Atlantic Salmon Reserve Update: 6
Justin McCarthy reports back on another exciting week on the Kharlovka River.
We had another exciting week here on the northern rivers with great numbers of beautifully fresh, fat summer salmon that ranged into the upper teens along with plenty of shiny grilse that were pouring into the system.
Vladimir and his son Vladimir both kickstarted the week by landing eight salmon each on the pools of the upper Kharlovka last Saturday morning before flying back to greet the new incoming guests and then departing.
As far as conditions were concerned following weeks of cool, cloudy weather, last Sunday morning we awoke to summery conditions with bright, sunny skies and temps into the twenties. Then, after warming the rivers up to nearly 15C, the winds shifted back to the north on Tuesday and the air temps plummeted back down to single digits.
Fog and mist rose from the rivers until Thursday, when the sun popped back out again, leading to the warmest day of the season, some sunburned faces and tropical temperatures into the high twenties. On the final afternoon the weather flipped around again: rain clouds started to appear on the horizon and the temperature dropped back down into single digits... Such is summer on the Kola Peninsula!
Never mind the weather, our latest group of seven lucky lads were absolutely delighted to hear that a group of six Russian businessmen had cancelled at the last moment leaving the rest of us with many more pools to fish and salmon to catch than we were dreaming of. Two young sons of one of the businessmen, eager to learn how to fly fish, were quickly despatched from Moscow to take their place, bringing the team up to nine.
Grigory who is 14 and his brother Alexander, 13, both deserve special credit for learning how to Spey cast which, combined with assistance from their personal guides Jenya and Sergey, led the youngsters to their first 25 salmon. What’s more the boys’ father arrived back from Moscow just in time to watch Grigory hoist a stunning 36 pounder up for the cameras!
Andre, Sasha and Alex, who all team up to manage the Farlows fly shop on Palace Square, also get honourable mentions for hooking some ten times the number of salmon than they managed to land. In fact, fishing mostly floating lines and skated flies during the first half of the week, that was the situation for most of the group. Nevertheless Andre and Sasha were more than pleased to fish here for the first time and went on to catch 19 good fish.
And then there were are close friends Justin and Mark, who did consistently well every day, fishing all levels of the water from both banks with dozens of deadly patterns to land a total of 37 salmon on the week.
Time and space allowed the camp manager to slip away with the rod and camera on Sunday and Monday to join his friend Michael and Big Alex for some quality control down through the pools of the upper Kharlovka, that was followed the next day by testing out the pools on the lower half of the Litza.
Those two magical days led to 21 salmon up to 20 pounds while Michael, who has now fished with nearly all of our guides, went on to have his “most enjoyable week ever” landing another 22 fish for the week.
Currently the rivers are slowly dropping a couple of centimetres a day down to a perfect summer level of 23cm, along with a temperature of 13.6C. Although the weather was probably too pleasant most of the week for the boys to get their hooks set properly into the really big fish, we were all extremely pleased to add another 205 salmon to the Kharlovka book.
Next week Mikael Frodin will be here giving a summer masterclass to a team of 14 internationals. With dark skies and mild temps forecasted to return, it should be very interesting to see what happens. Check out my report here next week to find out!
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