Rynda Fishing Reports 2011
Rynda News report for week 11 ending Friday, 12-August-11
East meets West meets North – Tackling Big Fish in Challenging Conditions
It was a truly international and diverse group of anglers that gathered in Rynda in the second week of August: Fly-fishing experts from England, Denmark, Sweden and Norway came to fish along with guests from Russia and Germany. Peter from Sweden, who had been fishing the Kharlovka in earlier years, came to introduce his two teenage sons into fly fishing like in the epic movie “A River Runs Through”. And the four Russians Klim, Victor, Mikhail and Roman – all of them absolute novices in the fly fishing business – gave the group a lesson in maintaining patience and high spirits despite the fact that they caught only 1 salmon in a week that was characterized by extremely low water levels and therefore less active fish. In the end, the group managed to catch almost 50 salmons including three fish beyond the 20-pounds-level. Of course, this had to be celebrated with some glasses of Vodka …
The week presented some novelties for Rynda camp managers Nicolai and Katya as well: They were surprised to have so many Scandinavians in the group, as they usually come earlier in the season to experience high water fishing with low temperatures and snowfalls. And there were Klim, Victor, Mikhail and Roman from Russia, coming to Rynda for the first time having a considerable spin fishing experience but being absolutely new to use fly-fishing rods. However, it gives proof of the fact that fly fishing is becoming more and more popular in Russia as well. On the other hand, there was Tom, the just 18-year-old English men, who gave the impression that he was born already with a rod in his hands. For him, travelling in a helicopter seemed to be as exciting as entering a bus. After finishing high school, we will study marine biology, of course – that is: salmon science on a higher level!
Saturday, August 6
It was always like it is on first days: Nobody was really interested in the tasty Borscht Soup that was served for a late lunch. People were looking down to the river and could not wait to get into their waders for the first time here. However, they soon learnt that the low water level of the Rynda would present some challenging fishing for the rest of the week. When the group met for dinner again, the fishing results included several fish lost, many seen and 1 fish caught for 15-year-old Axel from Sweden – luck never leaves beginners!
Sunday, August, 7
Roman from St. Petersburg formed an international fishing team with Guenter from Germany. They flew to the lovely Zolotaya, what had the advantage that Roman could start his fly fishing practice with a singled-handed rod what made it somehow easier for him to handle the gear. Guenter appreciated this too, as his fly fishing experience was limited to occasional adventures as well. Once again, the Russian pool of Zolotaya River continued to be the best in producing results: Guenter caught a 15-pounder – he first saw it in the water so the question was only how to present his May Fly in a tempting manner. It took three casts to hook it and only ten minutes to land it. Soon after, Guenter lost another salmon of about the same weight a bit further downstream, when the somehow damaged leader broke right after the strike. Roman diligently learned how to fish and got used to the special fly-fishing vocabulary – a rather complex study and multi-tasking challenge! Indeed, he hooked a fish in the Russian pool and started playing with it. Short after, it became obvious that the fish was hooked by the tail. Only a minute later it easily took off and was never seen again on that day. There were many fish jumping in the Russian pool that day but it was not easy to catch them. The Zolotaya camp dog was watching the fish attentively and almost became an assistant to guide Jura in finding the hot spots. A beautiful reindeer came to the camp to greet the anglers: Behaving like at home the bull walked around without hesitation and only his antlers became an obstacle in entering the tents.
The complete beginner Victor boasted the first grills caught on the fly, and Mikhail lost his first Rynda fish. The whole team improved casting a lot now being able to reach the opposite bank of the Home pool. Well done, Team Russia!
Peter from Sweden, father of the fly fishing novices Axel (15) and Gustav (18), came to the ASR again to show his boys the beautiful Rynda. He did not wait for a long time to get his first fish – a 10-pounder in Power pool. He admitted that the cast which led to this success was far away from perfection: The water splashed and somehow must have attracted the fish. Lesson learnt: We never know exactly what fish are thinking and we still have not found a way to ask them about their thoughts …
Thomas from Denmark, who had been to the ASR for seven times already, became the star of the day catching a 25-pounder on a “Chernobyl Ant” dry fly in Swan Lake. He managed to cast exactly where his guide told him to cast and the fish was there to take the fly beautifully on the surface. At dinner the group saw Thomas with a bright smile on his face. And the juicy steak on his plate made this smile even bigger.
Monday, August, 8
Bright sun in the morning sky changed to cloudy weather later and good fishing hopes came back again. Tom had a lazy mood in the morning and first sat on a rock casting. The only 18-year-old “veteran” knew exactly that sometimes the best strategy is to relax and take things easy. Sitting around and lazing, a salmon took Tom’s Green Highlander – and immediately his morning nap was over: The fish took the assault on him personally and Tom had to run down the rapids following the fish. He fell in twice but finally landed the fresh 10-pounder at the Deep Run. Later in the day another 10-pounder was caught by Tom at Peter’s Pocket on a dry fly.
For the rest of team it was a day of numerous losses. First Rolf from Bergen, Norway, lost a big salmon when his 25-lbs-leader broke almost immediately after the fish had taken the fly. Then Rolf’s companion Calix experienced the same problem but also got one fish in the end. Gunnar, also from Team Bergen, lost two fish in serious fights because the hooks straightened but finally caught one in Peter’s Pocket on a small tube.
The Russian team of Klim, Victor, and Mikhail was fishing Zolotaya where the quality and variability of the fly presentation was much more important than the distance of a cast. A cliff on the right bank of Zolotaya provided a place to watch salmons of all sizes in the Russian Pool and their reaction to the fly. Unfortunately not a single fish became seriously interested in the flies presented. The day ended with a wonderful reindeer steak and lots of funny stories comparing different cultures. Roman, fluent in English, translated the gossip for his Russian friends. Some crazy enthusiasts left the camp then for night fishing in Home Pool, whereas others enjoyed some drinks in the lodge.
Tuesday, August, 9
Calix, the Norwegian fly-fishing expert, got back from the river with one fish and also signed up to the ASR piercing team of those who every year stick flies into faces and hands …
Team Sweden – Peter, Axel and Gustav – were fishing Red Creek where they hooked several fish. Two of them – an eight-pounder (fresh) and a twelve-pounder, were landed by Peter. Another two were lost by his son Gustav who became excited by hooking his first fish on the fly. He had both fresh and strong grills for approximately five minutes each with a good fight; one of them was only ten centimeters away from the net when it succeeded to escape.
Victor, Klim and Mikhail had another day of fly-fishing studies. Klim hooked his first salmon on the fly at Rock Island but lost it as the hook turned out to be damaged after previous touches with the stones. The fish took off but Klim was still happy to remember this perfect cast and presentation for future achievements. Mikhail also did well at the same pool: He succeeded to hook his first salmon on a bomber, a silver fish of approximately six pounds began to jump all over the place and suddenly took off.
Tom again became a true leader of the day: After two ten-pounders on Monday he caught two salmon of twelve pounds at the same place – Eagle’s Nest on Snaelda and Red Francis.
Gunnar and Trond had a tough fishing in Zolotaya with one fish for the two of them only, but the day itself was fantastic – excellent views of the surrounding tundra, meeting the reindeer, a regular visitor of the Zolotaya camp, and of course a helicopter ride along the magnificent Barents Sea coastline with Sasha the pilot doing numerous banks in the low-level flight.
Wednesday, August, 10
It was cold, cloudy and windy, but just rained a bit at the end of the day – definitely not enough to let the water level rise significantly.
Gunnar and Trond had an exciting fishing day in Tolstoi and down the river. Their guide Sasha has a habit of waking up at 6 a.m. in the morning and tying several flies for the day. This day he did the same and the fly he tied worked perfectly well through the whole day for both anglers. Trond got two fish of eight and 15 pounds while Gunnar got four (!) fish of 12, 9, 14 and 12 pounds. After coming back Gunnar was more than excited: “I have never had more than two salmon a day, one of which was usually a grills. When catching my 3rd one today I could not believe it, when the 4th one came into the net I was in heaven!”
