A few strips later and he was into centimetres of pure Chaos! Fishing both banks, there were four other anglers in the pool at the time, everyone immediately reeling in to run down after the fleeing Dane, whose angry salmon had just shot out the back of the home pool. With some m of backing out on his single-handed rod, Thomas was sprinting to keep from losing it all. Banged knee and bruised shins — The pursuit finally ended in a side pocket approx. Honourable mention also goes out to our good friend Jens. With some 25 years experience including helping to create the FFF chapter — Denmark, this Dane understands what it means to fish with the best.
Special mention goes out as well to Andrew, Dermod, Jacque, and Julia who were out on the tundra most of the week camping, fishing, trolling and partying — not necessarily in that order. When the drink finally ran out and the last piece of salami was flipped to the camp mink, Peter decided it was time to give them a helicopter E — vac out to join the fun at Kharlovka. This guy obviously has his priorities straight. Retired — has fly rods — yearning for adventure, Trevor has realized that life is short and is now searching for the ultimate challenge.
Last week after landing several nice Rynda salmon including a 28 pounder with the camp manager from Reindeer crossing, Trevor decided that he would like to finish his week with a bit of Kharlovka — Litza. Who knows, maybe we will get Trevor back to the Northern Rivers for — 4 weeks next season! Our condolences go out to our 3 diehard salmon rods Adrian — Michael and Karl who fished diligently through our warm rising rivers the week before.
Hard to believe, what a difference a few inches — degrees can make. With the cooler autumn conditions quickly drawing near, we are understandably optimistic for every precious day we have left.
Stop Press: Monday, 1-Aug Great news here! After one and a half days fishing with only 10 rods we are at a total of 43 salmon — biggest ones so far include 28, 26, 20, 25, 27, 23, and 20 — half of the team has already broke their personal bests. Rivers and temps are dropping. The weather game — We play it every day here above the Arctic Circle.
All last week on the Kharlovka, it was Up — Up and away! Think of the northern Kola tundra as a giant natural sponge — drenched over an endless boulder field, once it becomes saturated, it is all runoff. Never before has the home pool gauge come into such morning focus. As the immense Kharlovka drainage filled up, many of the warm stagnate side pools along with noticeable amounts of suspended summer rock algae were added to the mixture, resulting in rapidly increasing temps and that darker, peaty coloured water.
To put all this water talk into perspective, we started out the season on June 4th with a solid 68cm mark on the home pool gauge.
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Then after dropping to a concerning record low cm on the gauge the previous week, we eventually levelled out with a home pool reading of 30cm. Curiously enough, this was the same amount of water we had in the rivers, at the end of our second week of the season, back on June 16th! While this might have been just what our beloved salmon needed, with vast new amounts of fresh cover to now hide themselves in, it made any chance of hooking up — extremely difficult.
Thankfully, due to multiple late business cancellations, there were only nine guests on the team last week. Even better yet, was the fact that our six American friends, with their tubes of single handed rods and boxes of trout flies, were primarily here to fish the untouched creeks anyway. Wide eyed rookies, fascinated by all things Russian, the boys were helicoptered all over the tundra only be brought back each night to their deluxe 4-star Kharlovka accommodations, with our hot food — regular saunas and most importantly, the Bar!
With the recent push of water, the fat naive northern browns never saw them coming. The average size was said to be about 18 inches, mostly weighing between pounds, with the largest stretching the scales to 7 and 9 pounds. In addition, an unfortunate Char found its way deliciously into the pan of one streamside picnic. Even with two of the greatest salmon rivers in the world, left basically to split between our couple remaining salmon rods, with the rising warm coloured waters, the odds were stacked heavily against us.
On the first day, towards the beginning of the deluge, Adrian, our reigning Litza record holder To be honest, with the relentless rising waters last week, overall the salmon fishing was simply — hard work! Fishing is a way of understanding the world. If you are a philosopher at all, you realize that one of the many reasons that fishing is so great, is that it is — unpredictable. That way there is exciting anticipation from start to finish. With the clearing rivers beginning to recede and cooler darker nights quickly creeping in, we will soon have the advantage once again.
By the way, our 40 pounders are historically most vulnerable in August — stay tuned for what will happen next.. Every once in a while, here on the edge of nowhere above the Arctic Circle, your bound to get a serious blast of weather that really mixes things up. Last weekend we started off under partly cloudy skies and mild temps.
By Wednesday the river was up to a concerning season high That afternoon, the winds switched to the fridge north bringing the air temp down to an incredible chilly 4 C and along with it, a dense blanket of helicopter grounding fog. Violent thunderstorms and heavy rains ensued, raising the river a much need 14cm overnight. By Friday the conditions had finally come refreshing right as the rising rivers eventually levelled off with stable air and water temps of about 12 C.
While this could be a classic case of your should have been here next week, our new northern friends made the most of it on all fronts, landing a respectable fish for their cause. The obvious difference this season was instead of finishing a box of the frozen liquid with his buddies on the first night, he decided to opt for the straight silver. With his shot glass turned up side down, Nyet — Spaseeba! A man on a mission, the next day he had two more in the fresh teens off the lower Kharlovka.
