Rynda Fishing Reports 2009
The Rynda report – week 36 ending Saturday 5th Sept 09
What a fantastic tent camp at upper Rynda. Who would have imagined that a tent camp could be like this? The tents were large with three beds, heat and electricity, separate cabin with shower and two small toilet tents.
Group: Gary Hay – Scotland. Magne Fosser, Kjell Nordbek, Geir Kjensmo, Lars Erik L’vmyr – Norway
Group leader: Jørn Pedersen – Norway.
Guides: Jenya and Vazilijev.
We started in the upper part of Rynda at the tent camp fishing from Sunday morning. We were six people divide into two groups. One group fishing in the upper part of upper Rynda and the second group in lower parts of upper Rynda. What a magnificent way of exploring the tundra by walking up and down fishing all day, we just loved the walking program that Peter has introduced this year. We caught three salmon this day and had a lot of pulls, the salmon seemed to take the fly very gently. 4 pounds, 12 pounds and 16 pounds.
Hard work really pays of. We were walking the tundra fishing and casting, seeking for the salmon. We really enjoyed the nature and the companionship with the excellent guides.
Walking was a quite nice experience. Everything looks a lot different from what you see sitting in an MI2. We saw nature from its proper angle. We spotted mink, swans and even eagles. It was just us and wonderful experiences, what more could we possibly ask for? Every one of the group caught salmon this week, totally 20 salmon, and Gary the scot caught the largest one – a 31 pounder. Sadly there is now picture of this because he was fishing on his own for a couple of hours.
After three days it was off to base camp, and wow, what a fabulous place. You simply have to experience this to believe the standard of this place. No words can explain how it is to stay here for 3 days.
We tried out sea trout fishing too, with the total of 9 sea trout. Magne and Lars Erik had one day of brown trout fishing taking the jet boat for about 40 minutes. They got 18 brown trout with the largest one at 3,5 pounds. Last day dinner was exceptional, Peter served fresh couth king crab, and an MI2 brought it from sea just a few hours before serving.
We all want to say thank you to everybody working at these camps. They have worked hard to make this trip into an experience none of us will ever forget. Hope to see you again soon.
The Rynda Report – Week 35 Ending Friday, 28-Aug-09
After last weeks great start the Rynda Tundra Adventure has gone on to be a huge success with another 12 people. New guests and returning friends alike have been amazed with the new tent camp and have had many peaceful nights sleep with 3rd Waterfall as the last thing they hear. Again this week the guests have been split into two groups of six with half being supervised by me and half by Kola. Kola’s group started at the lodge this week and I started at Tent Camp. This week has produced many fish over 20 pounds with one at 23 being landed on a single-handed 6 wt. A 28 pounder was also hauled out of Swan Lake after and amazing 55 minute fight.
The weather for this week has been changeable and cold with the sun rarely breaking through the clouds. Tuesday and Wednesday saw rain witch gradually raised the river to 0.69 on the home pool gage. As the water came up so the temperature dropped. On Wednesday night we were at 9.7 degrees centigrade. Good conditions. Several Rynda bars of silver were caught on the lower river. Some of these were grilse but the majority of this weeks catch has again been multi sea wintered salmon in the 10 to 17 pound range.
Returning friend Richard G had a wake up call on Swan Lake. Most anglers that have fished there before go straight for their tube box selecting the largest Willie Gunn they posses. Richard G’s guide however had a very special bomber just for this pool. Richard G was not so convinced but like a good boy he did what the headmaster said. Just at he passed the middle of the pool and with his patience started to wear thin an enormous hen head and tailed and the bomber was gone. So shocked was Richard G he almost forgot to raise his rod and set the hook. Unfortunately 15 minutes later this fish jumped and came down on the leader breaking it. After seeing the size I’m not sure Richard G is a believer in the theory that seeing the take is the best part of bomber fishing and 15 pound tippet will never be part of his Rynda packing list again.
Richard M also had some fancy new bombers. These tied on tubes and not single hooks could be fished singly on in a small train of several. I think 3 was the most he could physically cast. Fish in the 5 pools seemed to like one at a time as he rose an amazing number of fish. Finally coming back with 3 for his day. One fish was hooked on its 6th rise. Richard M likes the Rynda so much he decided to go for a little swim on Thursday. While fishing Round Pool form the right bank Richard took one step to far onto a small rock and slipped into the river. Round Pool is deep and it was a few seconds before Richard found his feet again. Luckily he managed to grab his rod as it floated past before getting out. Damp but not defeated, Richard fished on until the end of the day.
Andrew our new South African friend took to the Tundra Adventure like a gazelle to the grasslands. Andrew had 2 fish from Eagles Nest on Sunday. One at 15 pounds and the other at 12. The larger a new Personal Best. Andrew broke his BP again on Thursday landing another two this time at 18 pounds and 14. The 18 pounder came from Deep Run on a Willie Gunn. This big cock fish didn’t want to come in but was finally netted by Andrei some 35 minutes later after a deep long fight.
They say patience is a virtue and so this proved for our returning friend from Iceland, Siggi. After walking to Deep Run on Friday he got the take he had been waiting for. A large fish grabbed the fly and took off up stream. 15 minutes later he had a beautiful 20 pound hen safely in Andrei’s net.
They say patience is a virtue and so this proved for our returning friend from Iceland, Siggi. After walking to Deep Run on Friday he got the take he had been waiting for. A large fish grabbed the fly and took off up stream. 15 minutes later he had a beautiful 20 pound hen safely in Andrei’s net.
Kolas Scottish team were doing their up most to catch all the big fish in the Rynda and leading the way was Jamie. On his trip to Swan Lake Jamie was fishing near the bottom of the pool. The rest of his fishing team, at the top, thought a girl had run into the river the shriek of help was so high pitched. 55 minutes later and almost to the Inlet the beast was finally netted by Sasha. It toped the scales at 28 pounds and fell to a German Schnelda tube. Not content with that Janie pulled another 20 pounder out 30 minutes later on the same fly. The next day the German Schnelda did the job again and another 20 pounder found its way into Sasha’s net this time from the Canyon. Not a bad two days by anyone’s standards. Graham also managed a 23 pound fish from Black Cliff as I mentioned at the start this fish fell to a gold headed nymph fished on a 6 wt rod. Graham had been fishing for trout and tucked the nymph in behind a rock. A flash of silver and he thought a fresh grilse had taken the fly. He soon realized his error as the fish didn’t move for 20 minutes. Then exploded to the bottom of the pool.
Allan had a sealiced fish from Peter’s Run early in the week. It fell to a black and yellow tube. He thought the fish was never going to tire until it finally swung around and into Jenya’s net. What a prize.
Both groups made the trip to the estuary and found some great sea trout fishing. Kola’s Scottish group went first on Tuesday and had over 20 fish the best at just over 5 pounds. My group went on Friday and scored a similar number to just under 5 pounds. Both parties were amazed at the strength and endurance of our fish in the estuary. Both groups also had one of the elusive sea run arctic char, one of the most beautiful of all the fish here. Silver flanks, perfect gold rings and white tipped fins distinguish these from the usual sea trout.
Autumn is slowly creeping into the tundra. The birch leaves are starting to turn yellow and the tundra red. All the blue berries and cloud berries are ready to harvest and as the mornings work is finished camp seems quiet as the Russians gather the crop. Mushrooms have finally burst through the tundra in numbers and at tent camp mushroom soup at lunch or sauce at dinner has been a big hit. Lyudmila is certainly one of the finest cooks we have had. As the season progresses it’s a true pleasure to see the Tundra change from one extreme to the next in the brief period of summer the Arctic has. The summer is most defiantly finished and the first frosts cannot be to far away. As my time here finishes I cant help but hope the winter is extreme and the spring early! Role on the time of the big flood and the big silver Rynda Springer’s.
