Friday, 17 June 2016

200th Salmon Landed

Date: 16 June

Air Temp: 8 > 16 degrees C
Water Temp: 10
Water height: -11 cm
Number of rods: 15
Number fish caught: 30
Biggest fish: 30lbs Dan Christensen
No 30+:1
No 20-29: 4
No 8-19: 25
Grilse: 0

Weather: Very warm still morning with bright sun, more breeze in the afternoon (short period of strong wind) but cloud cover only for the last hour of the fishing day.

Yokanga Lodge Manager's comments:
A much tougher fishing day today (oh how easily your expectations for each day change when fishing is first class!) Sun beamed into the river pretty much all day and an upstream wind made casting tricky. When the cloud cover finally rolled in almost every beat had their best action of the day.

Antti had a lovely 20lb fish from Crows Nest, Heikki two fish from 7 Islands, the best fishing of the day was Dan and Dean on Sand Island/Cliff who landed 7 between them of 15, 15, 16, 20, 25, 28 and 30lbs – half of which were landed after 5pm.

The Yokanga weekly scientific talk happened between football matches, accompanied by a short but interesting slide-show on the river, the salmon population and the challenges faced in the effort to return Yokanga to historic runs. Among the interesting information is that the parr densities in the river have almost doubled since 2012, and when you consider that the Yokanga salmon’s life cycle is 6-8 years from egg to returning salmon, it shows that efforts to protect the river since 2004/5/6 have started to show tangible benefits. Yokanga guide Sergei “Science” (Dolokov) is actually a scientist at PINRO, the Polar Research Institute, so we are very lucky to have a resident “boffin” on the ground at Yokanga.

With the weather warm for a full day, it feels like summer has arrived for the first time this season. Tougher fishing but beautiful to be on the river.
p.s. Today the rods landed the 200th salmon for the week!

Peter Rippin

Thursday, 16 June 2016

Singles Day

Date:  15 June

Air Temp: 7 > 13 degrees C
Water Temp: 9
Water height: -10 cm
Number of rods: 15
Number fish caught: 45
Biggest fish: 38lbs Markku Lamppu
No 30+:1
No 20-29: 12
No 8-19: 32
Grilse: 0

Weather: A warm sunny morning with south west breeze, thundery storms over lunchtime (with hail!) and a warm overcast afternoon - an excellent mosquito day!

Yokanga Lodge Manager's comments:
“Singles Day” – traditional single hooked flies that is! Many fishers gave it a go for a few hours and had some good success before changing back to the more contemporary “killer” patterns like the Bann Special and Monkey.

I feel a little repetitive saying how good the fishing is, but sitting on Heron Rock (mid Home Pool right bank) and watching fish jumping all up and down the pool whilst Antii and Elephant Sasha  cover Boris’ Rock reminded me how lucky we all are to witness weeks like this.
All of the beats fished well, that is not to say lots were landed everywhere as so many fish are being lost at the moment after crazy acrobatic fights – especially with fish in the 14-20lb range -  but all beats offered excellent fishing. Crows Nest produced several in the 20’s and 7 Islands was excellent, as was Island.

However the highlight of the day was certainly at the first draw of Lower Norcamp where Markku and guide Anatoli landed a 38lb cock fish after a hard battle. Dinner commenced with several toasts and Finnish drinking songs, heralding Markku’s personal best salmon and a great weeks fishing. Having looked at some sorry expressions at breakfast this morning I can say with some certainty that many fishers over-served themselves!

Peter Rippin

Gremikha Camp: The team at Gremikha Camp are now up to over 50 fish for the week, with several in the 20’s and two fish over 30lbs. The fish are running through the lower river so fast that pulls and tweaks are regular but solid hook-ups less frequent. Great fun though and exciting fishing – James reported the loss of an ultra-fresh 40lb+ fish (it is so hard to land the really big fish in Gremikha Camp’s heavy water) and mentioned several other big fish tales which I hope to hear later in the week.

Wednesday, 15 June 2016

Long Tails

Date:  14 June

Air Temp: 7 > 13 degrees C
Water Temp: 8
Water height: -11 cm
Number of rods: 15
Number fish caught: 42
Biggest fish: 29lbs Stephen Coulter
No 30+:0
No 20-29:12
No 8-19: 30
Grilse: 0

Look at the size of that tail

Weather: Clear warm morning with south west wind, which swung to the north east in the afternoon bringing cloud and cooler wind. Some light rain in the evening.

