Back in the Salmon Groove
Coming back to Russia for 2 1/2 more months of guiding on the Ponoi was even more exciting than the first time I arrived here. The reason for this excitement was for the famous Fall Run, which is one of the most prolific Fall Runs of Atlantic Salmon in the entire world! On the way back I had to deal with canceled planes, a night in Moscow, and trying to convince the Russian Air Line lady to hook me up with a new ticket; flirting with Russian ladies is a lot of fun. I then arrived in Murmansk a day late after 36 hours of travel, jumped on the Helicopter, and arrived back at Rayabaga.
The feeling of landing and knowing what to expect was awesome because I wasn’t a stranger to this river anymore. After 2 month and countless hours of guiding the Spring and Summer season, I had learned so much about this fishery, and was ready to test myself with the fall run. Getting back into the routine of things was great after 2 weeks of family, friends, drinking, fishing, and enjoying a vacation back at home. We had a few days to get everything ready at camp for the first group of guests and also had some time for the jet lag to wear off.
When I arrived 2 weeks ago the Ponoi was at one of the lowest water levels in the history of the camp because of hot weather, and not enough rain over the summer break. The river was so low that we couldn’t drive the boats from the moorage to our beats because of how many rocks and gravel bars were exposed. So the manager Matt made the decision to bring boats to certain beats and we would fly by helicopter to them everyday. Not the easiest way to fish but the safest way with all the low water. Running a jet boat full speed, dodging rocks, and praying its deep enough that you don’t bottom out just isnt practical with guests on the boat. Not to mention the damage it would do to the boats.
So the last 2 weeks we have been using the helicopter and hover craft to get to our boats, which really was a lot of fun. The fishing was still good and having some pretty high number days of Atlantic Salmon. Caching 8-15 fish a day was the new regular and actually really good considering the low water. The other downside about the low water was that it was keeping the Fall Run fish from coming in because they wont run up the river if the water is too low, or too warm. We prayed to the Salmon gods for rain and they answered us with 2 days full of it! Now the river is back up to a normal condition and the first few Fall Run fish were caught this week, one weighing in at 15 pounds!
Next week will be week 3 since I’ve been back and we are expecting the fall run to really kick in! I caught a lot of summer run fish that were bright, chromed out, and fought like hell. But every one here says you havnt seen anything until a fall run Ponoi River Atlantic Salmon takes your client 50 yards into the backing, jumps like crazy, and lights your net up with there bright chrome body. The weather here is slowly starting to get colder, flowers are dying off, and I can feel fall run coming! Cant even start to explain how very excited I’am for these next few weeks and cant wait to see what the Fall Run here on the Ponoi has to offer. Look out for my next post talking about my first experience and photos with the fall run fish.