Saturday, 25 June 2016

Last day

Date: 24 June

Air Temp: 10C to 12C
Water Temp: 13C
Water height: -8cms
Number of rods: 14
Number fish caught: 12
Biggest fish: 31lbs Helmut Zaderer
No 30+: 1
No 20-29: 4
No 8-19: 7
Grilse: 0

Weather: Cooler weather than previously with clouds disappearing to leave a sunny day. A gentle breeze.

Manager's comments: Not an easy day. Simon B’s efforts at the fly tying table the previous evening paid off when he landed a 19lb fish on a half inch bottle tube up at Sand Island. Jonathan M notched up a final 22lber and another smaller fish on what was his last day of a two week visit to Yokanga.

A classic fat hen fish
John H continued to demonstrate his knowledge of the river catching five fish on Nahodka and Golden Reach weighing 12lbs, 18lbs, 18lbs, 20lbs and 21lbs. It has been John’s tradition to blank on his last day but that demon has been fully exorcised with such a convincing score.

Helmut Z had a day to remember with a 21lb fish from Lake and a 31lb fish from Beach. A personal best for him. In fact we have scored a collective three PBs for the party during the course of the week.

Another fine Yokanga specimen
Guides and guests have been collecting scale samples of weighed and measured fish this season but thanks are due to John and Old Vova who have been so helpful in collecting samples wherever possible. The results will be interesting as not much has ever been done to determine the ages of the Yokanga fish.

2 way radios for guests to use
The final day of the week did not bring the bumper haul that we may all have been hoping for but that did not stop the upbeat mood at the Friday night party. The event kicked off with a tasting of Lord B’s finest sloe gin which then lead into mini ping pong and degenerated into a leg wrestling competition... It will not just be sore heads this morning! Thanks to the group for being such good sports on a week with fluctuating fortunes and hope to see you same time, same place next year.

Henry Mountain

Friday, 24 June 2016

Inverse Temperatures

Date:  23 June

Air Temp: 8 > 10 degrees C
Water Temp: 14 degrees C
Water height: -12 cm
Number of rods: 14
Number fish caught: 27
Biggest fish: 34lbs Michael Gumener
No 30+:1
No 20-29: 7
No 8-19: 18
Grilse: 1

 A 34lbs personal best for Michael

A cool day with a stiff upstream wind. Sunny in the afternoon with dropping wind speeds.

Manager's comments: 
Who ever said that you do not catch salmon when the water temperature is warmer than the air temperature? This is the second time this week that we had inverse temperatures and on both occasions we have had our best days. Had we been fishing in Scotland we might have headed straight to the golf course!

Alan M had a good start with a 20lber in Golden Reach and then had a further three smaller sized from Lyliok after dinner. Valery N had a 22lber in Island keeping up his personal record. John H added a 22lber to his growing tally of impressive fish and Helmut Z also got a 24lber in the net boosting the score of over 20lbers for the day still further.

Another one breaks the 20lbs mark

Either Simon B is an incredibly skilled fisherman (stifle the laughter please!) or Martin V has had a run of bad luck. However things were to change today… At one moment the score was four nil to Martin. Martin offered his gold hooked flies to Simon at 250 Euros each and even more generously did not raise the price after each successive fish. Martin finished the day with an absolutely outstanding 8 fish from Lyliok and Crows Nest, the three best weighing 23lbs, 25lbs and 25lbs. It just goes to show that you have to keep the faith and that perseverance will eventually pay off. Simon landed a more than respectable three fish weighing 14lbs, 15lbs and 16lbs.

One of three over 20lbs for Martin V

The fish of the day fell to Michael G. After a tough morning with no action, Michael was fishing the left bank of Lyliok when he hooked a fish from the boat. It appeared a decent fish and was clearly going to take some time so fishing partner Marc continued fishing away from the bank. During a lull in the wind Marc got perfect timing with his Skagit and threw out a long cast to which Michael shouted that he was casting over his line and fish. Marc denied that he was anywhere near it and only seconds later realised that he had in fact hooked Michael’s line! The conundrum was then whether to admit that he was attached or simply hope the problem would go away!

Tidying up the camp

For five minutes both Michael and Marc had to reel unison until thankfully the fly came free of the flyline and Michael was able to resume playing the fish on his own. The result of this crisis was an absolutely stunning 34lb hen fish and a personal best for Michael. Check out the incredible spotting on the head of the fish (top picture). It has been suggested that it may be a repeat spawner but as scale samples were taken we will get to find out the fish’s history.

Much to look forward to for the last day of the week.

Henry Mountain

Thursday, 23 June 2016

Mixed fortunes

Date: 22 June
Air Temp: 8C to 14C
Water Temp: 21C-24C
Water height: -10cms
Number of rods: 14
Number fish caught: 13
Biggest fish: 26lbs Simon Bath
No 30+: 0
No 20-29: 3
No 8-19: 10 
Grilse: 0 

Weather: Blazing sunshine and hot first thing in the morning. Clouds developing with thunder and showers in the afternoon. 

