevailing conditions, sinking tips and slightly larger flies would have seemed the obvious choice of most. A glance back through last week’s notes and it soon becomes apparent that despite the mercury sliding into the single figures, salmon – regardless of what text books with rules and theories on water versus ambient air temperature, fly size and type of line etc might have to say – as usual, behaved quite the contrary! As Lord Grey of Fallodon once stated: ‘There is only one theory about angling in which I have perfect confidence, and that is that the two words, least appropriate to any statement, about it, are the words ‘always’ and ‘never.’
Yes, the success of last week’s tally, exemplifies the importance of not falling into the dreaded school of treating the pursuit salar with abject uniformity. There will be ‘text book’ situations when in certain conditions small flies take many fish, but equally, there will also be days when large gaudy tubes will far out-fish the small and light approach – even when a river is at its lowest summer level. The parables, homilies & clich’s of which our pursuit is inundated; bright day bright fly…dull day dull fly… fish a big and bright fly in cold water… fish a small and light fly in warm low water… fish low in cold weather… fish high in fair weather… never strike a salmon…if a salmon is on the ‘take’ then it will take any fly you throw at it… and so on and so forth ad nauseum. In many circumstances adages as such may stand you in good stead but then again so may the complete opposite! A combination of creativity, lateral thinking and a jolly good dose of luck appear to be the key ingredients!
Well you may ask, what were the ‘killer’ patterns this week? I suppose it is worth a mention, especially when you consider that some of us take greater pride in dressing – flies that is ” than the act of fishing itself and so I’d better mention a few of the noteworthy patterns which performed well last week. The Akroyd – a relic from a day when fisherman cast flies of preposterous shapes and outlandish colors – notwithstanding the fish themselves which appeared faithless enough to ingest these monstrosities with quite unseemly gusto – in all it’s antiquity did rather well for Roger – producing a result which would have put a smile on even the most canny netsman! Although last week, it is a fly of far more humble design which solicits more than a mention. The simple and unadorned yet deadly Norwegian pattern – Brookes Laerdal Sunray Shadow – certainly lived up to its reputation. The original, a piebald dressing of black and white monkey hair – despite the simplicity of its design- remains a Rynda favorite and last week accounted for more than a third of the tally! The Sunray Shadow most certainly deserves a place in the box of those who fish these northern rivers and there is little surprise that some of us use very little else. An extremely versatile pattern, the Sunray can be dibbled, dabbled, hitched, fished subsurface and on the end of a sink tip can even be used to plumb the recesses of the deep fall pools. Last week, most success was derived from fishing small hitched sunrays on the surface, with this method being particularly effective in both the voss water and below the waterfalls. As always, tried and trusted patterns such as the green butt and the Willie Gunn did well too. Speaking of small flies in cold water, Peter C. experienced success throughout the week using small green butt variants on a full floater, taking two great fish up to 25 pounds! Despite the adverse weather conditions, smaller flies were most certainly the order of the week, with most fish taken on # 8′s and # 10′s added to which a mentionable number were caught on size 12′s! Colin did well with his home-tied black and yellow – a firm Rynda favorite – and on the upper beats, accounted for several good fish up to 22 pounds.
The Zolotaya as always, has a story or two up it’s sleeve! Colin and Christopher, while on route from Jeremy pool down to camp, had the great fortune in spotting a large brown bear ambling towards them! Fortunately for all involved, a loud whistle from guide Yura turned out to be quite sufficient in discouraging the bear from any further advances and everyone breathed a sigh of relief when Mr. Bear decided against a closer inspection of the fishing trio. Zolotaya has fished well recently and in addition to a healthy number of grilse it has certainly produced a generous share of the larger MSW salmon, including a 21 pounder for Jim and a colossal fish lost by Christopher in the run below Peter’s pool. After several considerable runs, Christopher’s leviathan sadly released it’s hold of the fly leaving Christopher with that thousand yard stare!
Who know what the weather has in store for us this week, but right now, the clouds have gone, the sun is out and so are the mosquitoes! There are quite a ‘few’ about and so in addition to your heaps of fishing kit and caboodle, do remember your mossy spray and perhaps even a net as well!
As you all know but need reminding, we are in the Arctic Circle and so arrive a salmon fisher for all seasons! See you soon!
Rynda diary for week beginning Saturday 28-June-08
The tundra, resplendent beneath a carpet of green and olive hues, the birch trees in full leaf and most flora in full bloom. The reindeer appeared ‘en masse’ and I nobody can remember seeing such large herds of them in previous years. Perhaps once they have settled down, the larger groups will subdivide into smaller breeding herds. A very large male bear – possibly sire to the two sub-adults seen in the spring – was sighted very close to the upper reaches of the Zolotaya. In the past bear sightings were considered a rarity but their numbers appear to be increasing and this year, several were seen long before the arrival of the reindeer and so perhaps in a few year time their presence will become commonplace. No doubt that after living off ice rats, lemmings, skua eggs and frosted blue berries, reindeer is a welcome addition to their diet.
