Friday, 29 June 2018

Mixed Fortunes

Date: 28 June

Air Temp: 13C-9C
Water Temp: 14C
Water height: -8cm
Number of rods: 17
Number of fish caught: 30
Biggest fish: 26lbs Paulo Hoffmann
No 30lb+: 0
No 20-29lbs: 5
No 8-19lbs: 18
Grilse: 7


Settled weather earlier in the week.
It was a cold night but temperatures soon warmed up to ideal fishing conditions in the morning. Low cloud and a moderate downstream wind was how the day started. During the afternoon the wind switched upstream and the air temperature dropped and it felt distinctly cool with rain showers.

Manager’s Comments:

It was a day of mixed fortunes and mishaps on the river. William M and Bill W continued to pick away at them. William with a 22lber and a smaller one and Bill with two from Golden Reach, 8lbs and 10lbs.

Slight mishap but lucky he was fishing barbless
Paulo H had his biggest Yokanga fish of 26lbs from Island. He has been fishing a float/intermediate and caught his fish a smallish Flamethrower.

Paulo with his 26lber (photo credit the Fly Fishing Nation)
Arni B took two from Poachers but then had a short afternoon. Leaving Beach after lunch, Arni left his rod in the boat and the guide disappeared down to Lake with it. Without his rod to go fishing, Arni took the time to check out the riverbank flowers and is now a leading expert on Yokanga flora.

Down below Anna K caught a nice 11lber in the morning from Lyliok. Geoff B landed two, 12lbs and 18lbs from Crow’s Nest.

Anna with one from earlier in the week
Fishing Lyliok in the afternoon Pete T landed two cracking fish. A 20lb cock fish and a 20lb hen fish. He then followed them up with a grilse and a 16lber from the Lyliok right bank (just above the Lyliok stream) in the last 20 minutes of the afternoon session bringing it to a total of five for the day for him.

Pete with his 20lb cock fish

20lb hen from the same spot
It was a fun filled after dinner session on Lyliok too. Yury landed a nice fish in the high teens from the left bank. Jasper P and the Fly Fishing Nation (FFN) photography team were on the right bank. Jasper was the first to hook up and landed a super 22lb hen fish. The wind had dropped totally in the evening and it was silky smooth water with a perfect swing on the Lyliok right bank. He had at least a handful of follows, boils and bow waves that did not result in a hook-up but he did land a further two fish bringing his total for the day to four.

FFN team in action
In the final minute before midnight Alex K hooked a fish in the bottom section of water below the Lyliok stream on the right bank which took him into the rapids. There was some shouting which sent the rest of the FFN team (and your faithful blog writer!) running to see what was happening. It turned out that Alex’s backing had jammed so he had to follow at high speed. The end result was a fish in the high teens in the net some 200m into the rapid which brought a successful day to a close.

Salmon landed in the Lyliok rapids for Alex (not FFN photo!)
In terms of mishaps, the big fish definitely won the day. There were three very large fish lost. Having played a large fish for some time, the line went slack for no apparent reason and Arni lost one of them. An anonymous lodge guest then broke when into another large fish. These things happen reasonably regularly here. There is an always an element of good fortune in hooking one of the really large Yokanga fish in the right place at the right time to succeed in landing them. Fingers crossed there will be other opportunities when lady luck is on the side of the fishermen.

Lodge manager's favourite
Henry Mountain

Thursday, 28 June 2018

Temperamental Weather

Date: 27 June

Air Temp: 19C-12C
Water Temp: 14C
Water height: -5cm
Number of rods: 17
Number of fish caught: 20
Biggest fish: 22lbs Manuel Lopez
No 30lb+: 0
No 20-29lbs: 2
No 8-19lbs: 14
Grilse: 4


We had at least three seasons in one day! It fluctuated between sunny skies then half an hour later would change to black clouds and cool temperatures and then back again with a rain shower thrown in for good measure. It was a strong upstream wind for a short period then would blow downstream. Certainly a very temperamental weather day but we are in the Arctic Circle where things do change rapidly.

Rainbow over the lodge during dinner
Manager’s Comments:

It was a relatively tough day on the river with people reporting pulls and takes which then came to nothing. There seemed to be an unusually high rate of losses.

Colour in the Kola Peninsula
Jasper P deserves congratulations for landing a salmon on a hitch. It is so seldom used here but he selected his pool carefully on 7 Islands where he could get a nice slow drift and landed a lovely 16lber. He then hooked another fish briefly on the hitch which was considerably larger and estimated at about 100cm or high twenties in pounds.

Jasper P's 16lber on a hitch
Yury D continued to lead with way with eight fish on Lyliok and Crows’s Nest. He also had a lot of other pulls and action where fish simply did not stay on. The general feeling is that there must be a good number of fish running but as is almost always the case on the Yokanga we do not see lots of fish rolling and jumping. It is not unusual here to see no fish yet have a very successful day.

Yury D's 20lb hen fish from Crow's Nest
The tackle that people are using is varying enormously. Arni is still on a full floater, others are using intermediates with success. Others are on light and occasionally heavy sinking tips. With fresh fish running as they are, the simple fact seems to be that what you are using will work if you keep using it. Flies are varying between sparsely tied tubes (brass and plastic) and many are using doubles on hook sizes 6 to 8 predominantly.