The guests often hesitate what fly to choose when opening their fly boxes. This week we had an exception to the rule. Thomas from Denmark did not change his fly very often during these days using the Chernobyl Ant mostly. This day his endurance brought him another two salmon.
Youngster Tom proved himself to be a very good fly-fisherman coming from the river with fish every day: this time with a nice 13-pounder from the Surprise on the Willie Gun. The more interesting thing was he did not miss swimming either which made his guide laugh until he cried.
Our beginners Victor and Mikhail were practicing to use surface flies and both had the same result – one fish lost. Each of them managed to hook a fish on a bomber but the leaders broke, a fact that did not upset them much however.
Calix and Rolf went out for a trout fishing day in the Upper Rynda. Calix got his line of 12 lbs. broken by an unknown fish. Both anglers came back excited and happy mentioning interesting fishing and many good size trout caught on a dry fly.
The star of the day became young Axel who caught a 25-pounds fish in the small pocket above the Horse Shoe. After being hooked, this fish left the pocket for the rapids below, so that the chances to land the big fish decreased significantly. But now it was guide Jenya who helped Axel in every way he could. Axel’s father Peter was so impressed by Jenya’s performance that he commented: “Jenya saved this fish. He is a big guy, but he ran after the fish through the rapids like a butterfly”. The fish became Axel’s personal best and a great highlight for the absolute beginner.
During a luxury duck dinner a philosophical debate was started by Roman who has been struggling without a fish for several days. The subject of the debate was “What is more important – a process or a result?” After discussing this question in terms of fishing the whole table decided to apply this dilemma to some other parts of human life which made the discussion hilarious. Final answers were not given yet …
Thursday, August, 11
It was a very wet and cold day – drizzle in the morning changed to rain after lunch, good for those who were at the river.
Peter and his sons Axel and Gustav returned back from the Norway beat happy and excited. All caught fish, Peter got a fresh one. The most wonderful thing was that now Gustav managed to catch his first two salmon on the fly – seven and ten pounders. He was coming up to this achievement gradually first hooking and losing fish in seconds then in minutes and then inspired by his brother Axel’s personal best of 25 pounds set up his own salmon-on-the-fly account.
Guenter, after two days without much action, caught a twelve-pounder in Norway working very hard as well as his fishing Roman whose luck was somewhere else leaving him catching only trout the third day in a row.
Trond caught an eleven-pounder in Gorge Pool, where he was given some Sasha’s special again and advised to fish from some deep place where fishermen rarely stand. Sasha the guide was not even able to stand by as he was not tall enough.
Calix got a 16-pounder in Tolstoi pool on a Green Highlander and then going down to the Ten Islands got a nice six-pounds trout which looked much bigger on the picture.
Everybody got back wet and tired, sauna and then the crab night with lots of laugh and bonding provided a warm and comfortable atmosphere which was so wanted in such a cold day.
Friday, August, 12
The last day of the week provided more fresh fish coming to the river system after some good rain. Tom got a very nice 16,5-pounder with long-tailed sea lice and of beautiful shape on Green Highlander at Upper Home Pool. The fish was only 1,5 pounds less of weight than his personal best. Tom hooked it just before lunch when his guide Vadim already began to warm the soup. Thomas, his fishing partner, volunteered himself to become Tom’s guide which brought fun and memorable moments of the triumph. Thomas himself caught two fresh grills both at Ten Islands on Balmoral.
Guenter set his personal best catching a 21 pounds cock in Flekke’s. The fish took his bomber aggressively and gave a good fight. After having the fish in the net, Guenter looked serious and proud. One of the reasons: Guide Jura was far away with Roman when Guenter hooked the fish. He kept on shouting for Jura, but he did not hear Guenter, as they were fishing behind a hill. Jura just arrived at the scene when Guenter had already familiarized himself with the idea of pulling the fish to the shore by himself without a net.
The beginner Mikhail after his first six days of fly-fishing experience ever and losing several fish of different sizes finished the week in high spirit after landing a fresh nine-pounder caught on a bomber he used mostly for the last two days of the week. The fish was landed in Norway Pool and got a devil number in the fishing book – 666.
Roman was a star at the barbeque dinner table. Being a beginner in fly-fishing but experienced spinner he unfortunately was not lucky at all and landed no salmon this week, losing a lot or catching trout instead. He made everybody laugh calling his fishing trip “mushrooms trip to the ASR”, mentioning he obeyed all Mandate rules: he did not pick-up mushrooms but only watched and smelled them. When allocating a mushroom he took a nice picture with it and his guide.
The Norwegians Gunnar, Trond, Rolf and Calix went for trout fishing the place where Rolf and Calex had been previously this week and had a good day with a lot of activity in the rivers and lakes and enjoyed the friendly company of each other returning back to camp as a cheerful team.
When the group said good-bye to the camp staff the next morning, everybody was in a good spirit despite the fact that the fishing has been quite difficult. First and foremost: It was the warm atmosphere in Rynda Camp that provided the basis for a memorable week: with excellent food – Nicolai admitted that he had lured away the cook from Murmansk’s best restaurant to Rynda …. Interesting discussions and cultural experiences at the dinner table ….. the mix of very young and more mature fishermen, giving proof that fly-fishing isn’t just an old-boys-affair …. And last but not least, we landed a good number of salmon three of them beyond the 20-pounds-mark and some fresh beauties of just little less weight.
The most important lesson learnt, however, was the following: It’s the process that counts …be it fishing – or whatever your passion might be!
Guenter – Katya and Kola
Rynda News report for week 10 ending Friday, 5-August-11
Finally, we were back at the beautiful Rynda river -Team Sweden (all Rynda rookies) – Michael, ‘ke, Hans-Olov, Magnus joined together with the boys from the UK – all previous Rynda veterans. After a quick lunch we had our usual warm up session on Saturday evening and found the river conditions to be quite tough with very low water levels. During dinner low water tactics were discussed in between the teams, big-small-hitch-dryflies-nymphs-slow-fast-deep, everything in the “book” needed to be tested during the week to make sure that our teams scored some descent numbers.
Even though the river conditions were extremely difficult this season – all of us took on the challenge with a big smile For ‘ke,Hans-olov and Magnus this was their first time in Rynda and their enthusiasm was never ending and inspired the rest of us to “think outside the box” while trying to lure the salmon to bite. Hitched flies and Bombers proved to be quite effective. There is nothing more exciting than to have a 20 pounder having a look at your bomber/dry fly, almost makes your heart stop.
The UK veterans fished mostly with traditional flies whilst the Swedes tried nymphs and dryflies with single hand rods.
On Monday afternoon Timo’s brand new 13 footer exploded while targeting a +20 pounder at Tolstoy pocket. He decided to cool down with a walk back to camp for a long sauna session and a “few” beers. Magnus lost several +20 pounders at Tolstoy, the fish was almost in the net when the hook let go.
Despite the conditions the teams quickly learned how to do it and pulled in good numbers each day of the week. The fish were a good mix of coloured, semi fresh and fresh sealiced salmon. Wading was great fun and the rocks were covered with some green slime which made some of us having some extra fun and nice swims.
Zolotaya was a pleasant surprise, what a beautiful river and the tent camp was superb! Having lunch suddenly a wild reindeer came into camp and wanted a bite, we gave him bread and he ate from our hands.
Dom improved his PB up to a respectable 21 pounds.Vaughn had one 25 pounder and several more +20 pounders, fishing his red francis.
As always the food was excellent and we had some late night sessions listening to stories told by the UK veterans- great fun! You would not like to miss Piers doing the “Moon walk”!
By the end of the week we were quite pleased with the results; In addition to Team Sweden catching a few more salmon than the British veterans, we all had a lot of fun and made a bunch of new friends! Kola & Maria took very good care of us and made us feel like home- thank you! See you all again next year!
