Salmon flyfishing on the Kola Peninsula. Titovka, Kola and Pana rivers. July 2020
(Article is in progress… Part of the article was written online, part afterwards. For this reason, different tenses, conjugations and emotional states coexist in the text).
05.07.2020 Run! We left Moscow by car in the morning at 5-25. On the way to the Kola Peninsula our plan was changed. We decided to start fishing from the Titovka river, we go there, it is + 150 km to the original route. We passed the Shongui township at 4-30 am on July 6. If we were traveling as usual to the Kola river, the travel time would have been a record fast 23 hours. The road gets a little better every year. They say that Titovka is very beautiful and there is almost no mobile connection. Therefore, most likely, I will say goodbye to you for a couple of days.
Titovka River, Kola Peninsula
06.07.2020 We reached Titovka by 8 am. The river meets us with an waterfall — impressive and impassable for salmon. They say (and documentary evidence can be found on the net) — a cult place for kayakers, they love to jump on boats from this waterfall. It’s difficult and scary to imagine. The photo shows a monument, possibly to one of the daring heroes.
Next, the point of sale of licenses. Conditions are the same as on the Kola river: (photos). The price for non-residents of the Russian Federation is 2700 rubles, it’s about 40 US dollars. The duration of the license is 6 hours, it gives the right to catch and take one salmon. The license point also contains other useful information: a map of the license area, the current water temperature and the schedule of tides:
In the area of the pool «Belyaevskaya Pit» there is a large flyfishermen camping, a lot of friends and good acquaintances from Moscow and St. Petersburg. We set up our mini-camp and fall asleep. Sorry, I still haven’t introduced our team. Meet – Leva and me. For more than 10 years now we have been fishing with him. My name (Valery) is quite difficult for English-speaking friends to pronounce, so they usually call me Val.
In the photo on the right, not just Leva. He screwed the studs into his wading boots. And so that the studs would not pierce the boat, he sewed shoe covers on them. Here in the hands of Leva, just wading boots, dressed in shoe covers.
A short sleep, sharing flies and agreeing on who is trying to catch what flies. An introductory briefing from a friend and old-timer of Titovka river, Zhenya Panov (has been coming here since 2007), and we go for the first license of the season — from 7pm Monday to 01am Tuesday.
Of course we didn’t manage to endure until 7pm, ran earlier. From the brief we learned that the water is uncharacteristically high for this time, the entry of fish is weak, rarely caught, and mostly grilse. Therefore, we boil unfamiliar water without any special ambitions. As a result, I have one bite and a fused grilse on the “Obkomovskaya Pit” pool, Leva has two bites and one fused grilse on the most popular pool “Pebble”.
I have a bite at Albino fly on Daiichi’s gold single hook #3, Leva has both bites in a small Blue Charm fly on a single hook # 2 (one of the old flies purchased by Leva along with the boxes, see the story about 2019). It is curious that the grilse biting occurred simultaneously on different pools, around 9pm. Which is quite consistent with the formula: «salmon is active an hour before high tide and an hour after», the peak of the tide was at 21-25 (see photo of schedule above). We noticed that it is better to catch the «Obkom pit» from the right bank. There, from the bend, the jet goes to the left bank, providing optimal presentation, there is a good wading. Around 22 o’clock, the fly-fisherman took excellent fresh fish (about 8 kilograms) at this place.
07.07.2020 Morning fishing on Titovka river from 05ap till 11am. Last evening we split up and went to the «home pool» near the camp and went down of the current (Obkomovskaya Pit), now we went up the current together. We had a minimum of information on the upper part of the license area, but passing through these places by car yesterday, we noticed several promising pools. The fish did not appear on the surface, which added interest to the exercise of «reading» an unfamiliar river. We didn’t see any bites, but we had a good walk. We didn’t know then that this would be the slogan of our entire trip. In the afternoon of this day, Zhenya Panov arranged a sightseeing tour of the pools of Titovka. It turned out that we independently found the pool «Shop» and almost optimally fished it; correctly (or almost) found points in the area and above the destroyed bridge. Many thanks and huge respect to Zhenya!
Then we faced the question — whether to move to Kola or to stay on Titovka. For a Kola was:
- The original plan was that our main fishing is on the Kola river. Our team is inclined to stick to the plan, especially Leva)).
- We are not good prepared to stand long-term camping. We have a tent and everything necessary for wild life, but it was prepared specialy for two-day hiking trip. When we were planning a trip, there was a chance that we would get into such an adventure on the Kitza river.
