Trout Fishing Report 8A – 2017
“Just came back home from my best ever trip on the Tundra. I have been there 10 years now but this year trip was beating all my (and my group members) expectations. I could just have showed some pictures in this report because they tell more than a thousand words, but hear out the executive summary first:
i. Biggest trout 5.3 kilo!
ii. We got 6 fish over 4 kilo!
iii. All group members got a + 4 kilo trophy trout!
iv. We got 19 fish over 3 kilo!
v. 4 out of 5 members of the group got new personal records! 5.3, 4.4, 4.2 and 4,1 kilo
vi. We also experienced some wildlife… we saw 6 different bears, and not just once but several times during our trip. We lived and fished amongst them
vii. We also had two newcomers to the Tundra in our group and they both manage to get large trout’s their first evening giving them a strong start on our adventure
viii. I haven’t calculated the average weight but believe me, it is a ‘sick’ number
Espen with the group’s biggest and his new 5.3 personal record!!
The mama bear that kept us safe from younger male bears.
And now to the report itself:”
My group consisted of myself, Are Bjørlykke and Espen Klaesson very experienced ‘Tundra rybaks’ and newcomers Joel Lidstrøm and Andre Mattsson. In addition, we had our very good friend Igor with us managing the camp in a brilliant way, made Michelin star Tundra food and keept all of us safe from the bears
Both Joel and Andre was newcomers to the Tundra but we managed to get them up to speed quickly and they certainly unleashed their full potential and never experienced ‘high shoulders’ which can be so common for newcomers to the Tundra.
From the left Joel Lidstrøm, Are Bjørlykke, Eivind Hagen (group leader), Igor Zhuzhev (Chief Camp Officer), Espen Klaesson and Andre Mattsson.
We planned this trip well and all the learning from our 21 weeks Tundra experience came to play making sure we had a good foundation for both the expected and the unexpected. Our packlist has evolved during the years and if it wasn’t for some juicy secrets I could have shared it here…
We met with the previous groups for breakfast at Azimut hotel learning that the water level and water temperatures were near perfect – equipping all of us with healthy optimism on the bus from Murmansk. We arrived Tumannyy at around 5pm and the helicopter was waiting for us. The logistic at Rynda went well and we arrived our first camp Wulfs Lair at 7pm to great conditions. Good water level, 12 degrees in the water and around 12 in the air with light clouds. Our two newcomers did rock-paper-scissors to have the first cast on the camp tail. Andre won and after three casts he hooked a 3,1 kilo fish!! What a kick off to the trip!
Andre with fish on at camp pool half an hour after the helicopter left us
Andre with his fat 3,1 kilo fish kicking off the trip for all of us
Quickly after also Joel got a fish and during that evening all the group members got fish and we landed 9 more trouts, mostly on dry flies. Biggest being 5.3 by Espen, 4.2 by Are and 3.6 by Espen.
Joel with his very first Tundra trout above 2 kilo, a nice 2.6 kilo trout!
Are with his 4.2 and new personal record!
Espen with a nice 3.6 kilo trout
Sunday it was Joel turn to shine and he got a nice 4.4 kilo trout on the upper part of Wulf, a great fight! 40 minutes or so later Are netted it for him. Are got a nice 3.7 kilo trout and I got a 3.4 kilo trout.
Joel with the trips second largest fish and new personal record!
Are with a nice 3.7 kilo trout
Me with a nice 3.4 kilo trout
Monday the wind changed to north and the fish stopped feeding on Madam X, Skaters, Dyret and CDC caddis… we got only 1 decent fish on Monday which Andre caught on the camp tail 3.5 kilo! Tuesday the wind turned south and the fishing was great again. Espen started with a nice 3.2 kilo trout near camp and I had my best pre lunch session ever with 4.0, 3.4 and 4.1 downstream camp in three different pools!
My biggest trout on the trip, 4.1 kilo!
