Saturday, 23 June 2018

A Good Finish

Date: 22 June

Air Temp: 10-16C
Water Temp: 13C
Water height: +2cm
Number of rods: 14
Number of fish caught: 29
Biggest fish: 22lbs Jonathan Murray
No 30lb+: 0
No 20-29lbs: 6
No 8-19lbs: 19
Grilse: 4


We started the day with developing sunny skies which then clouded over in the afternoon. A gentle upstream breeze.

Heading out on the 9am  heli
Manager’s Comments:

It amazing how quickly a week flies by and everyone headed out by helicopter in eager anticipation of what was to come. John H, starting up on Sand Island was blank until midday and secretly he and his guide Old Vova were wondering if it might be the zero score on the last day that John has had on quite a few occasions. When the 20lber from Cliff was in the net there was a collective sigh of relief! He then followed it up with a solid 17lber.

John H scored on the final day of the week
Paul K had two good fish from Seven Islands, a 20lber and 17lber and Bill S a 15lber. Further downstream at Island, Marc C had three, 17lbs, 14lbs and 10lbs and Anders H had a superb finish with six up to 17lbs.

Martin in trademark pose
Stephen C had two from Upper Norcamp, 20lbs and 16lbs and Jonathan M, fishing his usual Bann Special ended on a high with five the largest being 20lbs and 18lbs, the latter giving him a great fight.

Stephen with a cracker from earlier in the week
Robbie DM on Poachers also took a 20lber. There seem to be a tremendous number of salmon in the high teens to early twenties which are playing incredibly well. Everyone has given their backing a good airing this week that is for sure!

Colin J and Martin V had a suitably even finish with three fish apiece. Colin a 21lber from Lyliok in the morning. Interestingly Home Pool and Lyliok did not seem to perform in the afternoon (maybe Colin and Martin had cleaned it out with five in the morning!) and Valery N had just the one from Home Pool in the morning.

One of three for Colin
We are continuing to see running fish and are catching fresh ones right up river so things are looking very promising for the coming week. The river has crept up a little further which is no bad thing for long term prospects. I look forward to the coming week!

Piotr the river guard permanently at Crow's Nest

Henry Mountain

Friday, 22 June 2018

32lb Salmon

Date: 21 June

Air Temp: 6C
Water Temp: 13C
Water height: -4cm
Number of rods: 14
Number of fish caught: 22
Biggest fish: Martin V 32lbs
No 30lb+: 1
No 20-29lbs: 2
No 8-19lbs: 17
Grilse: 2


We awoke this morning to see low cloud down on the river. While the weather promised to clear (we looked at 10am then 11am) in the end we had to make the decision to head out on foot at 12pm. As it turned out, the weather did not lift until after 2pm. It is an unwise decision to get walking too early as you run the risk of the weather lifting and then missing the opportunity to make full use of all the beats. It was chilly weather at 6C and moderate winds making it feel cooler still.

Walking to the beats
Manager’s Comments:

Those of you watching the blog keenly will see that the river rose 9cm overnight. In fact it continued to rise gently during the day.

As is the case on a day when we cannot fly, we spread the fishermen out between Poachers and Lyliok and make the most of the excellent fly water close to the lodge. It was however a mixed bag with some blanks and seemingly numerous takes or losses.

View from above
Colin J had a good start in Pump when he hooked a fish within the first 5 minutes and he finished the day with a 12lber and 15lber.

Martin V had two 15lbers from Lyliok and the first pocket in the Lyliok rapid. Changing to a heavy 15 foot sink tip for the last casts of the day, he hooked a fish which was clearly a good one. After a 25-minute tussle he brought a 32lb fish, his personal best, to the net.
Martin and his 32lber personal best
John H had a superb day. He started the day with a fresh 21lber from Lyliok. There then followed numerous takes/losses when fishing Lyliok and Crow’s Nest. His final tally was 7 fish weighing 5lbs, 12lbs, 14lbs, 15lbs, 16lbs, 18lbs and 21lbs. Quite a day!

The evening session was relatively quiet but Ken M had two 12lbers from Lyliok and Paul K had one there as well plus a 20lber from a pocket in the Lyliok rapids.

Easing tight muscles after casting in the wind
The rise of water will do no harm and the cool 6C weather might bring the water temperature down a touch which will be a good thing for the days and weeks.

