Atlantic Salmon Reserve Update: 4
Justin McCarthy is back with his weekly report from the Kharlovka River on the ASR where last week the big fish seemed to like the bad weather!
Big fish like nasty conditions!
Last Monday after warming up in the lodge with a hot bowl of fish soup, the newest addition to our ASR guide team, Sergey Smirnov, along with a friend, decided to wander back down to the Kharlovka Home Pool and they were soon into something very serious.
A twenty minute battle ensued with the great salmon charging about at will until Sergey somehow managed to intercept the beast on an early approach towards the bank. Weighing in at solid 38.8 pounds without the net this was sixth great salmon over 30 pounds landed during the last couple of weeks. In addition, there were others that also swore they had lost great fish of a similar size on that memorable cold and windy day.
Although the weather last week was a walk in the park compared to the storm that hit the previous group, fresh northerly breezes, cold temps in single digits and periods of rain, hail and snow continued to batter the anglers over the vast majority of the week. Water temps dropped from near floating line readings of over 8C last weekend down to a final temp of 6.3C. The good news was that river levels were finally receding by about 4cm/day down to a current level of 50cm on the scale.
When coming to play above the Arctic Circle, you certainly can’t do anything about the weather - except come prepared and ready for battle. Needless to say, we are still using sinking lines and good-sized flies, as these current conditions are similar to the cold, high water conditions that we would expect on the early spring weeks. To make matters even trickier the rivers are now at that challenging level when the majority of the salmon are running through the middle. The wild weather has made it difficult for the boys to even get the tip out at times, let alone a decent presentation anywhere near the middle of the run.
It is always nice to see our good friends Matt and David back on the same week every season and opting to have their own personal guides - Big Alex and Sasha - they combined to make a formidable foursome. After pulling in a sweet brace of 23 and 25 pounders out of the Barrel Pool, Matt lost a 40 pounder out the tail of the Upper Tent before going on a roll to land an impressive score of solid salmon of 22, 23, 27 and 28.5 pounds, in addition to a few in the upper teens as consolation prizes.
Meanwhile David and Sasha were into plenty of big fish trouble as well – losing a monster salmon down the Snowbank rapids before pulling the next seven to the net fishing down through pools of the middle Litza. On the final day David decided to take it easy landing three more out of the Home Pool up to 20 pounds.
After visiting us on the Rynda last summer, it was a pleasure to see the father – daughter team of Alexander and Yulia back for round two on the Kharlovka. In between her physics studies Yulia has also learned to blast out a good line which earned the young lady several nice salmon including a new PB 21 pounder – congratulations!
Considering that we have only had a couple of precious days of summer here so far, and the abnormally cold-high river conditions that has required the use of different skills and great determination, we continue to be encouraged by the improving numbers of great salmon coming into the rivers this season.
Unfortunately a couple of our friends had to cancel while in route to Helsinki airport last weekend, while another had to return to the office on Monday leaving us with a last minute team of 13 guests. In addition to the couple days Vladimir flew over from the Rynda to visit us landing 14 nice salmon up to 22 pounds, the team manage to scribe a happy total 130 salmon into the book this week.
While all the boys deserve credit for landing their share of the silver, there were a couple more great salmon of 36 and 39 pounds plus another 22 greater than 20 that included salmon of 29, 28, 27, 26, 25, 25, 25 pounders… And most of them had long tailed sea lice!
Although the conditions remain fresh and challenging, the rewards so far this season have been plentiful. It will be very interesting to see what happens when the weather and the rivers finally warm up to at least 10C and we are optimistic for our next group.
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