Timo – Team Sweden and Kola
Rynda News report for week 9 ending Friday, 29-July-11
Last week the crazy northern weather started out rainy and very windy for our old friends from England and Germany – who along with some new Russian fly fishermen had all come together to enjoy the wonderful Rynda. Although the dark cloudy sky didn’t look too friendly to start, nothing was going to spoil the fishermen’s good moods. Cheerful and loud, the guests gathered outside the lodge anxiously waiting to be helicoptered to theirs beats. That first evening the weather got even worse. The sky got darker, the wind stronger. And the flashes of lightning lit the stormy sky here and there.
Nevertheless despite the low water conditions and stormy start to the week there were still good numbers of fresh grilse and small summer salmon to be had. Sunday morning the Zolotaya campers returned with five fish that were all caught on light small tubes. Vladimir led the way with three nice salmon while his friend Igor landed two – and Alexey hooked one. They could not stop talking about the beautiful river and cozy camp.
Come Monday the dark big clouds had rolled away and revealed the shining sun. The temperature went up immediately and thanks to a bit of rainfall so did the water level as well. Unfortunately these factors didn’t seem to make the fishing any easier – However the river was full of activity and fresh salmon. They seemed to be jumping up out of water laughing at our fishermen. Bernd and Jurgen were astonished to see so many fish just in front of their eyes. They touched the fly countless times, but then spat the hook out and escaped. The team couldn’t even remember how many of those fish they had lost. But eventually, two salmon were landed by our German friends. Jurgen hooked a beautiful fourteen pounder in Down Under and Bernd caught a ten pound fish in Flekke’s. Both of them used nothing but Bombers. What a pleasing way to fish – landing them was an extra bonus. That evening Juergen and Bernd told the rest about their fantastic day as the rest listened to them absorbing every word. For dinner the guests enjoyed reindeer steak. After the meal they moved to the corner by the fireplace to discuss the possible fishing techniques and tricks to land the big fish.
On Tuesday after all the guests had been taken to their fishing beats, the work of a different sort began in the camp. And that was firewood stocking. The wood had been gathered at the seashore the day before and then it was delivered in huge nets by helicopter.
It was reported that Roddy and Iain were tired by Tuesday afternoon – good results kept them going. Iain caught two salmon in Gillian and in Lower Home pool on a Hitched Sunray and a Green Butt. His partner Roddy managed to land a sea liced salmon in Little Eira on a Green Butt and one more fish in Home pool on the same fly. Unfortunately he lost a big salmon. He claimed it was his fault, because when the fish pulled the line, it seems that Roddy pulled too hard the other way. As a result the salmon broke the line! He later said that if would have let it go and had been more patient – he would have landed it without any doubt!
The following morning Andrey. Dmitry and Sergey came back from the Zolotaya. They were astonished by the amount of fish they had seen. Everything in the camp seemed super to them: the amazing river site, the caring staff, and tasty food. They had a lot to tell. Dmitry couldn’t stop speaking about numerous salmon in the Russian pool. He couldn’t even count how many times the fish had risen to the fly. He saw salmon open its mouth right in front of the hook and then close it again. He was puzzled as he didn’t know how to fish with a Bomber. The fish was so close but still he couldn’t hook it. Nevertheless, in Peter’s pocket and in Home pool he landed a five and a nine pound salmon on a Green Butt. Andrey went fishing down the stream. He hooked a salmon of approximately six pounds but the fish jumped and took off. Andrey didn’t give up. He continued with Jeremy’s which was filled with salmon. Andrey saw the fly pass right above the salmon back, he was sure it would take it, but, no. Not that time. He found another pool above the Home pool and there he got two grilse on a Golden Killer and a Sunray. The following morning in the same pool he caught one more fish. So of course they were asking if we can name this new pool Andrey’s? These guys were so excited they could barely sleep waking up 5 the next the morning to start fishing again.
Wednesday was weather was neither hot, nor cold – It was just another lovely day. All the guests went off in good moods. Jurgen and Bernd unfortunately lost more fish than they caught landing only one of the five they played. Jurgen was pleased to hook his fish on the Rock Island on a Bomber. On arrival back to the camp Alexey, Igor and Vladimir asked for champagne to celebrate Vladimir’s catch – a sixteen pound salmon, which got hooked in Reindeer Crossing on a fly called Fantasy. The guys congratulated their friend with a good result. Then they merrily rolled into the Lodge to relax by the fireplace.
On Thursday the weather was cool and fresh. The drops of water on the leaves made it obvious that it had been raining at night. Fishing was quite good that day. By this time it appears that our Russian fishermen were figuring out the Bomber techniques. Sven and Jens had a great day with six fish for the two of them. Jens caught three fish. All fresh and silver. The first one got hooked in Norway pool on a Green Butt. His second eleven pounder was landed a bit later in Peter’s pocket on a Black Frances Copperhead. And the third salmon was caught and released in Little Eira on a Green Butt. To Jens’s disappointment the flies he had been tying the previous evening didn’t work. Don’t give up, Jens! Practice makes perfect. Sven had a good day as well. He caught his three salmon in Norway, Norway pocket and in Boot Creek. The seven pounder got hooked on a Sasha special. Both the fourteen and the fresh ten pound salmon liked the German Snaelda.
The next morning Jens and Sven came back from the Zolotaya and they were absolutely Astonished, capital ‘A’! Though the fishing was a bit tricky, they loved the river and camping. Jens landed a twelve pounder in Russian and another one in Peter’s pocket. Because of the bright sunshine his face got suntanned except for the two white circles around his eyes. Bernd had a nice 14 pounder just before the helicopter Good for him. The guys were happy and excited.
On Friday the weather was changing during the day according to the wind direction. In the morning it was cool and cloudy, but then the temperature went up and everyone felt hot again later in the afternoon. The weather did not matter for Igor who had an excellent day. He had been working hard all week without much sleep trying to figure out the way to catch a big salmon. And he found it. With patience and determination he came to the river every morning. Cast by cast his technique got better and better. He was sure he would make it. And ‘bingo!’ the positive frame of mind together with hard work finally paid off. On the very last day in Eagle’s Nest on a Bomber Igor hooked a marvelous twenty-one pound salmon, fresh and silver. He had to fight for almost twenty minutes to land it. Under the guide’s instructions he carefully pulled the line to the net. The fish jumped out of the water several times, but eventually he got his photo with his magnificent salmon. It was Igor’s personal best. Well done!
Kola and Maria
Rynda News for week 8 ending Friday 22-July-11
Last Saturday we waved good-bye to the Mills group who have been regulars for the last 12 seasons and then just a few hours later we were greeting our next bunch of old friends – most of the them had also been coming to the Rynda many times before. Stepping off the helicopter they just looked around in excitement to meet the eyes of their old friends.
In the cozy lodge with a drink in their hands our fishermen listened to the safety rules and pairing announcement, presented by Peter. One of the guests then mentioned to the one sitting next to him: “Until I hear – ‘This is not a banana…’ I do feel that the week has really started!” After a short briefing and light lunch, the guests went to their cabins to change and to prepare for the adventure ahead.
That first evening it was the new comers that got off to the best start with Vasiliy finding two nice salmon on the Rock Island with his special Green Butt. Howard had some early joy as well in Roy’s Bath taking a small but pleasing first salmon on a Cascade. Simon lost his fish just at the net – poor Robert lost his as well. He said the fish came to the bank as if saying ‘I surrender’ but then it changed its mind and rushed back into the rough waters – never to be seen again. That night over a wonderful steak dinner, the group spent hours bonding together and chatting about all their previous successes.
On Sunday the weather was cool and wet and the fishing was a challenge, as the water levels remained very low. Gerald and Harry had a nice time in the Red Creek. Harry, the younger fisherman, was luckier than his father and was able to hook a 12 pound salmon on his Sunray Shadow. Nick and Roy went to Power pool. They spent a lovely day there and Roy caught another 12 pound salmon on a Willie Gun on the 2nd Waterfall. Simon fished with our new Ukrainian chap. Thankfully fishing seems to be an international language as new friends learned from each other.