Saturday saw the arrival of the Strauss party – aka green butt brigade – fit and keen as ever, little time was wasted in camp and after a quick refresher on the similarities between a banana and an MI-2 helicopter – not forgetting proper camp etiquette – it was upward and outward. An icy wind from the far north put a slight damper on the first evenings outing, however there were several good fish taken throughout the lower river. Iain – a new comer to the Strauss group – hopped off the chopper with eyes wide and that unmistakably fishy grin! A first salmon is a pinnacle in anyone’s life and a memory which is never forgotten. Many more fish may follow but one’s first salmon remains clear in your mind until your time is done. However, Iain’s memory of his first gleaming bar of silver fresh off the tide was also coupled with the sobering aftermath felt the following day after celebrating his great feat long into the arctic night. Iain is one of those rare individuals who managed to find that intricate balance between fishing hard and… really enjoying himself under the midnight sun, a rare accomplishment indeed!
On the piscatorial front, conditions have improved throughout the week. A cold and persistent northerly combined with bright summery weather did not help matters initially, although the water level is now more akin to what it should be at this time of year. With most of the lake ice now gone and the snow banks not far behind, the river height should be just perfect throughout the rest of the season. The water temperature is now a very fishy 14 degrees Celsius and ideal for skating, riffling, hitching and drifting.
On Sunday, whilst fishing the 10 islands beat, David experienced some phenomenal surface action with bow waves, swirls, splashes and boils but frustratingly no hook ups! According to David, one particular fish came to the fly like a steam train yet stopped just short of the fly. Consecutive casts produced the same results, a boil, swirl or heart stopping wave which usually means an aggressive fish and a solid connection! A change of fly produced similar results and then finally a good pull but no hookup! Fish taking short can be frustrating but on the other hand when the fish are up on the surface, the experience of raising fish cast after cast is sometimes as memorable as the act of actually hooking and landing them. It is quite remarkable how we always remember the fish that were hooked and lost or any particular situation where a fish just wouldn’t play by the book. Needless to say, David finally hooked several good fish and arrived at dinner with that thousand yard stare and even resorted to challenging Iain to an around the camp dash just after midnight! balance between fishing hard and… really enjoying himself under the midnight sun, a rare accomplishment indeed!
Lower home pool produced an hour of thrilling action for Derek who reckons there were fish everywhere and in a short space of time, several good fish were landed as well as a particularly large brute which – unfortunately for Derek – managed to part company. Over the hills across at Zolotaya, starting at Russian pool, Stuart smartly landed 3 good fish in fairly quick succession, while upstream Sarah landed a beautiful 20 pounder.
On Monday, an expedition far upstream by Katia, Dimitry and Nina revealed a good head of fish up at 3rd waterfall. Their efforts resulted in several prolonged battles with fish all estimated upward of 15 pounds. The nature and size of the Rynda up at 3rd waterfall at this time of year made landing fish quite a challenge and unfortunately none of these great fish were landed! Amongst them, an estimated 25 pounder, was lost seconds before the net was slipped beneath it. Clear blue skies and bright sunshine made for testing conditions on Monday and fish seemed reluctant to rise to the fly. Later in the day however, the fish came back on the take and after Dima nonchalantly remarked that he’d go and have a cast or two after dinner – but then didn’t return from Rock Island until midnight – we just knew there had been action! Dima’s one or two casts after dinner’ produced a remarkable red letter evening of five fish fresh off the tide.
With some cloud cover and a lighter wind, Wednesday definitely warrants a mention! Another exploratory expedition by Kim, Sarah and Iain returned with big smiles all around! Five superb salmon between 11 and 18 pounds were landed but the story of the day most definitely goes to Sarah! There are some people who catch lots of fish and there are those who always seem to find the big ones. Sarah happens to be one of the lucky few who fall into the big fish finder’s league! The big fish rose to a small green butt in the neck of Red Cliff pool, the take was solid and there was barely seconds to react before the monster turned and fled downstream. A valiant attempt to follow was made, but it was not to be. After several hundred yards of line was torn off the reel, the fly-line became firmly lodged between two boulders and despite a most commendable effort by guide Yura, the fly-line parted yards from the backing knot. Given the nature of the pool and the unseasonably high water for this time of year, there remained very little that could have been done to stop such a fish. There are two approaches; a high speed pursuit over precarious boulder strewn countryside; or the more bravado approach, to lock the drag and stand your ground. Although saying this, even the toughest drag systems would battle stopping anything in the torrents below Red Cliff pool. balance between fishing hard and… really enjoying himself under the midnight sun, a rare accomplishment indeed!
