Friday, 1 July 2016

More Sun

Date: 30 June

Air Temp: 18C to 24C
Water Temp: 15C
Water height: -13cms
Number of rods: 16
Number of fish caught: 11
Biggest fish: 21lbs, Chris Agar
No 30+: 0
No 20-29: 1
No 8-19: 8
Grilse: 2

Weather: More of the same sun. Some hazy cloud cover during the course of the day. Light upstream wind.

Searching for silver

Manager's comments: A very hard day on the river with hot temperatures making it positively wilting for fishermen.

Well done to Chris A for two great fish from Poachers and Lake, 21lbs and 19lbs. Fishing partner, Philip L, also had a nice 16lber. Spencer P landed a fresh 17lber from Lower Norcamp before the air temperatures increased during the day. It certainly seemed that the fish landed were all fresh from the sea (some sea liced) but we do not seem to be able to connect with some of the older fish with this bright sunshine and hot weather.

Nahodka and Golden Reach

Given the tough conditions for salmon fishing, Helmut Z who has been here for two weeks, elected to go trout fishing on the Pokruay the day before. He was accompanied by Toby Burrell, who will be taking over from me to host the rest of the Yokanga season. Toby has just finished hosting five weeks on the Pana for the second time. The trout fishing was epic and they landed 30 fish or more between them up with a couple of them being over 3lbs. Toby hooked and lost two salmon, one of them that took at the rod tip and was estimated at about 17lbs. Sadly the 3.5lb tippet material and trout hooks were not enough and the fish were not landed.

Spoilt for choice

Colin J's finest

I think that we may need to refine tactics in the coming days to smaller flies and lighter leaders to fool some of the older fish into taking.

Pasha, Russian camp manager, after a hot day on the river

Henry Mountain

Thursday, 30 June 2016


Date: 29 June

Air Temp: 12C to 22C
Water Temp: 14C
Water height: -7cms
Number of rods: 16
Number of fish caught: 10
Biggest fish: 22lbs, Lucas R and Peter F
No 30+: 0
No 20-29: 3
No 8-19: 6
Grilse: 1

As forecast, we had a day of unbroken sunshine with light winds for the majority of the day.

Manager's comments: The team have to be congratulated for persevering under difficult conditions. After a full house the other day with each rod getting a fish, it was inevitable that things could not continue that way. It was mostly ones and twos with some returning with a blank.

 Chris searching for fish at Crows Nest

Spencer P had a mint-fresh 12lber from Upper Norcamp so fish are still running despite the sunshine. Chris W had another 20lber, this time from Lyliok, and Lucas R and Peter F both had 22lbers. Interestingly Peter was using T20 and a big fly so once again all tactics seem to be working!

Chris W, with his 20lber from Lyliok

A still and sunny afternoon on the Yokanga

Federico connected with a large fish up at Cliff. To begin with the fish behaved much as any other before seemingly refusing to move from the bottom. Suspecting that it was somehow snagged on a rock, guide Sergei Science, took to the boat with Federico and after some pulling this way and that the fish came unstuck but then tore off down the pool and down the rapid taking hundreds of yards of backing with it. Following on foot down the bank, and with no connection to the fish, Federico slowly retrieved his backing only to discover that line and backing were again stuck. Sergei took to the boat in an attempt to untangle things. The line came loose but the fish was off and all the line and even the fly was retrieved.

Lyliok is just about crossable

Interestingly, the river has remained at much the same height all season having been topped up by the occasional downpour every week. It has not been possible to wade across the Lyliok river for the last couple of days but finally it is just about crossable again.

Last casts of the day

I fear this sunny weather will nudge the water temperature up a couple of degrees. A few clouds would help our cause.

Henry Mountain

Wednesday, 29 June 2016

Blue skies

Date: 28 June

Air Temp: 15C to 21C
Water Temp: 12C
Water height: -2cms
Number of rods: 16
Number of fish caught: 18
Biggest fish: 21lbs Lucas Rotllant
No 30+: 0
No 20-29: 2
No 8-19: 15
Grilse: 1

Weather: Blue sky and sunshine from start to finish with a breeze that died as the day progressed.