Simon caught and released a five-pound fish. Vasiliy raised 6 salmon, but unfortunately he lost all of them. Moreover, two salmon took the flies and the hooks with them. And it proved that those naughty ones were huge and wild. He saw salmon jump out of water teasing the fishermen with their perfectly silver backs. Vasiliy said that they should not get away with such bold behaviour!” Tom S and Guy’s team returned to the camp with proud looks for the three salmon they managed to land. After a quick and tasty salmon steak dinner – Tom came back with two nice salmon landed on the Rock Island on a Tatiana fly. Both fish were with sea lice. The following morning we welcomed the Zolotaya campers Tom G and Robert and Angela who returned with exciting stories of their eight salmon! All three friends were excited and enchanted by the magical influence of the river. After breakfast in the lodge they hurried back to fishing.
Monday was another warm lower water fishing day however everyone was optimistic and determined to try different techniques to attract the salmon and make them take the fly. Vasiliy tried some absolutely ridiculous flies for salmon and had some good luck with his ‘mouse’ fly raising five salmon – one of them was not less than 25 pounds! The pull was really strong and he could feel how big it was – unfortunately this one managed to get away. Later that afternoon he switched to a Golden Killer and landed a 16 pounder in the Round pool. It was reported that Vasiliy’s success made others feel a little envious and even think about stealing his magic fly box.
Angela and Tom came back with four nice salmon. Angela got one in Gillian on a Purple Shrimp. The other was landed one hour later in Home pool on a Grant’s Orange. Both were fresh from the sea with the sea lice on them. Tom also caught one in Home pool on a Grant’s Orange. It was also sea liced. The second one was landed in Upper Home pool on a JL Special. Good for them! Roy C spent a wonderful time in Iron Gates where on a Hitched Willie Gun he hooked a 12 pound salmon. Robert got one fish in the Upper Home pool on a White Shining. That evening the fishermen discussed their results on the terrace and after a while rejoined at the dinner table. They all found reindeer steak with a mushroom sauce absolutely delicious.
At a little after 5pm on Tuesday 19th July, Rynda Camp witnessed one of the most poignant of moments. With an absence of fanfare entirely in keeping with the private man, Peter bade his farewell to Rynda in his capacity as owner having entrusted his beloved ASR project to his friend Vladimir Rybalchenko for future generations to come.
With Sacha at the controls and Peter once more in the seat next to him, the MI 2 lifted off from camp. A slow turn above Home Pool was accompanied by a familiar wave to the handful of Rynda staff and friends looking on. Slowly the helicopter rose above Peter’s House and onwards to a short stop at Rynda Cross. Silhouetted against the stark blue skyline were the two figures of Kola and Peter as they walked to look once more at the the vista of camp and down river to the ocean beyond. After a pause for contemplation at the Cross and to reflect again on the inscription and all it means for Rynda, the two figures climbed back into the helicopter. A gentle sweep down to Rock Island followed before Sacha then pointed the MI 2 upstream over the river and commenced a stately journey past camp and Peter’s House and onwards along the river.
Slowly winding low over the spectacular pools and landscape of Rynda, it was a moving goodbye to the river and a moment to reflect of the enduring magnificence of this unique place. All the way up the river, guests and guide alike returned Peter’s waved farewell with their own, guests with fishing caps raised and guides with deep bows in heartfelt tribute to this remarkable man and his achievement over the last 14 seaqsons and the gift of his friendship.
For the handful of people looking on in camp, the sense of sadness that he will no longer be there leading the way was mixed with deep gratitude for all that he has given and accomplished over these 14 seasons. Encouraging and berating in near equal measure (!), he has striven to adhere to his vision of this place which is so dear in the hearts of all those that know it and are part of it. For the Rynda team looking on, there was also a pride that they too have played a full role in the achievement and a desire to pay tribute to Peter by maintaining and building upon that accomplishment. As the MI 2 slipped over the horizon, there were many moist eyes and lumps in throats along with quiet reflection on memories of times shared with this wonderful friend. To Peter a deep debt of gratitude for showing the way and a warm and lasting place in the hearts of all your Rynda friends, staff and guests alike.
Unfortunately the conditions continued to heat up through the middle of the week with air temperature reaching to 30 degrees and the low rivers were flowing at nearly 20 degrees. Despite the challenging low water conditions the guests enjoyed themselves trying new techniques including smaller and larger flies – Nymphs and hitched flies until they managed to find the answer.
Simon and Jack’s team were among the first to return back to camp one evening both having caught fish and happy as can be with life. Tom and Guy proved to be the champions another day with eight fish equally split between the two of them – one of them being a wonderful 18 pounder that was taken in the Upper Home pool below the waterfall. Two Roys and Nick fished together under the summer sun. Roy C landed two salmon in Prunella and Olga’s Gash on an Ernest Hitch and a Golden Killer and found fishing mightily enjoyable. On one of the warmest days Guy and Tom S were lucky to land a 10 and a 16 pound salmon. Tom landed his fish in Power pool on a Sunray. Guy hooked one in Deep Run on a Bomber. It was his first fish he caught on a free drift Bomber. And that made him really excited. Robert landed two on a Silly Bugger on Ten Islands. Zolotaya campers Gerald and Harry returned one morning with four fish for the two of them. Harry got one in Russian pool at midnight. Gerald landed a 14 pounder right after dinner and got two more fish a little later. As the weather was extra hot and sunny, they had a chance to entertain themselves watching aquarium in the Russian pool full of fish. Nick went fishing with the two Roys and had tow pleasing salmon that cheered him up and at dinner he was merrily joking among the others again. Along with all the trials and tribulations on the river the team returned in the evenings cheerful and happy. The next day Nick went on to have a lovely day with three salmon on his account. He caught his fish in Tolstoi, Tolstoi pocket and in Home pool. All of them got attracted by a Micro Tube which was only 3 mm in size. All fish were sea liced and thus our young man was absolutely happy.
And so another week came to a close. Preparing to get back onto the MI-8 and return to Murmansk is always a time for reflection. Both the Rynda and the Zolotoya are always capable of presenting us with wonderful opportunities, made only more special by the remoteness and raw beauty of its location on the edge 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 fishermen, each aware of the magnificence of their surroundings and the uniqueness of the opportunity, and determined to return again!
Nick wrote – “As I sit here finishing the report for the week, – the Rynda was majestic as ever. It holds so many fond memories for us all. Thanks to everyone involved for keeping this place in such great splendour.”
Kola and Nick
Rynda News for week 7 ending Friday 15-July-11
Last Saturday our latest group of enthusiastic fishermen got off the helicopter searching for their sunglasses as they embraced the friendly Rynda staff who they hadn’t seen since this same time last year. Arriving to 27 degrees C in the shade they unbuttoned their shirts and headed straight into the lodge for some cold drinks. The guests listened attentively to Peter as he picked up a banana and delivered his patented safety speech. Anxious to get the week started they all finished their light lunches in a flash and disappeared to their cabins to get the kit sorted out.
Despite the horrible fishing conditions to start the week the fishermen performed surprisingly well. It didn’t take long for Nico and Sue to each put their first salmon of the week onto the bank of the Rynda Home pool. Meanwhile Eion had some early success with his bomber landing a nice 12 pounder in the Norway pool.
Sunday was unfortunately another one of the hottest days of the season starting out with a morning temperature of 30 degrees C! As the shirts came off there was plenty of sun cream and bug spray being applied. None of this was going to slow young Toby down as he went on to win the battle with his new 22 pound personal best from Swan Lake. It was reported that Toby’s fish ran all over the lake as his proud father looked on speechless filming every moment. Although there were a few smaller salmon landed here and there, the majority of the fish would rise up for a quick look before disappearing back down into the cooler waters below.