Henry Mountain

Thursday, 21 June 2018

Chilly Weather

Date: 20 June

Air Temp: 16C-6C

Water Temp: 14C
Water height: -13cm
Number of rods: 14
Number of fish caught: 34
Biggest fish: 27lbs Anders H
No 30lb+: 0
No 20-29lbs: 8
No 8-19lbs: 22
Grilse: 4


What started out as a mild day with little wind turned into a chilly finish with low cloud, an upstream wind and dropping temperatures in the afternoon.

Manager’s Comments:

It looked ideal conditions other than the fact that the air temperature soon fell below that of the water temperature. The salmon were clearly not informed of the inverse temperatures and we had the best day of the week although it was hit and miss as to who got lucky. The one constant is that the quality of the fish remains incredible and they are fighting fit under current conditions.

Marc C had a day to remember at Sand Island with two salmon weighing 24.5lbs and 25lbs. He had had a hold of a further three fish, one of which broke him. Anders H again lead the charge with six fish including a 40 inch salmon estimated at a conservative 27lbs and reported plenty of other action.

Martin V with his 24lb hen fish
Paul I had two from Island weighing 13lbs and 20lbs and Ken M had a nice 15lber

Colin J had a cracking 22lber from Poachers and Martin V had three, 12lbs, 14lbs and a 24lber on the last cast of the day. He says he is much missing his wingman Lord Bath especially in the banya! Valery N fishing Lower Norcamp got his fish at the end of the day from Poachers, an 18lber and 14lber.

Martin V with one of his three
Robbie DM worked hard for his one point of action for the day at Upper Norcamp but it turned out to be a sea liced 18lber that took 200 yards of backing in a single run. There was a tense moment when Robbie could begin to see the drum of the reel, his Saracione reel screaming, but some credit should go to Nick Armstead of Gamefish who had loaded plenty of new backing!

Robbie DM with his 18lber sea licer
John H landed two today but lost a fish in the high twenties when almost ready for the net. In addition, he had a hold of five others on Lyliok in the afternoon but they all came unstuck. Paul K had a good time on Lyliok in the morning session landing two fish and then another in Crow’s Nest. Fishing partner Bill S had a 24lber also from Lyliok plus other action.

Did someone say it was fancy dress?
There was some excitement on Lyliok fishing after dinner… At 11pm all four rods were hooked up together at one point! After five minutes of sitting on the bottom, Jonathan M’s fish took off to the tail of the pool and Big Andrei was required to bring the boat and get him across the Lyliok stream. They saw the fish porpoise and had a good view of it but after a 25 minute fight in the first pocket in the rapid the fish sadly came adrift. It was estimated at 35-40lbs. The other three all landed theirs. At 11.55pm the three remaining rods on Lyliok all hooked up again and landed all three. Lyliok performing at its best!
New plug sockets with USB chargers in the bedrooms
People saw plenty of running fish in the lower couple of beats which bodes well for the coming days. For those about to come to Yokanga, just a word about tackle. People are using a very wide range of tips and flies! Intermediate to sinking tips and heavy Snaeldas to size 6 doubles. There seems to be no rhyme or reason as to what is working and I think the general conclusion is that if you bump into running fish then there is a strong likelihood that you will hook up regardless of what you are using!

Henry Mountain

Wednesday, 20 June 2018

Ideal Conditions

Date: 19 June

Air Temp: 14-20C
Water Temp: 13C
Water height: -13cm
Number of rods: 14
Number of fish caught: 23
Biggest fish: 27lbs Stephen C
No 30lb+: 0
No 20-29lbs: 4
No 8-19lbs: 17

Grilse: 2


Overcast and light winds much to the relief of all fishermen. Some thunder in the distance and rain showers from the afternoon into the evening. It was an absolute pleasure to be casting on the Yokanga today.

Manager’s Comments:

Expectations were understandably high with what looked like ideal conditions. However, results were a bit hit and miss and it seemed that an element of luck was required to bump into running fish. That said, there some very good catches.

Heading out for fishing Yokanga style
Anders H continued to haul them out, this time with four on Lyliok and Crow’s Nest. He is significantly in the lead when it comes to the number of swims taken during the course of the week.

Anders with stunner
Colin J managed three from Lower Norcamp and Golden Reach weighing 12lbs, 15lbs and 19lbs. Fishing partner, Martin V had two including a solid 22lber and this time returned to the lodge with rods in the correct number of pieces. Jonathan M, on Sand Island Cliff, had three including a 24lber and Stephen C landed a chunky 27lber.

Paul I went for numbers today after his 31.5lber yesterday. Still the largest at 19lbs would be a red-letter day anywhere else. John H was on Poachers and had four. He reported plenty of other action but the fish seemed to be taking lightly and never actually took properly.