Mid-week, with little cloud cover, the water temperature reached that magic 14 degree mark when bombers and small flies fished in the surface film become irresistible to salmon. This is not to say that fish cannot be caught on the hitch or dry fly in cooler conditions, they can and will be caught when the water is as low as 5 or 6 degrees, but generally speaking, anything between 12 and 15 degrees is more suited to fishing the dry fly. When the water is slightly cooler, it may be necessary to fish either a hitched bomber or muddler, but as the water nears 15 degrees Celsius, salmon will take a bomber fished in the same fashion as one would present a size # 16 parachute Adam’s dry fly to a chalk stream brown trout! There is nothing quite like the sight of a large salmon rising to the dry fly and it has to be one of the ultimate forms of the pursuit of Salar.
On Saturday afternoon, the water temperature peaked at 15 degrees Celsius and down at Rock Island, Mark decided to have a go with the dry fly. Conditions were absolutely perfect; warm air, rising water temperature and a bright sky, which seems to suite bomber fishing most. According to Mark, the bomber worked an absolute treat and by the end of his afternoon fishing in and around the rock island, over 20 fish were raised with 8 successfully landed! To experience a ‘red letter day’ period is quite something, but to do it all with a dry fly has to be the penultimate. Nothing quite surpasses the sight of salmon taking a dry fly and the memory of your first salmon taken in this manner will remain etched in your mind for ever. There are some converts who rarely fish anything else! balance between fishing hard and… really enjoying himself under the midnight sun, a rare accomplishment indeed!
As the week bore on, each day brought new stories of great numbers of fish coming off each tide. With the water temperature in the mid teens, sea-liced fish were caught as far upriver as the Canyon and Twin slabs! Over the past few days, phenomenal numbers of fish have been passing through home pool with a few leviathans between them. David – aka Major of the home pool guard – was one of the lucky few who hooked and successfully landed one of the several large fish which had recently arrived off the tide. Further upstream several large fish were seen moving in both the Red Cliff and Norway pools. Incidentally, after Sarah parted company with her monster up at Red Cliff on Wednesday, she repeated the whole episode again on Friday. Not only was the second large fish hooked in the same pool, but on the same green butt fly and in the same lie at more or less the same time of day! This time, Sarah applied as much pressure as she dared and managed to stop the first blistering run, alas the fish would not return to the pool. Seconds ticked by and the huge fish hung motionless on the edge of the precipitous drop into the torrential rapids below. Alas, it was not to be and the fish’s second run downstream resulted in a straightened loop double. Perhaps next year the scales of fortune will tip the other way! Better luck next year! Last and not least there was Graham and his sensational escapade on the Zolotaya. Fishing a fairly light single handed rod – which some might describe as a moderately sized trout rod – hooked another of the Zolotaya’s leviathans! Hooked in Russian pool on a small cascade, the great fish turned and surged seaward! Expert rod handling and dexterous footwork culminated in Graham successfully landing the great fish – of a mile downstream just above the island! Unfortunately there was no scale at hand and so Graham – who, might I add, is no stranger to big salmon – conservatively estimated the fish at 24 pounds, however, others believe the 30 pound mark would have been closer to the fish’s true weight. balance between fishing hard and… really enjoying himself under the midnight sun, a rare accomplishment indeed!
The Strauss party is not called the Green Butt Brigade for nothing and interestingly enough, over half the fish caught were taken on a green butt variant. The Gold bodied Willie Gunn and Green Highlander were not far behind. On the surface, small Icelandic hitching tubes, hitched muddlers, sunrays and green bombers certainly warrant a mention too. With the river dropping daily, we expect surface tactics will soon become the order of the day. This of course depends on Mother Nature and whether it continues to warm up or not. Right, now we are experiencing a bout of cold weather and the water temperature has fallen to 12 degrees Celsius. This will certainly prolong the current water levels and hopefully augment the flow regime later in the season.
After a highly successful week, expectations have soared and we look forward to another great season! Along with the salmon, reindeer and bears the mosquitoes have also arrived and so do remember to bring lots of Mosquit – ex please!
We try to keep this column as short as possible but it is rather tough when the fishing has been so good! Keep watching this space!