The northern heat wave carried on into Monday with another day of 30+ degrees temperatures reminding many of the guests of the French Rivera. It was difficult enough having to put the waders on let along having to march along the banks fishing in them. Despite the record heat Christopher showed them all how it was done pulling in three nice salmon on his Bombers and Sunray shadows.
On Tuesday the extreme weather conditions started to swing back the other way as the winds changed to the north and the temperature dropped all the way back to 8 degrees C pulling in a thick blanket of fog with it. The sudden change in weather made for a challenging day of fishing although there were there were many salmon seen rolling about in the pools. It was reported that Anthony saw the biggest salmon of his life splashing about in the home pool. Everyone was very excited and impressed with Sasha’s abilities returning them all safely back to the lodge that stormy evening.
Wednesday was yet another day of hard weather conditions. The temperature kept going up and down throughout the day. It started with out in the morning at 15 C and then dropped to 10 C. Later it went up again and reached the 22 C. Then the wind changed its direction it dropped again back down to 9 C. That is when it started to rain and the wind got really severe! Not surprisingly everyone had to work extra hard for their successes. Returning exhausted after all the changing conditions the guests enjoyed the welcoming atmosphere together back in the lodge.
Goods news arrived the following morning from David and Christopher who had spent the night on the beautiful Zolotaya. They had a great day. David hooked a 17 pound salmon in the Russian pool on a Black Sasha fly and lost another good one. Christopher landed his 20 pounder on a Sunray in Jeremy’s and lost 8 more. They talked of a struggle with a playful “monster”that pulled the whole line down the river and nearly broke the rod. It actually blasted down the river and the line kept unreeling when suddenly the fisherman realized that it was over. Thankfully the guide spotted the end of the line floating on the water surface. When he rushed in to gather it all up – the fish was still on! He pulled the line back carefully and he was sure they were going to make it however the salmon simply didn’t want to give up and somehow managed to escape again. End of story – J.
Other fishing highlights included the eight small silver salmon that Jenny, Steve and Eion managed to pick up on their small flies over at the Zolotaya. Nico and Sue also returned from the Zolotaya with broad smiles and 5 fish to register in the Book. Nico landed a 12 pounder in Jeremy’s along with a smaller salmon in Russia pool. Both fish were caught on a Hitched Sunray. One more salmon got caught on the top of Rapids on a Green Butt. Sue managed to keep up with Nico landing a nice sealiced 10 pounder in Peter’s pool on one of her own hand tied Hitched Green/Yellow Butt. The other one was caught on the same fly pattern in Jeremy’s. She might have had a third salmon had the wind not blown her next fly out of her box. Moments later the fly had drifted down the run and a salmon came out of the water to take it! Sorry Sue but you cannot count that one!
For the rest of the week – “The weather kept being capricious like a lady in a jewelry shop. 20 minutes of the sun were suddenly swept aside by sudden cold wind blasts and heavy rain drops. And then as if nothing had happened the sun would return warm and bright. Despite the challenging fishing conditions during the day there was also a lot of bonding and cheer each evening back in the lodge. “We all like a challenge however this week the weather was definitely against us. Hopefully there will be more water and less sun when we see you all again next year!”
Kola and Maria
We have just returned from a great week on the Rynda camp and we would like to thank you and all your staff for helping to give us a great adventure. The camp was great and was very comfortable, the food was first class but it was the care of your staff that made it so special. Everyone of them was so polite and helpful and seemed really pleased to see us rather than “just a job” our guide “Kola M” did a great job looking after us which is never easy with people of different fishing abilities. As for the fishing some Rynda veterans would consider it a quiet week but we met fish every day and were more than happy with our catch, the highlight for me being taking Jenny over to Little Eira on our last morning and standing with her as she hooked played and released a chrome fish in the morning sun….and it was one of my flies !!! Back up to Scotland next week minus the helicopter!
Steve and Jenny
Rynda news report for week 6 ending Friday 8-July-11
Despite the poor conditions and weather delays last weekend our latest group arrived to the Rynda camp last Saturday in high spirits. They were extremely glad to see each other as well as the camp staff again as almost all of them were old friends of many years. This is a special ‘veteran’ group some of whom have been returning to Rynda since 1993! There were two new Russian faces – Alexander (who fished here before) and Victor, who was amazed to meet the people he had seen so many times before in the ASR film.
On the first evening Peter introduced Vladimir and together they made a warm welcoming speech and encouraged everyone on the positive future of the ASR. Vladimir promised to keep the same traditions and spirit going on the Rynda camp, which was a welcome relief to all the guests.
On Sunday weather started to improve, but the sky kept changing during the day. At times it drizzled at times the sun appeared and lit up everything around. Everyone appeared early for breakfast ready to go to the river and all were anticipating good fishing. Alexander was astonished at the show of the salmon in the Tail of Canyon. He used a hitched tube and after several presentations he got his 15-pound fish which had jumped on the fly. Tom and Mirabel fished in Flekke’s and got one 12-pounder for Tom. In the Five pools area there were a lot of fish coming up to touch the fly but…nothing landed.
Roger and Peter’s team showed good results with two 17-pounders for Roger and a 15-pound salmon for Peter. Colin and Christopher returned from fishing in Power with broad smiles. They proudly announced that their total catch was 4 fish. (13, 13, 9 and 17 lbs) Ann and Don started fishing from the Norway and proceeded with the lower beats. Don caught and released a 15-pounder on Conehead Sunray in Peter’s pocket. Simon and Lewis fished closer to the camp. They saw lots of fish and they landed 4 in Tolstoi and in the Home pool area.
In the morning the two campers returned form the Zolotaya. Maurice and Rupert spoke of wonderful atmosphere in the camp and of exciting fishing. Maurice had landed 2 fish a 10 and a 24-pounder in Jeremy’s. Rupert was less lucky but he’d been struggling with an even larger salmon (approx 30- pounds!) for 45 minutes and in the end he lost it. At breakfast he was thoughtful and silent.
On Monday the weather seemed uncertain about its mood. Heavy rain came in turn with the brightest sunshine. It turned out to be an extremely difficult day for fishing. The happiest of the bunch seemed to be Don who landed a 9 and a 14 pound fish on a small hitched fly. Peter and Roger were successful as always landing a nice 12 pounder in Eagle’s Nest on a Cone Head Cascade. And Roger (who seems to know some secret about the perfect catch, but who doesn’t want to share it), landed 1 salmon in the morning in Rupert’s and another one after dinner on the Rock Island. Mirabel lost a big fish after its several amazing jumps. After a special reindeer steak dinner, the guests assembled their rods and headed to the river. Colin came back with the brilliant result of 2 sea liced salmon of 13 and 3 lbs. The Green Butt had worked again.
In the morning Alexander and Victor were not so cheerful when they jumped off the helicopter from Zolotaya. The struggle with stubborn salmon had tired them. Victor while trying to make a perfect video clip lost his fish and Alexander lost 5. However they had 1 fish to record. They spoke of the wonderful place and peaceful atmosphere in the camp. They were charmed by the golden sun in the evening and charmed by the friendly staff and the beauty of nature on the Zolotaya.
The next morning was warm and the wind had dropped making it perfect to enjoy open air. However the day was a new struggle in the competition between fish and fishermen for which the fish didn’t want to show up. Maurice landed a 9-pound salmon just before the helicopter arrival in the Five pools on a very small Green Butt. Victor and Alexander had tough time with Alexander losing 6 fish lost for Alexander making a total of eleven in 2 days. But with still half a week to improve the situation. Victor managed to catch a 5-pounder on a Sunray in the Home pool. He even strained his back in this effort. Don returned with a 14-pound ‘result’ from the Black cliff. Simon got his 2 beautiful salmon of 9 and 8 lbs respectively. His 2nd fish got hooked and released after dinner, in the Home pool. As always – Christopher was successful again with a 16-pound salmon.