- We don’t have an electric generator and a freezer. Caught fish would have to be salted, but we prefer to freeze.
- Not the most fabulous situation with water and fish on Titovka river. Too much water, fish are the opposite and mostly grilse. In many respects for this reason, with the presence of a large number of people in the camp, a good place on the river could always be found on the water. Many colleagues, while waiting for the salmon, relieved the stress of civilian life in the traditional way. Conditions for this on Titovka are almost ideal — weak communication with the outside world (mobile networks work in places, at times and unstable), all around — brothers in passion. But this is the argument for staying on Titovka)).
The main arguments to stay on Titovka river were as follows:
- Apparently, there are a lot of fishermen on the Kola river this year. The reason is COVID, it is not possible to go to other countries, there is only domestic tourism.
- The Titovka river, in addition to being beautiful, is very comfortable for flyfishing. The license area is only 3 kilometers, below the strong influence of the sea, above -impassable for salmon waterfall. And on these three kilometers, the number of prospective pools is comparable to 10 kilometers of the 2nd license area of Kola. The river is not big, in many pools you can fish under the bank from the opposite bank. In some places, from the spit in the middle of the river, it is easy and convenient to fish the river in both directions. In many places there is a wading river crossing from bank to bank, even when the water is not very shallow.
- Working flies are similar to Kola’s.
After short and not stormy discussion, we unanimously decided that we are moving to Kola. But next season, thoroughly prepared, we will come to Titovka, as the only or main river of salmon fishing area. The main thing that we will need to prepare for such a trip is a camping tent, a separate tent-kitchen, electric generator and freezer.
Kola River, Kola Peninsula
In the afternoon we left Titovka and went to Kola river. Along the way I called familiar landlords, tried to find housing in Shongui township. But the rumors about an unprecedented influx of salmon fisgermen were confirmed — we were lucky that we agreed to rent one of the long-familiar apartments starting from the day after tomorrow (July, 9). And before that — the tent on the pool «Massandra»:
Looking ahead, we were lucky. First, the apartment received us a day earlier, in the evening of July 8. Apparently, the previous tenants left early. And secondly, the weather in those days that we lived in the tent, was favorable to us — warm and almost without rain.
The Massandra pool was noticeably transformed. The old destroyed bridge was restored:
This didn’t affect the main part of the pool — grealse greeted us with vigorous jumping out at usual points.
A few words about the name of this pool. There are 2 options in use — «Massandra» and «Mansard». The second sounds more and more often, although the original is the first. The name came precisely from the alcohol drink that they liked to drink in this place for a long time. And the drink itself is not fortified wine from the Black Sea coast, but a 50/50 mixture of pure spirit and distilled water, which is used in military aviation for technical purposes, and at the same time is consumed internally. Lovingly calling in professional slang «Massandra». Since the time of the aviation military division based in Shongui, the name of the pool has gone. Which is still a popular vacation spot for residents of Murmansk city and the surrounding area. On weekdays it is not easy to get up here in a good place to fish, but on weekends it is almost impossible.
We bought licenses for tomorrow morning and fell asleep for sleep credit of the daily journey from Moscow and the busy schedule of express-acquaintance with Titovka river.
07/08/2020 The first fishing on Kola — July 8 from 6 to 12 in the morning. Leva went up the stream from «Massandra», I went down. The water temperature is 8 degrees, the level is medium. For illustration — the famous stone «TheTable» on the «Platonovsky» pool:
And here is the first bite — 8am, the pool «Black Pit», aggressive strip, fly «Albino Glasso» on the bronze single Daiichi #3. This bite remained the only achievement of the first 6 ours of fishing. Until the end of the license, nothing else happened to me, I tried a lot of flies on my favorite «Black Pit», including hitch and bomber flies. Leva — complete silence, went down from pool «The Red» to the pool «Infirmary». «The Red» pool is named after the island of the same name, below which the pool is located. But why the island is called that, I either never knew or forgot. As well as why the island located a little higher than «Red Island» has the romantic name «Sausage Island». Who knows-write in the comments, please. I have long been planning to map the pools of the 2nd license area of Cola with descriptions and stories of names. The name of the pool » Infirmary » on the right Bank-they say that in this place during the World War II there was a military hospital.