The Rynda Report – Week 34 Ending Friday the 21-Aug-09
Our Tundra Adventure program started with 12 very excited people landing at Rynda on Saturday. All the conversations centred on the weather to come and how it would affect the fishing. More rain had been forecast for this week and it was supposed to start on Saturday afternoon but in typical tundra style the forecast was not quite accurate. The rain did come. At 23:00 on Saturday night. It lasted until the early hours of Tuesday morning. This brought the river gradually up by 8 centimetres on the home pool gauge. It also helped drop the temperature back down to 9.6 degrees centigrade an ideal temperature for Rynda fish.
The Tundra Adventure rods were to be split into two groups with one being deployed to the 3rd waterfall tent camp and one staying at the lodge. On Tuesday these would be picked up MI-2 and swapped. For continuity it was decided that Kola and I would supervise a group each and go with them on their trip to the tent camp, or the Rynda Hilton Resort as it has been affectionately named. Johnny Liverrod has agreed to write about the exploits of the other group and I will include his report with this. My group had the honour of the Lodge for the first half of the week.
My first team’s Saturday session got off to a good start for our new Austrian friend Alex. Under Jenya’s careful coaching Alex managed a fantastic first salmon of 14 pounds from Tolstoi. Alex had never fished for Salmon before and to have one on the first evening left him breathless. After consulting the doctor he was prescribed a large measure of Vodka. Funnily he seemed fine after this. The sympathy for those at the tent camp was most felt in the sauna or by the Cherry red wood-burning stove in the Lodge as the rain lashed down on Saturday night. We did think about them, a little. And as the river slowly began to rise so to did the hopes of great fishing to come.
The other 2 of Jenya’s flock got their first Rynda fish on Sunday during the downpour. Chris our second Austrian and an expert on Trout and Grayling fishing had a lovely Salmon of 8 pounds on Sunday. Not quite satisfied with that he went on to land one of 20 Pounds on Tuesday from Saami Camp. This was a near thing however, as Chris manoeuvred this fish, his personal best, over the net the line snapped. Only Jenya’s quick reflexes saved Chris’s photo opportunity. Chris had an almost unhealthy obsession with his 3wt rod. Not surprisingly this led to some trouble. After fishing for salmon for the morning he noticed a nice rise of trout beginning and swapped to the 3wt. As only a trout fishermen can he landed a perfectly presented size 18 elk hair dry fly about 5 feet above the rise without even a splash. A very confident rise then a strike and the fish was on. 25 minutes later he had an 8 pound Salmon in the net. This was one of the most exhilarating fights of his life.
Adrienne the Final member of the 3 landed a great 14 pound Salmon on Sunday. This, her first Atlantic salmon ever, amazed her with its mighty head shakes and blistering runs. Adrienne is an accomplished angler, casting instructor and guide back in British Columbia Canada. Spending most of her days working in the fly shop or fishing. Everyone in camp was amazed at her casting. Beautiful long lines with perfect turnover. Having a young lady in camp can always lead to trouble but even when she broke a nail line snips were used to fix it! Whit the look in her eyes as she left I guarantee she will be back, maybe with some other Steelheaders.
My second team consisted of 3 young men under the expert guidance of Pasha. They had a blast from the word go. One was an expert angler, one had fished for Salmon sometimes and the last was a Salmon fishing virgin. All were young, fit and very keen. Jonny had his first Rynda lesson on Sunday. He found out the hard way that fishing rapids can not only be rewarding but disappointing at the same time. While fishing the rapid above Round Pool he hooked a rock. Well he thought it was a rock until it moved. The rock proceeded to run the length of the rapids and Round Pool in the blink of an eye. As Jonny chased his prize down the pool and began getting line back the fish rolled and showed a dorsal fin the size of Johnny’s hand. His shock was plain to see at dinner when he told the story. Unfortunately as the fish rolled the hook popped out. Jonny did have more fish during the week but nothing got that gleam back in his eyes.
Selwyn was the most experienced angler in the party. Almost every pocket he stripped a fly through produced a take or a splash or a grab, which he quickly followed with a red Francis. One of his many fish had a narrow escape. By himself Selwyn landed a great 19.5 pound Salmon and as he was removing the hook a curious mink came and tried to take the fish for dinner. Very modestly Selwyn put his several 3 fish days down to good fortune. Fortune however favours the brave and with his exciting and modern techniques of moving the fly and experimentation his was more skill than luck.
The last in Pasha’s trio had a series of what we like to call “long distance releases”. The first of which happened in Ptarmigan Pool. After seeing a fish rise Jamie tied on a big Green bomber. He was amazed when, as he was watching, the fish obligingly rose again and the fly disappeared. Jamie only had the fish on for a few seconds before his hastily tied not slipped free. The next fish he raised took the bomber 6 times and was on for all of 20 seconds the sixth time. On inspecting this bomber it turned out Jamie must have hit a rock on the back cast breaking of the point. Mistakes like these are why people love learning how to fly fish.
On the last day several of us went Trout fishing to the upper Rynda. We arrived to find no trout rising. This is not so unusual for this time of year as the main hatches of insects have finished. The Trout were still there it was just a matter of covering water and finding them. Within 15 minutes Adrienne had the first weighing in at about 3.5 pounds. The fish grabbed her fly the second it hit the water and took her on a blistering run down a 200 meter rapid. A beautiful butter gold bellied fish was her reward for a fair amount of running. The rest of the day proved much of the same with 7 Trout up to 5 pounds regularly running us into the backing.
Group: Alexsey (Russia), Alexsey jr. (Russia), Narve Nilsen (Norway), Arve Lindberg (Norway), Einar Matiesen (Norway), John Mc Caughev (Ireland) and Group leader Johnny Liver’d (Norway)
We all arrived Rynda Camp with big expectations for this new Tundra program. The special about the new program was that we should fish the whole Rynda river from top to bottom. The top of the river had some splendid trout pool’s and we went there with a big jet boat. It was a wonderful and memorable trip we won’t forget. Everyone that went up there got a lot of brown trout’s. We also watched some spectacular falcon hunting for birds. We saw a lot of reindeer and several Wolverine’s. The Wolverine came close up on us, 15 m, amazing
John also got a 13 pound salmon on a #6 trout rod with a 6lb tippet while he was fishing for trout. The line went tight and the fish went up through the rapids in to the lake and the line caught in a stone. Yura had to wade across the river and free the line and land the fish at the other side.
Another day we were fishing down to the sea and ended the day with sea trout fishing when the tide was coming in. The tide came so fast in that we nearly were trapped on the Island’s, It actually come in so fast that we could see the water rising in the blink of an eye : amazing.
Conclusion: We had to work really hard to get all the fishes, the biggest at 22 pound. All the group caught fishes. This adventure was a success and it is not possible to describe it in words and every one was really pleased and several PB was set.
Very Best Wishes from Johnny and the rest of the group.
All said the Tundra Adventure on the Rynda has exceeded everyone’s wildest dreams. The sprit with which our first group took to the river and the camps has been nothing short of outstanding. A big thank you to everyone who has made it possible.
The Rynda Report – Week 33 Ending Friday the 14-Aug-09
As promised the rain came to Rynda this week. Saturday night saw the first of the showers with the distant rumble of thunder further up the valley. This rain turned to intermittent showers until Tuesday when the heavens opened again bringing the return of heavier rain and thunder. Following the heavier rain came a rise of one centimetre on both Sunday and Wednesday. One centimetre may not be considered a large rise in water but it proved significant as fresh sealiced fish were caught.
