Friday, 15 June 2018

32.6lber at Upper Norcamp

Date: 14 June

Air Temp: 4 > 10 C
Water Temp: 6 C
Water height: -1 cm
Number of rods: 15
Number of fish caught: 12
Biggest fish: 32.6lbs Marcus Sandell
No 30lb+: 1
No 20-29lbs: 0
No 8-19lbs: 11
Grilse: 0

Cool light breeze, sunny spells during the day developing into a cloudless evening.

Manager’s Comments:
It came true! The weather forecast that is. Warm (out of the wind) and pleasant and sunny, in truth a day that you could cast downstream and the line and fly would sometimes actually go downstream!

Andy E had good fishing working his way down from Poachers to Beach to Home pool, landing three fish to Sam’s two fish from Lake. Dan got a brace for the day. Markku and David also scored.
Roger and Marcus at Upper Norcamp
The story of the day however unfurled on Upper Norcamp. We had feared all week that Marcus would catch a fish even larger than Roger’s 34lber landed at 7 Islands earlier in the week. This would upset the natural order of deference to one’s future father in law (at least prior to the wedding). It was without doubt therefore that Marcus landing a huge fish on a fly and hook given to him by Markku led to a tense bankside weigh-in. 32.6lbs, what a relief, the wedding can still proceed!
32.6lb fish for Marcus
The evening was marked by a lot of excitement in camp as Russia won the opening game of the World Cup.

Gremikha Camp: I was checking on everyone at the lower camp today. There was still great excitement about James and Ismo’s successful evening on Pool 18 the evening before with their respective 31lber and 36.5lber. Incredible fish both of them and photos that demonstrate that. The team have been plugging away landing about 6-8 salmon a day with a pretty even spread between beats. With the very high tides this weekend (5-6m highs) we should see another large push of fresh fish entering the river. Exciting times for next weeks fishers.
Dinner underway at the Gremikha Camp

Peter Rippin

Huge Fish from Lower Yokanga

Date: 13 June

Air Temp: 2-7 C
Water Temp: 6 C
Water height: -1 cm
Number of rods: 15
Number of fish caught: 12
Biggest fish: 24lbs Dan C
No 30lb+: 0
No 20-29lbs: 2
No 8-19lbs: 10
Grilse: 0


Really nasty northerly upstream wind in the morning and early afternoon, with the first part of calmer weather during late afternoon. Still bitterly cold.

Manager’s Comments:
Another decent day considering the challenging weather. The fish continue to take a bit ‘short’ with the cold water, meaning plenty of fishers are questioning their fly pattern and size. Definitely the slightly smaller flies are still working the best, however the larger Snaelda type patterns are catching a number of fish also.

Markku had a brace a good fish from Crow’s Nest, Stefffan landing one also. David also scored well in Home/Lyliok. Sam and Andy both also had success at Lower Norcamp.
31lber for James from the lower Yokanga
Dan C headed to Pots in the evening and had some really good sport with fresh fish (including the 24lber mentioned), overwintered fish and kelts. Some sort of salmon Macnab?

The weather is forecast to be nice tomorrow. After the last 12 days we can’t quite believe it is going to the case, but here’s hoping.

Gremikha Camp: There was much excitement from the lower Yokanga about two huge salmon landed by James and Ismo in the evening in Pool 18. James had a superb fresh cock fish of 31lbs. Ismo's fish measured an enormous 112 x 68cm (44 x 26.5 inches). They weighed the salmon three times at 18kgs, 17.5kgs and 17kgs and it has gone in the book at the lowest weight which equates to 36.5lbs. The established formulae for calculating salmon weights by length and girth seem to suggest 40lbs+. 
Ismo U with his HUGE salmon
Peter Rippin

Wednesday, 13 June 2018

Quality Salmon

Date: 12 June

Air Temp: -3 > +2C
Water Temp: 5 > 6C
Water height: -1cm
Number of rods: 16
Number of fish caught: 19
Biggest fish: 24lbs Carl Ahlstrom, 23lbs x 2 David M and Stefan G
No 30lb+: 0
No 20-29lbs: 7
No 8-19lbs: 12
Grilse: 0

12-14m/sec northerly wind, sleet and snow in late afternoon.

Manager’s Comments:

We all woke up cold!

The northerly upstream wind howled, squeezed under low cloud, which meant the helicopter did not fly until 1pm. The three pairs of rods on Poachers, Home and Lyliok went out shortly after 9am, the remaining fishers relaxed and watched replays on old world cup matches, slightly frustrated by the weather.
Flawless fresh fish
When we did head out for the remaining half day it was a battle against the elements. Trying to get a line out from either bank was a challenge, and from the boat near to impossible as the longer the anchor rope, the further up or across stream the boat would move – never downstream towards the lies.
One more for the fishing book
Having said all that, the fresh fish are piling in now. Despite a late morning air temperature of 0 C and a wind chill taking it down to -2/3C, fish were aggressive and even came up to the surface.