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But come back you will — with his big rod — flies and even bigger dreams, the elusive Kola prize was simply too tempting for our most senior member Montok Joel. Another curious story last week was that of young James and Sean who, thanks to a BA baggage blunder, arrived to Murmansk with nothing but attitude. As we all know, Peter loves a crisis! With the problem promptly radioed ahead, the next thing we knew, the Kharlovka helicopter was being ordered to shut down at Rynda.
Honourable mention also goes out last week to the always spirited, team Scotland. Then it was the Big Boss Allan raising his personal best to 20 pounds on the lower Litza. In the end, 5 of the 6 Scotsmen managed to break their personal bests.
Fishing with Orvis
In the end, Martin fully recovered landing 4 great Upper Litza fish including the salmon of the week at cm — 35 pounds. Stop press! On the last evening, Steve returned to the lodge emotionally shattered from the best days fishing of his life, recording 5 last Litza memories including personal bests 24, 25, and 33 pounders. Up and down, small plastics to big and heavies — we tried it all. Depending on which direction the wind was blowing and more importantly how hard, our guests had the majority of their success on small flies and hitched tubes.
Nearly one month on from the summer solstice, we are presently losing approx. Cooler dark grey nights have led to better sleeps amongst the guests and staff alike. Not knowing which way to turn with all the crazy weather, reindeer herds in great numbers still race up and down the banks of the lower rivers. Towering high on two back legs followed by a signalling stomp down to all fours the large bear worked his way along a reindeer trail eventually punching the lesser bear from his path.
Wolverines seem to be everywhere these days as yet another was spotted just up from camp. Purple and white summer flowers are now having their turn along the remaining tundra marshes. Following the cooling temperatures and much needed rains of late week, we are all looking forward to taking advantage in the coming days ahead.
High summer has arrived to the far north! It was obvious from the very beginning, as our latest international team of 14 from Sweden — Norway — Scotland — England — America and Canada choppered into camp with all windows down, only to be greeted by eight giant sunburned Russians, that we most likely had a tricky week ahead. Naturally our rivers followed suit, quickly rising up to an equally shocking 20 degrees. Even more concerning, for this time of year, is the water levels which are currently flowing at cm on the home pool gauge.
Bright sunny days accompanied by warm southern breezes made the going extra challenging, until a much needed mid week rain storm finally materialized to freshen the situation. All things considering, Team Kharlovka had a pleasantly social time of it last week landing fish along the way. Like most weeks here, more than half the group managed to top their personal bests. Including the many grilse caught over the past couple of weeks, the mighty Kharlovka retains an overall season average of Big salmon, Bombers, and Beer — The Canadians must be back again!
Finger Print Fish – Swimmy | 3 Dinosaurs
With boxes of spun Newfoundland deer hair, ranging through all the colours of an ice cream shop, Chris and Brian consistently mesmerized the resting salmon from their depths. On the opening night, Chris equalled the season record, tempting a 38 pound crocodile out of the Lower Kharlovka Canyon on his 3.
Reindeer rapids, Tent pool rapids, Military rapids — the salmon were simply unable to hide from these two. Here in the far north, due to supply and demand, we are now pedalling the rare green tundra bomber at some 10 bucks a pop, so make sure you all come with several of these answers in your box! Fascinated by the many Russian traditions, including their nightly injections of frozen vodka, team USA fought hard to the last breakfast bell with 5 of the 6 improving on their lifetime personal bests.
First there were the young bucks — Alex and Noel, who partied hard to the end, landing their largest salmon ever in the high teens, on the Lower canyon and National Park areas of the Kharlovka. Then on the final afternoon Johnny hooked into something that would change his life for ever. See you next year my friend! We could tell the minute they limped off the helicopter, especially Duane with is 14 knee ops and two titanium joints, that this was definitely a job for our head guide — Big Alex.
It was clearly obvious at first sight in the Murmansk airport, where surrounded by some half dozen huge sticker covered water proof containers, weighing more than kgs, that our crazed friend Yngve, the Nikon pro, was back with us on the Kola. Complete with his dry suit, mask, and fins, along with his multi-mega pixel digitals, this Norwegian specialist was in the thick of the action all week.
Every great party needs at least one Norwegian in the group, even the beer guzzling Canadians were impressed — Shotgun! Honourable mention also goes out to team Scotland, who led a valiant charge through the start of the week, finally stepping it up a notch in the late innings.
Michael and David returned from their Litza dream with 6 lasting fish tales. Meanwhile, Justin was kept in focus all week as one of the many subjects of our extreme Norwegian photographer. Twice a year for the last 4 seasons, Fast Eddy and Smooth Alan were back with us again for their annual arctic pilgrimage. Next day, Eddy proudly returned with his tales of a fine brace of bright fresh 12 pounders. And last, but never least, there was our Swedish friend Anders, who besides picking up some new bomber tactics from the Canadians, also managed to twice catch the same 27 pound — cm cox from the home pool.
Midnight anglers opposite the Lower Litza Tent pool were lucky enough to observe a massive bleached Wolverine scouring along the rocks.
Migratory birds, along with a vast variety of unique tundra wildflowers, are presently visible in their most colourful numbers of the year.
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