Manager's comments: 
The fresh fish are rolling into the river now, largely in the 10-18lb range but still plenty of fish right up into the top size ranges also. Many have long tailed sea lice – even as far upstream as Island and 7 Islands.

In the windows

The running fish are leading to quite a few short or poor takes so plenty of fish were lost and pulled today. For example Markku played 8 fish on Poachers and landed 2. Jonathan and Stephen were on Island with Sergei and landed 6 fish, the best of which was a 29lb cock fish in great condition for Stephen measuring 104cm. Carl and Heikki landed 5 on Crows Nest while Dean and Dan landed 10 on Home/Lyliok from 14 hooked. They also pulled or had action from a further 20. They then proceeded to celebrate with a two hour lunch! Dean had an epic battle with a fish estimated at over 40lbs that was lost after an hour. Interestingly this fish was seen several times on the previous day on the same lie. It would be great to get a photo of him at some point this season! Antii and Roger hooked several fish on Lower Norcamp but none came to the boat.

Two notes of success after an excellent halibut dinner. Firstly, there were several fish landed on Home/Lyliok and secondly, Iceland drew 1-1 with Portugal which delighted guest chef Andri from Reykjavik!

Peter Rippin

 Sea lice

Gremikha Camp: The team at Gremikha Camp are doing well, enjoying the fun and ever improving set up down there. They are having some excellent fishing with intermediate lines and nice water level. Despite most fish racing through the lower river they are landing an average of 12-16 ultra fresh fish per day to 8 rods and hooking many more.

Tuesday, 14 June 2016

No Fly

Date:  13 June

Air Temp: 5 > 12 degrees C
Water Temp: 8
Water height: -12 cm
Number of rods: 15
Number fish caught: 43
Biggest fish: 30lbs Jack Meredith
No 30+: 1
No 20-29: 9
No 8-19: 33
Grilse: 0

Weather: Very thick fog until 3pm, cold and windy with it. When the fog cleared the wind dropped and the weather warmed significantly.

Manager's comments:

Considering we could not fly in the morning, and that most fishers only walked to the river at midday, this was a remarkable day. 43 fish landed between Poachers and Crows Nest!

Bankside lunch prep!

Jon and Stephen landed 12 from Lyliok and Crows’ with Guide Sergei “Science”, Sam and Andy landed 2 from the bank opposite Beach with “Young” Sasha, Heikki and Carl landed 5 from Home’ with guide “Young” Vova and Jack and John landed 7 from Lake and Pots with “Old” Vova, including a fantastic super fresh 30lb fish for Jack from the tail of Lake.

Changing tips for a change in the weather.

Incredible start

Date:  Afternoon 11 and 12 June

Air Temp: 8 > 12 > 6 degrees C
Water Temp: 8
Water height: -8 > -10cm
Number of rods: 15
Number fish caught: 41
Biggest fish: 35lbs Sam Amos
No 30+: 2 (Sam Amos x 35lbs, Jonathan Murray 34lbs)
No 20-29: 12
No 8-19: 27
Grilse: 0

Weather: The wind dropped on Saturday evening, and warm sunny weather continued until Sunday lunchtime when the cloud rolled in on a cool upstream wind.

Manager's comments: What a day! (…and a half including yesterday evening.)

New guests meet their guides for the week

All beats other than Upper Norcamp fished well and produced good quality salmon. The water is now VERY clear and smaller flies with nice movement definitely have the edge over Snaeldas and the like. We fished Sand Island/Cliff, 7 Islands and Crows Nest for the first time this season. Sand Island produced 4 fish, Crows Nest a couple but 7 Islands was definitely the stand-out with Sam and Andy landing 7 fish including a double-hook-up with Andy landing a 22lbder and Sam a magnificent 35lbder, measuring 109cm!

Dean and Dan landed a number of fish from Nahodka/Golden Reach including 3 of 25lbs and over.  Erik and Edward were at Sand’ landing fish to 27lbs and the largest fish at Crows’ was 25lbs. The water at Crows’ in reality is still a little higher than optimum but should “come-in” nicely over the next days which is exciting as when in good shape it is such a stunning beat.

Large cock fish from Heron Point

Just when we thought the action was over for the day, Jonathan, Stephen and Dan decided to give Home Pool and Heron Point a run and coincided with a nice run of fresh 10-16lb fish landing 4 of them, capped by a phenomenally fat fish for Jonathan measuring 107cm – a cock fish conservatively estimated at 34lbs that has been in the river a couple of weeks and fought incredibly hard ‘cartwheeling’ several times.