Manager's comments: Conditions were definitely on the bright side when the lodge awoke to sunshine and a near cloudless sky. It felt positively tropical and sun cream replaced cold weather gear at the top of the backpack. 

A day for sun cream
It was the toughest day on the river so far this week. Although we have had not had a drop of rain since Saturday night it was surprising to see that the river was up 4cm in the morning. The only conclusion is that it rained further up the catchment area. Bear in mind the river is 200km in length so you would not have a clue what the weather is doing up there. 
Ready for action
It was pretty hit miss on the beats. Helmut Z landed a couple of nice fish, an 11 and 15lber from Lower Norcamp. John H continued his success rate and took three from Upper Norcamp. Michael G had a good fight with a 19lber from Poachers.
What happens when you crouch too low in the water to take a photo
Louis G had some success late in the day when he had three from the main draw at Crows Nest weighing 16, 18, 20lbs. A tidy finish to his day! Simon B continued his run of good fortune (or sheer skill?) with a 26lber from Lyliok. You know you are having a good week when you can’t remember the number of fish you have caught in excess of 20lbs in the week Simon!

Simon B's fresh 26lber from Lyliok
Colder weather is due for the last couple of days this week so fingers crossed that we get the right result on the fishing front as well as the referendum. 

Henry Mountain 

Gremikha Camp, lower Yokanga 

Interestingly, while guests at the lodge struggled a bit, Gremikha had their best day of the week. 11 fish were reported for the day with possibly more as a couple of fishers had not returned when news came in. James B had a 25lber from Loop Pool and reported that the pool seemed to be stuffed with fish. A fair few grilse seem to be entering the lower river now so it will be interesting to see if any of them get caught further upstream at the lodge.

Wednesday, 22 June 2016

Longest Day

Date:  21 June

Air Temp: 8 > 16 degrees C
Water Temp: 14 degrees C
Water height: -14 cm
Number of rods: 14
Number fish caught: 23
Biggest fish: 32lbs  Valery Naumochkin
No 30+:1
No 20-29: 4
No 8-19: 15
Grilse: 3

 Snake Pool on the Lyliok River

Mostly warm and sunny with a good breeze in the morning, dropping in the evening

Manager's comments:
It was a mixed day on what was the longest day of the year and all rods had to work hard for their fish. In the end, there was only one blank rod out of the entire party though. Although perseverance is required on days like this, when you connect you can expect a fish of quality.

Look in the book and the vast majority of fish are well into the teens so people are getting to see their backing on a pretty regular basis. The first few grilse seem to be coming but even these are recorded at 7lbs so great fun if you hook them in fast water. It was only your faithful reporter who let the side down with a 3lber from Snake Pool on the Lyliok river.

Paul R had a good evening on the left bank of Lyliok with a 12, 15 and 17lber. Jonathan M hooked a fish in one of the Lyliok rapid pockets which tore off through the rapid and was a mint 18lber when he finally banked it. Martin V notched up two from the Lyliok right bank after dinner and those fishing the Lyliok evening rotation all reported seeing plenty of running fish. They are coming even if they are proving hard to connect with!

Valery N landed his personal best, a lovely 33lb cock fish from Cliff. When asked how long it took to land, his answer was “4 years”. That is a good way to look it! Other notable fish were a 25lber for Jonathan M from Lower Norcamp which gave him a good scrap and again father and son team, Jacques and Louis G, returned with a 23lber and 28lber.

Prepare to see your backing!

New lodge communications

Regular visitors will note quite a few positive changes in the lodge this season. There is now wifi and  mobile phone signal in the living/dining room. While we do not want to change the wilderness experience that you get on Yokanga (and actively discourage using phones at the dining table!) guests are appreciating the ability to communicate with family and friends that they have arrived and are having fun. The wifi is fine for sending and receiving an email or two but not suitable for Skype and sending high resolution snaps of your 20lber or even 30lber!

  Midnight sun over Home Pool

Henry Mountain

Tuesday, 21 June 2016

Personal Best

Date:  20 June

Air Temp: 8 > 14 degrees C
Water Temp: 14 degrees C
Water height: -13 cm
Number of rods: 14
Number fish caught: 28
Biggest fish: 38lbs  John Horlock
No 30+:1
No 20-29: 2
No 8-19: 24
Grilse: 1

Weather: A distinct chill in the air in the morning with everyone donning Simms and Patagonia’s latest thermals. A gentle breeze all day.

46.5 by 25.5 inches

Yokanga Lodge Manager's comments:
After the previous days warm weather it always felt like a much better fishing day so the team headed to the river full of hope. The helicopter returned at 6:30pm and the smiling faces told the story.

Jonathan M and Paul R had a good day on Upper Norcamp with 5 and a further 6 lost with other action spread throughout the day. One two running grilse have been seen and interestingly Jonathan scored the first fish of the  season of under 10lbs. Others had similar tales to tell. Father and son, Jacques and Louis G had a 20lber and 24lber from Poachers. Pete W had a good run with 15, 16 and 17lbers.

