Rynda Fishing Reports 2010
Rynda report Week 37 ended 11-Sept-10
September at Rynda – the time of majestic surroundings of the colorful tundra and exciting fishing during the beautiful ‘osenkas’ run.
The most cheerful team of the season with the fishermen from South Africa, England, Denmark and Zimbabwe came to the camp having 5 absolute beginners of salmon fly-fishing: Jeremy, Gary, Michael, Leif and Robert. The rest of the group Mark, Tyrone, Georghios and Frederick, the experienced anglers, became greatly impressed by the lodge changes since their last visit a couple of years ago. After the traditional welcome speech of Peter Power with his unforgettable ‘banana instructions’ and a light lunch anglers left for the first 2 hours fishing which successfully finished for Robert with a first salmon ever caught.
The early September brought a number of cold days but at the same time continued to show its great weather diversity which amazed everyone even the regular guests. Thanks to the cloudless sky at night some of them took a chance to watch the first Aurora Borealis of this autumn. The surrounding hills with berries fields everywhere made the tundra scenery really beautiful.
These fishing days became an obvious success for Tyrone, who returned with several fish every day being proud of his lucky hat, rod or something else. He totaled with 19 fish for the week – well done, Tyrone! He also became the first one catching 2 amazing ‘osenkas’ of 14 lbs and 18 lbs in one day at Rock Island and Home Pool both on a Blue Charm.
The trio beginners and friends Jeremy, Gary and Michael first told everybody they would be even happy to catch one fish for all of them for the whole week. However from the very beginning of the week they began to surprise themselves more than the other guests by showing the same results as the experienced anglers and confirming everything is possible with good guides and a peace of luck for everybody. They admired the opportunity to beat their personal records several times through the week. They also became the most stable team of the season in sleeping on the river banks after lunch.
Fishing stories and jokes have been endless this week thanks to Geremy – the most humorous guest Rynda ever had. Every day an extremely amusing ceremony took place with a t-shirt as a challenge prize having a slogan ‘I love my Swedish boyfriend’. This was for the creator of the majority of funny episodes for a single day called ‘An idiot of the day’. Almost everyone became the one by the end of the week and had to put on the t-shirt for being photographed.
The morning before departure became unforgettable for Mark, one of the most experienced anglers of the group, catching a fish in the Home pool just before the check out together with the rod which he lost on the first day of the week at Tolstoi Pool. The rod was simply driven by the river several hundreds meters down through the First Waterfall.
The special for all guest coming here a feeling of happiness and joy of being far away from all chaos of urban life has been in all hearts for the whole week and visible to everybody in the camp.
Thank you all the guests and staff for making this last week of 2010 season at Rynda so inspiring and cheerful. Looking forward to meeting you next 2011 season.
Kola & Katya
Autumn Madness – An August Week on Rynda
The one thing that is certain about a week on the Atlantic Salmon Reserve in August is the total unpredictability of what to expect. What is certain is that on any normal season at some stage in August or September the summer high’s will give way to cold fronts that will bring much needed rain to the rivers and steady the river temperatures from what can be approaching 20 C to something more regular in the region of 6-12 C. Spring and summer run fish that will have settled into their lies and were becoming tricky to entice are given a new burst of life. Previously dormant salmon are awakened and the large cock salmon become aggressive and territorial. Added to this mix are tide bright silver Osenka salmon, making their way upstream and stirring up the pools. Get the timing right and you can expect to be in for some very serious fishing!!
A last minute schedule change meant that Peter asked that I come to Rynda and assist with the small team of rods who were fishing on this mid August week. Significant quantities of rain earlier in the month and progressively cold winds not only revitalised the whole river system but meant that by the time of the groups arrival, two exceptionally convivial teams from Iceland and Russia, conditions were close to perfect (although I did not dare mention the fateful words until weeks end) with good water height and a stable water temperature of 7-8C – and what a great week it turned out to be.
Ole & Ele on their way to Power Pool with guide Yura along with team mate Kristjan and a good fish on the first day
Leading the Icelandic team was guide Yura who had to work about as hard as he has ever done. With almost 50% of the Rynda to fish each day the Icelandic trio consisting of Ele, Ole & Kristjan did their best to cover every square inch of water…with fantastic results. More used to tackling the lively grilse that are prolific to Icelandic waters with single-handed rods and light nylon the step up required to tackle the much bigger fish that run the Rynda is a significant challenge. Despite loosing significant numbers of fish they managed to land a very reasonable tally of 38 salmon with a high proportion over 10lbs.
Although the really big fish proved difficult to tame ‘Young Elvar’ notched up a personal best with a 22lb hen fish from 2nd waterfall after a 40 minute fight on his delicate single-handed rod. Horseshoe pool was the scene of encounter after encounter with large fish taking on the lip of the pool before careering off down the rapids, some of which were chased done successfully, others destined to be ‘if only….’. Kristjan showed Ole how to ‘seal the deal’ who repeated his down river marathon of a few days earlier landing a strong 18 pounder. For the record Ole would like it known that his battle was with ‘a much bigger fish’. Not to be beaten however Ole then landed a 16 pounder, also from Horseshoe with the drag well screwed down. It was not ascertained if this was to keep the fish in the pool or to prevent another down rapids ‘puffing and panting’ chase!