After a dinner notable for an excellent sauce the guests moved to the cozy corner by the fireplace and looked at the photographs as they reminisced on earlier days. Good news came in the morning with the happy Zolotaya campers Mirabel and Tom both returning with good results. Mirabel had caught a 10 and a 6 pound fish and Tom – a marvelous 14-pounder. The day ended with an incredibly beautiful double rainbow and a warm shower in the midnight sun.
On Wednesday the weather continued to change. The sky was cloudy and grayish with the chilly wind blowing from the Barents Sea. Despite the heavy rain the day before the water level continued to drop. The day was good for fishing. Peter and Roger went to the Zolotaya and spent the day catching and releasing salmon. They returned in the evening the top team of the day with 5 fish which were all caught on Kola tube.
Alexander broke a sequence of mis fortunate days. He landed 2 beautiful salmon in Peter’s pocket and in Tolstoi. The unpredictable behaviour of one of them puzzled and excited our dear fishermen. The outcome of the battle was a 17 pound salmon with one more 17-pounder in ‘twin’ to follow. Victor was stimulated by his partner’s success and did not have long to wait – a nice 13 pound fish got hooked and landed in Tolstoi. Christopher caught a wonderful 15 pounder in the Canyon on a Sasha hitched tube and Lewis returned with two – 12 lbs in the Deep Run on a Sunray and 5 lbs from Sami on a Black Frances. Although Don was happy about the 12-pound salmon caught on a Cone Head Sunray in the Flekke’s, poor Ann lost her big salmon in Horseshoe. Tom and Mirabel fished near the camp. And they worked perfectly well to catch and release a 12 pound fish for Mirabel and a 3 pound salmon for Tom. Rupert also had two fish – 8 and 9 pounds. The total catch for the day was 17 fish.
At dinner there were toasts to Peter and Ann impressed and touched everyone with her speech about Peter’s achievements in all that he had done and also in creating a such ‘friendly family’ atmosphere on the Rynda camp which would never be forgotten.
Thursday morning the weather was gloomy but by 11 o’clock it had cleared and the sun had painted the sky and water bright blue. But for cold wind it would be a perfect day. Peter and Roger seemed in top gear. Wow! Home pool seemed to be the right place as far as Peter caught his 10, 10, 5, 5 -pound salmon right by the camp. The fish seemed to like the Green Butt and a Hitched tube. Roger used a Cone Head Shrimp and landed a 15 and a 9 -pounder salmon in Little Eira and Julian. Another two fish (4 and 5 lbs) got hooked on a Hitch and a Green Butt on the Rock Island and in Home waterfall. Everyone was delighted when Ann returned from Swan Lake with her 8 pounder and a 12 pound salmon, both on a Shrimp. She deserved champagne! The day was also productive for Lewis. He caught and released a 14-pounder in the Horseshoe on a hitched Silver Stoat and another 11-pounder in Down Under. He also lost a ‘monster’ just before the helicopter. Victor excitedly described the rock he fished from. He saw a fish come to the fly 7 times, but with no result. Tom got one 12-pound fish in Norway on a Hitched Tube. Mirabel took a lot of exercise on the river bank without a fish. Colin and Christopher fished at Zolotaya and returned with 2 fish. One for Colin (10 lbs, Peter’s, Golden Willie Gunn). One for Christopher. He landed a 12 pound salmon in Jeremy, just below the Falls on a Hitched Sunray. After another delicious dinner some of the guests talked about the mutual influence of Russian-British literature and art.
The final day was unexpectedly warm. No, warm was the wrong word to describe the really hot weather with lots of sunshine. This slowed the salmon down and made the fishing quite difficult but there were some good results. Peter and Roger were modest to even mention their success – 5 fish for the two of them. All of them got hooked on a Green Butt. He landed salmon in the Tolstoi, the Race and Home. Well done, Peter! Roger came back with a 7 pounder and a 6 pounder caught and released in the Little Eira and in Home waterfall. These were on a small hitch. Christopher told an exciting story about his battle with a big fish. It took in Little Eira hung about for some time and then went off downstream unstoppably until the leader broke. Despite misfortunes he keeps smiling and joking. Victor and Alexander team came back with one 14 -pounder for Victor. Maurice landed a 9 pound salmon on a Sunray Shadow in Rupert’s, which didn’t work out for Rupert! Tom lost 2 fish in the Round, but Mirabel landed a 20-pounder in Nikolai on a Snelda. Colin was in the right place and in the right time to catch and release a 19 -pound fish in Tolstoi. Good day for Don! He returned with two fish to note: a 10-pounder caught in Peter’s and an 11-pounder from the Russian on the Zolotaya. Lewis came back with good news as well. A 12 and a 4 pound salmon were landed in the Canyon on a hitched tube. Our enjoyable final day continued in the comfortable lodge at the dinner table with everyone socializing together and chatting about the many highlights of the week. Tasting a bit of Simon’s delicious Wild Plum gin they all expressed our intentions to return again to the magic of the Rynda lodge.
Kola and Maria
Rynda News for week 5 ending Friday, 1-July-11
After a slick transfer through Murmansk and 45 minutes by the MI-8 into camp, a highly excited group congregated around the Rynda fireplace for a thorough briefing from Nikolai and his banana. It wasn’t long before the group of Brits, Russians and a single Icelandic representative heading off to their cabins to gear up for the first highly anticipated session. After sleepless nights leading up to their Russian tundra adventure, how would the week play out?
While the river looked a little low, the weather conditions looked promising, with the wind changing from the South to the North on Sunday, which reduced the bug population dramatically and brought air and water temps back to sensible levels. While the weather was a pleasure to fish in (mixed sun and overcast skies, with the wind only increasing on Thursday afternoon), the river could do with a drink and fell steadily throughout the week.
Palmi, an Icelandic purist and master of the hitched fly, set the scene for the week hooking 7 fish on the first day with some remarkably small patterns: think 4-6mm in size and lightly tied. That said, landing Rynda’s spring salmon is tough when using lightweight doubles and singles! If there was a record for fish “moved” in a week, or hooks straightened, it belongs to Palmi – but he came home with a cracking 20lber from Tolstoi Pocket on Thursday to prove everything is possible.
As ever, the guides were swift to react to the changing conditions and with pockets appearing that wouldn’t usually hold fish until much later in the season, they were keen to open everyone’s eyes to new opportunities each day.
Richard and Chris rarely came back empty handed and as ASR veterans of Spring, Summer and Autumn weeks, were willing to listed to their guide Yura and try their hand at everything from full sinking lines and 3″ brass tubes through to bombers and micro hitches. Memorable moments included 3 fish in 20 minutes from Round Pool, with a double hook-up on a dry Green Machine and a sunk Black Francis highlighting the varied tastes of the fish. On the following day, 2 fish were taken from a raging Peter’s Pocket in 4 casts (18lbs and 14lbs) to a heavy 3″ Snaelda, swiftly followed by sea-liced fish from Tolstoy and Little Era on a bomber to end a superb day.
Vladimir introduced himself on the first evening, but a more formal hand over went ahead after Peter and Rupert’s arrival on Sunday evening. Some of this week’s guests had been fishing on the ASR’s rivers for 10 years, others just for 2 or 3 years, but everyone applauded the time, hard work and effort that Peter and his team had put into the rivers and camp infrastructure: fishing for Atlantic salmon in such pristine conditions is becoming an increasing rarity. All present were heartened by Vladimir’s commitment to continue the good work and over the week, those who got to know Vladimir a little better were reassured that the ASR has a new backer who is a well-travelled and worldly-wise fly fisherman who enjoys these rivers for the same reasons we all do. Thursday proved Vladimir and Anton’s red letter day with 6 fish, including 23lbs and 18lbs fish for Anton from the Five Pools area. As the majority of guests headed off on Saturday morning, a grinning Vladimir appeared to wave good bye, dragging himself away from Home Pool where more fish had fallen to his rod – good to see the new boss fishing right up until his own departure a few hours later.