08-09. 07. 2020 It’s 3 am from 8 to 9 July, and finally managed to pick up the fly and wiring. At one o’clock in the morning, very offensively, I leaked a slightly darkened, but decent fish (about 5 kg) on the «Shells». Long and carefully drove, The fish was released almost lying on its side near the shore. Fly — «Albino Glasso» on the bronze hook Daiichi #3, classic presentation without a strip. I have a license until 9 am, moving along the lower part of the 2nd license area. I hope to open a fish account today.
Since writing the previous sentence, 15 minutes have passed. The time is 3-15am, another pool, the same fly and the same presentation of the fly — a powerful bite, a good fish. Powerful strike, fish on just for a shot moment, fell off, damn… I get heretical thoughts about treble hooks, damn it! Now I’ll put a fly on the double hook:
I am sure that more than one fish is standing near the stone where the bite was. So let’s see what is more important — the fly or the presentation. In general, the exploration is over, the fishing is going on!
The heretical fuse was enough for 15 minutes and for only one fly on the double hook. While I was throwing and driving her, I kept thinking — «why I attached this fly… I could use some of my favorite spey-fly insted…» Decided, that belief in a fly more important and changed again to single hook flies. But the reasons for such a large number of “long line releases” need to be understood and eliminated. Especially since bad statistics only for fishing in 2019 and at the beginning of the current journey. Before this, for 2 or 3 season everything was much more decent according to the statistics of releases from single hook flies.
However, I did not manage to catch the first Kola salmon on this license (fishing from 11pm to 9am. I tried a lot more flies and kinds of presentation — to no avail. It is likely that the greatest activity of fish in the night hours, July after all. From 5 o’clock in the morning it was already very Sunny. Within a throw showed a really large fish, but it refused all my offers. Leva still didn’t have a single bite on the Kola river.
About the influence of the fly. In the photo there are two almost identical flies, which I call «Albino Glasso»:
Both are tied by me on the bronze Daiichi hook # 3. Small differences:
- the fly on the right has a yellow tail — a feather from the crest of a golden pheasant, in the left fly there is no tail;
- Spey-hackle on the right fly from a brown heron, on the left from a hunting pheasant;
- the wing of the right fly consists of two pairs of orange cock feathers, the left one has one pair of the same cock feathers and under them is a tuft of raccoon hair, color Dark Ginger.
- The damaged tag of the right fly should not be taken into account — it suffered at the end of today’s fishing.
If I had chosen, I would have preferred the right fly. But the right to choose was for Leva. And so he caught with the right, and I with the left. All my contacts with fish on Titovka and Kola rivers were in this fly. Leva didn’t have a single bite at his variation. On Titovka he has 2 bites on a blue fly, on Kola there is still quite a silence. Of course, for the purity of the experiment, both flies should be used from «one hand», but our joint experience of catching in previous years shows that effective flies worked quite similarly for both of us. So go and figure out which of the described differences in flies play a role. What is also noteworthy is that nowadays they mainly catch grilse on the river, but both of my today’s fish were not grilse (the first one is for sure, but the second one is not so sure). The same fly, but on the larger (# 1.5) or smaller (# 5) hooks did not show itself in any way. I sit tying duplicates of my Albino.
07/10/2020 Score! Yesterday I tied a copy of my Albino for Leva. Pool «The Red», 6-15 am, 5th cast and 4 kg of fresh silver in our hands:
Leva and I are a good team. He has a tendency to move around the pools and look for active fish, I have a tendency to pick up working flies and presentations. And now Leva rushed downstream, I stayed on «The Red» pool, there are several working points with excellent conditions for experiments with different presentations. Leva’s fishing tactics are as follows — when he comes to the pool, he first of all chases the flies that have bites at last days; then flies that distinguished themselves in the previous couple of seasons; then, if he strongly believes in the pool, Leva can try something else from his many boxes. This tactic brought Leva 2 more bites of the grilse on the «Samotek» pool this morning, both to my spey-flies. First, the small male pinched the Raven variation, and then for a moment clung to the Black Spey fly:
We had morning licenses from 6am to 12am. With no results I used several flies and various presentations to catch almost all the points I knew on «The Red» and at 11-30 went to the «Big Stones» pool. Once there, the salmon approached the Albino, gently touched it and did not eat it. This is my only contact with fish in the morning. But Leva caught on my fly, so I am happy and satisfied almost as much as my partner. Morning results were not brilliant, but our team deserved sashimi and a shot of vodka:
Weighing showed 5.03kg in Leva’s fish. A short rest, a short nap, today at 10pm we go 12-hour blitz-krieg across all the main pools of the 2nd license area of the Kola River. May the Force be with us!