Old Vova with the 38lber

The moment of the day fell to John Horlock and guide Old Vova. Having seen a small fish move below the main draw of 7 Islands they took the boat down and made an approach from the bank. Sure enough a fish was hooked but after 10 minutes it was clear that it was a good one as it never showed itself. The fish took them downstream aiming straight towards certain big rocks which it seemed to know and they were forced to follow in the boat. After a 35 minute fight they had their prize in the net. The superb cock fish measured 118cm by 65cm. In old money that is 46.5 inches by 25.5 inches. The fish stretched the scales to 38lbs, a personal best for John.

Congratulations John!

Both John and Vova, who have seen many fish in excess of 30lbs, thought it would break 40lbs. The fish had an old healed gash in its side. Maybe a pound or two missing?! Enter the measurements into the four established formulae and the weights show between 38lbs and 45.5lbs. Having been accurately weighed as well, it is in the book at 38lbs. Scale samples were taken so it will be interesting to see how many winters the fish spent at sea.

The river is at an absolutely perfect fishing height right now with the tails of pools having an ideal pace. With water at 14C most people are using intermediates and a light sink tip with doubles or when required a heavier tube. There is much to look forward to.

One, two, three...!

Henry Mountain

Monday, 20 June 2016

Week 11-18 June

Date: 11-18 June

Air Temp: 2-16 degrees C
Water Temp: 8-12 degrees C
Water Height: -8  > -12 degrees C
Number of rods: 15
Number fish caught: 221
Biggest fish: 38lbs Markku Lamppu
No 30+: 5
No 20-29: 52
No 8-19: 164
Grilse: 0
Date:  4-11 June

Weather: A mixture of everything from very cold to real summertime – a little hail, plenty of wind, and sunny spells here and there.

Yokanga Lodge Manager's comments:
What a spectacular week! Everybody enjoyed varied and productive fishing and landed healthy, clean salmon.

Exceptional quality fish and good numbers of them meant some really impressive days for guests and whilst it would be wrong to single out any particular rods or fish, suffice to say that the number of salmon in the 20lb plus range that fought absurdly well, was staggering.

Food was great all week, and the house staff and guide teams have hit their rhythm for the season so we can look forward to seeing reports from the next weeks.

On a final note, the week’s catches ended as a record for “Week 1” and Friday night ended with a party worthy of a record week!!!

Peter Rippin

Gremikha Camp:

The team at Gremikha Camp had another week with fish running through the lower river at high speed. Notwithstanding they landed 68 salmon to the 8 rods and had hold of plenty of chrome fresh monsters, eventually landing 2 of over 30lbs.  James and Ismo are fighting fit and ready for a second week and will no doubt “tune-in” the new fishers as they commence our final week of the 2016 Gremikha Camp season (for 2017 as the first three weeks get earlier, we will add a fourth week at Gremikha Camp which will be 24 June – 1 July 2017, so please let us know if you are interested in a hardcore physical week chasing big salmon!)

Cracking 30lber

Date: 18 & 19 June

Air Temp: 19 degrees C
Water Temp: 15
Water height: -15 cm
Number of rods: 14
Number fish caught: 16
Biggest fish: 30lbs Jonathan Murray
No 30+:1
No 20-29: 6
No 8-19: 9
Grilse: 0

30lber from Island

Weather: A hot and sunny Saturday with heavy rain late on. Warm and windy on Sunday with some cloud cover.

Manager's comments: After a smooth transit through Murmansk, everyone arrived in good time at the lodge. After a quick ‘dinner’, and in high spirits having heard the results of the previous week, everyone was on the river keen to have a cast. However, high expectations were not realised when the team scored a collective 3. After fishing discussions at the bar concluded that the water increasing to a high of 16C was to blame.

Hi Philippe!

Sunday dawned and the troops went at it with renewed vigour. It was not easy casting in some places with high winds putting a two foot swell on Poachers. Not the easiest of days there were the inevitable few blank rods but people picked away and the results cannot be sniffed at. 6 out of the 13 fish caught were over 20lbs! That is pretty incredible fishing by any standard.

Notably Oliver D took a 25lber from Lyliok which he fought for an hour and was just pipped by Pete W who managed one of 27lbs. Marc G had a lovely 22lb fish. Sadly his brother could not make the trip this year so did not witness his triumph. Next year Philippe! Lord Bath was top of the leader board with 3 fish, 2 of them north of the magic 20lb mark. He was even gentlemanly enough not to count the one that made it to the net but was hooked in the ‘waistcoat’. Jonathan M, here for a 2 week test of endurance, landed a cracking 30lber from Island having had a good rest on his middle Saturday.

Sashimi time

All in all a pretty reasonable start. Fresh fish were seen running but conditions conspired against us to score highly. We look forward to the drop in temperature that seems to be forecast for Monday morning although the likely outcome of water being warmer than the air may hamper optimal fishing initially.

Beer o'clock on the Yokanga

Henry Mountain