Seven of the first 10 fish landed were fresh and caught as far up as Reindeer Crossing. Including several that fell to our Irish pair of Richard M and Jonathan. Joining us from the Kharlovka for their second week in the Tundra this pair had a great fortnight of fishing. Flying out to meet them this week was long time fishing buddy Steven. Not wanting to be left out Steven had a brace of fresh fish on Monday one from Power Pool and the second from Red Cliff.
Steven was paired up with Richard B who joined us for his first visit to Rynda. Richard B’s first Rynda fish came from Norway on Sunday, a fresh Grilse taken on a Red Francis. Richard B was very efficient with his casting on Wednesday in Swan Lake. After making his way to his designated starting point at the head of the run he spotted a fish showing not six feet from the rock he was perched on. Richard promptly plopped his Black Francis into the river. Not two seconds later the fish grabbed it. After a 20 minute tussle a 14 pound salmon was safely in Jenya’s net.
The other group of Rynda usual suspects was made up of 5 Germans returning once again for their yearly Russian fishing trip. Jurgen his sons Sven and Arne and their friends Jens and Bernd have been many times to Rynda enjoying the rugged beauty and fishing. Hooking fish was no problem for these determined anglers’ keeping them hooked was another matter. Arne had great action all week but seemed to come back with tails of lots of fish falling off the hook during the fight. I happened to witness two fish that seemed well hooked come unstuck after several minutes of hard fighting. This included a good fish hooked in an unnamed run just above Trout Vista. This fish had the unmistakable head shake of a large fish and stayed deep the whole 10 minutes it was hooked. Arne did land a nice grilse later that day though on the same cone head Red Francis.
Sven and Jens also lost a very big fish in Tolstoi. This fish broke Jens off at the loop between the fly line and the tippet. As they told the story it became clear that Sven had tied Jens’s leader on. It was at this point the line gave way. We will never know if the was the knot or a rock that caused the break but luckily for Sven, Jens was happy to have been in contact with a monster.
Bernd’s fishing partner this year was returning rod Anthony. Antony came out for the very first week of spring and managed to persuade his wife that coming back to Rynda was a great idea. Anthony was again a barrel of laughs during this trip and kept all the others entertained. He fished hard through the day and laughed and joked through the night. Last year Anthony lost a very big fish in Round Pool. This year Anthony hooked a nice fish there. This time it made it into Kola M’s net.
The last day brought George to Kola’s Secret Pocket. As the name suggests not too many people know where this almost mythical of pools lies and its only fishable in low water. After a wade up river to get to the starting point George launched his Sunray across the pool. On the third cast a fish grabbed the fly and the battle to keep it in the pool began. George and his guide Pasha quickly realized they had a good fish and tried to keep it from running down the rapids, managing finally after about 20 minutes to get the 20 pounder in Pasha’s net. Photographs taken George began to fish again. Another large fish rose once to the Sunray but refused to come back. Pasha suggested a Red Francis and the fish grabbed this first cast. Unfortunately this fish, bigger than the last, didn’t play by the same rules and shot straight out of the pool and down the rapids below taking George’s fly with it. A second Red Frances was tied on. This time on the third cast another fish estimated by pasha to be in the mid to high 20′s grabbed it. Again this fish decided it didn’t want to stay in the pool and was last seen jumping in the head of Power Pool before straighten the hook and coming off. A great final day by any standard.
Next week sees the beginning of the Tundra program and with heavy rain forecast for the first two days conditions look like they could quickly become excellent for angling. As we found out this week even the smallest of rises in water level bring fresh fish into the system. Lets hope the rain comes. Not many people want rain on their holiday but Salmon fishermen on the Rynda do. How much rain we get only time will tell
The Rynda Report – Week 32 Ending the 07-Aug-09
High pressure has dominated for a second week in the Tundra. With cold nights and foggy mornings. The ever-present but never warm breeze again swinging to all points of the compass. The cold evenings have brought the river temperature back down to 11.5 degrees but the bright down stream sun created less than ideal salmon fishing conditions. Despite this salmon were still caught in excellent numbers, particularly by the more adventurous of anglers. These adventurous angles took risks on fly choice and technique and were greatly rewarded for their daring. The trend of large fish has also continued with many fish over 20 pounds being landed and many more over 12 pounds. We still have not seen the grilse in numbers but word from Scotland and Norway is that they are on their way.
Our rods this week have been a lively bunch with many a Beatles song pouring out of the lodge in the evenings. And even a duet in Russian from John and Anaya. Several have even braved the cold early mornings hoping for an extra fish.
Our Saturday opening session this week was shorter than usual as fog delayed the departing rods. Despite this several fish were caught. Monday produced 2 beautiful fish, one each for Erik and Juerg. Juerg arrived back to camp first with the tail of a 25 pound fish which ran him ragged before being netted by Kola M. This fish took a large Temple Dog tied on a brass tube in Tolstoi. As this tail was being spun the helicopter returned and a smiling Erik emerged. When he joined us every one listened stunned by the storey of his tussle with a 26 pounder in Power pool. This great fish took a small Willie Gunn and was landed some 35 minutes later. Those were their best fish but Erik had one more for his day and Juerg had another 3. Erik also had a 23 pounder form Swan Lake on Wednesday.
Our Norwegian trio of Karl, Knut and Tom kept every one in the lodge entertained. The Heavy Squad or Special Air Operations (SAO) as they named them selves had everyone singing by the end of the third evening. They also had everyone in fits of laughter with tails of previous trips in ASR. They fished hard with Knut landing the best fish at 17 pounds from Swan Lake.
Rynda Veterans Peter A. and Martin paired up again this year having some great sport. Peter A. had 2 fish over 20 pounds. Martin though stole the show with a fight from Red Cliff all the way to Norway with a very angry 19 pound fish caught on a Willie Gunn.
Adrian had a very exciting Thursday upstream nymphing. After landing one 14 pound fish in Tolstoi conventionally he decided to try something unconventional. Upstream nymphing can be very effective and Adrian proved this by hauling out 3 fish of 17, 19 and 20 pounds respectively. This left his fishing partner, Vaughan, screaming black magic. I believe Adrian has his son to thank for his success as he picked out the nymph in Farlows for his father.
First time guest Mark deserves a special mention as he was one of the few who braved the early morning chill, getting out before breakfast every day to fish. He was rewarded for his efforts with his first Rynda Salmon one cold morning at about 7am. His partner for the week duet singer John though left his first Rynda fish until 6.45 on Saturday morning, we were quite lucky to get him packed in time to make the helicopter.
Nature is hard at work at the moment and finally berries and mushrooms are beginning to make an appearance. Ptarmigan chicks are taking their first flights and the ever-playful mink kittens are frolicking for all to see. Most surprising has been the sighting of a Wolverine at Saami not 10 meters form the guests. These fearsome tundra predators are rarely seen and a photo of them is a great prize.
Our days of 24 hour sun are drawing to a close and the progression to Autumn is beginning. At night the sky is finally beginning to darken, not fully and only for half an hour or so but the change is significant. The high pressure which has dominated the last 2 weeks is due to give way to some rain over the next few days and the whole cam is looking forward to hearing the tinkle of drops on roofs. Soon the Tundra Adventure will be upon us and the 3rd Waterfall camp is now complete. Staff are now living there and everything is being given final tests ready to accept guests.
Our 3 best fish this week were 26, 25 and 23 pounds with 12 fish were over 17 pounds including 6 that broke the 20 pound mark. With the forecast rain things can only go from strength to strength. Lets hope the fish agree.