As I said earlier in this report…what a day!

Peter Rippin

News from Gremikha Camp, Lower Yokanga

First evening...6 caught, 4 lost. All the action in Golden Pool & 18 on the right side, Home Pool on the left side. Biggest fish 18lbs, with the others in 10 to 14lb range. Great excited camp!

A very strong day today...15 caught, biggest of 34lbs and 3 others at 20lbs. That takes us to 21 for the week so far. Remainder all in the teens bar one. A few big ones lost and many other fish lost. Water lower than I have ever seen it, but fishing beautifully, particularly the Loop pool on the right hand side...we can actually wade into the river, which is a first. Fish being seen from top to bottom (right down to Zaborka). A few commenting on how well the fish particular, the depth is staggering. I should think this is as good a chance of a 40-pounder as any of us will ever get!

Monday, 13 June 2016

Gremikha first week

Date:  4-11 June

Air Temp: -2 > 10 degrees C
Water Temp: 9 > 7 > 8 degrees C
Number of rods: 7
Number fish caught: 52
Biggest fish: 32lbs Henry Gregson

Weather: Generally fairly-to-very cold! With medium to heavy wind and two days of rain.

An extremely honest 28.5lbs

Group Leader’s comments:

We ended this wonderful week with 52 salmon (2 over 30lbs) landed and a large number of fish, some of them HUGE, lost in the aggressive Lower Yokanga water that is fished from Gremikha Camp. These fish were super fresh and super fat, amazing quality in fact.

The stunning Pulanga tributary
Everyone landed fish during the week, although Henry G took the plaudits with two fish over 30lbs, one of which, along with an 18lb fish for Mattt, was taken in the small pools of the Pulanga tributary – a truly amazing fish to land in such a small stream.

 32lber from the Pulanga

As we leave, I can report that the Camp is working well under Dima’s management, good food and great fun…..and hardcore walking and fishing as always!

Week 4-11 June

Date:  4-11 June, Week 0

Air Temp: -2 > 10 degrees C
Water Temp: 9 > 7 > 8 degrees C
Water height: -12 > +3 > -6cm cm
Number of rods: 8
Number fish caught: 66
Biggest fish: 37lbs Chris Ballard
No 30+: 5
No 20-29: 22
No 8-19: 39
Grilse: 0

Weather: Generally fairly-to-very cold with medium to heavy wind and two days of rain.

Manager's comments: Really a great week, with fishers all returning to Yokanga Lodge and making it feel like a house party! When we arrived the leaves were half out, but the weather froze them in time. It will take a few days of sun for spring to appear in full.

Another beauty landed from the left bank of Lyliok

The lodge team and guides were ready to go to work and provided great service on and off the river. Russian chef Yury is doing well and Icelandic chef Andri (seconded from Sela lodge in Iceland) is helping bring up the food several notches and there are now two waitresses, Nada (from 6 years ago) and Ana.

Good grub on Yokanga 2016

In terms of the fishing – we could not really have asked for any better. Yes it is spring fishing so searching for fish all day long and many, many casts. However when connected these fish have been of a fantastic average size and the best condition I have ever witnessed on the river. You will see from the numbers that a staggering 40% of fish were over the 20lb mark. Brutal fights have led to a fair number of fish lost down rapids etc. However, every fisherman has landed a number of memorable fish in a mixed walking/helicopter week.

Biggest fish of the week. A cracking 37lber

All in all a great start to the season, it will be very interesting to see what the first normal week of operations brings (11-18 June) when we fish beats like Sand Island. Cliff, 7 Islands, Crow’s Nest etc – all of which are as yet untouched since the ice broke!

Peter Rippin

Still blowing

Date:  10 June

Air Temp: 2 > 5 degrees C
Water Temp: 8
Water height: -6 cm
Number of rods: 8
Number fish caught: 7
Biggest fish: 22lbs Anders Romson
No 30+: 0
No 20-29: 3
No 8-19: 4
Grilse: 0

Weather: Still very windy and cold, sunny spells in the afternoon but no warmth to combat the brassy wind.

Manager's comments: Way too cold an air temperature for really good fishing. Lots of fish were lost after short and non-committal takes. If only the air was warmer we probably would have another 10 in the catch book for today with several teams losing 2-3 fish during the day.

A good effort in tough weather for the last day of Week 0. There will be a party tonight to celebrate what has been a great opening week. Those fishers staying for a second week (Dean, John and Dan) will no doubt be looking to give the early rising departing rods a hangover to cherish!