Colonel Vlad who acted as Russian ambassador, interpreter and team leader for the trio of Russian’s from the Moscow Fly-Fishers Club kept everyone entertained both on and off the riverbank all week. Along with Eugeniy and Sergey on one memorable day they notched up a tally of seven fresh salmon on a Zolotoya expedition. As well as covering the regular salmon water they ventured far upstream in search of Trout and returned with not just some big Trout but stories of a huge fish they had sighted as well as a couple of salmon which fell to Woolly Buggers.
The fly of the week must unquestionably be the Snaelda. An Icelandic impostor that has staked its claim as being, in my view, as being one of the all time great Kola flies, early mid or late season. This was not a week where one success led to a dogmatic use of a single fly but where every fly was given a fair showing. But where others failed the Snaelda whether it be the regular, Pot Bellied Pig, Krinkle variety, Willie Gunn, German Flag, or other colour was a consistent performer and attributable to more than a few late night toasts and bursts of song.
As for myself well I could hardly sit and watch all the action from the sidelines. I had one wonderful day with 8 fish, 5 standing on the ‘casting stone’ at 2nd Waterfall with all the fish rising like Trout to a tiny – inch tube which created a sliver of V wake as it pulled across the water surface film. But my real line searing memories will be of the two leviathans which I lost in Rebecca and Surprise – none more so than myself!! They are the dreams that will tantalize and haunt me. Two huge fish that once hooked showed themselves clean out of the water before settling into battles where the winners gracefully returned my fly after just a hint that success could be won. Size? As fishermen statistically we are culpable of adding 20% to the size of all our fish so I will not demean my memories by giving weights that will never be quantified however I do know that they would make themselves proud as carvings on any wall.
Rynda has such a seductive selection of attractive pools that it is impossible not to be immersed in the beauty, potential and the challenges that the river holds in store. As autumn settles onto the Kola the tundra transforms from the vibrant green of summer to that of mixed reds and burnt orange. In places the ground is awash with fields of red berries whilst in others black berries hold sway. (On close inspection you might find a good number of the camp staff with purple stained fingers having been sampling the fruits of the tundra). If the beauty is not represented in the photographs it is because greyish skies prevailed all week, wonderful for fishing but not for photography.
Despite this beauty, for all anglers and especially salmon fishermen, a river that does not give up their prizes can be frustrating in equal measures. But when they do, they are moments to be treasured. On our August week the Rynda excelled itself out of all proportion to the time of the season. With salmon fishing in general it holds true that ‘what you pays is what you gets’. The prime weeks from mid June to July are typically unquestionably outstanding and I would not trade an opportunity to fish then given half a chance. But on what might be considered one of the ‘shoulder’ weeks I always feel that successes are earned with double points and when fortune favours it is twice as rewarding. Are August weeks on the Kola for the mad or is the madness that felt by those who missed such an opportunity? Whatever conclusions you may reach I know that I speak for all out team in saying that it was a superb week with the river positively overflowing with potential and matched by the high spirits and good humour of the guests and camp staff.
Justin Maxwell Stuart
The Rynda Report – Week 32 ended 7-August-10
It was a seriously hot day when a new group landed at the Rynda helipad – air temperature +30°C, cloudless blue sky and the river temperature soared up to a concerning +19°C.
The new team of British, Austrian and Russian guests at Rynda began their fishing week with traditional short evening session – the fastest get-together of the season. Gennady became the first to return back with the fish – a nice 14 pounder caught at Prunella on a Green Highlander.
Weather conditions sent a serious challenge to fishermen this week – all warm days most of them sunny. Water temperature just did not have a chance to drop enough for comfortable fishing. At the same time the river fell rapidly to the minimum level. On Thursday we gained one more disaster – a strong wind.
Nevertheless we had Vaughan being the most successful in numbers and catching fish every day including Monday with 6 fish together with Adrian.
The Russians Gennady and Elena had not a day without one or several fish, salmon or trout, usually fresh. It seemed their strategy of trying to fish at new spots in the same pools was chosen correctly. Gennady also became a person putting 1000th fish of the season in fishing records book.
Gennady’s friend Grigory distinguished himself at the evening sea trout fishing arranged by the camp catching a nice 4 lbs arctic char and several sea trout.
Graham first lost a big salmon at Trout vista but the next day caught a 20lbs one at Saami on a Red and Black Francis.
The same story happened to Peter M. who first lost a big fish at Surprise but next day caught his first salmon ever – a nice 12 pounder on the last cast on a Willie Gunn just before the helicopter pick-up from Eagle`s Nest. It was a good surprise for all of us when Peter broke his previous day personal record catching 15 pounder at Saami on his favorite Willie Gunn.