The Rynda Report for the Week 31 ended Friday, 31-Jul-09
Special edition by Jonathan Chippindale
Getting off the MI-8 at the Rynda is always a wonderful experience. A chance to actually see the river again after 12 months of looking at it through photographs and happy memories, a time to renew old acquaintances on the camp, to shake a few hands, to give a few hugs, and all in the knowledge that the long wait is at last over and a week’s exceptional fishing finally beckons once more.
Thus it was with the smiling faces that made their way into the Camp for Peter’s welcome. Almost all had fished the Rynda on several occasions and very much knew what this magnificent river can deliver, and so after a little light lunch had been quickly consumed, it was time to get straight to the heart of the matter: fishing!
Expectations had been mounting for months, so it was reassuring to find out that the river was fishing extremely well. Long term Rynda veterans Jonathan and Duncan were quickly getting into fish, with Jonathan taking three fine, fresh, silver salmon, two of which coming from Staircase were landed in full view of a bear that had decided to check out the action from the edge of the other side of the river. On Peter hearing the news, his comment of ‘weren’t you just a little bit scared?’ was returned with a string of expletives very few of which are actually repeatable in this report!
The first full day of fishing brought the entire spectrum of Arctic weather to play – rain showers, bright sunshine followed by chilly northerly winds and finally dead mosquito-laden calm. As the helicopter started bringing the guests back from the beats it was clear that Iain and Roddy had been having fun at Red Cliff, with Roddy latching into an especially fine 20lb fish and Iain another nice fish from Sami Camp. The smile on their faces said it all. Meanwhile, father and son team Nigell and Charlie had returned with a fish each, but it wasn’t until dinner that Peter managed to winkle out of Nigel that his particular contribution to the catch returns book was a 28lb salmon and his own personal best! This fish had been taken in Swan Lake, towards the tail, and they had seen other large fish moving there. Perhaps these might be taking fish too?
The next day, armed with the knowledge that Nigel and Charlie hadn’t managed to fish the top beat much below the 3rd Waterfall, Jonathan and Duncan’s tactics were to fish hard and fast in the morning and to get down towards the Fan and Canyon by lunchtime. As ever, the Rynda thought otherwise! Knowing that at least two large fish had been sighted in the tail of Swan Lake the previous day, Jonathan took the ‘honour’ and settled down to fish. Duncan meanwhile had put perhaps three casts into the slower water of the neck when the line stopped in mid flow and gently tautened. It was one of those fish where nothing initially happens – the tension is on the line, the rod is bent and there is simply a small tapping feeling on the line to let you know this is a really big fish and not merely a rock that the fly has snagged. Terrifyingly scary yet utterly exhilarating – all Duncan could do was adjust his drag, tighten his wading belt and wait for the great game to begin. Jonathan meanwhile had seen Duncan hook into a fish, but had no hint of its size, so was calmly continuing to fish out the tail of the pool. This quickly came to a stop, as first Duncan’s fish, followed by Duncan’s line and then (slightly behind) Duncan himself roared through the entire pool and over the rapids down into Swan Lake itself. Jonathan and Pasha, the Guide, looked at Duncan, looked at each other, and raced off after him. Afterwards, it turned out that Duncan had applied full drag in an effort to hold the fish, not realising its true size, and was fishing with 14lb breaking strain leader. Meanwhile, the fish had hunkered down in the rapids below Swan Lake pool, and was sulkily considering its options when Pasha managed to get a net under it and pull it ashore. Well done Pasha, and well done Duncan! Duncan still hadn’t really appreciated the full size of the achievement, so intent was he at playing the fish – that quickly changed when Jonathan stuck his head near the net and started talking of a ‘fish of a lifetime’. Full measurements were taken before attempting to weigh it using the Guide’s scales – even then it required the combined muscle of both Jonathan and the guide to lift it high enough to take an accurate reading. 37lbs. An incredible fish, from a stunningly beautiful pool, on a truly magnificent river!
Even after being faced with photographs, video footage and the Guides measurements Kola Lite couldn’t quite believed what he was hearing – ‘No! Come on…!’ was all he could say for much of the evening. With his generosity and usual keen appreciation of the event, Peter kindly provided champagne that evening and said a few wise words that encapsulated the buzz in the camp while reminding us all of the extraordinary nature of what he has achieved on the Atlantic Salmon Reserve.
Meanwhile, the Zolotoya was fishing extremely well. Not to be out down by Nigel and Charlie, the father and daughter team of Lewis and Eliza (soon to be crowned the weeks top rod) quickly landed eight fish, with Eliza taking two 13lb fish from Russian pool. Two days later, Jonathan was fishing the rapids below Long Pool using a hitched skated tube, where he took a 16lb, a 15lb and a 7lb fish from the same pocket and with 12 minutes from first to last fish.
Back on the Rynda Toby, another long term Rynda ‘Old Boy’, was finishing off his day by fishing through the tail of Eagles Nest. The Guide signaled one last cast before ‘home’, but one cast was all it took – a mighty splash, a singing reel and line rapidly ripping through the water. A fresh 17lb fish was duly landed and one very contented and smiley fisherman returned to Camp.
The next day Duncan, fishing deep in Tolstoi, hooked into an exceptionally fresh 22lb bar of silver. However, the fish of the day was caught by Peter S, a Swedish fisherman, who had been impressing us all week not only with the quality of his double-hauled casting from his single handed rod, but with the fact that he was out fishing every night and most mornings too. Fishing high up in the Rynda system above Reindeer, he spotted, rose and then hooked into a large salmon which once landed and weighed, tipped the scales at 23lb – no mean feat on a light single handed trout rod.
The next day, the wind had dropped and fog now settled over the river. The temperature was mild and the mosquitoes were out. Not that our anglers were perturbed. The partnership of David and Simon had been fishing hard all week – in fact David had spent the past week on the Kharlovka and Simon was returning to the Rynda for his second week this season having already fished in the first weeks of the season. His evident experience was paying off as he took a super 18lb fish from Black Cliff Pocket.
And so another week came to a close. Getting back onto the MI-8 for the return to Murmansk is always a time for reflection. The fishing was, as ever, superb. Duncan’s 37lb fish is of course something special, and perhaps it is for the best that fish such as these are the rare and elusive prey they evidently are – something special and something magical that a few of us are privileged to experience. However throughout the week plenty of fish in the twenty pound plus range were both landed and lost, some having been in the river only a few hours. Both the Rynda and the Zolotoya are always capable of presenting us with the most stunning fish, made only more special by the remoteness and raw beauty of its location on the roof of the world, sitting under the ‘white nights’ of its all-to-brief summer. But perhaps my overriding memory is of the atmosphere around the dining table – committed and contented salmon fisherfolk, each aware of the magnificence of their surroundings and the uniqueness of the opportunity, and determined to do only their very best for the Rynda.
The Rynda Report – Week 30 Ending the 24-Jul-2009
A steady northerly wind has kept the air temperature around 10 degrees this week. The sun tried to break through the cloud a few times, and on occasion succeeded, if only for a fleeting moment. The river temperature has also dropped back to a refreshing 10 degrees centigrade.
We have a mixture of youth and experience this week. Five of our rods were in there 20′s. They really set a party spirit in the Rynda lodge. Pranks were played every night and not just by these young troublemakers but by giggling parents as well. Though not much fishing went on after dinner they fished hard through the day and partied hard at night. Not surprising considering they had a lot to celebrate!