Wish you had landed this?
Scrolling back exactly 12 months to when I was last here, the scenery and river is almost unrecognisable. Last year was exceptional in every way but this season the timing is normal and what many will have known from years past. The leaves on the trees have come out significantly with the warm weather of the last few days and there remain just some patches of snow where it drifted in the winter.
16 June 2017

16 June 2018
Henry Mountain

Tuesday, 19 June 2018

One in Three Over 20lbs

Date: 18 June

Air Temp: 12-20C
Water Temp: 12C
Water height: -9cm
Number of rods: 14
Number of fish caught: 21
Biggest fish: 31.5lbs Paul I
No 30lb+: 1
No 20-29lbs: 7
No 8-19lbs: 13

Grilse: 0


We woke to yet another sunny day and the forecast afternoon cloud failed to materialise. There was a very strong upstream wind hampering casting for many.

Heading upriver
Manager’s Comments:

There were smiles all round on the returning helicopter this evening with salmon landed from all beats above the lodge. The fish are all absolutely mint fresh from the sea and everyone is reporting fish going ballistic jumping a handful of times during the fight.

Weighing John H's 15lber
Colin J and Martin V had an epic day at Upper Norcamp. Colin landed a 17lber and 21lber. Martin had a 10lber, 18lber and also a 20lber. The latter on a 5 foot 4 inch rod. His rod broke when bringing the fish in to the net…

As I sit typing, Colin has just returned from an evening session on Lyliok. He hooked a large fish close to the bank which then towed him up and down for 15 minutes, breaching several times in full view of him and Big Andrei before coming loose. Colin reckons it was easily the largest fish he has hooked on the Yokanga. He also lost a fish during the day which wrapped him around a rock and eventually broke him.

The story of the day was Paul I, who bettered yesterday's personal best when he landed an absolutely stunning fresh 31.5lber at Cliff. His fishing partner Ken M had three in the morning and a nice 16lber to finish the day from Pump.

Paul I with his 31.5lber from Cliff
Valery N pushed up the average weight with a 23lber and 24lber from Island as did Anders H with his 22lber and 26lber from Lyliok. Anders had a hold of another three of similar size! I cannot stress enough what incredible condition these fish are in.

Valery N with his 24lber
It is worth mentioning that guides all have engines for their boats now. It makes downstream progress (particularly across the lakes) that much faster particularly in a strong upstream wind like today.

As you might suspect, spirits are high and we all look forward to what is to come.

Henry Mountain

Monday, 18 June 2018

Fantastic Start

Date: Evening 16 and 17 June

Air Temp: 21C
Water Temp: 11C
Water height: -4cm to -6cm
Number of rods: 14
Number of fish caught: 39
Biggest fish: 28lbs Henry C
No 30lb+: 0
No 20-29lbs: 6
No 8-19lbs: 32
Grilse: 1


The team arrived in Murmansk to find balmy warm weather with scarcely no wind at all and full on sunshine. The views from the helicopter were amazing and we flew over some spectacular scenery when landing at the Gremikha Camp on the lower Yokanga to drop off four Russian fishermen. The same weather continued for Sunday, the first full day of fishing. It is hard to imagine that the weather has turned from winter to summer in the blink of an eye.

Team assemly
Manager’s Comments:

The group arrived at the lodge shortly after 2.30pm and there was some eager anticipation of what the week might bring after some incredible quality fish the previous week. Especially the huge fish landed by Ismo U which has officially gone into the book at a still possibly conservative 41lbs. Accurate length and girth measurements were taken but accurate weighing was not possible. The average of all four established salmon formulae comes in higher than the 41lbs now recorded and it is clear from the photograph that this is indeed an enormous salmon.

After a quick late lunch/early dinner, all 14 fishermen headed to the river to see if they could open their account. The majority were already back at the bar by 10pm and the team total for the unguided evening was seven spanking fresh fish all between 12-21lbs. A very nice start to the week.

Wall to wall sunshine
Sunday dawned and we were greeted by the forecast sunshine and 21C at breakfast time! With the wall to wall sunshine the salmon did not give themselves up easily and everyone had to work hard for them. Stephen C had two, 16lbs and 21lbs from HJome Pool and Lyliok respectively. It was not until the afternoon that his fishing partner Jonathan M caught up landing three on Lyliok in quick succession.
Stephen C with his 15lber
The lodge saw two first ever Atlantic salmon for US fishermen Paul and Bill K from Lower Norcamp. Also from the US, Paul I landed his personal best a 19lber and his fishing partner Ken M landed three, 12, 14lbs and 15lbs from Lyliok and Crow’s Nest. There seem to be a good number of fish in this size class by the way.