Rynda diary for week beginning Saturday 21-June
Saturday and the MI-8 arrived with a mixed group of Rynda veterans and a few new faces sprinkled in between. Upon arrival, the first thing you do is go past the cabins and check out the river. We all like to know what height the river is running so that we can work out exactly what method to begin fishing with on the first afternoon. Neither web report nor word of mouth could have prepared our group for what they met when stepping off the MI-8. Yes, the Rynda was a formidable sight earlier this week and we don’t think anyone has ever seen it this high so late in the season. Most waxed lyrical, others simply didn’t know what to say. Fortunately everyone came well prepared and most brought with them an array of shooting heads, Skagit lines and J.T’s heavy stuff!
The combination of this season’s late run of fish and unseasonably high water has had far reaching implications. What is particularly interesting to note, is how this paradigm shift has affected the big picture. Speaking to Nikitin down at Rynda village, it has become evident that everything from the budding birch trees to the arrival of the summer migrants has been affected by the conditions of a remarkably late spring. Only in the past few days have the smaller birds begun to arrive. The reindeer too are only just trickling in and should have arrived in numbers at least 10 days past. Be it on land, at sea or in the air, when one considers the greater scheme of things, it becomes quite obvious how acutely tuned into the environment all the beasts and bugs actually are. In nature, everything is exquisitely poised in equilibrium. The shifting of a single element could tip the scales this way or that. Some years will be early as others will be late. Rest assured that those of you fishing later this season will have a story or two to tell.
Fortunately, with the arrival of each successive tide, promising numbers of salmon appear to be building up in the lower parts of the system. Nikitin reports healthy numbers of fish in the estuary, although many of them appear to be moving both in and out of the estuary with the shifting of each tide. Perhaps the height of the rapids above sea-pool is the triggering mechanism to encouraging fish to enter the system. When the water temperature is low (below 8 degrees Celsius) and the flow regime high, the hydrology of the Rynda does not facilitate easy access of the 1 and 2 MSW salmon to the upper reaches. With the air temperature peaking at a very summery 27 degrees Celsius on Wednesday the water temperature escalated into the double fingers and so we have a rather unique set of circumstances; the water is unseasonably high yet the water temperature is now more or less what is should be at this time of year. The consequences of the conditions is that we suspect the larger fish are now well spread throughout the system. The first fresh fish was caught at the Fan pool on Thursday and several above Home Pool falls on Friday. We suspect someone will have a bonanza up at 3rd waterfall over the next few days. Given the nature of the upper reaches, the fish found in the upper parts now covered with almost twice the depth of water. Pools where large early running fish are likely to be found such as 2nd and 3rd Waterfall, will no doubt require specialist tactics such as depth charges and any other deep water explosive devices you can think of. Well maybe not quite but something ‘along the lines’ of 500-600 grain shooting heads might do the trick. It’s not so much a matter of finding these fish but rather getting the fly down to them in a presentable manner which is the trick. Our early season spring gurus seem to have mastered this technique which seems to extricate fish from any lie regardless of the depth. For those fishing the fall pools, these deep water tactics will only be required for another day or two as the river is now dropping consistently and we anticipate a significant drop in water levels over the following week and so hopefully by week 28 conditions should warrant ‘normal’ summer tactics on the upper river. However, as you are all too aware, faced with an arctic front, water temperatures have been known to plummet within a considerably short space of time. This is as a result of the hydrology of the upper catchment which consists of a number of relatively shallow interlinked lakes. The great surface area provided by the lakes facilitates both warming and cooling of the Rynda’s water temperature. It is not uncommon that while the air temperature of the lower Rynda – where we fish – may be well below that of the river, yet the water temperature continues to rise regardless. Here at Rynda, downstream of the lake systems, we seem to be affected by coastal weather while inland blue skies and sunshine predominate over the head waters. Thus, the Rynda has a unique system which produces conditions quite different to many of the other northern flowing rivers on this part of the peninsula.
Last weekend heralded the arrival of stable weather and with it, glorious sunshine and comfortably warm southern latitude breezes. The tundra has come alive at last and over night the birch buds exploded into a whorl of greens and olives. Not long after my final words of ‘Bombers and bug dope’ were finally ‘penned’ into last week’s escapades of Life at Rynda, – much to our shock – the first blood sucking members of the chironomid family were spotted. So do bring all the necessary anti-bug paraphernalia, attire and repellent required to keep you fishing. If this warm weather persists, it won’t be long before the first clouds appear, but we do hope that – along with all the other fur and fin – the first serious hatches will be delayed.