Our week started with a bang on Saturday with some fantastic fish. We had three of these young lads shatter personal bests and two land fish in the 20 pounds or over! Edward landed a fantastic 22 pounder from the Inlet on his favourite blue charm, while his mother Angela watched. He also managed to land two other lovely fish for the evening at 16 and 18 pounds. Tom L also managed a 20 pounder from Saami, another PB. That night was bound to bring a few toasts of vodka but come morning there were several bottles more than usual in the bin and a fridge completely empty of beer.
Peter also managed a PB with a fish of 25 pound on Sunday form Power Pool. Power pool produced another beautiful fish and PB of 26 pounds on Monday for Richard, father of Tom L. Richard fought the fish for 45 minutes before Vadim managed to get it into the net. This showed his son that experience counts. Tom L was not finished however and promptly pulled another magical fish form Eagle’s Nest on Tuesday weighing in at 24 pounds! Unfortunately there are no photos of any of this because they both went for a little swim. Like father like son. Valodia Diesel, the camp engineer, managed to repair the cameras on Thursday night, he said it was a miracle as one was literally half full of water!
Nick T had an unforgettable day on Wednesday with 6 fish between Twin Slabs and Eagle’s Nest. One of them topped the scales at 20 pounds and was a bar of Rynda Silver. This fish was hooked in Eagle’s Nest and ran poor Nick ragged before being scooped up by Sasha some 25 minutes later.
Returning for their second week this year, Roy H and his son Nick H had a great time. Roy H, ever the life of the party, kept everyone entertained with funny stories and jokes. This said they take their fishing very seriously. After there first week Roy H was in danger of having to cancel the second due to knee problems, but after some serious treatment, nothing could stop him. Roy H got of to a good start in some respects by hooking a monster in Swan Lake. As the fish realized it was hooked it ran hard down the current. All Roy could do was watch as his shooting head, running line and backing went screaming down the pool. All too quickly the danger of gel spun backing and sharp rocks became apparent as Roy’s fish threaded its way through boulders. Just as he realized the danger the line caught and an agonizing second later snapped. The Running Boy took 1 hour 20 minutes to get a spare reel to 3rd Waterfall, 11 km up from the lodge.
Angela’s other son, Tom G, didn’t let his brothers big fish stop him. He enjoyed a leisurely start in home pool on Tuesday, after returning for the Zolotaya. As he fished down Rock Island he connected with a great fish. A good 35 minutes later and another family PB was set! 21 pounds of Silver was safely in Petya’s net. His fishing partner Freddy had a lovely fish of 19 pounds on the first night our last in the trio of PB’s for the opening session. Freddy wasn’t satisfied though and at the last moment on Friday landed a fish of 20 pounds breaking his PB again! Welcome to Rynda Freddy.
Wild life has been making an appearance again even in the cold. Early Monday morning the Wolf was spotted for the second time this season. This time he had a friend with him. Half the camp witnessed the spectacle as they ran along the ridge near the fuel depot. Yura managed to chase around the hill and get a few pictures with his camera. The Zolotaya also produced a beautiful Lizard, the first Vadim has seen. Freddie also saw a family of mink kittens playing at Norway. Even during the cold life in the Tundra goes on.
We have had eight fish over 20 pounds this week with the biggest three being 24, 25 and 26. Spirits remained high, through this cold period, as people caught good numbers of large fish. Friday saw the appearance of what seems to be the first major push of grilse. Maybe they have finally arrived in numbers to the river. Next week will tell. They must be moving quickly up river as one was caught in Reindeer Crossing with long tailed sea lice covering it. Meanwhile we landed 193 salmon last week.
I have been up to 3rd Waterfall inspecting work at our new tent camp, and it’s looking great. Those of you on the Tundra Adventure here will be able to relax in comfort. The decking is just being laid were guests will dine with a view of the waterfall. The hot showers are being plumbed in and the toilets given power. Work is in full swing to get this finished and tested for the first week of the program. We have completely sold out the rods bar 3 in the first week due to a cancelation. This week starts the 15th August 09 and we have been granted a special extension to out deadline. I will be in the office on Monday so please phone me on +44 (0) 1865 883063 if you are interested. We need details by the 29th of July for anyone who wants to take these last spots.
The Rynda Report – Week 29 Ending the 17-Jul-2009
Our guests this week were treated to a sunny welcome as they got of the helicopter at the Rynda Camp. A calm slightly overcast 20 degrees centigrade on the camp gage and steady pressure could potentially bring some excellent fishing. As the week progressed the weather, in typical Kola Peninsula fashion, change form one day to the next. It seemed like the wind came from every direction of the compass before finally settling on Westerly. After a few brief showers and a very cold Thursday, the weather returned on Friday to sunny skies but the westerly breeze remained constant.
Our rods this week have been made up of some old hands and some new faces. Our new guests quickly fitting into the way of life at Rynda. Once lunch was over and the guests assembled the Mi2 ferried them off for there first taste of the river. Frank, a late replacement for his father, told me upon arrival that he was excited by the prospect of catching a salmon on a skated or dry fly. I assured him the chances were good in 13 degree water and to speak with his guide. On Sunday his dreams came true and in Horse Shoe, on a small Muddler, Frank landed a beautiful fresh 15 pound hen. On his return that evening he confessed to me he would go home happy even if he didn’t get another fish all week. On Thursday frank landed another fish this time from 10 islands. After a hard fight the fish finally weighed in at 20 pounds. Frank, however, wasn’t quite finished yet and landed another fish of 23 pounds from the Canyon on Friday. Certainly a week to remember! Franks fishing partner John, a Rynda veteran, kept up well landing several fish in the teens including one at 18 and one at 20 pounds.
Jack, also a first time Rynda guest, faired exceptionally well on surface flies, landing a silver 24 pound Rynda submarine on a hitched Sunray Shadow from Tolstoi. His partner Karl, also on his first trip to Rynda, landed a 17 pounder in Home Pool and a 20 pounder in Horse Shoe. Both fish were fresh.
Mirabel, Tom and their son Toby joined us for the first time this year. Toby and Tom fished late almost every night. Toby seemed to suffer more than his father for this and needed a nice bowl of porridge to get him fuelled up every morning. These late night seemed not to affect his fishing or casting prowess however. Toby threw as nice a line as I have seen. It is seldom necessary on the Rynda to fish a very long line, but in the fan this proved the downfall of the trios largest fish. Toby was practicing casting and had a wind knot in his nylon but thought nothing of it, often a fatal error. Toby’s line touched the water and almost immediately snapped tight. Very gingerly Toby fought the fish into Kola M’s net. The fish made 19 pounds on the scales. Toby also celebrated his 17th birthday with us on Friday. I can think if no better place to celebrate such an occasion. Tom had back-to-back 17 pounders, on a very big Red Francis, in Reindeer Crossing and Swan Lake.
Guy and his son in-law Mark E also racked up an impressive 4 fish of over 20 pounds. Guy and mark have both been coming for many years. They both had fish in Norway pool over 20 pounds on Monday with Guy’s weighing in at 22. Norway again produced 5 fish that day 4 salmon and one grilse for a total weight of 68 pounds. Mark E had an almighty tussle with a 23 pounder in Russian Pool on the Zolotaya. A real test for single handed 8 wt. This cock fish ran Mark E a merry dance in Russian before being landed half way down Long Pool.
Nico and Sue returned to us this year not from the usual Kharlovka Helicopter but via Murmansk. They had some excellent days fishing including a brace of 20 pounders for Nico, one form Russian pool on the Zolotaya and one from Eagles Nest. Sue had the fight of her life also in Eagles Nest, her favourite pool, precariously perched on a rock. Luckily Vadim stayed by her side, as she was almost pulled into the river be the fish. After a while the supper hot, fresh and sea liced 15 pound fish was scooped up by Sasha.
