One Russian visit 2007: - Spey Pages
 
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post #1 of 10 (permalink) Old 03-17-2008, 11:51 AM Thread Starter
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One Russian visit 2007:

Russian Experience – 1st to 16th June 2007

Previous autumn (August 2005) fishing on the Kola P. produces nice but sometimes coloured fish – this a 19lber on my first evening.



Spring fishing this year was something different!



I was fortunate enough to have two weeks fishing on the Kola peninsula, and for the first week visited the river Kola (and 1 day on the Kitsa tributary), at a camp about 1 hour’s drive upstream of Murmansk perhaps about 80km from the sea. The Kola river is not just reputed to have, it actually does have some of the worlds largest Atlantic salmon running up to spawn, and some would say that it is second only to the famous river Alta for the size of fish. The river is large, wide, some pools over 5 metres deep, but most of the fishing is done in runs of 1.5 metres or so. The time of the year (arctic spring) means high & cold water, and that’s what we had – arriving with the river about 1 metre over normal level, and the water temp ~7°C, but clear.

29lber (estimated) from “Mike’s pot” above home pool R. Kola June 07.





As the realistic size of fish to be encountered could include hard-fighting springers up to or slightly over 50lbs weight, and the large fish had a reputation of running back out of pools, through the tail-outs, and down rapids strewn with huge granite & basalt boulders, I had been advised that 30lb Seaguar Ace leader was necessary to hold and land such fish , especially considering some possible rock abrasion during such battles. The rest of the equipment was suitably stepped up, with 45lb core guideline heads, 72lb Monic running line, and my preference of 260m + of 100lb gelspun backing, on a Daniellson 11fourteen reel, and cast from a Loomis classic 15’ #9/10 rod.





However, I did mostly use my new Meiser 13’ MKS #9/10, the same reel & backing, and a Rio 750 grain Skagit line, and the same or 25.5lb Seaguar Ace leader.

The flies were mostly plastic tubes, and I had particular success on my own variation of a Green Highlander, but also black & yellow, and the Phatagorva.





For the week, the 16 rods landed 145+ fish, ranging from 6lbs to 44lbs, average weight for the week for all rods being 19.94lbs. I personally landed 19 fish, from 15 to 31lbs, average weight 20.7lbs.



I lost about 11 fish, including all four fish hooked on the last day! Of the ‘lost’ fish, I had 2 breakoffs on 30lb Seaguar, the first was a very large fish (or at least very strong, and the 15 minute fight included twice hauling the fish away from the fall-away into the rapids, and then it ran twice up and along the far side, the second time a ping was felt and the line gave as the fish ran around a boulder. The other large fish (seen nearing the net and about 30-35lbs) was fought away from the tailout, to the shore, and the leader gave just before it was ready for the net – the leader had been previously abraded & such leader damage was unnoticed until the line gave out. Water temp at the end of the week was around 9.5°C.

The river Kola camp is offered to non-Russian visiting fly fishermen for a short season between end May and end July (approx) after which the Russians can fish this section also (the local Russians get licences to fish below the waters administered by the camp from the end of May or ice break at all times).

The camp is situated near the river Kitza junction with the river Kola, and it is my understanding that about 10km below and perhaps a little more than 10km above the junction is available for non-Russian visiting fishermen.

The availability and full details of the camp are via http://www.Lax-a.is which is a sponsor of the Speypages.

In general, many of the previous 'problems' on the river Kola experienced by visiting fly fishermen have been solved, such as 'poaching', and access to the river, and although much of the early spring fishing must be done from inflatable boats as it is literally too difficult or dangerous to wade in such a large, wide & deep, powerful and very cold river in the early weeks.

However, the potential rewards are good numbers of large & powerful Atlantic salmon in the river, and every opportunity to contact the fish of a lifetime.



....to be continued for the 2nd week....

If people concentrated on the really important things in life, there'd be a shortage of fishing poles (spey rods). Doug Larson

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post #2 of 10 (permalink) Old 03-17-2008, 11:54 AM Thread Starter
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One Russian Trip 2007 part 2

The second week was spent at the Kharlovka & E. Litza, and the river was again higher by 60 to 75 cm above normal for that spring week, and the water was much cooler, starting the week at 4.7°C, rising to a maximum of 7.3°C, before falling back to 6.7°C, with the air cooler also, large residual snowbanks in places, and a biting upstream wind for the Wednesday & Thursday, easing on Friday. These rivers are short ~10km for each before significant waterfalls stop or delay onward passage of fish, and we largely fished from the sea to about 5km upriver for the week.



