The headline results:
Total for the four northern rivers was over 2000 salmon to the end of the last week July, up 41% on the previous season
The average fish per rod was up even more with a near 50% increase
43 great salmon over 25lb with 15 of 30lb or more
All tell a very positive story of the season. Particularly encouraging has been the very strong performance of the Kharlovka and Litza, where the total return for the season to date has been up 55% evoking memories of some of the best seasons of the past 15 years. Especially interesting has been to see which pools have been productive in the differing conditions – whether it be because more fish have held there or whether it is because those have been the easiest to cover well.
Beneath those simple headlines, sits a fascinating story of a very different season from those of recent years. 2014 reminded us that one of the frustrations and the pleasures of salmon fishing is its unpredictability; the challenge of having to adapt to conditions, use unfamiliar tactics and to fish in those spots that we might normally walk past. And for those that did, the rewards were significant. Be it working hard for a small number bright, fresh sea-liced fish in the fringes of heavy water in big pools in the early spring, or catching one’s first fish to surface flies in July.
Those fishing the June weeks of 2014 on both Kharlovka and Rynda camps were greeted by big water and stubbornly cold water temperatures. Many had to re-learn what spring fishing tactics are all about – getting the fly down, controlling the speed, tricky wading and, above all, perseverance and ingenuity.
Whilst the absolute numbers of fish during this period inevitably suffered by comparison with the benign conditions for the same weeks in 2012 and 2013, guests could safely claim that they earned every one of their fish on those weeks. Further, there was probably a higher proportion of big fish lost on those weeks than normal because of the challenge of fighting them in the huge water that persisted through the month as the tundra snow blanket and lake ice only slowly diminished.
But then, once the conditions finally relented towards the start of July there was truly fantastic fishing throughout the system on each of the rivers. Fresh fish flooded in and each day seemed to bring more stories of great fish landed and lost, sea-liced fish caught well up each of the systems and bumper catches. Regular guests for the weeks of early July had some of the best fishing they had experienced in years.
So, what conclusions? Well, as if we needed reminding, salmon fishing holds many mysteries – there are no guarantees. Even the experienced and talented fisher can be confronted by tough conditions and have a challenging week. But it can also sparkle – those magical days when everything seems to work – when every contact turns into a fish in the net and each return to camp is filled with excited stories of purple hours on favourite pools.
It has been a sincere pleasure to see so many old friends back in camp and to make new ones as debutants to the ASR have experienced the special camp atmosphere and the camaraderie that marks out so many of our weeks at ASR. Already, many have been in contact to place a marker for a return visit in 2015. Before that, we are looking forward to the autumn fishing of the Three Rivers Program. That special time on the tundra when the colours change rapidly, the night starts to return with the spectacular northern lights and the fishing changes character again as the fish become aggressive prior to spawning.
No two seasons are the same, and each has its high spots and its frustrations. For those that love salmon fishing we return as better fishers after being forced to rethink old assumptions, to use some guile and to once more appreciate the privilege of pursuing these magnificent fish in a unique environment.
If you are interested in making a booking for the 2015 season please contact email@example.com
In the meantime, one other note for those who cannot yet reconcile themselves to a fishing-free remainder of 2014 for saltwater aficionados we have 1 skiff (2 shared rods) that have become available for our dedicated Alphonse weeks – in addition to 2 rods left available in Cosmoledo.
The specific weeks are 8 -15 and 15 -22 November for Alphonse and 22-29 November 2014 for Cosmoledo. These are prime opening weeks as the first full moon spring tides of the new season are the week of 7 November. If you have interest in joining us please contact firstname.lastname@example.org
Best wishes and tight lines.
On behalf of the entire ASR team – we look forward fishing with you soon!