10-11.07.2020 So I opened! Four o’clock in the morning, «Dam» pool, classic presentation, the same fly «Albino Glasso» on a single Daiichi hook # 3, small fresh grilse:
Weighing the grilse-boy showed 1.2kg. I am sure that I lost more weight during this trip. Twelve hours of licensed fishing (from 11pm 10/07 to 11am 11/07), the whole journey «from door to door» — 15 hours 45 minutes. Leva was “lucky” — 2 hours before the end of the license, under harmless circumstances, he broke his lovely Winston IIx 13’3 ″# 7/8, went to rest and be sad. I am sad with him, I have the same stick — the first two-handed and one of my favorite (you can read more here).
In this campaign we walked for 15 km, part of the way rafted on boats. We also used boats to cross from shore to shore. Our flotilla:
The boats are lightweight, compact and very comfortable for our purposes:
The models and descriptions of the boats are in the post about fishing on Kola 2019. There is a red pump in Leva’s hands on the photo above. He is inclined towards comfort and carries a light and powerful, but displacement pump. I do not take a pump, if Leva is near, I take it from him, if not near, I pump the boat with my mouth. A few minutes longer, but excellent breathing exercise.
Jokes are jokes, but we went through all the main pools of the 2nd license area of Kola in one exit, and we caught them with one or another thoroughness. We were lucky with the weather — warm and beautiful:
We started fishing from the pool“14th kilometer”:
For many years I thought that this is the uppermost pool of the 2nd license area, and above it is along roll and there are no conditions for fishing. But on the 14th I met a local fisherman who told me that the border of the license area is at the 12th kilometer and there is a good pool «the 12th kilometer»between the roll and the border. Around which, however, disputes periodically arise — whether it is included in the 2nd section. It will be necessary to check. The names of these pools are obvious — on the railway in these places there are columns indicating that there are 1414th and 1412th kilometers of the railway.
We finished this license on the “Black Pit” pool — the lowest pool of the 2nd license area. There are also occasional rumors around the pool – whether it is included in the 2nd license area. But the controversy has subsided over the past couple of years. During this entire trip, in addition to catching the grilse on the «Dam» pool, I had 2 contacts with fish. At the “14th kilometer”, near the topmost stone in front of the left drain, the fish twice went to the Albino on a black hook — the first time it hit a fly, the second time it made a breaker nearby. On the «Pine» pool the same fly was hit when I striped the fly on the coastal groove. Leva has nothing at all for all his 10 hours of fishing. In short, we caught poorly, but we walked well. For me this format of salmon fishing is too hasty. And during the subsequent discussion with Leva, we decided that this was really too much.
07/12/2020 The day turned out to be intense. Morning license from 07am to 01pm. The Leva’s misadventures continued — when he pumping up the boat on the “Massandra” pool, it was discovered that the boat was thoroughly punctured and it was impossible to raft on it. Comrade Leva did not lose heart, took the damaged boat, and oars and went on foot along the sleepers to the «Black pit» (it’s about 3.5 km). We agreed that he would fish for the pools, climbing up from the Black Pit, and I would raft down to the Black Pit. First of all, I settled on the «Curve» pool. At this point, the river narrows and bends twice (which is why the name of the pool came from), the place is very popular among salmon fishermen who use hard bait and sbirulino, especially its left bank.
Spinningmen are usually located lower, fly fishermen do not often reach here. This time it was free, spent 2 hours standing on the fish and picking up flies / presentations. As a result, I received a strong, but idle take to a blue spey-shaped fly (golden Daichi hook # 5) on a classic straight presentation:
Then I fished on the «Shells» pool:
The pool got its name from the fact that in former times on the shallows along the right Bank there were large mollusks — freshwater mussels «Pearl Oyster». Now there are still occasional remains of shells. On the «Shells» nothing remarkable happened, then I went by rafting to the «Black Pit» pool. Here for 2 hours there were 4 salmon outings on my flies. The classic presentation did not work, but the fish first grabbed the same blue spey (photo above) on the strip, then pulled away from the stone and hit the Albino. And then 2 times salmon attacked a bright fly on a small gold double (Partridge Salar # 11):
Moreover, the second attack was at the moment of the beginning of lifting the line at the end of the presentation for the next cast. A similar story (and on the same pool) happens the second time with me, so I always keep my attention at the moment of lifting the line and raise it slowly. I didn’t catch anything in this license, but I spent my time recklessly and 2 promising flies were outlined.