David and Graeme landed four fish averaging 20lbs+ from Poachers, Graeme having a serious downstream scramble with one of them. Kaj and Carl landed five fish from Lyliok in 2.5 hrs then called it a day to relax for the afternoon in the lodge. Stefan landed a fantastic 23lber from Norcamp. Marcus a lively fish from 7 Islands. Dan and I landed three from Sand Island (which felt pretty exposed up there on the flat tundra of the upper river, but also fairly exhilarating), Markku landed a fish very quickly in Home, before relaxing for the rest of the day and watching fishing partner Steffan.
Lodge manager hard at work!
All things considered, with those starting at 9am finishing around lunchtime and the others not flying out until lunchtime, it was a very productive half day!

I know I keep going on about it, but the fish are in the best condition I have ever seen. Flawless, fat, broad fresh fish. The 12-16lbers are like bionic grilse – small heads, small wrist, hugely deep. The larger fish are just brutally thick set. If Carlsberg made salmon…

Peter Rippin

Largest Salmon So Far

Date: 11 June

Air Temp: 2-6C
Water Temp: 6C
Water height: +3cm
Number of rods: 16
Number of fish caught: 14
Biggest fish: 34lbs Roger T
No 30lb+: 1
No 20-29lbs: 4
No 8-19lbs: 8
Grilse: 1 (7lb ice fish)


Calm windless morning, still cool, steady drizzle all afternoon and temp down to 3C. Very cold end of the day.

Manager’s Comments:

The fish continue to turn up in fits and starts. Not all beats are occupied but the feeling is that it is improving day by day. The truth be told it’s tough to tell much of the time as the water temperature is still so cold that salmon takes feel like trout takes and many fish are being lost after a few minutes having been hooked lightly. The most successful flies are small, thin profile and dark – like Dan’s Monkey – although I am sure once the water temperature rises to 7-8 C that the fish will smash anything from a Cascade tube to a Snaelda to a Sunray Shadow.
And another fresh one
The story of the day came from Roger and Marcus, fishing Sand Island and Cliff. Marcus, a newly retired Olympian Alpine skier, is engaged to Roger’s daughter, so as you can imagine there are a lot of jokes from their Finnish friends about letting the father in law catch the largest fish. Marcus ignored this by landing a stunning 22lb fresh fish from Sand Island first thing. This ramped up the pressure, as during the day no further fresh fish were landed. Luckily for Marcus they finally arrived at the top island of 7 Islands, where they would start fishing tomorrow, and Roger hooked and landed our largest fish of the season so far tipping the scales at 34lbs. The correct order of father in law to son in law was restored!
Nearly in the net
Elsewhere Sam and Andy had good luck on Island, particularly where the water first meets the island and the first section of river left water there. Dan C hooked five fresh fish for the day. He landed a 26lber and 18lber but lost a fish at the net, a hook broke on one other (!) and then he almost got spooled at the Crow’s Nest main draw by the fifth. Kaj landed a lovely fish from Home, as did Graeme. Ingvi had a lovely 15lb fish from 7 Islands which he took on the classic Icelandic pattern “Krafla”.

So much for the lovely warmer weather we were expecting today, it certainly didn’t turn up, but our fishers nonetheless fished hard and did well. Yury cooked a lovely dinner and Den the barman made sure everyone’s glasses were full.

Roll on tomorrow.

Peter Rippin

Monday, 11 June 2018

Several 30lbers

Date: Evening 9 and 10 June

Air Temp: +3 > +8 C
Water Temp: 6 > 7 > 6C
Water height: +8 > +3cm
Number of rods: 16
Number of fish caught: 18 (+sea trout +kelts)
Biggest fish: 32lbs Andy E, 30.5lbs Sam A, 30lbs Markku L
No 30lb+: 3
No 20-29lbs: 3
No 8-19lbs: 12
Grilse: 0


Saturday evening milder, Sunday morning very cold, warmer Sunday evening. North East wind approx 3-5m/sec.

Manager’s Comments:

What a difference a day makes!

With the arrival of our Week 1 fishers, came the first meaningful push of fresh fish into the middle river.

We welcomed a mainly repeat team from Finland, the UK, Denmark and four Icelandic fishers Gunnar, Stefan, Ingvi and Thorir – all experienced salmon fishers visiting Yokanga for the first time. The first evening weather was quite pleasant compared to last week (almost any weather would have been).

Dan C opened the fresh fish account with a 16lb fish from Blue Container. Not a very glamorous name, admittedly, but a stunning fish covered in sea lice. I heard about this fish over the radio and wandered up from chatting to the guys at Lyliok, to find a crowd of fishers and evening guide Andrey gather by the edge of the water. In Andrey’s net was a spectacular fish landed by Markku L from the same spot, a cock fish tipping the digital scale at just over 30lbs! Sam landed a brace of fish from Beach and Boulder Alley.

First 30lber of the season for Markku
Expectation was great for today and rightly so as although certain beats are still barely populated, without doubt the runs are on their way. When the helicopter retuned at 6.20pm there was a gaggle of noise coming from the fishers as they walked the path down to the lodge – always a good sign.