Beach in bright afternoon sunshine

Manager's comments: It certainly did not seem ideal fishing conditions when we were all eating breakfast! While catches were not as impressive as the day before, the result was not at all bad given the wall to wall sunshine. Certainly plenty of running fish were seen so they are still coming even if they are proving hard to catch.

Take your pick!

Rae B and Peter F have adapted techniques and seem to be catching many of their fish within feet of the bank using various types of sinking tips. Colin J is sticking to his tried and tested intermediate and doubles and that is working well for him as he landed 3 and lost others. The majority seem to be taken on relatively small tubes (some coneheads or bottle tubes) or doubles but lightly dressed for normal Yokanga patters. Chris A succeeded in landing three salmon on a traditional sized Yokanga tube tied at least two inches in lengths. If you are heading this way in the coming weeks, I can’t draw any conclusions so will let you decide for yourself!

Federico S has his own deadly Spanish technique. While crossing the lake in the boat on the way down to Crows Nest he threw his line out in the hope of catching a trout. Much to his surprise the line did go tight to which his guide, Sergei Science, commented that it was a pike. To everyone’s surprise it turned out to be a fresh grilse! Federico and Lucas then finished their day with a fish each from the main Crows Nest draw. Lucas’ fish was a fresh 21lber.

Stunning skies over the Yokanga

More bright weather and warm temperatures seems to be on their way so you don’t have to be a rocket scientist to predict that the water temperatures will rise. Having said that, the forecast out here can be remarkably unreliable and the weather hugely changeable so we may well be building snowmen by the weekend for all I know!

Henry Mountain

Tuesday, 28 June 2016

High Morale

Date: 27 June

Air Temp: 8C to 10C
Water Temp: 14C
Water height: -7cms
Number of rods: 16
Number fish caught: 30
Biggest fish: 25lbs Colin Jones
No 30+: 0
No 20-29: 6
No 8-19: 24
Grilse: 0

 Cold and Windy

Weather: Cold and windy then changing abruptly to sunshine in the mid-afternoon.

Manager's comments: The rise in water from the day before had topped off and expectations were high with continued cold weather and the water temperature down a couple of degrees to an ideal 12C.

Worth braving the elements for this 19lb beauty

It is rare in salmon fishing when the entire party scores in a single day. For 16 rods all to score was therefore a great result. On this occasion each rod pairing returned with between two and five fish between them.

Chris into a fish

Chris A and Philip L landed a 23lber and 20lber respectively from 7 Islands. Others in the twenties were from Federico Sabras with a 20lber, Edward E with a 21lber and. Colin Jones on usual form with a 25lber.

Chris A with a 23lber from Seven Islands

Special mention should really go to Chris W who having fished down Poachers in a conventional manner then had success with a 20lber on a hitched and stripped Sunray on a full floating line.

Philip with his 20lber

Morale was high after such a good days fishing only to then be dashed when England lost the football to Iceland. At least one guest at the lodge, Gusti, was happy with the result.

Homeward bound!

Henry Mountain

Monday, 27 June 2016

Heaters On

Date: 25 & 26 June

Air Temp: 8C to 10C
Water Temp: 14C
Water height: -7cms
Number of rods: 16
Number fish caught: 18
Biggest fish: 32lbs Lucas R
No 30+: 1
No 20-29: 1
No 8-19: 15
Grilse: 1

Weather: Warm and mild on the Saturday evening which all changed on Sunday when we woke to considerably lower temperatures, a leaden sky and intermittent rain and drizzle plus a strong upstream wind.

Guests and guides assemble on the first morning

Manager's comments: The Saturday evening session proved well worthwhile. Guests reported having seen lots of fish both on Lyliok, Home Pool and on up river as well. Edward E hooked a fish within less than 30 casts in the Pots. He coped with the pressure of an audience of three and landed a lovely fat hen fish weighing 13lbs. Lyliok produced fish for three of the four rods, Jeremy C notably landing fish weighing 14lbs, 15lbs and 18lbs and also lost a fourth. Very deserving of a post-fishing drink! A total of 10 fish were booked for the Saturday.