Elsewhere on the river, Anders continued his run of threes (having landed three on the first evening) and took a further three from Poachers. Fishing partner Marc took one.

Henry C had an evening to remember. A short stroll down to Pump and he landed three fish in the short 50 yard stretch. Each fish was progressively larger with the last two at 22lbs and 28lbs respectively, the final one his largest salmon to date. Quite a finish to the day.

It was hardly the perfect weather day for fishing but the results were very good with nearly 40 for the team in a day and a half. This is traditionally the best week of the season (based on experience back to 1998) and with a normal winter and spring, the timing would appear to be spot on.

Henry Mountain

Sunday, 17 June 2018

Week 9-16 June

Date: 9-16 June

Air Temp: -2 > 12 C
Water Temp: 6 > 7 C
Water height: +8 > -1cm
Number of rods: 15 > 11
Number of fish caught: 83
Biggest fish: 34lbs Roger T
No 30lb+: 5
No 20-29lbs: 17
No 8-19lbs: 61
Grilse: 0


Fierce north easterly wind with sub zero temps and snow flurries to warm light breeze and strong sunny spells.

Manager’s Comments:

I always really enjoy this week. The tundra comes to life and the first decent runs of big fresh fish tend to arrive.

The 'Yokanga Family'
The week is made up mainly of long term Yokanga regulars, and that was the case again although everyone missed Dean M whose commitments at home precluded him staying on for his second week. This ‘Yokanga Family’ are always incredibly welcoming and encouraging to the new rods (Marcus, Graeme, David and the Icelandic team of Ingvi, Gunnar, Thorir and Stefan), helping me enormously and never allowing any of the team to get despondent if they have had a blank day or two. They really are what make this river a special place to be – no competition or jealousy - a genuine team who take enormous pleasure from the successes of their fellow fishers.

Chunky fresh salmon
So we ended the week with just over 80 salmon landed. Probably a similar number lost. Big, fresh, fat, perfectly conditioned fish, 27% of them weighing 20lbs or more. Yes it was incredibly challenging at points, horrific wind and cold, but a worthwhile challenge with these really special fish bought to the net, photographed and returned safely to the river.

One of the many salmon over 20lbs in the week
The continuing run of outgoing kelts, extremely well mended and many of them huge, also gave encouragement both in terms of last season’s spawning, coupled with the hope that they will feed locally in the White Sea for the next 12 months and return to the river next season in fantastic shape, joining the maiden spring fish. I will also return to Yokanga in 12 months, no doubt in slightly less fantastic shape than the aforementioned salmon, but nonetheless as excited as ever to arrive on the banks of this great river.

On which note I sign off, heading back to the UK as Henry takes over for the next weeks.

Peter Rippin

Final Friday

Date: 15 June

Air Temp: 8 > 12 C
Water Temp: 7 C
Water height: -1 cm
Number of rods: 11
Number of fish caught: 8
Biggest fish: 21lbs Andy E
No 30lb+: 0
No 20-29lbs: 2
No 8-19lbs: 6
Grilse: 0


Warm light breeze, strong sunny spells, cloudless late afternoon and evening.

Manager’s Comments:

The final day of the week saw the leaves begin to unfurl. The warm weather and downstream wind was a complete delight to all, in fact it felt like we had all gone to bed in the Arctic and woken up in the Med!

Our Icelandic team has headed off to the World Cup yesterday, so we had the 11 remaining fishers on the water today. Fishing wasn’t easy, it definitely felt like the fish were using the first day of higher water temp to run as fast as they could upstream, barely looking at flies along the way.

Warmer weather on Yokanga
It was certainly the first day we saw decent numbers of fish. Sam and Andy witnessed a number of fresh salmon running through Lyliok and Home Pool during the afternoon. They managed to land four between them of seven or eight hooked and played.

Elsewhere landed fish were few and far between, Markku and Stefan continued their stream of hooking big fish, but sadly becoming detached from them. This seemed to be the case for many of the other groups also. Kaj, Graeme and Markku being the only other team members to ‘bank’ fish.
Fresh sashimi
Nonetheless it was pretty much the perfect day on which to end the week. Warm, relaxing and ideal for the team to gather on the lodge veranda after fishing and reminisce about the week over a few ice cold beers.

Gremikha Camp: Word from down below was that a good day was had by all, with lots of action in Golden Pool and plenty of new fish seen running through. All bodes well for next week on the middle river!

Stunning scenery on the lower river

Peter Rippin