Speaking of bombers, Jim – bomber Jim to many – managed to raise several good fish to bombers throughout the week, although one has yet to be hooked and successfully landed on dry fly, no doubt it won’t be long. According to Jim, while fishing upper home, he managed to raise a fish 6 times to the surface, yet it just wouldn’t eat the dry fly. Jim kindly offered the now very excited fish to someone else willing to employ ‘non -purest’ tactics. Needless to say it was immediately hooked on a single spey fly. On that note, several great fish were taken on riffle tubes and hitched Sunray’s. Yesterday, fishing the right channel of 10 Islands, Tom’s sunray disappeared into a huge swirl and for a moment all seemed well… the line went taught, the reel began to turn over… and then that sickening feeling of the fly and fish parting ways. And so it was not to be and all that remains is the vivid memory of a giant silver flank disappearing into the depths. See you next year Tom!
Despite the volume of water, the rising temperature has encouraged fish to rise freely and the surface action has finally begun. In the quieter flows of Rock and 10 Islands, number 6′s and 8′s fished just below the surface seem to taking a fair number of fish, and some rods successfully employed full summer tactics throughout the week.
However, the majority of this week’s fish fell to small conehead and templedog style tubes fished either on intermediate or slow sink tips. Although saying this, there may be a few pools which might require a touch of the heavier stuff. Based on the rate of drop over the last 2 days, a full floater matched with small doubles will soon be the order of the day. On the Zolotaya, the nature of its shallow runs and clearer water seem to favour this method long before the Rynda and most fish have been caught close to the surface. Conditions on the Zolotaya could be described as near to perfect as it gets and quite ideal for those of you who enjoy dibbling, skating, riffling and drifting stuff up top. A few more days of these warm southerlies and the Rynda won’t be far behind.
For those of you lucky few about to embark on your Tundran sojourn, don’t forget your sun-cream, bug repellent, bombers and skating tubes to boot. We look forward to seeing you all soon. Keep watching this space!
Rynda diary for week beginning Saturday 14-June -08
This spring has to go down as one of the coldest on record. The repercussions of last week’s wintry conditions were far reaching. The melting of the thick ice on the lakes and vast snow banks along the river catchment was considerably delayed and spring only really arrived a few days past.
With arrival of the Tryon and Douglas-Miller party the fickle scale of balance tipped in our favour, or so we thought. Dear Mother Nature began to flirt with us once again and through the undulations of her billowing skirts of relentless arctic squalls, we glimpsed a rare sight of blue skies, sunshine and glorious warmth! For the first time in weeks, the temperature rose into the double figures. The mood in camp became infectious, fervors and anticipation difficult to contain. However, the big question still remained. How would the sudden rise in temperature affect the river? With the lake ice over half a meter thick in places and cavernous snow banks throughout the catchment, the answer warranted little discussion.
Monday morning a welcome southerly breeze known in many parts as the Chinook winds or ice eater, took its toll and the river began to steadily rise. Despite the ice sheets subduing the warming process, we saw a significant rise in water temperature and by Wednesday it peaked at 6.1 deg C. To give you an idea of temperature anomalies, it has been 42 % colder and the river level 56 % higher than it was last year. On Sunday everything looked set in motion for a steady fall from a considerable spate at the onset of last week. In spite of this, the sudden change from a Baltic northerly to a very summery southerly changed all that in a matter of hours. The week began at 1.18 m and steadily rose to a raging torrent of 1.5 m! Rock Island became known as Rockless Island and I think 10 Islands lost a few of its brethren as well. The significant rise in water level saw the left bank of sea-pool featuring once again. There are very few – if any – records of fish being caught on the left bank of sea-pool at this time of year but this week proved quite the contrary.
Fresh off the MI-8, Susan, Byron and Martin were whisked off to Five Pools for their first afternoon sojourn. Within minutes of Sasha setting them down at Rupert’s Pool, Susan’s conehead Willie Gunn did the trick and accounted for her personal best – a lovely 20 pound Osenka. Martin and Byron were not far behind with two great fish taken further downstream. A great start by any standards.
Unfortunately lady luck was not on our side for the remainder of the week as high river levels made fishing conditions exceptionally testing indeed. Shunned by Mother Nature yet once again, the scales of fortune swayed against us. The Rynda continued to rise steadily, peaking at 1.5 m (0.68 m last year) and showed little sign of receding. Hats off and heads bowed to all of you, who – in the face of the most testing conditions on record – simply toiled on until the final hour. As someone pertinently pointed out – ‘Sometimes you eat bear and sometimes the bear eats you!’
And yes there will always be days when salmon play no part in the proceedings of a day that is devoted to their pursuit. Such is the nature of salmon fishing.