William M with a lovely clean hen fish
In the late evening there was a heavy rain shower and the lodge had a double rainbow right over the roof. The temperature continued to drop after dinner and significant mist was rising off the river. The weather looks more settled for the remainder of the week so everyone is keen to see what will happen.

Smoke on the water

Henry Mountain

Wednesday, 27 June 2018

Working Hard for Fish

Date: 26 June

Air Temp: 15C-21C
Water Temp: 14C
Water height: -1cm
Number of rods: 17
Number of fish caught: 26
Biggest fish: 27lbs John B
No 30lb+: 0
No 20-29lbs: 2
No 8-19lbs: 18
Grilse: 6


In the morning it was a bright sunny day with a strong downstream wind. Clouds built up during the day and at 2.30pm the wind changed 180 degrees and the temperature dropped. The sun then came out again and we enjoyed a balmy summer’s evening.

Sunny start
Manager’s Comments:

Up at Sand Island Paulo H had two, a grilse and a 12lber. Alex K also had two, a 12lber and 14lber.

Alex K with his first Russian salmon
Matt H and John B landed a fish each, a 25lber and 27lber respectively. John again landing the biggest fish of the day.

Matt H with a 25lber
Arni B has been fishing a floating line all the time and fishing on Lower Norcamp today he had three. He reported quite a lot of action with grilse and found great success fishing in the pocket water in the rapids.

Bill W and William M had a couple of fish each. William persevered til late after dinner and having blanked on the right bank of Lyliok he headed down to fish the pockets in the Lyliok rapids and was rewarded with a 12lber.

Manuel with a nice one
Geoff B had a couple of grilse from Poachers but Anna K had nothing until mid-afternoon. Very sensibly she gave her rod to the guide to hold and took a short 15-minute siesta. Waking up refreshed, she put on a large Red Francis in Beach and almost first cast she was into a fish. In the end she finished on a high with three.

Yury D had a very solid three from Lyliok in the morning, all in the teens. Anthony B and Nout K landed a fish each after 5pm at Crow’s Nest.

Yury D with a 19lber
Expectations were high but the day was not as productive as everyone had hoped. Lyliok was completely blank in the after dinner session. One of the fascinations about salmon fishing is that we simply do not understand it all. Other than perhaps a little too much sun and wind, there was a dropping river and things looked pretty decent. Was it a little thundery? What was going on with this about change in the wind?

Football takes precedence over fishing when Iceland and Russia are playing
Whatever the reason the fish were simply not as enthusiastic about taking! Still a total of 26 was a good score but the team worked very hard to achieve this.

Henry Mountain

Tuesday, 26 June 2018

32lb Salmon

Date: 25 June

Air Temp: 16C
Water Temp: 13C
Water height: +3cm
Number of rods: 17
Number of fish caught: 31
Biggest fish: 32lbs John Bresnihan
No 30lb+: 1
No 20-29lbs: 2
No 8-19lbs: 24
Grilse: 4


There was little or no wind and cloudy skies.

Manager’s Comments:

It looked like the perfect fishing day. And indeed for some it was very good day indeed. Jasper P landed three from Lyliok in the morning including a 19lber and 23lber. He then followed it up with two from Crow’s Nest, an 18lber and 19lber.

Jasper P with fish on
William M continued his good run with four from Island, the largest 17lbs and 19lbs. He then added another one to his tally after dinner with one from the Pots which has been fishing very well. Unfortunately, his fishing companion Bill W blanked. Good luck tomorrow Bill, it will happen!

19lber being released at Crow's Nest
Yury D landed a more modest two compared to his incredible eight the previous day. Two is always a good score on the Yokanga where we have less numbers but much higher average weights. Yury’s largest was a 25lber from Poachers.

25lber from Poachers for Yury D
Antony B and Nout K blanked on Home Pool in the morning but the glass of Chardonnay at lunch must have helped as they went on to land one each from Lyliok in the afternoon.

Picnic lunch at Lyliok
The story of the day was John B who landed a 32lber from 7 Islands. He was using his 13’7” 9 wt travel rod when he hooked this fish. Congratulations John for a personal best.

John B with his 32lber

30lb+ cap awarded to John B for his 32lber
We have had a 24-hour period of small disasters. Pat B lost a huge fish after a long battle which was won by the salmon. Old Sasha saw the fish clearly and Pat had a good look at its tail. Old Sasha estimated it at over 40lbs. Jean G had a run of bad luck and straightened out hooks on two separate occasions. Lance R lost the head of his line in a pocket above Pump. We will try and retrieve that later today with a boat. Then to top it all William M lost a rod overboard! They did manage to retrieve it though.

Dinner at the lodge
Fish are clearly entering the river in some numbers even if we are not seeing them show themselves. Evening sessions on Lyliok have seen fish porpoising through the tail of the pool and there have been sea liced fish caught up as far as Sand Island. Long may they continue to keep coming.

June 2017 drifted snow

June 2018
Henry Mountain

Monday, 25 June 2018

What a Start!