Gunnar S had landed a fresh 24lber from Island, his fishing partner Stefan a brace of 16lbers. Dan C had fish of 16lbs and 22lbs from Home Pool, on his classic small Monkey pattern. Kaj had a 15lber from Poachers. Ingvi and Thorir landed a 14lb ‘ice-fish’ and a lovely fresh 12lber from Sand Island.
Dan with a 16lber from Home Pool
The story of the day though came from Sam and Andy fishing 7 Islands. They landed four fish of 17lbs (Sam), 27lbs (Andy), 30.5lbs (Sam) and 32lbs (Andy). All fresh, deep, perfectly conditioned fish.

At supper we awarded the customary 30lb+ caps to Markku, Sam and Andy and while some watched the grand prix a few went down to the river – David M landing a lively fresh fish to end a good first full day on the river.

Guide Dima releases a fresh one
Word from Gremikha Camp is also positive. Over 30 fish hooked although remarkably I understand less than 10 landed for yesterday afternoon and today. James reported one 30lb+ fish to the bank but at least three others of the same size class identified from those fish lost.

High hopes for tomorrow as the weather is due to be slightly warmer and with little wind. Surely the leaves will come out?

Peter Rippin

Sunday, 10 June 2018

Gremikha Camp, 2-9 June

Date: 2-9 June

We have heard from James B, our host of the seven rods at Gremika Camp (James, Paddy, Cleeves, David, lan, Henry, John) who reported:

A great time was had in the camp, with all guests getting along with each other very well. A really great group. Food fine, a massive improvement on the early days.
Alan with a big bar of silver
Everyone came to love their tent, following some serious mileage being covered in the day. Paddy and I walked 61km in the week as measured by Iasha's phone! A Lowenbrau in the Banja became the ritual following a cold day casting into an upstream northerly snow filled wind. Intrepid it certainly was, but, to a man, thoroughly enjoyed...

A just reward for 61kms of walking in the week
Everyone caught at least two fish and all bar one person catching a 20lb+ fresh salmon with the only chap not to, having a 25lber fall off at the net. We had 26 for the week including three landed by a somewhat vodka fuelled Alan on the last night! There were a further 42 (ish) lost and plenty of additional pulls. So, not a bumper week and very few really big fish stories although Alan did lose a cracker after 25 minutes in the Table Pool when he was wrapped round a rock. There was plenty to keep all interested.

Get ready to run and follow a fresh Gremikha salmon
 Week 0 is definitely not for the faint-hearted, but it was thoroughly enjoyed by this particular group... After dinner, many happy hours spent in the drawing room (drying room!)... There is no doubt that this camp falls into the "glamping" category, but it has everything a proper fisher needs...very functional, comfortable and effective.

The fresh fish are running
There is no doubt that the fish are running now and just about every fish caught was a sea liced, "blue" fish in mint condition...

James B

Week 2-9 June

Date: 2-9 June

Air Temp: -2 > +8 C
Water Temp: 6 > 7 > 5 > 6C
Water height: +30 > +8cm
Number of rods: 8
Number of fish caught: 14 (+sea trout and ++kelts)
Biggest fish: 26lbs Eric B
No 30lb+: 0
No 20-29lbs: 4
No 8-19lbs: 10
Grilse: 0


Very cold, windy, snowy and bitter.

Manager’s Comments:

After a few great early spring fishing weeks (ignoring 2017 as a freak year), this week reminded us what a hardcore place the northern Kola Peninsula can be in the early season. Wow, that was cold!

Cold weather on the Yokanga
Having said that, I could not have more respect for the team who fished hard throughout the week into the face of the wind, snow blizzards, sleet and so on. Full marks for effort. Equally the two first time salmon fishers Eric and Jake – who both ended the week able to Double Spey, Single Spey and Snap-T off either shoulder a good 25-30m!

Fresh Yokanga Silver
Charlie never stopped covering water – an accomplished caster now and kept Jake (his brother in law to be) enthused and laughing. I think they are the first group of Yokanga fishers to average two bankside fires a day – one with coffee and a second with lunch.

Yokanga picnic lunch
Dean and Chris, who have seen it all before and had epic early weeks over recent years, kept everyone laughing with great evening stories, nurturing a sort of challenge mentality in the whole team to not let the tough conditions win.

It was lovely to see Alan again, an experienced Yokanga fisher, who with guide Young Vova fished all the hours and landed some nice overwintered salmon.

Alan into a fish
Pete and Michael fished hard all week (and Pete danced hard at the final evening party)  - and ended with some good results, finding a few lovely fish along the way.

Pete before the dancing
All in all a great team, supported by Pasha, his guides and lodge staff. However, a very, very tough week’s fishing, described by retired Head Guide Andrey (now evening guide) when giving Eric the biggest fish of the week medal at the final evening party as “terrible, but fun”. I couldn’t have put it better myself.

Peter Rippin