Thankfully, the warm southerly did raise the water temperature a few notches and fish began to nose their way into upper home pool despite the falls making the falls almost unfishable. Robbie – aka cormorant – fishing a Snaelda ‘big boy’ in the depths of the raging torrents of upper home pool, hooked a lively 20 pounder emptying the reel in a matter of seconds. Just as the drum of the large Loop began to look a little anorexic for Robbie’s liking, the fish turned and the prospects of being reunited with his fly-line vastly improved. After several sensational runs, a sea-liced bar of silver was netted along side the Banya (Russian Sauna).
During the early part of the week, Sea-pool accounted for its fair share of silver but as the week wore on, the beats closer to home began to produce the goods despite cool water temperatures and a rising river. Flooding certainly put a damper on the Zolotaya although several good fish were landed towards the end of the week. Henry landed his personal best – a silver bar of no less than 20 pounds. Yesterday, Hugo played out of his boots landing a brace of 20′s from Home pool and Rock Island respectively. The latter, was hooked at the top of the left bank of the Rock island beat and very quickly got the upper hand, entering the rapids below lonely island. A combination of judicious rod handling and dexterous foot work, culminated in a successful ending just short of 10 islands – a noteworthy feat accomplished by very few indeed!
When nature calls, the inconvenience of waders is indisputable and the rigmarole of having to unzip, unclip and peel away several layers has been experienced by all of us. The uncanny thing is, it always seems to happen at the precise moment when one is about to reach the hot spot of the pool. Yesterday, Anthony’s experience was no exception. The guide was promptly told to have a cast or two and yes the inevitable occurred, resulting in guest Anthony netting a 19 pounder for guide Jenya. That is salmon fishing for you!
Although the prospects are looking good for the weeks to come, we do think that bombers and bug spray may have a week or two to come but up here in the far north the balance could sway either way and so come with flies big and small. The water temperature has just reached 7 degrees and Rock Island seems to have reappeared. With a fairly reasonable weather forecast – not that we pay any attention to them – our prospects at Rynda have suddenly become a whole lot brighter. Watch this space!
Rynda diary for week ending Friday 13-June -08
Clich’s in Fly-fishing as in everything else exist as they have some basis – no matter how remote – and despite the nature of where we fish – they are there, it is fact. Salmon fishing has its fair share of them; they show up here and there in various publications and other piscatorial literature. Hopefully in time – as with the nature of our pursuit – literature will evolve – they will die on the simply grounds that they bore us!
However, there are some things that will never change and they are another matter entirely. The difference is that, they will remain timeless because of their fundamental realness and it is this which bears the weight of repeated telling. Whatever your passion or interest in life is, there are some things that you will discuss, page through, read, admire, contemplate and live through many times without your zest ever running thin.
Here at Rynda, we marvel at the awesome beauty of one of the last remaining wilderness areas, angling takes on new perspectives. Perhaps for you it may be the delight of witnessing a large early season Springer porpoising into the tail of a pool and the anticipation which follows, the bow-wave behind a sunray shadow before the line goes tight, the seasons first salmon on an upstream dry-fly; while for others its that rare sighting of a wolverine or observing the idiosyncrasies of lemmings; experiencing the changing seasons – the greening of the birch buds or the arrival of the migratory birds, and finally for some, it’s merely the contemplative nature and philosophy of why we fish.
The forces of nature – be it the arrival of spring or a river in flood; our experiences while fishing, the first fish of the season or the experience of a large fish lost, are as close as life gets to basic reality. These things are the cycle of life and reality. They can never be clich’s! These are the recurring themes of which we will never bore. Such, is the Rynda way of life.
Speaking of which, the arrival of a late spring or perhaps you could call it a prolonged winter has become – to say the least – a phenomenon not all too uncommon to those who call these northern shores home. In a way, it has indeed become a recurring theme and one which certainly affects all who live and work here, and undeniably, all who arrive in pursuit of Salmo the leaper. The season underfoot has been thus far, without question, no exception. Two weeks past, the general outlook – meteorologically speaking – was looking rather good. This week the weather – a truly wild and wonderful child of Mother Nature – has certainly showed us just how wild her true colours really are. The sheer vicissitude of recent conditions bears little resemblance to anything – we at Rynda – have on record. Well, I’m sure if we had to dig around in the PINRO archives, we might then discover that the winter of 1963 was so severe that people were still sledging the way to work in mid-July. However, if you consider the mere fact that we are – according to those exceptionally astute individuals who don protective goggles and white cloaks – supposedly experiencing a paradigm shift of ocean temperature anomalies, which is – in theory – caused by global warming – then the change in recent weather patterns may come as a bit of a surprise. Perhaps it affects both sides of the coin, causing winters to become milder in some parts of the world or in our case, behave like Mother Nature with a bad hangover, reminding us that winter ain’t over until she says so.
