Trout Fishing Report 5A – 2019
Bush Litza and Dream Kharlovka
By the second week of july, the summer had not yet taken its proper grip on the tundra. An ever present northern wind prevailing for the last two weeks, had however calmed down and it all looked promising when we settled for camp by the small lake dividing the fantastic Bush piece of Litza River in two separate zones, both to be heavily explored for three days.
The team was indeed a nice display of experienced tundra fishermen. From left Igor Zhuzhev (camp chef), Svein Røbergshagen, Marius Warnken, Lars-Are Gudmundsen, Bjørn Broen, Pål Wermåker and Nikolay (camp assistant)
Litza was approacing slightly above medium water level on our arrival saturday evening, with a water temperature of 8 C. The neck a short walk upstream from camp, was gliding slowpaced out of the lake and into the turbulent whitewater below, no fish disturbing the surface. What a nice place for the patient flyfisherman to wait for a rise or for the impatient to skitter a dry. The first night at Bush was an exercise in searching the water, tempting the trout with all the well known tundra attractors like Streaking Caddis, Chernobyl Ants and even a Daddy Long Leg. The trout have a very special way of inhaling this terrestrial when slightly twitched on a slow surface, the trout lifting its nose in an everlasting slurp.
The first full day of fishing always gives the true status of the fishery. Waking up as usual at nine to enjoy morning coffe and Igors splendid breakfast is the best possible start of a new day. It was soon revealed that a major hatch of small mayflies was the ticket of the day, at any pool concentrated at the edge of the riffles flowing into the pools and spreading out on the wider flats below and the backeddies closer to shore. It was a feast very much resembling the nightime drifts of caddis pupaes usually seen later in the season, the trout gorging themselves in any possible configuration of riseforms and with a frustrating degree of mobility. Some bigger mayflies mixed in, but were completely neglected by the highly selective trout, so focused on the feeding that we many times could approach them at a very short range, setting the scene for a wide screen movie og big mouths softly closing around tiny mayflies. Decorating the tippet with a small, dark parachute or comparadun fly, and casting persistently precise, we had a full day of the best possible tundra fishing imaginable.
The exercise was sucsessfully repeated the next days and several fish close to personal bests were caught. Some of us chose the difficult water of mixed currents to get hold of one specific trout repeatedly rising, the trout neglecting everything but a completely drag free drift of the fly. Easier, and more scattered trout was to be found on the even flowing glides. The wind stayed reasonably calm and I am sure the overcast, rather chilly days made for the mayfly hatch to continue for the coming days. We did see only the occasional caddis on the surface, probably the chilly weather was putting the major caddis hatch on hold.
When departing Bush a soft rain started and when mounting the tents at Dream Kharlovka it was heavy and persistent. The water level was well above normal for this time of the summer, but still very managable. The terns were flying feverishly all over Home Pool, signalling even here a major mayfly hatch in progress. The hatch continued well past midnight, it was the same species as on the Litza. The leaden sky and the least amount of light made fly changes a difficult exercise even in july.
Even if it was cold and soaky wet, it was a marvellous first night at Dream Kharlovka. A vivient memory is from Bjørn trying to keep paste with a trout of 3,5 kilo, speeding through several hundred meters of rapids before securely netting the fish. Not his personal best but a most exhilierating experience.
The rain finally stopped the next day. A sunny sky was accompanied by a heavy, cold wind and the heavy hatch of mayflies decreased. The coming days the river was on a steady rise, at least by three feet on friday.. The island just outside camp became almost flooded but despite all the new currents showing up, the trout just seemed to move with the flow of a reasonably good amount of mayflies still hatching in some pools. Home Pool was a safe place of rising fish and Lars-Are had a very good time just outside of his tent, catching six fish on an evening rise, among them his personal best of 3,6 kilo.
Pål found a nice flats of rising fish, sheltered from the wind and he picked several nice trout, one standing above the others as his personal best. Marius was on a continous lookout for an extraordinary trophy trout to be called his new biggest, but twelve previous trips to the tundra made that part a bit of a challenge. He did however catch a lot of trophies in his usual relaxed and knowledgeable manner.
The strategy had however to be changed from a mayfly game to a mixed fishery of attractors and imitations, depending on the area of the river we fished. Quite unusual from the regular habits of the tundra trout, the fish now consentrated in the middle of the pools and to some extent in the back eddies. The tailouts did not hold as many trout as usual, and the regular highwater strategy of streamerfishing slow parts of tailouts was barely effective. Certainly the trout was relocating when no hatch was going on, but they were still eager to rise for a dry fly.
The strong winds of daytime slowed down in the late evenings and we had a very good time sitting by the Home pool, watching rising trout in the warm light of the sunset. We did fish for them but it often seemd enough quality of the moment to enjoy the scenery with a sigar and a whisky.
It had in any way been a most rewarding week on the tundra. In total we caught and relaesed 70 fish over one kilo. The travel logistics, the food and drink provided, and the overall organisation made by Kharlovka Company was as usual at a highly professional level. Our camp chef Igor, joined by his assistant Nikoly for the last half of the week, added to the quality of the week in a major way, as he always do. See You next year.