Thursday, 7 July 2016

Birthday Cake

Date: 6 July

Air Temp: 21C to 28C
Water Temp: 20C
Water height: -33cm
Number of rods: 12
Number fish caught: 7
Biggest fish: 18lbs Colin Jones
No 30+: 0
No 20-29: 0
No 8-19: 2
Grilse: 5

Leopold D fishing from the lush banks of Crows Nest

Bright sunshine all morning with very strong winds, a cloudy afternoon with the odd light shower.

Managers Comments:
The day began as any other so far this week, with bright sunshine, not a cloud in site and a brutal upstream wind that made casting easier said than done. The fishing was very slow before lunch, but the team persevered and as the clouds rolled in this afternoon, some action was had. Lyliok was bubbling with fish by about 4pm, fresh, old, big, small, the lot. Philip D and Leopold D, the father and son combo, each managed to get their first Atlantic salmon out of it. So a big well done to them.

Philip with his first Atlantic salmon

The other fish caught today were also in the cloud cover and showers we had after lunch, strengthening our beliefs that the fish are there we just haven't been able to catch them with the blistering head and cloudless skies.

Colin J managed an 18lber out of Sand Island that I am told went leaping with tarpon-like characteristics down the pool. Very exciting, rather nail biting for both Colin and his guide but thankfully the fish was safely netted and released after a good fight, leaving both fisher and guide happy men.

A very happy birthday to Pat M who sadly didn't manage a fish on the beat he was fishing today, but saved the day by getting 3 grilse after supper in Lyliok. Uri, our new chef at the lodge, baked a delicious birthday cake for Pat and the team but rather annoyingly for Pat there was none left to go in his lunch box tomorrow.

Uri our chef, the girls and Pat M and his birthday cake

I am looking out the window now at what should be a spectacular view of the midnight sun but instead we have very large black clouds and what seems to be a steady fall of rain. Lets hope it continues! Feeling very repetitive, another tropical day on the Yokanga. Bright sunshine and a strong SE wind.

Toby Burrell

Wednesday, 6 July 2016

Tough Conditions

Date: 5 July

Air Temp: 28C to 35C
Water Temp: 20C
Water height: -30cm
Number of rods: 12
Number fish caught: 4
Biggest fish: 8lbs Colin Jones
No 30+: 0
No 20-29: 0
No 8-19: 1
Grilse: 3

Feeling very repetitive, anther tropical day on the Yokanga. Bright sunshine and a strong SE wind.

Managers Comments:
A very tough day on the river, conditions once again certainly not in our favour. The fish seem to be there, but becoming increasingly more and more difficult to catch with this ongoing warm weather. The team are seeing fish throughout the day but really struggling to do anything with them. But no doubt the weather will change and at some point we shall start connecting with a few more.

Hubert H with a grilse from Golden Reach

Simon R managed a couple of split fresh grilse out of upper Norcamp early on this morning while there was 30 minutes of cloud cover. Pat B also had his grilse at roughly the same time this morning under the sort patch of cloud cover in Lyliok. A handful of fish showed interest today without actually committing, half-hearted attacks at the fly. It seems to be a common denominator at the moment.

Red Sergie waving down the heli after fishing

We are desperately needing some cooler weather now, and some rain certainly wouldn't go a miss. Let's hope that the forecast predictions are correct. A good night's sleep is certainly in order for a fresh start tomorrow.

 A chive in bloom

Toby Burrell

Tuesday, 5 July 2016

Cloudless Day

Date: 4 July

Air Temp: 29C to 34C
Water Temp: 20C
Water height: -27cm
Number of rods: 12
Number fish caught: 6
Biggest fish: 21lbs Pat Mullane
No 30+: 0
No 20-29: 1
No 8-19: 3
Grilse: 2

A cloudless day with unbelievable temperatures, and a strong SE wind.

Managers Comments:
You would hardly believe we are over 100 kms inside the arctic circle. Today's temperatures left us sweltering on the banks of the river. One of the guests was watching the worldwide weather forecasts this evening and notice that we had higher temperatures today on the Kola than Addis Abba in Ethiopia…

Lyliok Pool in fine condition

However, despite the tropical conditions we have managed to tick away on the salmon front. Pat M hooked and landed a fine fish in 7 Islands this afternoon, a fresh 21lber. It took him right in the tail of the 2nd island pool and he did exceptionally well to stop it disappearing off down the rapids. Colin J did his usual of hooking a good fish in Lyliok, but this time to no avail. He had quite a battle and sadly after a good 20 minute fight the fish was dropped inches from the net. Estimated at 27/28lbs and fresh. But not all was lost as he did manage to land 8lbs grilse minutes later!

Pat M with his 21lber from 7 Islands

The fish keep trickling through and we seem to be intercepting the odd one, given the conditions I think its fair to say the team have done exceptionally well so far this week. The forecast predicts another warm day tomorrow, but cold weather and rain due on Wednesday... fingers crossed!

Yokanga lodge from the skies

Temperatures still high, bright sunshine with the odd wisp of cloud, and a welcoming cool down stream breeze.

Toby Burrell

Monday, 4 July 2016

Small Flies

Date: 3 July

Air Temp: 25C to 29C
Water Temp: 19C
Water height: -24cm
Number of rods: 12
Number fish caught: 10
Biggest fish: 26lbs Colin Jones
No 30+: 0
No 20-29: 1
No 8-19: 4
Grilse: 5

Temperatures still high, bright sunshine with the odd wisp of cloud, and a welcoming cool down stream breeze.

