Rainbows feed on mice all summer long. Large Deer or Elk hair mice work well. Be sure they are tied on heavy hooks. The Rainbows hit them hard and bend light hooks straight. The Cork mouse and the Mercer Lemming don't sink or need dry fly dressing so they are very nice to fish with. Kamchatka has the best and most consistent mouse fishing I’ve ever seen.
Dry flies work well about any time in Kamchatka. Best sizes are generally 12 and 14. We’ve had lots of trips where we only use dry flies for the entire week from late July on. Bring lots of your favorites: Humpy, Adams, Black Gnats, Elk Hair Caddis, Madam X, Mice, Blue Dun, and even Pink Polywogs work. June and early July smolt are out migrating to the sea. Sockeye smolt stay in the river 2 years. Rainbow feast on them all summer long. The Crystal Zonker Grizzly is the best smolt pattern. Others are: Katmai Smolt, Coronation, Blue Smolt, leaches and woolly buggers.
Large attractor patterns work best for Salmon: Purple Egg Sucking Leach, Babine Special, White Egg Sucking Leech, Pink Egg Sucking Leech, Hot Pink Sparkler, Single Egg Fly, Sockeye Orange and the Polar Shrimp. They will take just about anything that's big and flashy. Chums really seem to take just about anything but their personal favorite is the Fuchsia Bugger.
Silvers go for Purple or Black Egg Sucking Leech better than just about anything. Sometimes Silvers take green or other bright colored flies like Lime Bunny Bugs or flies with lots of flashabou or crystal flash in them. Sockeye take sparsely dressed flies like a Sockeye Orange or a Coho fly. Sockeye are harder to get to bite unless highly concentrated or very fresh.
Good King flies are: Alaskabous, King Killers or Fat Freddy's and Polar Shrimp. Basically, King flies are large and red and white with maribou, which moves pretty well underwater. Come equipped with plenty tied on large heavy hooks in mid June.
The Egg Sucking Leach is a most amazing fly, have a large number of these. For easy fishing, this is the King. They work on Char, Rainbows and all the Salmon. It might just be the best fly in Kamchatka Russia. It's tied like a woolly bugger with a single egg for a head. Purple seems to be the best all around color but they work well in black, white and pink too. It doesn't really copy anything, except maybe a Smolt with an egg in it's mouth."
When I fished Kamchatka, my best fly was a big General Practitioner. It outfished everything I tried. I also used some large bunny leeches.
But I'm very curious . . . my understanding is that wild Kamchatka steelhead are still in the Russian Red Book (our equivelent of "endangered species") and it's illegal to fish for them.
When I fished there 10 years ago, it was as part of the Kamchatka Steelhead Project (KSP) the 20 year research program with Moscow State University and the Wild Salmon Center. My understanding then, and now, is that it is the only legal way to fish for steelhead in Russia. But I've also heard of anglers targeting steelhead while legally fishing for the resident rainbows.
And I know that for the past couple of years ordinary anglers (we were called sponsors) are no longer even allowed in the program. All of the capturing (fishing) is done only by the scientists themselves.
Perhaps we shouldn't have taught them to fly fish?
I'm curious to know if you are somehow part of the program as I'm unaware of any changes in the steelhead status.
However, top down I would start with a CND Deer Specialist 13'6" 14/18/20, a customised 8.5" Hardy Zane reel (deer model), a 22' head Rio Kamchatka #66 shooting head, Rio deershooter running line (floating type), a #180 floating polyleader, with 12' #150 leader, tapered down to a fine tippet of 120lb. Be sure not to let any proprietry brand of WD40 get anywhere near the fly.
I would urge you try the deer skating (or waking) method first, as this is likely to raise the most aggressive of these Kamchatka steels.
Have the camera crew ready for that heart-stopping rise, and a twin 150hp jetboat to be able to jump in & follow the fish (camera crew to track you in a Mu2 chopper).
Get a good couple of rolls of film taken, ensuring that you have a minimum 5 metre tape measure to record you catch - you know that there are some people out there that just won't believe you
Seriously, I really want to go there sometime soon - for mouse chasing resident rainbows. I have an acquaintence who's been there and he said that sometimes the big rainbows actually almost beach themselves in their pursuits of the mouse imitations. When I heard that the image of big Orcas hunting seals in shallow water came to mind. :whoa:
I've heard the same about those large & aggressive North-West Russian rainbows, sounds awesome.
Also, a similarly wild environment to NE Russia (Kola) where I have fished; I may get time to visit on these rainbows & other superbly wild fish in that part of the world, but Canada & US steels is higher up my list of places to go-fish.
I came across an interesting looking pattern called a
"Turbo shrimp" if you google it you can find it...looks cool and it uses a
variety of colored straws..not traditional but the article I read says it is effective in pink and purple combos.
...for trout and salmon, but are not directed at steelhead.
Do you know what rivers you will be fishing? Many steelhead rivers of Kamchatka flow from areas of taiga and tundra and thus have a very dark reddish brown-black coloration resembling strong tea. The hands down best flies under these circumstances are based in the orange and pink range of the color spectrum. My personal favorites are 1 1/2" to 2 1/2" long marabous tied in an articulated fashion (using size 1 or 2 short shank hooks as the "trailer"), and are tied with white as an underlayer, then the orange or pink over that. This provides a base for light to refract from, back out through the orange or pink material, thus adding "pop" to the appearance of the fly. Also, having the pink and orange marabou in a flourescent version helps too. Throw in some red/black combos for ultra-clear water, plus some string leeches of pink, purple, black, and white, and you'll have a selection that will cover the majority of conditions.
As far as mice - have NOT seen any success on the surface for steelhead in Kamchatka in my times there.
Also, as far as trout: I STRONGLY recommend tying any mice or large surface patterns on a tube, then using size 2 or 4 short shank hooks as the "trailer". Mice patterns such as pictured previously here on this thread, and the typical "swimming baitfish" or "diver" type fly sold commercially, produce the highest injury/mortality rate that I have ever seen with flies because of the size and type hooks (bass wide gaps) being used. Early season Kamchatka 'bows (post-spawn), has been as high as 25%! Apply those kinds of mortality to a river for any length of time and...
Hi, last time I was in Kamchatka on July 2006, we had rafting a week thru a tundra region. The best flies were the combination of pink and white colors, pink was a top of the pop, some Alaska flies would work perfect too(purple, black+red colors), bunny leeches, GP, Spey Tundra on double, tubes with double #8 hooks.
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