Trout Fishing Report 5B – 2016
We’re back in Norway after 1 week on the tundra among large trout, wolves and wolverines. Here is a short version:
Saturday 23 of July we were picked up by bus at the hotel in Murmansk. After a 3 hour drive into the “middle of no-where” we finally stood, 36 hours after we started in Norway, in front of a Russian MI-8 helicopter. The real trip could start. First stop was Rynda. All fishing equipment was disinfected prior to takeoff to the tundra.
Normally I always organize the fishing and we split the 6 fishermen into two groups. One group is fishing upstream, the other group going downstream. It could also be one group fishing from one bank the other fishing the other bank, depending on the river and the camp we use. I do this of 3 simple reasons:
We are somewhat 200 km out in the wilderness. We are in constant contact with flowing water all day, rocks are slippery and might be unstable. It might be bushy and worst case, we are in the kingdom of the Russian brown bear. In Norway we have 10 rules for mountaineers. One of them is somewhat like this: “Tell me where you are going so I can search and give you aid if you don’t return”. It’s a simple but yet good rule. This applies to our stay on the Russian tundra – always.
• Fishing pressure
It’s most important that fishing pressure is spread out on the stretch to avoid the trout to turn off/stop feeding. This year water was extremely hot and low, so keeping fishing pressure spread out was even more important.
To me it’s important that everyone has their fair chance of catching their tundra trout. One part of the river could be better than the other. We don’t know which when we arrive. That’s why I always rotate on upstream/downstream after breakfast. During the camp stay this rotation rule gives everyone the same opportunities.
The first camp was Wulf, named after a Swedish fly fish the tundra legend Peter Wulf. 6 years since I last was here and 4 years after I met Peter Wulf. I had in mind our catches from 2010: 5,0-4,5 and 4,2 kg. The two largest was caught upstream.
The first days were exhausting. Extreme heat washed over the tundra from the Russian plains. We had 28 to 30°C day and night. The water temperature in Kharlovka reached 23°C and no hatching.
Mosquitoes are fun compared to the clouds of knots that attacks on the tundra. They make it difficult to breathe, see and pay no attention to repellents with 80% DEET. (In Norway, the maximum DEET content allowed to sell is 20%). They are into every cavity and uncovered part of your body! You have no other choice than to jump into waders and wading jacket even if the heat is on. I hoped that the knots had forgotten me since last year, obviously not. The tent was too hot, but that’s the same case for waders and wading jacket in such a situation.
All in all we got 32 trout on Wulf. The best part of the stretch was upstream. Downstream we only caught 4 trout, but a lot of pikes. The famous neck downstream basecamp, named big fish neck was occupied by pike due to low water current. Our largest trout was 5.2 to 4.1 and 3.9 kg.
Midweek we were picked up by the helicopter and flown to our new camp; First Knee, Litza. Referring to water level we had the same experience here. Low and warm, but the weather changed and we got a strong breeze from the north with heavy rain.Friday it cleared up. Overall, we got 39 trout at First Knee, the largest 3,3 kg.
Wednesday night through Thursday we experienced something very special and extremely rare. A wolverine crossed the river 75 meters above where we stood. It seemed completely unafraid of people and stopped several times on the other side to study us. Thursday night Vetle heard howling wolves not far from the large tail upstream camp. Reason enough to return to base?
We had to really work for the trout this week. Vetle which has an advanced clock, could tell that he had been walking 150 km all together.
I do not know how many times we turned our normal sleeping routines during the week. Eventually we become so dizzy that we did not knew if it was breakfast or dinner waiting. Whether it was Monday or Tuesday was also highly uncertain. It does eventually not matter either. Weekdays and time slips except from breakfast and dinner. The only thing that counts is you, the fly and the trout. It all slides into each other. 3 hours of sleep, 12 hours of walking and fishing, then 4 hours sleep etc.
Good to see that the young guys have stamina, guts and determination to walk miles after miles. It gives results! To sum up: stamina, guts and determination gave most fish in numbers, but the oldest bulls have the stiffest horns and still know where the largest the fish are hideing. Nevertheless; these guys are breathing down my neck.
In total we had 71 trout. Average weight was 2,4 kg in Kharlovka and 2,1 kg in Litza. We had 9 fish above 3 kg and 37 between 2-3 kg. The largest, top three, as mentioned above was 5,2-4,1 and 3,9 kg. Stimulator seemed to be the most popular fly.
A special thanks to Igor for good spirit and hospitality during our stay.
Thanks for the ride guys! Hope to be back next year.
Groupmembers: Igor, Thomas (Germany), Mikael Tønnesen, Vetle Kjærstad, Pål Børsting, Erik Hauge and Trond Kjærstad
Trond with 5,2 kg downstream basecamp in Wulf
Trond with 3,9 kg upstream Wulf
Erik and me celebrating my 5,2 kg
Vetle with 3,3 kg in Litza
Crossing a small creek
Erik playing a trout at First Knee
Erik playing a trout at First Knee
Erik netting a trout. Critical point
Vetle and Mikael on their way to the tundra
Trond landing a Litza trout
Trond and Kharlovka trout
Groupmembers from left to right: Erik Hauge, Mikael Tønnesen, Vetle Kjærstad and Åsmund Lange (Åsmund was fishing another group)
Mikael with Litza trout
Mikael and trout
Mikael in Murmansk
Base camp in Wulf
Release of Litza trout
Visit at a local bakery
New fishing caps?
Visit at a restaurant in Murmansk
Sushi in Murmansk