The same size spring fish are likely to be encountered, up to ~50lbs, but being nearer to the sea, the fish are that much fresher and more brutal. The river runs very fast, but is relatively shallow, being no more that 1.5 – 2 metres deep in most places (exceptions are the falls pools & tent). Each pool is followed by rapids strewn with very large granite boulders etc.



Same tackle & tactics, but relying more on the Loomis 15’ and the Guideline head, varying from float/sink1, float/sink3, through intermediate, to sink2/sink3. I had to rely on the intermediate for the rest of the week after the float/sink3 head was lost to the river! 30lbs Seaguar tippet.



I should say that the hooks were Loop tube doubles, and tied with either improved clinch or Palomar knots, occasionally a perfection loop tied by the guide.



Of the 85 fish landed for the 12 rods for the week, I managed to land 11, ranging from 10 to ~23 or 24lbs (length & girth measured, not weighed), for a more modest 13.3lbs average weight. However, I did lose 8 fish, (again 3 nice ones on the last afternoon, all shaking the hook), but two pulls on the hang-down were so brutal that the fly was pulled off on each occasion, snapping the 30lb Seaguar at the loop of the knot around the hook, without evidence of line abrasion.



Overall, a really great two weeks, the first producing a personal best weight landed, and 3 sequential personal best days salmon fishing!



However, I did struggle to identify abraded Seaguar, it did abrade much more easily than I was given to believe, and it gave way at critical times at abrasion and knot. I have never had such a failure with Maxima, but I didn’t have the alternative of Maxima with me, or I would have changed back right away, and perhaps landed a couple more large fish.

Lesson learned…trust what you know by 35+ years salmon fishing experience, not necessarily what others tell you!



But these spring Atlantics are large, brutal, and give everything they have to prevent being pulled in bank-side!





Mike

If people concentrated on the really important things in life, there'd be a shortage of fishing poles (spey rods). Doug Larson

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post #3 of 10 (permalink) Old 03-17-2008, 03:51 PM
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Mike
tunning pic's !
Thank's for so generously posting them ,especially during this winter which in Eastern Canada goes on and on and on ....................
Cheers

Brian

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post #4 of 10 (permalink) Old 03-17-2008, 04:01 PM
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Mike, where were you fishing in August '05?



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post #5 of 10 (permalink) Old 03-17-2008, 04:08 PM Thread Starter
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That was the Rynda - also on the Kola peninsula in Russia, a much smaller river in width & total flow compared to the larger Kharlovka & E. Litza rivers, but much more length is accessible/fishable on the Rynda.

The trout-like colours of the autumn male fish was taken on a small stretch between two lakes - so called 'Swan Lake' going into 'Inlet', but a nice 19lber for all that!

Mike

If people concentrated on the really important things in life, there'd be a shortage of fishing poles (spey rods). Doug Larson

Take only photographs, retain only memories, leave only a good impression of yourself, perhaps just footprints.

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post #6 of 10 (permalink) Old 03-17-2008, 04:12 PM
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Thanks Mike! My old friend Per Stadigh used to fish those rivers a lot and he always spoke highly of them.

The Kola River looks very intriguing as well--I saw some video from Lax-a that was shot on the Kola. Monster salmon! I'll have to add that one to my list of wishes!



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post #7 of 10 (permalink) Old 03-17-2008, 04:21 PM Thread Starter
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The Kitza, which runs into the Kola, and producing the very productive 'Junction Pool' at the meetings, also has a pool called the 'Monster Pool', which has actual 'monster' status of catches, not just legend!

The Kola river is awesome in size, and the currents can be brutal, but there are some fantastic pools - just mostly not fishable from the banks nor by wading.

Mike

If people concentrated on the really important things in life, there'd be a shortage of fishing poles (spey rods). Doug Larson

Take only photographs, retain only memories, leave only a good impression of yourself, perhaps just footprints.

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post #8 of 10 (permalink) Old 03-17-2008, 04:27 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Speyducer View Post

The Kola river is awesome in size, and the currents can be brutal, but there are some fantastic pools - just mostly not fishable from the banks nor by wading.

Mike
Sacrifice I'd be willing to make for catches averaging 20 lbs!



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post #9 of 10 (permalink) Old 03-17-2008, 10:13 PM
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Stunning...a trip of a lifetime!

"I'm out here knockin' on doors lookin' for steelhead..."
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Not all who wander are lost...
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post #10 of 10 (permalink) Old 03-17-2008, 11:13 PM
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Wow

Hi Speyducer,
I am snooping the net and fell on your post!!!
Wow!!! Congratulations .... your photos are beautiful, what a nice place!!
And the fishing sound so exciting!!
One day...one day...I hope I can do that!!

Keep us posted on your next trips!!

Happy 2008 fishing!

Ann
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