Date: Evening 23 and 24 June

Air Temp: 10C-16C
Water Temp: 13C
Water height: +3cm
Number of rods: 17
Number of fish caught: 39
Biggest fish: 25lbs William M
No 30lb+: 0
No 20-29lbs: 5
No 8-19lbs: 31
Grilse: 3


Sunny and bright with a very strong downstream wind and clouding over late Sunday morning.

Manager’s Comments:

It was a quick entry into Murmansk and the team were already at the lodge by 2pm. It was therefore a quick something to eat and for some it was off to the river.
Team photo on Sunday
Matt H and Bill W got off to a good start on the first evening and had one each from Lyliok. The team tally was five under extremely difficult casting conditions but the first evening is always a moment to just get the wrinkles out of the casting and to make sure that the kit is all performing and rigged correctly.
Bright skies on Sunday morning
Sunday dawned and the wind had not abated and the team departed on the helicopter. Having drawn Sand Island, Matt H had a 20lber and two others and John B had a 12lber.

Yury D had an impressive eight fish from Nahodka and Golden Reach plus a lot of other action. Other than the one grilse his fish weighed 14lbs, 15lbs, 15lbs, 16lbs, 18lbs, 18lbs, 22lbs.

One of eight for Yury D

Some impressive weights
Below them on 7 Islands Bill W had three 14lbs, 16lbs and 16lbs. Fishing with him, William M had a superb start to the week, his weighing 12lbs, 23lbs and 25lbs. Jean G had two from Lyliok weighing 12lbs and 18lbs and Lance R had a lovely 22lber and one other.
Lance with his 22lber
We have Paulo Hoffman and Alex Keus from the Fly Fishing Nation photographing and filming Jasper Paakkonen this week. They had no luck during the fishing day but collectively caught six during the two evening sessions.

A good start for Jasper P on the first evening
All in all it was pretty amazing result given the testing casting conditions in the strong wind. There is considerable enthusiasm among the guests this week and there was some celebration until the early hours!
Social after dinner drinks and cigars
Henry Mountain

Sunday, 24 June 2018

Week 16-23 June

Date: 16-23 June

Air Temp: 4C to 21C
Water Temp: 9C to 13C
Water height: -4cm to -13cm to +3cm
Number of rods: 14
Number of fish caught: 167
Biggest fish: 32lbs Martin Vainer
No 30lb+: 2
No 20-29lbs: 33
No 8-19lbs: 119
Grilse: 13


We arrived to a stunningly beautiful blue sky Yokanga and warm summer temperatures which lasted for a couple of days but then reverted to the sort of variable weather you can expect when fishing in the Arctic Circle. Low temperatures and the need for thermals one day, followed by upstream winds, and then shedding layers the next.

Sunny start to the week
Manager’s Comments:

Looking back at this time last year, the contrast is enormous. Those who have been coming to the Yokanga for many years since it first opened would consider the timing this year as spot on for what is considered normal. While last year was exceptional and something of a record, this year is what many of us remember and is the reason that this is the prime week of the season. And so the week panned out to be superb.

View of Home Pool, June 2018
View of Home Pool, June 2017
The general condition of the salmon in amazing. They are so incredibly fat and fighting fit. Even the small number of grilse that we landed were of proportions that I have not seen on waters at home. Where and on what are they feeding? There is some good food out there somewhere!

Yokanga salmon in great condition
The numbers speak for themselves. 33 salmon between 20-29lbs and two over 30lbs. There were a lot of fish in the 12-18lb bracket and what the hard numbers above do not show is what fun it is to fish for multi sea winter fish that really put a bend in your rod. Even the ‘smaller’ fish would take you into your backing in many places. There were screaming reels every day somewhere on the river.

Will it go 20lbs?
The headline were catches were Paul I’s 31.5lber a personal best by some margin. Then after many visits to the Yokanga, Martin V landed the largest of the week a stunning 32lb fish from Lyliok, again his personal best.

Martin with his personal best
There have been many other notable catches. Henry C had a 28lber on his own in Pump one evening. Accurate measurements were taken and we have developed our own Yokanga scale now. Anders H had one of 27lbs from Pump on another occasion. Stephen C landed a chunky 27lber from Seven Islands and Mark C had a day to remember with a 24.5lber and 25lber. Apologies for those whose names I have not mentioned but with 33 fish over 20lbs it would be a very long roll call!

Anders with one of his many
There were Russian fly fishers at the Gremikha Camp which fishes the lower Yokanga this week and they also did well with 70 fish. Some smaller multi sea winter fish and grilse seem to be entering the lower river in numbers now.

An 18lb bar of silver for Robbie DM
As is ever the case, the Yokanga salmon do not give themselves up easily and it requires perseverance and time spent on the water. While it is the reason for coming here, the Yokanga experience is not all about fishing and numbers. There were a number of new faces at the lodge this week and hand on heart I can say that we have all had a tremendous time with the group getting on really well. With representation from the England, Wales, Scotland, Northern Ireland, France, Russia and the USA there have been many laughs and plenty of fishing tales.

Sunday morning the first day of fishing
Much looking forward to the coming week.

Henry Mountain