Piers has been coming to Rynda for many years and during his time has photographed and catalogued much of the flora of our rivers. All his shots and knowledge are on our website in the life at Rynda section. He did this again this year getting some excellent shots. The most impressive was of the Small-flowered Butterfly Orchid (Platanthera oligantha). A very rare plant. The site will soon be updated with these new photographs. His fishing partner for the week was Mark F. Mark F was an archive of knowledge and truly fascinating member of the team. Fishing has been his main passion for years and he has had the chance to fish all over the world. Armed with his split cane rod Mark F fished hard, landing several good fish in the high teens.
There have been few wildlife sightings this week except for Reindeer. One night however, a terrible screeching woke Misha, the Zolotaya caretaker. Being braver than most he went to investigate. He found a buzzard’s nest to be the source of the sound. To his horror a Sea Eagle was eating one of the buzzard chicks. The screeching was coming from the parent birds as they dived into the eagle pecking and scratching but to no avail. Life in the tundra can be short for the weak or unlucky. Frank however saw another buzzard nest. This one had 3 chicks and all were fat and healthy.
Our season here continues to surprise us. The late arrival of the grilse has begun to slow our catches although we were well above the five year average for this week. With people regularly catching fish in the late teens and twenties the atmosphere at camp has been electric and we were 50 lbs up by weight on this week last year – A testimony to the size of the fish this year. This week we had 11 fish over 20 pounds with several larger lost. Our 3 biggest fish have been 24, 23 and 22 pounds and 3 fish in the 20′s were landed at the Zolotaya. A truly magical week!
The Rynda Report – Week 28 Ending the 10-Jul-09
Last weeks hailstorm was a forerunner to a cold start for Week 28, as our new rods were greeted by strong northerly winds. With temperatures rarely creeping above six degrees and the river plummeting back down to eight degrees. This meant the water temperature was warmer than air, not good conditions for taking salmon. On Wednesday the conditions changed to glorious sunshine and light westerly winds. Temperatures peaked at 16 degrees. This didn’t last though as Thursday saw the cold wind return and remain strong. Friday however was warm and slightly overcast, excellent fishing conditions.
The usual Saturday excursion, after a late lunch, produced 18 fresh fish two of them to David and Diana. This year was their first trip to the Rynda and it started with the Zolotaya VIP treatment. As time was short the Mi2 was left to ferry them down to Russian Pool. Diana had the honour at Russian Pool and landed the couples first fish – A magnificent 16 pound fresh salmon. David was obviously very happy for his wife, but was also bubbling with anticipation for his chance at Russian silver. Sasha tied on his secret fly and handed the rod to David. Four casts later, bang, David is into a fish. He checked the scales and low and behold, another fish of 16 pounds.
Peter C had a fantastic fight with a 26 pound monster in Norway pool on Tuesday afternoon a new personal best for him. Before long Peter C and Roger, his fishing partner, both had new fish on their lines. A double hook up! This time Rogers was the mightier fish. Roger’s fish ran down the pool under the line of Peter. There was a mad scramble and a small amount of dancing and both fish were landed. A small grin surfaced on Roger’s face as Jenya lifted the net and the scales leveled out at 27 pounds also a new personal best. By the end of the day Norway had produced 5 salmon for weighing some 86 pounds.
Norway had another 5 fish day on Wednesday with another double hook up. This time for Lawrence and Elizabeth Banks, producing again all salmon, weighing between 9 and 18 pounds. With lovely sunshine and the river finally beginning to warm up again, fish seemed more inclined to take a fly.
Richard found out just how many layers of backing he had on is reel while fishing in Home Pool after dinner one evening. As we all know big fish rarely play by any rules and immediately after the take this fish decided it preferred life in the ocean. After a blistering run down the pool and through the rapids the hook finally lost its grip. Richard said at breakfast that he never new he had so many colours of line on his reel! Wildlife has been hit by the cold snap just like the anglers. Buds have closed and the hatch of insects has stalled. On the bright side the Mosquitoes have not yet reared their ugly heads. The camp had its first major animal sighting this week. On the ridge behind the cabins a Polar Wolf was spotted by two of the staff, the first ever at the Rynda. Butch, the camp dog, made chase. 6 hours later Butch was still missing. Maybe Butch was no match for this big white and grey wild Wolf. 8 hours later Butch came limping back to camp with his tail between his legs. He promptly dug a comfy patch in the Tundra and slept. At least he is home safely! Christopher spotted a Wolverine on the bank at Power Pool not 15 feet from where his guide, Pasha, was sitting. At Norway Pool a Red Fox, who looked a bit skinny, tried to drag a net up the bank. The net had just been used, so the fox must have believed the smell of salmon would mean an easy lunch. Elizabeth also saw the first Ptarmigan chick of the season running along behind its parent.
What a difference a day can make in the tundra. With the water temperature back up to a respectable 11.7 degrees Friday saw the river come alive. 37 fish were caught. Most falling to surface flies. Maurice had a monumental day! This is Maurice’s 9th year at Rynda and for all the hours of toil he was finally richly rewarded. As I said last week, never easily is a 30 pound fish put in the Rynda book. Fortunately Yura managed to net the fish first time. He then proceeded to complete a textbook recording of the details, including photographs of the measurements. His scales leveled out at 32 pounds and measurements confirm the figure. Maurice’s 32 pounder now stand as the years largest fish beating Hugo’s previous record by just 1 pound this was also a personal best for Maurice.
Rynda produce some 199 fish this week with the 3 largest being 32, 27 and 26 pounds. The weather improved on Friday and we may be in for a few days of summer!
The Rynda Report – Week 27 ended Friday, 4-Jul-09
Our new rods breathed a sigh of relief when they landed in Murmansk to an overcast 7 degrees. With spirits high they were quickly fed and sent out for their first session on the river. 2 hours later the parties returned with smiles all round having landed 17 fresh salmon. The week was off to a very good start!
The weather this week in Rynda has been tough. On Saturday all seemed well but by Tuesday things had changed. Bright sun and temperatures in the high teens made for sun cream. The weather turned on Wednesday and for the rest of the week we had some very wintry conditions. With strong winds and low temperatures. The Tundra threw all it had at our brave fishermen but everyone had a great time.
Sunday had some fantastic action with Victor, one of our two new Russian friends, landing 5 fish on what was to become his famous Golden Killer fly. Action was fast and furious on the surface with Jamie McCaig in a state of ecstasy. He raised a large fish no less than 4 times before finally setting the hook on the 5th. After a gruelling 25 min battle the fish tore free. Enthusiasm un-dampened by the loss he declared that maybe he was “just a wee bit tough on it”. Long term pair Mark and David have been fishing together for over 50 years. There experience showed through and they had 5 over 14 pounds for the day with 2 at 17 and one at 19 pounds. Mark’s 19 pounder ran so hard and fast he almost ran out of backing before it calmed down behind a rock at the tail of Norway.
Tuesday’s change in the weather, with bright sun and high temperatures, in most cases this would make the fish more reluctant to take, but the Rynda fish seemed only slightly put off. We finished the day with a staggering 35 fish, many taken on skated flies, several of which fell to our long time Icelandic friend, Palmi. Iceland is the home of the skated micro tube, and Palmi is a real expert in the art of surface fishing for salmon. To watch Palmi is a real treat. He shared with every one in the team valuable lessons and advice and even most of his fly collection! When Palmi’s fishing partner Hakan Norlan stepped off the Helicopter with a large grin on his face we knew a good story was about to be told. Hakan, The inventor of the original Temple Dog, had been chasing the ever-elusive “big fish”. Finally, swinging his big heavy fly through Prunella, the line came to a stop and thump, thump the fish was on. After a 30 minute tussle a 22 pound bar of silver was in Pasha’s net! But some of Palmi’s influence must have rubbed of on Hakan. On Friday Hakan had the last laugh landing yet another 22 pounder. This time on a bomber! These two will forever be remembered as the ‘Bomb Squad’.