Statistical analysis of data recorded over the last decade, suggests that we are at least 2 weeks behind average conditions for this time of year. Last weeks temperatures ranged from very cold to – complete loss of humour / head for the comfort of the lodge in order to save appendages from falling off kind of weather. Even Kola was reluctant to shut down the generator lest someone freeze in their bed at night! Blizzards were commonplace with temperatures remaining just shy of freezing for the most part. There was much celebration and fervent discussion when the water temperature inched its way over the 2 degree mark – jokes aside!
Despite the extraordinary conditions which this week’s rods faced, equally, there are several exceptional accounts of large fish caught in even more exceptional conditions. That pretty little stream a few valleys over just never seems to let us down. At the beginning of the week the Rynda remained high and very cold and so it was presumed that an early start on the Zolotaya was certainly out of the question. Nevertheless, our two early season Zolotaya specialists remained deferential to their ploy – to fish the Zolotaya as early as possible regardless of the prevailing conditions. Monday morning saw Tony and Simon – more akin to pioneering mountaineers – hoping on the MI-2 for an early season exploratory sojourn to the golden river. High and very cold it might have been, but lifeless it was not. Much to everyone’s delight, they did it again! This time Simon connected with his dream, landing his personal best and breaking the revered 30 pound mark with a magnificent newly cast bar of silver tipping the scales to 31 pounds! The mere fact that both Simon and Tony landed fish that very cold Monday morning was beyond belief, but the tactics they employed were even more remarkable. Instead of the accepted methods for this time of year – big, bright and heavy – they decided to go down a path less traveled and use tactics more associated with mid- summer conditions! Prior to their departure to Zolotaya, Tony’s talk of greased leaders and hitching sunrays made for a lively breakfast debate! Off the radar he is, some thought! There were even jokes along the lines of ‘you might just as well try upstream dry-fly fishing while you’re at it!’ All hats off to Tony who – in all fairness – stuck to his guns and after two snappy kelts, landed a lively 12 pounder in the most exemplary fashion. Apparently the fish erupted behind the fly, taking it on its way back into the water! It must be noted that the water temperature was a mere 1.5 degrees! The armchair specialists better get back to those books and re-think their so called spring fishing tactics! Perhaps these early season fish have a genetic predisposition to cooler water temperatures characteristic of northern latitudes at this time of year, facilitating higher metabolism, more activity and taking salmon in frigid water. Simon’s approach too – although not as extreme as riffle hitching a sunray shadow – raised several eyebrows, as he successfully landed three fish including a 31 pounder on no. 8 and 10 doubles! Their experience most certainly warrants further reflection on spring fishing methods and when best to employ them.
It must be mentioned that the Zolotaya is slightly cooler and about a week behind the Rynda in terms of fishability. Yet this past week, the Zolotaya far outperformed its big brother both in size and number of fish caught. To be perfectly honest, it is quite exceptional when you consider the hydrology of this small almost spate-like stream.
At this time of year, its tenacity, vigour and sheer determination which pay dividends. Bill – a steelhead veteran from across the big pond – was duly rewarded with a beautiful sea-liced 28 pounder! Well done Bill! What a great start to a new chapter in your fly-fishing career!
On Tuesday, while fishing down at Rynda’s Sea-pool, Way hooked into what he referred to as ‘the fish of his life!’ According to Way, the fish always had the upper hand and never really gave Way a chance to gain control. After a few minutes of shoulder wrenching head shakes, the leviathan turned and fled seaward. Despite being equipped with a drag system which could probably stop a Clydesdale at full gallop, the giant’s efforts to return to the sea were not impeded. After much rock hopping and hot bank-side pursuit of his silver dream – now 300 yards between them – Way and fish sadly parted company. Quite nonchalant, Way summed it all up by saying: ‘It is moments like these which keep me coming back for more’ I think Way speaks for all of us.
Wednesday evening at lower home pool saw a gathering of both guests and staff as guides took part in a long distance casting contest, Skagit style. Way who happens to be a master casting instructor in several fly-casting disciplines, kindly offered to invigilate the proceedings. We were treated to a truly impressive display of tight loops and awe inspiring distances. If only we could all cast like that! The contest was very tight, with only a few feet in it. What guide Yura lacks in mass he surely made up for in distance and his 45 yard + cast into the wind raised huge cheers and much applause from the bank side revelers! Way and Peter F. kindly donated an array of prizes and nobody went home empty handed. This is surely to become an annual event.