Peter A., the most persistent in the team with his friend Mark were the only guests who went fishing every morning – a reward was received on Friday – a beautiful 12 pounder for Peter and a nice fresh 8 pounder for Mark both from Rock Island. Besides a good number of fish was caught including a nice couple for Peter – a 14 lbs fish at Rupert on an Executioner and a 10 lbs heavily sea-liced fish at Russian pool of Zolotaya river on a Golden Killer. Peter also took part in a half-day trout fishing session together with Graham. They spent 4 happy hours being an effective team for catching and releasing a good number of tundra browns.
Camp works never stopped – on Thursday we did annual wood move from the coast to Rynda and Zolotaya camps to provide a wood reserve for next season.
Friday was like a fishing paradise after 5 days of weather disasters at Rynda. Air temperature +110C and water temperature +140C gave everyone a chance to catch a fish – the team totaled up 17 fish for the day. Grigory has been relaxed during the whole week admiring the views and atmosphere in the camp and did not concentrate much on fishing, on Friday he performed perfectly on Zolotaya bringing 2 nice fresh fish from there.
Austrian team, Harald and Chris, fought tooth and nail with warm weather consequences. Chris lost the fish of his life – a monster at Swan like, while Harald became luckier catching a nice 15 pounder. Only a nice brown trout brought Chris to his senses.
Almost everyone took part in Saturday morning fishing session – 7 fish – well done! We are most thankful to everyone for being so positive during this toughest week of the season. The team spirit and unity were of highest level and promoted good fishing results and perfect bonding in spite of such difficult weather conditions.
TO BE CONTINUED
Kola & Katya
The Rynda Report – Week 31 ended 31-Jul-10
On Saturday a group of experienced fishermen and one charming fisher lady came to discover the last week of July at Rynda.
The first evening fishing became a success for the youngest fisherman of the group – 13 years old Hugh getting a 13 lbs salmon at Rock island on a Willie Gunn.
Sunday – the first full day of fishing at Rynda became the most exciting for Gary who got a beautiful 26 lbs fish at night at Rock island – 105 cm long – caught on a Conehead Francis Gary had tied up just before the dinner. The last part of the camp renovation project was carried out on Sunday as well – the old cabin of Kola, the camp manager, was removed from its usual place and opened a magnificent view on the Home pool and the whole river from the Lodge.
On Monday several big fish were recorded – the first one by Jonathan – an 18 pounder caught at Swan lake on a Willie Gunn, Richard – a 24 lbs fish at Inlet on a Green highlander and the last by Gary – a 22 lbs fish at Tolstoy on a ‘Depth charge’ Francis.
Tuesday happened to be the best fishing day of week according to the number of fish caught. First Jurg landed a beautiful one of 25 lbs at Power Pool on a Red Francis Tube.
Jonathan got a 20 pounder at Rock island on a Black and Orange Pig and successful Gary – a 24 lbs and a 18 lbs fish at Rupert on a Red Francis becoming ‘common enemy’ for catching too much big fish this week. From that moment he had to tie lots of flies and cede the best pools for evening fishing for the others.
It was also a great day for charming Deborah who caught her biggest fish ever of 16 lbs at Swan Lake on a Blue Charm.
Michael brought a nice story from Zolotaya where he got his line carried away by a fish at Russian Pool. Misha, Zolotaya Hilton manager, succeeded to find the line and attached it to the rod again – the result is a 16 lbs salmon and happy Michael. The guides Kola Middle and Jenya had their birthdays on the same day and got warm greetings from everyone in the camp. Total number of fish for the day – 27.
Wednesday came with a lot of sunshine and wind changing its direction several times a day that caused a tough fishing routine. However it did not prevent Ulrich from catching a nice 15 lbs fish at Fan on a small Sunray Shadow.
In the evening everybody became greatly impressed by the 40 lbs fish had been seen a week before and now met at the same place, Horse Shoe pool, by Jonathan fighting with it for some time but loosing due to his line broken. The river came to its maximum in water temperature 16 degrees C on Wednesday and water level dropping down as usual every season.
On Thursday a thick mist set upon the hills around the camp being a source for numerous jokes about fishing in such conditions. The air temperature fell to comfortable +9 degrees C and made that fishing day productive – the team totaled up 23 fish on the day, everybody caught fish, Deborah caught another 16 pounder at Rebecca on a Willie Gun and thus reaffirmed her Personal Best set up 2 days before. Richard got a beautiful fresh 11 pounder covered with sea-lice in Zolotaya Home pool.
Friday became a positive culmination of the week fishing – Richard got a 32 pounder out of Swan Lake on a Green Highlander reaffirming his Personal Best.
Simon caught 2 beautiful fish – one 12 pounder at Dancing platform and a 18 pounder at Peters Run both on a Green Highlander. Gary caught a 20 pounder at Tolstoi on a Red Francis and a 12 lbs fresh fish at 10 Islands. Hugh got a beautiful 15 pounder in Roy`s Bath which became his best fish of this week. Michael provided another great fishing story of the most expensive rod search in history. He was trying to land a fish at Norway pool but slipped and dropped the rod out of his hands straight into the river. After 45 minutes of unsuccessful search when Michael and his guide Sasha became hopeless Sasha, the pilot, instructed by Gena, the guide, gave them another chance by pointing out the place where the rod was – straight from the helicopter flying across to pick up the other guests from upper pools. Instant success!