This week at Rynda we have had the pleasure of Eoin Fairgrieve, one of the most talented casters in the world. Eoin lives in Kelso on the River Tweed and has been running a casting school there for many years. Several years ago he instigated a program called Tweed Start with the aim of educating and encouraging young anglers on the River Tweed. This love of helping youth anglers brought him up on Peter’s ‘Radar’ and as a result Peter hosted this years charity dinner at the Tweed Angling Fair. With people like Peter and Eoin championing the sport for the youth of today and tomorrow I can only see glory day ahead! Tuesday was a great day for Eoin and his fishing partner Howard, as they headed over to the Zolotaya. They managed 6 fish with Howard struggling to land a beautiful 19 pound silver fish in Peter’s Place. Howard is relatively new to salmon fishing and this fish smashed his personal best from 2 days before. Howard’s story does not end there. On the last day Howard broke his PB again landing an impressive 22 pound sea liced beauty! He said with a smile on his face “you’ve broken me boys. I’m hooked I’ll see you next year”. It is a rare feat indeed to break a PB and to do it 3 times in one week is incredible, but not too unusual out here. Speaking of breaking personal bests, Eoin has also set a new camp record. He consumed 43 Snickers bars in one week. The camp is now dry of these and the staff nearly had to have some flown out especially. Who knows maybe next year Snickers will be sponsoring Eoin and not Loop.
The famous Brian Fratel from Farlows and his partner Michael Barclay landed 6 fish up to 23 pounds on Thursday! Quite a remarkable achievement. 23 pounds is an amazing fish in anyone’s book but when Hugo bounded off the helicopter that night, I was in no doubt something very special had just happened. Hugo has been coming for 11 years to fish with us in the ASR and has racked up some serious fish on the Kharlovka and Litza with several over the 30 pound mark. When Hugo finally managed to calm down enough to tell the story I laughed for the next 20 minutes! After the fight of his life lasting 70 minutes he finally got a monster fish to Sasha’s feet. Sasha slipped the net under the fish but as he lifted it clear of the water with a mighty slash of its spade like tail it broke through the net and the fight was back on, this time with a net looped around the line. Luckily for Hugo who had his own dedicated guide he was able to summon Gena who was looking after Jamie. With the new net, and the fish at his feet, Gena deftly netted the great fish for the second time. You guessed it the mighty fish makes another powerful swoosh of its tail and goes through another net!!!! Undaunted Hugo fishes on. Suffice it to say now two guides are scratching their heads. Both have seen this huge fish and know it’s over 30 pounds, but no one has a net. So Gena after carefully threaded his ruined net over the line and rod, had to try and tail the monster, as there was no spot to beach it anywhere in sight. So for the final time Hugo gets the fish in and Gena gets a hold of its tail. An audible sigh of relief escapes Hugo and he reaches for his camera. Just as Hugo gives some slack line, the fish rips its self out of Gena’s hands, and pop out comes the hook! With 3 experienced sets of eyes seeing the fish and estimating it well into the 30′s Hugo’s fish now stands as the years best fish! As all who fish here know, never lightly is a 30 pound fish entered into the book! After a conference, will all parties involved, Peter was finally satisfied and signed it with his seal of authority. As it was not accurately weighed or measured Hugo entered it at a conservative 31 pounds.
In less than ideal conditions, with water often warmer than the air, fish were still being caught in excellent numbers! Following on from last week, witch equalled the record, will always be hard but if the only way to go is up, then so be it! Rynda this week has smashed our previous best for this week landing a total of 254 fish, exceeded the 5 year average for the week by 53%. Large numbers of running fish are being caught, many with long tailed sea lice. There have been reliable sightings of big fish all through the river. We are also beginning to see the first few grilse entering the system, but these are few and far between but still fat and healthy.
We thought spring had passed, as all the plants and wild life are in full summer bloom and activity, but the hailstorm today seems to be an omen that were not quite there yet. What next week will bring only time will tell.
The Rynda Report – Week 26 ended Friday, 26-Jun-09
A robust good humoured group of English, Northern Irish, American, Japanese, Russian and Australian nationality made for a week of great good cheer to accompany some wonderful if at times testing fishing.
The overwhelming consensus was of fine fellowship with kindred spirits and an abundance of fish moving rapidly into and through the system with decent numbers of salmon from Third Waterfall through Lower Canyon and down to the sea.
Bare fishing facts show that we broke the 150 fish barrier despite David and Mark being seconded early in the week to support filming operations on Kharlovka/Eastern Litza. As in the previous week we picked up plenty of solid hard fighting atypical Rynda torpedos from an occasional grilse to several fish in the high teens including fish of 26lbs, 25lbs, 24lbs, 24lbs, 20lbs and 20lbs in weight.
Due respect must first of all be acknowledged to Pat and Gerald who despite octogenarian years did not and would not let themselves falter, fishing carefully, methodically and within themselves to great effect. The willingness of Gerald to show off by taking the odd dip or as he would describe it ‘falling with style’ was a source of great entertainment as he regaled us in inimitable fashion with tales of deeds done, places been and fish caught (including a 24lbs specimen from Prunella).
Despite the occasional late night soiree including it must be said some pretty suspect fly tying (No names, no pack drill Mr Curry!) due diligence was paid to the opportunities of Home pool with several individuals led by Michael closely supported by Alan and Clive picking opportune fish out on a regular basis even to the extent of running after them as they left the Home pool and headed seawards.
The river continued to drop steadily reading 58 cm at the weeks end. In typical Arctic fashion temperatures fluctuated wildly often during the course of the same day settling at a very skate-able/bomber level of 11 C. Fish started to move with menace toward the hitched fly by mid-week and several were caught with many dozens of more showing great imagination in the way they could play with a fly without actually taking hold. This was not an issue for our distinguished Atlantic Salmon Federation guests Rick and Robert who ably demonstrated that a Green Machine or hitched Black Muddler was just the very medicine required for pernickety fish.
Our Icelandic friend Arni Baldursson dropped in as a guest on Friday and proceeded to show why he is rated as one of the World’s great fishers by swiftly catching four nice fish and moving many others to a skillful combination of skated Sunrays and small cone head Frances’s, he is as Sugai so aptly put it – An enemy of the fish!’.
A fine last evening dinner was enlivened by the presence of Murmansk Oblast tourism dynamo Marina Kovtun and many toasts and counter toasts were made in the Russian style including contributions from our hard fishing and welcome guests Alexander and Valeri from St. Petersburg.
Nature notes this week included a sighting on Tuesday evening of a short lived mosquito on Camp Manager Nikolai Baleev’s forehead thereby declaring summer officially here. All the trees are in leaf and considerable amounts of Reindeer have taken up residence in the area. Our bird life is abundant from lemming hunting Long Tailed Skuas to the resident camp Ptarmigan who had at one point taken to perching pigeon like on roof tops. A large blonde bear was observed moving by and several fat and contented bearded seals are bobbing about in the estuary.
Fish numbers are robust and the overall size and condition of the fish is excellent with new arrivals on every tide. Guests should expect to see grilse numbers increasing over the coming days but will also pick up significant numbers of quality fish, particularly now that the upper pools are opening out. The general rule will be floating lines and smaller flies with surface methods for which Rynda is justly famed coming into there own.