Tundra in bloom 

Managers Comments:
The Saturday evening session was tough but not a total waste of time, Simon R had a fresh grilse out of Lyliok, which was the second of the day. Colin J, who is staying on for a second weeks fishing also managed the same earlier Saturday morning. The Lyliok Stream has seemingly dropped enough to be able to cross on foot. Allowing the fishers to attack the tail of the pool once again although both grilse were caught above the stream.

Today's story paints a similar picture with bright sunshine and the odd cloud. Not ideal fishing conditions at all, but the team stuck at it with some reward. Colin J had a fantastic fish of 26lbs from Poachers this morning, a fresh fish that took him well in to his backing numerous times. Simon R had also had a good fish at 7 Islands weighing in at 14lbs.

It would seem that the grilse run is beginning to appear, but they have been tricky today. Around a dozen hooked and only 5 landed.

Pat and Peter T managed a fish each in Golden Reach, a fantastic pool that has yielded many a fish over the years but hasn't been providing much action this season. It was good news to have a couple out of it today.

This week's team ready for action

I am told that lots of fresh fish where showing down the bottom half of the river (Crows Nest and Lyliok), which is promising for the coming days. With this warm weather we have had to change tactics to very small flies, and light leaders. Some of bigger fish are certainly becoming more wise to the system and are needing some smaller gear to convince them to take. Today's 26lber was caught on a size 14 ‘Doc Jones Yokanga fly’ one of Colin J’s home made inventions.

Doc Jones' Yokanga fly

A successful first day on the river for most, and we can only hope for more to come.

Toby Burrell

Sunday, 3 July 2016

Week 25 June-2 July

Date: 25 June-2 July

Air Temp: 5C to 25C
Water Temp: 12C-16C
Water height: -2cm to -17cms
Number of rods: 16
Number fish caught: 95
Biggest fish: 32lbs Lucas Rotllant
No 30+: 1
No 20-29: 13
No 8-19: 72
Grilse: 9

Weather: Fluctuating from a bitterly cold front end of the week to a blisteringly hot back end.

Cold and windy conditions early in the week
Manager's comments: It was a week of mixed fortunes with a great start to the week, especially the Monday, when every single member of the 16-strong party scored. We stood at 50 fish in the first two days so all was ticking along very nicely. Sadly the week then tailed off as the week progressed with the arrival of a blistering Kola heat wave when temperatures soared day after day.

Persevering on a sunny day at Cows Nest

One in the boat and the other on the bank

There were some memorable highlights. Jeremy C started the week on the Saturday evening of arrival with a 14lber, 15lber and 18lber. Chris W managed a 20lber on a hitched Sunray, something that people rarely try. The Monday was the coldest day of the week and Lucas R took advantage of the conditions that we like best on the Yokanga and managed to bank his personal best, a 32lber from Poachers.

Lucas R with his personal best, a 32lber from Poachers

It was a pleasure to be missing the Brexit fallout and worrying more about weather, tackle and suitable clothing for the ever-changing conditions that are the norm on the Yokanga. We had a mixture of nationalities with representatives from Austria, Denmark, Spain, the US and one very happy Icelander following the nation’s footballing success!

Guides and guests at the start of the week
The entire party deserve a mention for persevering under harsh conditions and for remaining philosophical about it. The weather scuppered what could have been a very decent week but sadly these things are out of our control. It is nevertheless disappointing for everyone when it is a much anticipated week. Passing through Murmansk and Helsinki, it was clear that all rivers had had a very similar experience and also struggled as the week went on. There was some mention that had we been fishing elsewhere that we would have been having extended lunches or been on the golf course!

I now leave the job of hosting our Yokanga guests in Toby Burrell’s capable hands. The hot weather seems set to continue for more days I fear but the good news is that we seem to be enjoying a very good run of fish on the Yokanga this season and as soon as the weather changes and conditions allow, we will then get among them.

Henry Mountain

Hotter than the Mediterranean

Date: 1 July

Air Temp: 22C to 25C
Water Temp: 16C
Water height: -17cms
Number of rods: 16
Number fish caught: 8
Biggest fish: 17lbs Jeremy Clayton
No 30+: 0
No 20-29: 0
No 8-19: 4
Grilse: 4

Weather: At the risk of sounding like a broken record, more of the same sunshine and a light breeze.

More like southern Europe than the Arctic Circle

Manager's comments: It was really very tough conditions on the river today. The fish that were caught were almost all fresh, many with sea lice and others had not long lost them. Clearly the fish are still coming (perhaps temporarily in smaller numbers) but conditions for catching salmon were a long way from ideal.

Perhaps faster water will yield a fish

Small flies were the order of the day and many rods chose to fish 20lb leader material instead of the standard 30lbs+ that we use on Yokanga. Patterns like Silver Stoats were preferred over the more garish Willie Gunns and other spring style flies that we tend to use at this time of the year.

Ready for action
The best fish of the day was a 17lber from Poachers landed by Jeremy C. Under the conditions it was a real achievement to connect with a fish at all let alone land it. Anyway, a nice fish for Jeremy to end his week on.

Landing at Seven Islands
Rae and Peter were fishing down at Crows Nest and although they did not land anything themselves they did report seeing many fresh fish running through the main draw. Surprising but encouraging that they are still running the river despite the warm temperature and bright sky.

Henry Mountain

Beautiful multi sea winter salmon