The team totaled up 123 salmon on the week. We never forget this week at Rynda being so special for fishing and for bonding.
Kola & Katya
The Rynda Report – Week 30 ended 24-July-10
After a more leisurely start to Saturday morning owing to the slighter later flight from Stockholm, the anticipation remained equally high as in previous years.
Over-excitement in the ‘VIP lounge’ in Murmansk airport resulted in several beers being consumed in quick succession.
One never learns their lessons – drinking before boarding the MI-8 Rynda-bound is not necessarily such a good idea. After the usual welcoming hug from Peter, certain guests were seen darting off behind various bushes in the tundra to answer the call of nature (despite a record helicopter flight time of 47 minutes). This has become much a part of the Rynda experience!
After Peter’s usual safety demonstration and mentions of several sightings of big fish in the river, guests lost no time in wadering up and heading off to their respective beats.
Newcomer to the Rynda, Freddie Mason, proved Peter’s theory to be correct by landing a most impressive 30 pound cock fish from the tail of Rupert. After a commanding 15 minute battle in Rupert pool, the fish charged down the rapids into Rebecca as Freddie chased it along the bank in disbelief. Ten minutes later the fish was brought under control and netted by an ever-confident Vadim to much cheering and back slapping! Such was Freddie’s first Rynda experience and one which will certainly never be forgotten.
Roy C and Angela also got off to an impressive start with a 15 lb fish out of Tolstoi for Roy, and for Angela a 16 pounder out of Swan Lake which also decided to head straight out of the pool with Kola Middle in hot pursuit!
On Day 2 Guy and Tom S showed us how it was all done by landing an impressive 12 fish on a Zolotaya red-letter day. This was not to be their only Zolotaya experience as they headed up to the very top of the river later in the week to explore the higher reaches. The boys came back having landed no fewer than 25 fantastic brown trout, some up to 5 lb in weight, after fishing the river down from the source for 15 km.
Rupert concentrated on the big fish, returning happily to camp having caught two nice fish of 16lb and 19lb from Red Creek and Pick Pocket respectively.
Richard also had some excellent sport after hooking a beautiful silver 11lb sea-liced fish right in the neck of Rock Island on Friday, which took him right down to the end of the pool before being brought under control and safely into the net.
Family Howell (Roy and Nick) fished as enthusiastically as ever, with Nick landing a super 20lb fish from the neck of Power Pool, as well as a 13lb fish taken on a bomber in Canyon, to mention just two excitements. One of Roy’s personal highlights of the week was spotting a magnificent pair of sea eagles soaring 500m above Rupert’s Pool.
Peter A, an excellent fisherman by all accounts, had one of those tough weeks when he rarely seemed to be in the right place at the right time. His lack of fortune was exacerbated when nature called on the river bank and his waders had to be dropped. Unluckily for him he had not anointed his nether regions with Deet and thus managed to trap a large quantity of angry Russian mosquitoes in his waders. On declaring his ill-fate on his return to camp that evening, Roy H, a gambler by trade and nature, proceeded to open a book on how many times Peter had been bitten. For the record, the adjudicator had to stop counting at 78 bites due to hysterics.
Nick T and Irwin landed over thirty fish between them for the week, proving that experience is the key. Irwin took a 14lb fish out of Zolotaya on a trusty Cascade, as well as his first Rynda fish which was a good 10 pounder from Red Creek. Nick had a great 16 lb fish out of Eagle’s Nest on his home-tied green Sunray Shadow.
Ed once again fielded his favourite selection of Blue Charms to great effect, consistently returning with good numbers of fish, including an excellent day of five fish (including a 16 and 18 pounder) when other fishers struggled in tough conditions.
On Friday we were almost forced to abandon fishing when winds gusting 100 kph funneled down the river, at times literally knocking fisherman off their feet into the water. It was impossible to fly the chopper and so the fishers started their long trek home, some covering distances of up to 12 km from Reindeer Crossing under the most extreme conditions. Everyone made it safely back to base for a celebratory dinner, followed by several drinks for the stairs and what have you!
On Saturday morning Kola very kindly organised one final chance to fish for those with enough energy left. Fred and Tom had the luck of the draw hooking into five fish in three hours. Three good sized salmon were landed, including Tom’s 21 pounder from Eagle’s Nest just as the helicopter was arriving to collect the rods – talk about saving your luck until the last minute! Guy also took one last opportunity to show us how it is done by hooking four fish, and landing two beautifully fresh sea-liced grilse in the space of an hour on Rock Island.
So although fishing conditions were testing, the team had the most superb week, both on the river and off. We finished the week with a respectable 137 fish and returned home full of happy memories.
Once again, our thanks to the fantastic Rynda staff for a great week.
The Rynda Report – Week 29 ended 16-Jul-10
This week we had an international team of the ‘Russian’ Americans, the Ukrainians, the British, almost all generations represented by 13 experienced fishermen and two charming fisher ladies.
The first short fishing session results provided us 6 fish, all fresh including a 14 pounder caught by Tim near Second waterfall on a Green Butt with Jenya`s great contribution – a sound start. Now everyone became totally relaxed and ready for the eventful week.