Everyone’s favourite beat for the week seemed to be from Twins Slabs down to Eagle’s Nest – a long and pretty beat covering all of the “Five Pools” area. It produced fish all week, with father and son Peter & Rupert catching and losing fish through their day together: Eagle’s Nest can be a tough place to land fish at the best of times and with the hot spot on the far side of the tail at this level of water, stopping them from heading off down the rapids as one persuades them to cross the current can be a tough job!
Bruce and Bill from Seattle were also fans of the single-hander and small flies. On Sunday, Bruce lost a fish of around 30lbs: like Richard’s lost monster on Zolotaya later in the week (well north of 30lbs), his cries could be heard across the tundra! Our American pairing enjoyed moving fish to small dry flies and skaters all week, as opposed to “winching them in on telegraph poles”. That isn’t to say that they didn’t have success: best fish of 12, 14, 15, 16lbs showed that delicacy and precision bring rewards to those with patience. Their genial chatter over supper ranged from athletics to hunting trophies in the Yukon and kept all amused throughout the week – what excellent company!
Continuing with the “good company” theme, the post fishing beer, reliving the best moments was an integral part of the day, which seemed to roll seamlessly into supper and some truly excellent food and banter. While many went out for more punishment after hours, it was often hard to move after being filled with arctic crabs, flaming ducks, plates of gravalax and smoked salmon and some of the best reindeer fillet any of us had experienced. Who was to know that Chris was a heavy metal fan or that Richard and Palmi knew quite so many bad movies to reminisce about? Holidays at Rynda are not a hardship and it is lucky that the calories were swiftly burned off on the river bank. Rupert and Mark kept the conversation flowing and Nicolai and Maria acted as excellent translators so that the English and Russian speakers could all enjoy the jokes and poignant moments equally.
Maria, one of our Russian guests caught her first salmon on Monday, a 9lbs fish in Prunella and went on to shame some of the more experienced fishers with steady entries into the big leather book. Igor and Grenady produced fish from a range of pools, with Grenady teasing a salmon from Norway. At 14lbs, this was the only fish from Norway all week, a surprise to all at this time of the year.
Altogether, while a little light on the numbers front, this was a superb week. Many fish were lured from the lies to strike at flies – many fewer were actually landed. Little Zolotaya provided some memorable fish to support Rynda and the chatter on the helicopter as we headed back to reality was not if, but when we would all be returning.
Kola and Richard
The Rynda News for week 4 ending Friday, 24-Jun-11
The long-standing party (aka the Green Butt Brigade) led on as usual by Derek however sadly without Graham this time around – arrived to a rather chilly Rynda with the air and water temperatures about the same at 8 degrees C. One look from the arriving helicopter showed “the stone” at the tail of the home pool well out of the water, which meant lower river conditions than normal. Wading from the left bank of the Rock Island was a going to be easy. After invited instructions from Peter, the intrepid party of Rynda veterans (half seventy years of age or thereabouts) set off for two hours of fishing before dinner. Four salmon were caught that first evening with Patrick landing his biggest ever of 25 pounds from the left bank of the Ten Islands.
Sunday brought more of the same weather with the air temperature dropping and the NE wind picking up but the salmon were in a better frame of mind. There were 24 caught on the day with an exceptional 7 from the Zolotaya by Toby and Derek and Peter (a new member of the team). Surprisingly the hitch was working in spite of the cold waters.
Monday was an awful day weather-wise with a near gale from the NE and bitterly cold air. The stalwarts however battled away landing 6 fish, with 2 for Toby from Home pool and Rock Island. At this stage of the week the salmon were all being caught in lower beats with Tolstoi being the upper most pool being fished on the river.
Tuesday brought more of the same challenging weather with the addition of a little rain to damper the spirits. It was now time to experiment and to get away from the bottom beats – especially the sea pool which made for a long afternoon. We soon found out that the salmon had indeed made their way up as far as 5 pools albeit not in great numbers. Toby had a 20 pounder in Rupert and lost another big fish in the sea pool. Angus of Varzuga fame and Mark failed in Power pool but got stuck into 3 nice salmon of 20, 9 and 12 pounds at Iron Gate. Lower down river Mark got lucky with a lovely 25 pounder from the home pool on a green bodied willie gunn.
Wednesday thank goodness brought a change in the weather. The wind moved to the south and the temperature rose above 20 degrees C however we still had to content with the wind. The water temperature at last began to rise reaching 11 degrees C. Although we picked up 20 more fine salmon – it was certainly Sarah’s day! Having raised a big fish at the tail of the canyon, Jenya had the good sense to change to a stronger leader before Sarah hooked into a beautiful salmon on the hitch, which was cleverly persuaded not to go down the rapids. It weighted in at 30 pounds and turned out to be the biggest fish of the week.
On Thursday we had the pleasure of entertaining the new proprietor Vladimir over dinner. We had a very jolly evening together including several toasts to the future of the ASR – promising to keep in touch regarding our inevitable return next year. Angus and Victor (another new member of the Brigade) had a nice time at Zolotaya with 6 fish between totaling another 20 in total on the day.
Thursday was warmer again and still windy with the water dropping fast. The mozies made their first appearance and the fishing proved to be difficult. Andrew got a lovely 16 pounder. The Irish brigade of Michael and Philip had their first taste of the Zolotaya which they loved. That evening the chef impressed us all with his seafood specialty – fabulous as usual!
Unfortunately Friday brought more of the same weather wise with too much sun and wind, which led to more challenging fishing. 6 were caught with the best a 20-pounder fish for Michael on a hitched sunray in the Twin Slabs pool. Overall it was a very happy week albeit a bit less productive than usual. As usual the staff were a joy!
Kola and Mark (spokesman for the Green Butt Brigade)
Rynda web report for week 3 ending Friday, 17-Jun-11
Arriving at Rynda camp, a team of 13 fishers from Russia, Scotland, Latvia, Belarus, England and New Zealand bounded down the steps from the helipad full of anticipation and enthusiasm. After two weeks of unusually warm weather for this point in the season, the big water of the previous two weeks was falling to near perfect height for the spring fish to start running in larger numbers and the water temperature was climbing such that the fast sinking lines could be put back in the bag in favour of slow sink and intermediates.
Encouraged by the arrival in camp with us of Peter and the welcomes of the many old friends making up the camp staff, the team rapidly made a first sortie throughout the lower stretches of the river from Home Pool and down. By the time we reassembled for dinner on Saturday, it was evident that the first significant entry of fish into the system was underway with the pools of the lower river all seeing consistent showings of fresh fish. Dimitry and Richard successfully got the show on the road with fresh sea-liced fish from 10 Islands and Home Pools respectively.
The first full day saw a marked cooling of temperatures. Gone were the warm southerly winds and 20-30 C of the previous week to be replaced by cold northerlies. Extra fleeces went on and the team headed out in search of some of the big spring fish that characterize the early weeks of Rynda’s spring run. By the end of the day, despite the hardening conditions, notable amongst was the contribution of Home Pool with fish of 22lbs to Igor, 21 lbs to Jonny and two of 18 lbs to each of Duncan and Allan. With 5 other fish landed and many encounters with those that refused to fully hook up, it was evident that the fish were there but that the expectation of an easy week would have to give way to the realization that only hard work, persistence and some accomplished fishing were going to tempt the fish to co-operate. Fortunately, all three qualities were in abundance amongst the experienced party of Rynda veterans making up the group.
Monday saw the water falling another 6cms standing at 62 on the home pool gauge compared to 76 on arrival and ….. on the first day of the season. Crucially, those cold northerlies remained and the day started with air temps of just 2 C compared to water of 7 C. With the forecast for more of the same for the next several days, there were few easy fish taken. Nevertheless, 6 were landed, the best being a strong 20 lbs to Jonny returning again to tease one out of Home Pool on a Willie Gunn. Zolotaya was also off and running for the week with two fish to Vadim and Igor in Peter’s and Russian pools. As ever in the difficult conditions, the encouragement and assistance of the familiar team of guides was invaluable in maximizing chances but there were no easy fish and everyone was working hard. However, from the number of fish showing at Sea Pool, it was clear that each tide was bringing ever more significant numbers of new fish into the system.