A nice 4 kilos Kharlovka trout
Wulf treated us well this year and we caught 34 fish with an average of 2,9 kilo
Tuesday evening we packed camp and went to Swan Lakes in Litza, a camp we never been to before and we were all excited what we could expect. We arrived at 11:00pm to nice conditions with good water levels and 15 degrees in the water.
Swan is a really nice part of the river Litza
Wednesday morning we experienced something very special. Are went upstream by himself after breakfast and I was supposed to join him after putting on my waders. But after just 2-300 meter upstream a bear cub appeared in front of Are sitting down watching him. Are broadcasted ‘bear, bear’ on our radio and turned back towards camp. The rest of the group were all in camp waiting for him. Just a couple of minutes after Are arrived camp two bear cubs and its mama appeared just 50 meter in front of us. Igor shot a rocket to scare them off, and the mama bear raised on two legs to check on us before she took her two cubs and slowly crossed the river.
The mama bear takes her cubs to safety from smelling Tundra men It was a bit slow fishing up on the islands, but we caught some 1-2.5 kilo trouts. Downstream we had better fishing and got bigger fish. All in all we caught 7 trouts the first day in Swan Islands.
Espen with a nice 2.9 kilo Litza trout
Thursday we woke up to nice weather. Me and Are went downstream and the other three went upstream. Me and Are had really good fishing getting 5-6 fish above 2 kilo before we got surprised by a bear. It was located between camp and us and we watched it for more than an hour. We thought it would come to the island we were located so we waded over the river to the other bank. The bear disappeared only to be found later near camp and Igor scared it off with signal pistol. A couple of hours later the bear came down on the side we had waded over, so we quickly crossed the river again and went back to camp.
Are with a nice 2.9 kilo Litza trout
On Friday our last day all of us went downstream to the pools were big fish had shown itself. We caught a few fish between 2.5 and 4.1 kilo before we heard from the radio that the mama bear and cubs were on their way downstream. We went back to camp to have an early lunch and picked up some signal rockets and Bengalian light to have in the team in case the bears came to near. After lunch we went downstream only to get bothered by the mama bear again. We decided then to fish near camp the last day
Andre with a nice 4.1 kilo Litza trout and his personal best
I release a nice 3 kilo Litza trout
Espen, Are and Eivind keeping the bears at distance
Sami cabin at Swan Islands
Always transporting us safe!
Each trip we have on the Tundra teach us something new. This year trip we also learned something new that we can build on to next year. The learnings this year were:
i. 100 meter backing is not sufficient for the strong Kharlovka and Litza trouts, we lost 3 fish due to only 100 meter backing. Next year we will be equipped with at least 150 meter backing!
ii. 1X tippets is perfectly okay also for #14 hooks. Next year we will only use 1X. Might have some 2X as backup, but never 3X again.
iii. Permethrin, permethrin, permethrin! Spraying this chemical on caps, socks and clothes keeps mosquitos far away and makes the outdoor so comfortable. Permethrin sprayed socks with crocks rocks the camp life!!
iv. Always, always, always change AAA batteries on the Walkie Talkie’s every second day in order to get full capacity on the range. It’s so important to keep each other informed in case of injuries or other events
v. It doesn’t hurt to have a signal pen in your backpack, bears can come close.
vi. Flies gets less and less complicated each year. I think this year we used 6 different flies. Lean and mean works well on the Tundra! The flies that worked for us were:
i. Madam X
ii. Skater (Black, Yellow, Orange)
iii. CDC Caddis
v. Suck On This
All in all it was my best trip so far on the Tundra A truly amazing experience with good company and world class trout fishing! Where in the world can you get dry fly fishing for wild brown trout better than this?
Also please find my executive summary expressed in its Tundra roughness here on YouTube: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FK-B_k9UOQ0
I’m really grateful to be part of the trout program, it’s such an enriching experience on so many levels. Big thanks to the ASR! I must admit after just a few days in civilization I already miss the Tundra… and I’m very much looking forward to next year!