On day 2 almost everyone checked the durability of his line – Tim caught another fresh 14 pounder at the Third waterfall on a Blue Elver and a beautiful fresh 11 pounder at Trout Vista on Black Tube. Guy – the most experienced fisherman of the team got a fresh 18 lbs fish at Round Pool. The Ukrainian team of four friends got 10 fish between them – 6 salmon, all fresh, caught by Victor and Vladimir on the way from Tolstoy to Rock island on Silver stoats and Bombers and 4 grills at Zolotaya by Sergey and Michael who tried not to drop behind and supported the day positive tendency. Total number of fish caught – 28.
Monday and Tuesday happened to be warm days with water temperature coming up to +150C but it did not prevent Piers, the famous botanist and Rynda veteran from catching 6 fish on Monday, half of them fresh – excellent result taking into account his additional attention paid to new flora species to find and book.
James and Sue returned from Zolotaya generously rewarded by nature having 9 fresh salmon caught between them all along the river. On Tuesday they continued their successful session at lower beat of Rynda having 7 fish between them.
Marcus and Mark picked up the baton from them and caught another 7 fish at Zolotaya out of Power, Jeremy and Russian pools.
Victor got a fresh 20 pounder at Reindeer on a Black red and yellow tube, making the total number of fish caught for two days being 65.
While the beginning of the week provided good numbers of fish, the end became a demonstration of big fish caught. First James caught an impressive fresh 28 lbs salmon (106 sm) at Nikolai on a Green bodied Willie Gunn – landed 40 minutes later at Deep Run with a sound contribution of the guide Vadim, holding the rod and hopping from rock to rock 300 meters down. Then Zolotaya reported that Elizabeth and Richard got 9 fish between them including an impressive 27 pounds fish (110 sm) caught by Elizabeth at Jeremy on a Blue Charm tube.
Toby got a beautiful 19 pounder at Tolstoi on a Hitched tube finding encouragement in his father Tim first and then in everybody in the camp. Elizabeth set an example of both lucky and professional fishing getting a 23 lbs and a 20 lbs fish in one day at Power pool on a Green Butt.
The team totaled up 168 salmon for the week. The most productive in weights and quantity were Elizabeth and Sue – surprisingly for fishermen as usual but quite frequent in reality. Ladies, carry on!
Thank you, everybody for most interesting talks in the lodge. We really enjoyed this cheerful international team!
Kola & Katya
The Rynda Report – Week 28 ended 10-July-2010
We found the river fuller than a year ago and despite a lot of sunshine it remained high to the end of the week while the weather and the wind could aptly be described as changeable. The flowers of the short summer in the arctic north were at their best, the birds from bluethroats to dippers and eagles were an addition while the fishing was at its exciting best. Most fishermen who have seen it would think of the Rynda as the most varied and spectacular salmon river they know.
There did not seem to be the weight of grilse of other years but many larger fish made up for that despite our not engaging with those elusive prizes of over 30lbs which seem mostly to belong to an earlier week. Several of ours weighed in at more than 20lbs making them the largest to date for three of the party.
When the weather was warm and damp the mosquitos made the party look like a convocation of bee keepers attending their hives in full gear but between masks and repellent no serious damage seemed to have been done. No harm came either to the two oldest participants who each on separate days, in Rugby League parlance, ‘took an early bath’. Fortunately they did so away from the more turbulent water.
In the warmest possible group of fishermen and women there were some very expert and generous fly tyers. Whether that added materially to the catch could never be known but it certainly made for even more choices.
The guides, as they always are, were expert, enthusiastic and tireless while the night guides or runners were an admirable and youthful addition to the staff. They are expert guides of the future no doubt.
I do not think that anyone who has not fished the Rynda could guess at the warmth of the welcome they get from Kola and all the Russian staff. Perhaps this makes a deeper impression for some of the visitors than does the fishing but more probably both go hand in hand in making this such a compelling fishing week.
The Rynda Report – Week 27 ended 02-Jul-10
Our multi-national Russian, British, Icelandic and American team did us proud this week persevering in often difficult weather conditions to bring together a very creditable sparkling fresh Rynda summer salmon.
Fish were spread throughout the system with catches coming in from Reindeer Crossing to Rock Island. Pods of fish entered the river on every tide sometimes in great numbers causing all kinds of excitement for rods lucky enough to intercept them. Svetlana caught 7 fish one day before lunch on Tolstoi and Home Pool causing her husband to question if joint fishing holidays were really such a good idea.
Numbers of grilse have arrived to supplement the summer run however we are still seeing excellent numbers of fish in the 20lb + category with 21 fish over this weight including several 25 pounders and a personal best of 27lbs for William from Eagle’s nest and a worthy reward for his long journey from Seattle.
The great atmosphere in the lodge in the evening was added too considerably by the skills of Leonid on guitar and his Russian songs of love, loss, girls and pilots was a cause of some entertainment even for those without the necessary language skills although Katja ably translated when she was around . Leonid combined very effectively with frequent visitor Boris returning some excellent returns for the catch book.