By Tuesday the falling water temperature had stabilized at around 7C but the air temperature continued to frustrate, starting the day at a more promising 5C but gradually slipping during the day. In the face of the difficult conditions, the 4 fish landed for the day was a testament to the dogged perseverance of the team and the wonderful 26 LB fish taken by Duncan in the bottom of Croy Pool was just the encouragement needed to keep spirits up. Falling to a Shrimp fly on a tube, the fish must have only just completed it’s journey up the rapids from Seapool as it threatened a quick return before Duncan, aided by Gena, succeeded in holding it in the pool. Showing that a little ingenuity can pay dividends in these conditions, two fish fell to hitched flies, with Chris and Vadim successfully landing fish when skating in the neck of Jeremy’s on Zolotaya and 10 Islands pools respectively.
By now, the pattern of stubborn refusal of air temperature to break above that of the water, had become well established. Accordingly, we found that water height and fish numbers that promised so much frequently saw the group performing with the great consistency but never quite catching fire in the manner that both the knowledge of numerous fresh fish coming in to the system and water conditions tantalizingly promised.
The middle of the week saw the first adventures up river by an advance party of Richard, Chris and Simon. Venturing into territory normally the preserve of late June and July weeks the set off from 3rd Waterfall, and their endeavour was quickly rewarded when Richard pulled a fresh fish of 20lbs from the tail of The Fan followed not long after by a further fresh fish landed by Jenya in Lower Canyon proving that his fishing skills far exceeded Simon’s questionable guiding credentials! These fish high up the system, substantiated the view that as the big water of the first couple of weeks of the season had started to fall away, fish were being encouraged to run hard even if the weather conditions were making for difficult sport. In a day that saw a sharp upturn in success, a total of 11 fish were successfully landed well spread out between the party and all the pools.
Whilst the combined efforts of the Russian, Latvian and Belarusian contingent led the way on the river (taking 22 fish amongst the 4 rods during the week, including a notable 9 to Vadim) there could only be one star of crab night on Wednesday evening when Chris swept all before him. Whilst those in the vicinity will question any marks for style, there was no questioning his single minded commitment as he savaged leg after leg of the famous Rynda speciality, a spectacle that will live on in the memory just as strongly as any fight with a 30 LB fish in Home Pool!
The upturn in fortune on the river continued into Thursday with a further 12 fish the biggest of which tipped the scales at 20 lbs taken by Duncan at Russian Pool on Zolotaya on a red Francis. Igor also took 3 fish including the only 2 to come out of Sea Pool in the week. Without question, the money pool was now Home Pool where fish had built up in numbers. Accounting for 4 fish on the main pool and a further 2 from Lower Home in the day, it was also the scene of a number of frustrating losses including a one or two marked by fast exits out of the pool of seemingly very large fish. This upturn in overall fortunes coincided with a sustained improvement in air temperature, which although hardly tropical, did climb to 10 degrees during the day with a hint of sunshine for the first time during the week.
Fishing effort was curtailed slightly earlier than normal in order to allow for all the guests and a sizeable contingent of camp staff to head over to Kharlovka. With watches synchronized, Peter and Nikolai expertly judged Team Rynda’s arrival by MI 8 precisely at the allotted time. However, thoughts of seizing possession of Kharlovka Home Pool were banished in the face of splendid hospitality and goodwill as Peter spoke powerfully of his endeavours to secure the future for the ASR, the accomplishments of the past 15 seasons and the incalculable contribution of the staff of both the camps and rest of the organization. For those many present who have come to know and love these rivers over that time, it was a memorable evening.
Perhaps it was a surfeit of hospitality on the previous evening but the last full day saw a more modest result from the day’s fishing. Further incursions up river saw team members fish Swan Lake to Five Pools and from Norway down. Whilst the former saw fresh fish it proved less fruitful in terms of catches than earlier in the week. Norway however, did yield a fresh fish and others were also sighted. Jamie and Allan plundered Home Pool of 4 fish in the morning the best of which was Jamie’s of 24 lbs to a Green Highlander. Allan had partial revenge for having lost something big there earlier in the week when he landed a nice fish of 15 lbs also on the same fly. Indeed, later in the day from the Race above the 1st Waterfall, Allan “matched” Jamie’s big fresh fish with a kelt of the same weight, leaving us all to speculate on its size this time last season.
Reflecting both the time in the season and the consequent focus of fishing effort, the week’s salmon were concentrated in the bottom part of the river with Home Pool accounting for 19 (including Lower Home’s contribution of 4) and Rock Island accounting for 14. Crucially however, the success of forays further up river revealed that fresh fish are already up there and the numbers will no doubt grow during the week ahead. As more fishing effort is devoted to Norway and above, these pools too will start to make for some excellent sport as well as revealing the full variety and beauty of fishing Rynda.
A hugely important week in the life of ASR was rounded off in reflective mood after Friday’s dinner when Richard and Philip provided some wonderful guitar playing, aided and abetted on vocals (when they could remember the lyrics,) by Maria and Jenya and marred only by the woeful backing contributions of the remaining guests. As so often with Spring fishing, the potential bonanza never quite materialized remaining tantalizingly close. Nevertheless, some accomplished fishing and a great deal of camaraderie made for a splendid week. Oh to be a stowaway in camp for the coming week!
Kola and Simon
Rynda summary for week 2 ending Friday, 10-Jun-11
You don’t have to be Scandinavian to truly appreciate the opening week of the spring salmon season – but it sure seems to help! This year Reid and Frede joined together with four of their good Norwegian friends to open up the Rynda with some of the warmest spring conditions that any of these northerners could recall for many years.
The conditions for the week consisted of high water with river temperatures that ranged from 5 degrees C to a final day temperature of 9 degrees C. It was unseasonable hot and windy most of the week with arctic suntans for everyone. The Rynda river level dropped 20 cm from an opening day reading of 1.0 meter down to .80 centimetres.
Although most of the Norwegian team had to disappear immediately thereafter onto other salmon rivers and back offshore to their oil rigs – we managed to persuade Bjorn to write a few words summarizing his Rynda experience;
“As junior part of an otherwise very experienced 6-man all-Norwegian crew, I cannot say how much I enjoyed the first week of the season on the Rynda. Compared with the cold conditions last season on the Kharlovka, the Rynda was much more accessible to me due to both size and bottom conditions. The extra tutoring my guide Kola gave me during the week increased my casing with some 50% in length, as well as in consistency. We were also very fortunate being the first party to fish Zolotaya this year, where I caught and released my first Russian salmon after a 15 minutes struggle in the Sea Pool, a nice 11 pounder with lice, straight from the Barents Sea.
As a team, we were given the same, if not a little bit higher standard of living and food as last year on the Kharlovka, to me that is one of the most incredible parts of the fishing trip as such, added to a very low client to guide factor, and in my case, almost private tutoring from one guide throughout the whole week. The incredible weather on Tuesday and Wednesday was another bonus compared with last years cold – windy start, and only shows that anyone fishing the northern rivers must be able to put up with any weather as a matter of course.
Our total number for the week ended on 16 fish including several super salmon of 22, 23, 24 pounds (unfortunately the one that caught them were not photographers!) Harald’s energy in the river was unmatched by anyone, any stop seemed to be too long for him as he normally picked up his rod and was fishing before the rest of us had managed to empty the soup bowls at lunchtime.
The Friday common meal was excellent, and the competition followed between 3-man teams of guides and Norwegian guests was a fiercely fought battle, with a clear 3-1 home win for the Russians! Team leader Reid has laid down a strict training regime, to field a winning Norwegian team again next year. We will definitely be back again next season!”
Kola – Reid – and Bjorn