A final word should be left to Gerald who when asked by one of the other guests what made the Rynda different from another Russian river of his experience replied – Well the best way I can put it is that the River X is like the M1 Motor-way whereas the Rynda is like a wonderful country road full of delightful twists and turns!’
The Rynda Report – Week 25 ended Friday, 19-Jun-09
Like a flower slowly opening the Rynda unfolded out into the sunshine as water levels warmed and dropped, Reindeer appeared and numbers of fresh silver fish began to forge in from the Barents Sea.
This week has been a story of a joint Russian-British salmon venture as Roy, Nick, Matthew, Nigel, Colin and Byron aided by Mike Daunt combined together with Alex, Dima(1), Dima(2), Konstantin, Andrey and Igor to put some manners upon the unruly hard fighting front runners of Rynda’s summer run.
Some excellent specimens put in a tagged and release appearance including salmon of 26lbs, 25lbs, 24lbs, 24lbs and 22lbs, typical Rynda fish, hard muscled, short and deep dripping with long tailed sealice and loaded full of attitude and aggression. Fish are now beginning to show an interest in the skated fly and I fully expect the top of water action to begin in earnest from next week, as it was most of the catch were falling to templedog coneheads or Snaelda patterns fished on intermediate or slow sink tips.
Highlights of the week included Alex’s biggest salmon ever at 24lbs and a noteworthy 18lbs fish on a Montana nymph from Jeremy’s Pool on Zolotaya.
Long time guest (and birthday boy)Roy and son Nick got in amongst the fish on Home Pool with Roy proudly watching as young Nick got five salmon in succession under the careful and able direction of their guide Jenya ‘I have a secret small place’.
The good humoured pairing of Matthew and Nigel together with guide Pasha made the most of their first time with us by extending their repertoire of swings and mends producing some lovely specimens including a fresh 19lbs fish from 10 Islands.
Unfortunately Byron had to leave mid-week however Mike and Colin showed their mettle by catching nine beautiful fresh fish during a sublime day on Rock Island and Ten Islands. I have to add that there is no truth in the rumour that Norway Pool is to be renamed ‘Daunts Bath’ and as Kola M aptly put it ‘I do not understand why Daunt want’s to swim with his clothes on!’.
The St. Petersburg brotherly pairing of Konstantin and Andrey showed that Russian fly fishing has quickly assimilated the tricks of the trade landing no less than 12 fresh fish over a 24 hour period on their own pattern templedog tubes.
All our Russian guests showed great skill and determination tying new fly patterns and fishing hard to produce results. We were delighted to welcome angling evidence of our new and exciting Russia flyfishing market represented on our behalf by our colleague Alex Dudkin in Moscow.
Nature notes this week include a rather remarkable episode at breakfast time on Wednesday where a wolverine trapped a ‘giant bunny’ (Arctic Hare) on the right bank of Home Pool opposite camp. Realising that it’s options were limited the hare leapt without hesitation into the rapids of the Lower Home Pool and struck out in best style some 250 meters to the Guides House on the opposite bank, shook itself down and disappeared into a birch thicket. Meanwhile the thwarted wolverine was last seen ambling off back from whence it had came no doubt muttering away to itself in best Tasmanian Devil style!
Each tide now brings with it shoals of fish and numbers are building steadily in the main holding pools downstream of the Lower Falls. Fish are above and we had fresh fish all the way up to Red Creek during the week and the Upper river will begin to come into it’s own from now on. There is already evidence of some seriously big fish in the river and I was left open mouthed when a bona fide 40+ leapt out of the water in Home Pool dwarfing a 25lbs that we had just landed. The guides and I feel this is shaping up to be a big fish year for Rynda.
The challenge for those of you to come is to extract some of these serious fish this season , and indeed perhaps thereby earn a coveted place on the wall and the accompanying satisfaction of being rather pleased with the thought that fellow rods will have to jealously contemplate it in the years ahead.
The Rynda Report for Weeks 23 & 24 ending Friday, 12-Jun-09
Rynda opened for business on 31st May with a small but motivated crew of indomitable ‘Spring’ fishers gathering to pay their dues in the harsh environment of a river and landscape rousing itself from winter torpor. The 6 rods thus gathered Messrs Bethwaite, Hughes, Pettigrew, Stefansson, Tiley and Way Yin ably assisted by Kola M, Gena, Yura and new guide Pasha wasted little time in getting down to work on a river that dropped over the course of the week from 1.3m to 86cm. Weather conditions gyrated wildly and air temperatures from zero to 20C occurred over one 24 hour period. The river remained exceptionally cold reaching a high of 3.2C a not particularly tempting proposition for fish lying offshore in sea water with a prevailing temperature of 4.8C. Nevertheless front runners began to nose into the river and four fresh fish between 12-20lbs plus an overwintered Osenka of 13lbs were eked out of the river over the course of the week. Opening week on Rynda has an element of pilgrimage about it and the fortitude and commitment of the team in cold weather and high water is a testament to their belief that a big one awaits the next well placed cast.
The accommodation has now all been upgraded to our superbly designed ensuite cabins without doubt some of the finest fishing lodge accommodation anywhere in the world period. Our Chef… newly arrived via the Polarni Zory Hotel has exceeded all exceptions consistently producing a fine table and attracting resoundingly positive comment.
The second week started on 7th June with a slight changing of the guard. Two of our stalwart ‘keepers of the flame’, Way Yin and Simon Hughes elected to stay for a second week all the better to do a proper job of fishing themselves completely into the ground. Way carefully balancing an ability to walk miles upon miles while maintaining perfect mind body equilibrium through an input of highly calorific Snickers bars. Additional team member Charles moved over from Kharlovka and we were joined by Ray, Rex and Brian as well as Peter fully roused from winter hibernation. Such small numbers in-camp makes for an even more relaxed than usual environment and a thoroughly friendly and committed bunch set about the task of extracting a few more bars of silver from the slowly thawing waters of the Rynda aided by a West Coast USA steel header philosophy that never says die.
The weather continued it’s extraordinary permutations with the temperature spiking from low single figures up into the twenties and back down again focusing most of the action between Lower Home Pool and Sea Pool all rods caught fish with the best of the bunch being a 32lbs fresh sea liced male salmon caught by Way Yin which had been previously tagged on Rynda. The documented survival of a cock salmon through the rigours of spawning back to sea and then returning to its natal river is extraordinary within the world of salmon science and we are keenly awaiting analysis of the tag. Peter declared Zolatoya officially open when after an afternoon’s hit and run session producing a tide bright 12lbs fish from Russian Pool covered in sea lice.
One of the weeks highlights was a much anticipated speycasting competition in Lower Home Pool adjudicates by Way Yin in front of a discerning and vocal audience of guests and staff. After a tightly fought competition well prepared and ‘in the zone’ Camp Manager Kola Baleev showed he has what it takes by pulling a last cast of almost 50 yards out of bag to win by little more than 12 inches. Many thanks must go to Way Yin and Scott Rods for such excellent organization and great prizes.
Many of our guests will have noted the positively huge numbers of lemmings we had about last year and this season’s thaw has revealed the rather sad spectacle of hundreds of little yellow and brown bodies littered around the river bank. The trees are still keeping their buds tightly closed as if unwilling to trust the stability of the weather however droves of small migratory blue throats and waders have now taking up residence and a cacophony of birdsong reverberates along the riverside particularly during our sunnier moments.
Total catch for the week was 23 fresh run salmon averaging 15lbs in weight and we now await with anticipation the beginning of the run in earnest over the coming days.