Dimitri and Igor returned for a second time this year and as Dimitri pointed out Igor had the run of luck often catching a fish after Dimitri had fished the water and also on one occasion extracting a fish when ‘testing’ Dimitri’s rod to ‘see if it was all all right’!
The highly experienced and often downright entertaining Rush/Chippindale team were fully engaged for a solid weeks salmon fishing, with head wear stretching from Scottish regimental through English cricket to Pashtun hill tribe there was never a dull moment and their good natured rivalry resulted in many a fine tale of one-upmanship and daring do. This included a very commendable joint effort of 7 fish including four over 20 pounds during a day of rough weather from Reindeer down
Lewis epitomised a classic Pipe smoker and was often to be seen engaging in after dinner battles stumbling over stones at the tail of Home Pool with the aforesaid pipe gripped grimly between his teeth as a another fish made a dash for freedom through the rapids. Our long time visitor from Switzerland Hugo was surprised to find a fellow independent Swiss rod Ueli in camp and for the first time we had a full Swiss team out on the water with Hugo leading the charge in his usual manner extracting several fine salmon across the beats.
Our Icelandic friend and hitch maestro Palmi put in an appearance this week and as usual weaved his magic amongst the fish including a five fish red letter day on Zolotaya and a fine 26lbs fresh run specimen on a black sheep micro hitch from Russian pool.
A highlight of the week was the announcement by Peter of a camp party on Thursday evening to celebrate the construction of a new camp managers house and office adjacent to the lodge and helicopter landing strip. This final piece in the Rynda building programme will be the new home of our esteemed colleague Nikolai Vasilivech Baleev better known to all as Kola Lite the Mr Fixit of Rynda.
Peter decided that the occasion merited full battle honours and turned out resplendent in shirt and tie including it has to be said some very fetching cufflinks. A slightly bewildered Kola was presented to his public whereupon Peter led a rendition of ‘For he’s a jolly good fellow’ to an appreciative crowd of staff and guests prior to a ceremony of the keys at the new house including a ribbon cutting and tour of the facility.
In his speech Peter highlighted how we had all benefited from Kola’s devotion to duty over the years and how he had personally never found him wanting in any area and his reliance upon his sound professionalism and constructive advice. Peter’s sincere thanks found warm appreciation amongst all present and a hearty round of applause and much back slapping and congratulations followed along with refreshments for all. Kola responded tongue in cheek that it was nothing less than he deserved particularly as he was the last person to get a new cabin and thanked all present and specifically Peter for his help and support over the years.
On the nature front a huge herd of Reindeer several thousand strong appeared on the far bank opposite the lodge during Thursday evening. The herd stretched from above Tolstoi to below Rock Island and covered the far bank as far as the eye could see causing much excitement amongst guests and staff alike.
Glaucous and Black Backed gulls made their predatory presence known at Rynda Falls indicating to us that the smolt run had began in earnest and our resident camp Ptarmigan continue to run around the camp with cries of ‘go back, go back, go back’ echoing into the night.
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Fishing prospects are excellent for the week ahead and frequent heavy rain showers have kept the river running at a nice summer level with optimum temperatures in the river ensuring that fish are both hard fighting and aggressive particularly towards surface flies. Rynda opens up beautifully to light line methods such as skating and dibbling and I would encourage visitors to think about these methods and read the section on the website entitled ‘Low Water Fishing in the ASR’ .
The Rynda Report – Week 26 ended 25-Jun-10
Our predominantly UK based Strauss/Ferguson group were happy to leave behind thoughts of the World Cup and the prevailing budget and venture out for another stint on the tundra. A spirit of rational optimism prevailed as experience told them that all things being equal they were in for a week of high drama amongst the big early summer fish for which the Rynda is famous.
An early hiccup was overcome when Bill somehow or other contrived to get his start date wrong and after several hurried phone calls from Sweden he had to suffer the indignity of travelling by private jet directly from Southampton to Murmansk. Funny how these things work out !(With thanks to Patrick and Mark )
One thing for sure was the wealth of experience being bought to bear as the majority of the group had been here several times with Derek, Mark, Graham and David having been visitors to the Kola since the earliest days, indeed during the course of the week Mark was to land his 200th Rynda fish marking 10 years of visits and a testament to both consistency and fishing skill across a range of weeks and conditions. Mark is still prepared to innovate and this was well illustrated when a tactical switch to a 15cm Tsunami Sunray woke up the Zolotaya to devastating effect with three fish between 14lbs and 22lbs ( including two at 19lbs) in less than an hour.
Ilya and Steve our neighbours from Ponoi called in for a flying visit and Steve quickly opened the upper river for fishing by skillfully extracting 12lbs and 18lbs fish from the tail of the canyon on the skated Sunray and swinging Snaelda moving 6 or 7 decent fish from the residents corner.
Our fishing week was remarkable in one specific aspect and that was the exceptionally high average size of fish which despite the arrival of grilse was maintained at over 14.5lbs across some 128 salmon. An even more interesting statistic was the capture of fresh run fish of 31, 34 and 36lbs and an additional 10 fish between 20lbs and 28lbs in weight causing raised eyebrows at our sister rivers in the Atlantic Salmon Reserve accustomed as they are to monopolising such big fish glory!