Sunday was altogether a different proposition. Wind made casting tricky on many of the beats and under those circumstances it is hard for the guides to keep the boats in the same position. Colin J was the top scorer with three including a 24lber from Sand Island. Colin was fishing an intermediate tip and a double but others fishing in the same way did not connect. Some in the party opted for a sink tip and a tube and also had action so I don’t think you can draw any conclusions as to what is working best.

The one constant was that collectively the party lost way more fish than the 18 that were landed. Having commented at the beginning of the week that we rarely see fish jump on the Yokanga, the salmon seemed determined to show themselves at every opportunity hopping and leaping with reckless abandon. Soren C, a regular visitor over many years, commented that he had never seen so many fish move in one single day and others up and down river reported having seen plenty of running fish. I suppose it is good to know that they are indeed coming even if they don’t want to play ball!

Lucas with his personal best 32lber from Poachers
Lucas R, a second time visitor to Yokanga, landed his personal best, a 32lber from Poachers. He is now wearing the coveted 30lb+ grey baseball cap. He and Federico S had a fish each from Lyliok (right bank above the Lyliok stream) after dinner.

Preparing the Sashimi

Interestingly we fared rather better under the same conditions of water being warmer than the air last week. It was only in the evening that we realised that we had a rising river. Only 5cm up but seemingly enough to put them off or have them take short. At the time of writing the heaters are on full blast in the lodge and the river is stable and should start dropping. I don’t wish to tempt fate but this should set us up for the week.

Guests head out fishing

Henry Mountain

Sunday, 26 June 2016

Week 18-25 June

Date: 18-25 June

Air Temp: 8C to 24C
Water Temp: 13C-15C
Water height: -15cms to -8cms
Number of rods: 14
Number fish caught: 119
Biggest fish: 38lbs John Horlock
No 30+: 5
No 20-29: 26
No 8-19: 83
Grilse: 5

Weather: A wildly fluctuating weather week going from hot to cold and back again.

Manager's comments: The final score may not be as impressive as the previous week but the quality of the fish caught has been incredible this season and it has continued into this last week. There has hardly been a fish under 10lbs all season.
Guests and guides about to hit the river on the first day

The many fish in the 10-19lb bracket can strip backing off your reel in the blink of an eye which has had many people running down the stones in pursuit of a fish that has run into fast water.
Fresh fish from Crows Nest

To have 26 fish falling into the 20-29lb category is extraordinary when you compare it to the other rivers around the world. Almost everyone in the party has had a fish over 20lbs in fact so hopefully a fish to remember. Added to that there have several personal bests and a total of five salmon in excess of 30lbs.
A personal best of 34lbs for Michael

The fish of the week has to be John’s 38lber. The measurements were simply enormous. It was a fish caught in an unusual sort of a spot and then gave John a really good tussle before it was netted. Without wishing to pass by the other wonderful big fish (30lbs Jonathan, 31lbs Helmut and 33lbs Valery) the other outstanding fish was the stunning and heavily spotted 34lb hen caught by Michael.

Helmut with his 31lber from Beach

The group got on famously and there have been a lot of laughs from start to finish. Yes we are privileged to fish the Yokanga but it is the company that we keep that makes it so enjoyable.
Switzerland v Northern Ireland in mini pingpong

As I waved the party goodbye on the helicopter this morning we were basking in 18C weather with blue skies and sunshine. As I sit here typing, the rain is belting on the roof and I have put my fleece back on. Such is life in the far north! Maybe a splash of cold rain will razzle the fish up for the coming week. Watch the space.

Henry Mountain
Heading back to Murmansk

Gremikha Camp, Lower Yokanga

The party at Gremikha landed 41 fish to 8 rods this week, the largest being 25lbs. That is a decrease in numbers from the grand total of 68 that they posted the previous week. Conditions, for whatever reason, seemed less favourable so that could have been expected but matters were certainly hampered by three seals taking up residence in the beats. Unsurprisingly the day the seals were not there was the best of the week with close to a dozen salmon to the net.
While the height of the river was almost identical to the previous week, the water has been a lot warmer. With sea liced fish being caught well upriver, the fish would appear to be charging through without stopping.