You’ll find the fishing at this time of year attracts two types of fisherman; the first type, the gung-ho spring – fishing-aficionado, who laughs in the face of adversity and loves to cast powerful rods with heavy lines. Huge voluminous tubes – more akin to Christmas tree decorations – adorn 50 pound leaders attached to rocket sinking shooting heads. They will cast relentlessly, even when the cold prevents normal body functioning, and speech ‘usually the first to fail – may become garbled and incomprehensible! And then there’s the second type, the eternal optimist who may ‘cast’ you a line or two from Thoreau. He seeks solace and relaxation while plumbing the essential nature and mystery of the icy spring waters of our Northern Rivers. Stalking lemmings, prolonged lunch breaks and solving world peace are just a few of their in-between casting activities. Although each type visits for different reasons, they both seem to catch just as many fish!
The water level is now at a perfect height for this time of year, the weather forecast for the next week has caused a few sighs of relief. As you all know these forecasts are rarely infallible and so for those of you about to embark on your Northern River adventure please come prepared for anything and everything, albeit leave the bug dope at home for another week or two! Until next week, it’s back to life at Rynda.
Rynda diary for week ending Friday 06-June -08
A New Season Underway…
The Rynda rises in the recesses of barren rock strewn tundra with little else other than lichens and caribou moss seepages. It slowly meanders its way through a series of lakes and inter-joining streams. Below char pool, the gentle almost pastoral nature abruptly changes course, transcending into a cacophony of rapids and canyon waterfalls. Further downstream staircases of rapids are linked between pools which vary in size and character. No pool is the same. Such is the nature of Rynda.
After an unusually cold and late winter, the Rynda has burst to life. Not several days past, it lay subdued and sullen under the solid grip of the long arctic winter. Now, after a few days of warmth, all that has changed. Tolstoi, The Race, Home and lower Home Pool have all merged into one! The river can now be heard thundering its way past camp. Although most of the large ice-sheets have now gone, there are now countless icebergs floating about in the recesses of lower home pool. Hopefully most of these will have cleared over the next few days.
Conditions are particularly cold for this time of year and for the coming weeks it is well advised that you come well equipped for wintry conditions. Nature is constantly reminding us that winter wasn’t that long ago and so don’t hold back on the thermals!
Fast sink tip, Skagit lines, and shooting heads will be the norm for the next few weeks. As many of you know, on any given day conditions can change drastically. Weather systems are much smaller and so the conditions at this time of year are extremely changeable. Come prepared for every eventuality. Gaudy voluminous temple dog style tubes will most certainly be the order of the day.
The progression of Rynda’s new cabins is well ahead of schedule. Ivan and his team have done a sterling job, often working tirelessly long into the arctic nights. Yesterday, work continued through icy squalls and several flurries of snow. Today, arrivals imminent, Rynda’s new cabins are open for business.
On the piscatorial front, we welcome a new edition to the flat boat brigade and thankfully – for those of you who are familiar – the ‘Kirsk’ will remain on standby, hopefully for good! Yes, we have a brand new aluminum flat bottom boat which will facilitate the rotation of rods between the lower river beats.
Stop Press! As I pen these ‘closing words’, the MI 2 brings great tidings of newly arrived bars of silver. Alex, with a bounce to his stride and a story in his smile, hopped merrily off the MI-2 and made it known that life was so good that he could eat a banana side ways! Thankfully for his sake we didn’t hold him to it. According to Alex, the inky depths of Sea-pool came alive with fish which suddenly appeared out of no where! As a result of the recent spring deluge, the right bank of Sea-pool became impossible to fish. It was then that their guide Yura suggested that they try the opposite bank instead. Under normal circumstances the left bank is almost never attempted and so Yura’s decision was an exception rather than the rule.
Between flurries of snow and large blocks of drifting ice both Way and Alex persevered. With the water temperature sub-one degree, their valiant efforts raised questions to many theories on the influence of temperature and when salmon will enter their fluvial domain. It turned out that both Alex and Way had several good pulls, with some fish hooked and several lost after short tussles. All in all, 9 fish were lost and three landed including Alex’s magnificent sea-liced 29 pounder! Well done to you both!
Spring fishing is certainly not for the feint hearted. As my dear brother aptly sums it up; “:This is the kind of fishing that separates the fire-fighters from the flamenco dancers. It’s full on, inadvertent snot running, tear rolling, toe numbing, resolve breaking stuff.”: This week was certainly no exception and our spring fishing aficionados were certainly pushed to their outer limits. Melting ice sheets sustained low water temperatures; rain, snow and polar squalls did little to help casting conditions and last and not least the general fishing morale, but our rods just battled on. Spring fishing is a casting petition into the unknown and the eternal wonder each day is: “:is there a salmon down there about to take my fly… is there a salmon down there at all?”:
Well the ice has certainly been broken so to speak. We look forward to welcoming you all to Rynda in the weeks to come. Nostorovia!