Well done to Mark (31lbs) and David (34lbs) for the capture of the their respective monsters particularly Mark as it was his 7th ever salmon, even more remarkably both fish were landed from Power Pool while they were fishing together. Such titanic fish gave serious battles in the heavy water and both rods were commended by the guide for keeping cool heads in times of trial.
In between times I headed out for a late night stint on the Upper Rynda and was fortunate enough to come across a number of decent fish including one estimated at 36lbs from Iron Gate Falls. For the knowledgeable amongst you it was hooked from the cliff on the right bank slightly up from the big rock necessitating an interesting climb down the ladder and wade under the cliff face. The fish was 117cm long by 61cm girth and fresh run. A 1 1/2 inch RS Green Highlander conehead was the pattern of choice.
Brian and Derek were both terribly proud to announce the arrival of first grandchildren during the week and birth weights were solemnly entered in the catch book prior to toasts all round and wishes for long life and good health.
Kim and Sarah made for an effective team particularly after Peter adjudged Sarah’s neoprene waders as unsuitable attire and initiated a switch from mini sauna to breathable bliss. This resulted in much enhanced fishing comfort and correspondingly higher catches noticeably a three fish streak one afternoon when all around struggled to move a fish!
Kola pointed out an interesting sight early one morning when he noticed Kim and Sarah moving purposefully uphill towards the cross. – Please can you tell me if those are high heels that Sarah is wearing on the mountainside?’, a momentary glance confirmed the observation and we both came to the conclusion that even on the tundra fashion has it moments.
Malachy persisted to this very morning (Saturday) after a twenty pounder and eventually was rewarded in Tolstoi Pool shortly before departure alongside another two nice specimens, Erin go bragh !
Nature notes this week include an outlying bear visiting our river watchers, a lustrous red fox on Twin Slabs, a wolverine incursion at Zolotaya and the usual parade of Reindeer up and down the river bank. After our Lemming explosion two years ago we definitely have reduced numbers of raptors a surefire indication of how breeding cycles are intrinsically linked to the abundance of prey on the tundra.
The week started and finished with warm temperatures with a prevailing south westerly wind. Lack of cloud at times made for difficult fishing and the river dropped quite rapidly to summer level. Large numbers of fish are entering the river on each tide and the season seems to be running a little later with few grilse yet evident. Tactically warmer conditions will mean that the floating line and hitch begin to come into there own as Rynda begins to shape up as a summer river par excellence with a multitude of beautiful pots and runs. Rods arriving can expect superlative top water sport this week and I look forward to reporting additional excellent catches for the week ahead.
The Rynda Report – Week 25 ended 18-Jun-10
Our enthusiastic team of rods seamlessly passed through Murmansk without a hitch whilst meeting many old acquaintances who were Kharlovka bound. It was a particularly nice touch to be accompanied by Peter Power who was making his annual return to his house perched high above the Rynda Falls. It seems that Peter shares the migratory instinct and sense of timing of an Atlantic Salmon.
A warm welcome, prime water height and pristine camp received us, followed by the one serious moment in an exciting week. Peter and Kola, Camp manager, reinforced the safety ethos of the camp, particularly the life jacket policy and golden rules of helicopter travel. Guests smiled as Peter held out his weekly prop, a banana with a long stalk. With them he demonstrated the ‘friendly’ end to access the helicopter and conversely the ‘business’ end and tail rotor to be avoided.
The team this week had an International flavour, no less than 6 different nationalities represented. Scotland, England, Ireland, Russia, Latvia and last but no mean least Belarus.
The ever important water temperature started the week at 5C0 and by the end of our 7 days hit 9C0. There were strong runs of fish from each tide and almost all the pools below the mighty Home Pool Falls produced fish. With rising water temperature and the force of the Falls easing as the snow melt tails off, the fish are going over the falls populating the upper river as we speak.
Our most senior rod, Nigel Doyly included the 22 lb Zolotaya fish in his tally and Oleg, new to salmon fishing, landed 4 spring fish for his week. Roy C. opened the Upper River with a fine brace from Norway on Friday. Scotland team had two nice fish at 26 lb. Numbers for the week totaled 60 with numerous takes, losses and offers.
All rods caught fresh fish, many notching up new Personal Best with some exceptional and noteworthy spring salmon. Nick Howell had a cracking 28,5lb fish after dinner on Home Pool on his day of arrival. Other 26lb specimens were landed, numerous over 20lbs and of course for many the story was ‘the one that got away’. The average weight of salmon was just under 15 lbs so there many great fishing experiences.
Peter took his rod out for the first time of the season and led by example, hooking a strong fish on Home Pool which ran a merry dance down the rapids in to bay “aided and abetted” by Allan and myself. At one point Peter handed the rod to me saying we have lost it to a rock. When the said rock started to move down river I quickly handed it back and Allan netted it on the first pass. A deep 23lb fish, on quote:”The last of my blue Laerdal Sunray Shadows!”
Vadim from Belarus had several fish for the week and hooked three large salmon on the Thursday landing one of 26lb, a new Personal Best. He said the other two were as big if not bigger during one of his many impromptu before, during and after dinner speeches.
The party opened the Zolotaya Season with a number of fresh run fish, the best 24lbs. No surprise bearing in mind the credentials of this intimate and exciting little river.
Friday saw a ‘landmark’ Birthday celebration for Roy Howell, a regular guest at Rynda (Age Omitted). This offered another local point for the mixed international company to share a laugh, the language barrier broken!
As tired rods leave the camp fresh legs arrive and the Arctic Tundra, our ‘other’ host springs into life. Flora and fauna provide a tremendous unspoilt back cloth, birch trees are coming into leaf and guests sleep to the soothing sound of rushing water and birdsong.
Thanks to Peter, our Camp manager Kola and their team for yet another flawless week. Superb accommodation, excellent fair and the usual attention to detail.
As Arnold Schwarzenegger said: “I’ll be back!”
Rynda Report Week 24
Global warming was not invited to the Rynda this week – although conditions on arrival in Murmansk suggested a very different story. Despite the Kola Peninsula having one of the coldest winters in recent times a prolonged spell of Mediterranean weather in April had unquestionably heralded the early arrival of Spring and warm sunshine was definitely the order of the day as the first guests stepped off the ASR Stockholm-Murmansk charter flight. (Murmansk benefits from the warming effect of the Gulf Stream however as one travels eastwards towards the Northern Rivers this effect diminishes). As our initial week of intrepid guests peered anxiously out of the helicopter on the journey to Rynda the scenery that unfolded was that of patchy snow with just the remnants of ice on the bigger lakes. On arrival it was left to the warm embraces and handshakes of lodge staff and guides to welcome in the first full week of the season and ward off the icy touch in the air.
Lower Home Pool in the Warm evening sunlight (11pm)
At 76cm on the gauge the River was high but not unreasonably so for early June and the water temperature 4 C. Within an hour of arrival the 4 teams had deployed to the various sections of the lower river and an hour later Richard had banked the first fresh sea-liced fish of the season, a fantastic 16lb silver salmon to lift aspirations and herald in the start of the run.
As is often the way the weather on the Kola this week had different plans for our fishers than the hoped for warm sunny spring days. The first three days saw a fairly sustained period of cold weather that did not break until Wednesday when we received some much needed warm sun, bright skies and the sort of magical soft evening light that encourages guests to fish into the wee hours. Unfortunately this was not enough to add any significant boost to the water temperature but never the less fish started to show in increasing numbers throughout the system.
Whether rain or shine it did not stop some suitably fanatical determination from our team of ‘head bangers’ as Simon, the most capped member of the Rynda team, refers to our merry band of Kola Spring Fishers. There were some notable successes and epic battles. The Icelandic team consisting of veteran Kharlovka fisher Hilli led the way with a stunning 28lb sea-liced fish from Sea Pool on Monday followed by the loss of a similar sized fish the following day. Hilli and his fishing partner Oskar armed primarily with a selection of ‘German Flag’ Snaelda flies (Orange/Yellow/Black) showed the rest of us how it was done notching up both fresh and over-wintered Osenka Salmon on most days. Oskar even managed to rewrite the rulebook on salmon behaviour catching an over-wintered 10lb Osenka salmon from Rock Island, that he carefully released, only for him to re-catch it on the very next cast!! This must have been either one very hungry, determined or downright curious fish.
Timo and Michael were unquestionably the two most determined team members of the week. Timo tallied up two creatively caught fish one of which came from a previously unknown and unfished spot in Sea Pool. Although the first was a delightfully fresh 20lber the second from his new spot was 16lbs, just missing the benchmark 20lb size to be considered eligible for a ‘pool’ naming. Another even more monstrous fish escaped after a tense battle. The fish was hooked below Rock Island at Per’s place in what was then fast water and then went on a searing run and was only just held on the lip of the rapids with the drag having been applied ‘full force’ before the hook hold finally gave out. Never short of humour I do not think either would mind me saying that while they do not exactly represent the archetypal image of blond-haired Swedish beauties that a pair of the fairer sex might represent it did not stop them trying to entice the ‘timid Brits’ to the sauna each evening with promises of skin scalding birch leaf thrashings. Next year guys…..next year!
By the end of the week the river had dropped 18cm and most of the lower section of the river below Home pool now fishes very nicely. Fish, which initially were only being seen in Sea pool, were by Friday showing in almost all the areas of the lower river up to and including the Home Pool. The winter-parched appearance of the Tundra has definitely picked up a green tinge and the birch trees are well on the way to full leaf. Reindeer have been spotted above Home Pool and although the bankside Mink have not worked out the regular lunch spots yet they are evident and inquisitive. The final tally for the hardy team of 10 early season openers was 22 salmon landed and a bountiful supply of very good lodge humour and high spirits including a suitably impressive guitar and solo sing along by Rick and Chris…..with more than a few anecdotes about Kelts!
Locum Camp Manager -Justin Maxwell Stuart