Evening license from 6 to 12pm. I start to fish on the «Curve» pool, right bank. Medium lethargy bite in the «Albino» fly, classic presentation. As in the morning, fruitless stops at the pools «Shells» and «Beach» (the upper part of the Platonovsky plum). On the «Black Pit» I chase the flies that have distinguished themselves since the morning. At 22-30 I take a grilse on the golden double hook fly (photo above). The presentation is a calm short strip.
Weighing showed 1.4 kg. 10 minutes later Leva, who went into this license in the upper part of the 2nd license area, takes exactly the same small male on the “Dam” pool.
07/13/2020 There is usually a minimum number of fishermen on the river on Monday morning. In addition, on Mondays, fishing is prohibited from 00-00 to 06-00 and the fish has the ability to rest. Therefore, we planned to go to the next license from 6 in the morning. But we woke up at 5 and both of us went to bed without saying a word. Because we were very tired over the previous two days. The further fishing schedule was as follows:
13/07: 8pm (exit 6-30) – 8am, 12 hours
14/07: 4pm (exit 3pm) – 10pm, 6 hours
15/07: 06am (exit 5-00) – 12am, 6 hours.
On the evening of July 15, we plan to go back to Moscow.
Tied two variations of the fly that distinguished itself on the last license. Both feature a Colabus monkey fur wing, hooks gold Partridge Salar # 13 and # 9:
Pana River, Kola Peninsula
07/14/2020 The concept has changed rapidly and dramatically — we fly to the Pana River. I’m not sure if there will be Internet, we will return to Murmansk on the evening of July 19.
We take off from the airport «Lovozero», near the village of the same name and a beautiful huge lake Lovozero:
Fly next to hidden in the mountains lake Seidozero. The sacred lake of the local Sami people, the supposed location of the ancient mystical country Hyperborea, now a place of pilgrimage for esotericists. After 30 minutes, we land on a clearing near the fishing camp. We unload, check in (I’ll tell you about the camp separately) and run for a short introductory fishing trip.
By the time we reach the water, we know that the Pana is a tributary of the Varzuga river, which flows into the White Sea. From the location of the camp to the sea about 180 kilometers. According to the regulars of these places, salmon come up here in the spring, which in the fall came to the mouth of the Varzuga and wintered in the sea. When they enter Varzuga in the spring, they begin to be pressed from the sea by salmon that came from the Atlantic ocean to Varzuga in the spring. Under this pressure, salmon from autumn shoals rises higher up the Varzuga and into its tributaries. It is this fish, all of which is already thoroughly matured, that we will have to catch. Salmon in Pana is not large, the average size is 2-3 kilograms. Catching fish larger than 5kg is a great success. Photos of trophies taken during the 10 years of the camp’s existence hang in the camp’s mess hall. The largest of them is 13.6 kg. Due to its inaccessibility, the place is sparsely populated. For four days I met on the river only one group of 3 tourists from the Moscow region, rafting to Varzuga. The lack of population is one of the reasons why there is a lot of salmon in Pana. According to the stories of friends, the catches can be up to several dozen fish a day. Therefore, Leva and I have very exciting expectations from fishing.
The first four-hour fishing did not confirm these expectations. The gamekeeper threw us on the pool «2nd turn» and showed us the pool «1st turn», which we caught on foot back to the camp. The workpoints could not be found. The water is warm, the level is extremely low, and the sun is bright around the clock. Colleagues took 2 tails on the home pool «Golden». They say it’s the best pool in the area. There are 11 fishermen in the arrived group.
07/15/2020 Today Leva and I have an individual program — the chief huntsman drives us to “get to know the river”. We are the only newcomers on Pana river in this group. Moving fast, catching the jets-grooves. By itself, we have such an order — I am upstream, Leva is lower. We quickly go through the pool and go to the next one on a water cannon. My first fish on Pana, 2kg. Time 1pm, classic presentation, fly — the same on the gold twin Partridge Salar # 11 that worked on Kola river:
But the hero of today is Leva — he landed two males in a mating outfit, 6.7 and 4 kg! That is not bad at all, but for Pana river and at this time — the outstanding result:
The fish were caught by Leva at 2pm and 4-30pm, on two different pools, but under absolutely identical circumstances. Fly – Allys Shrimp on double hook Tiemco # 8 hook, classic presentation. In both cases, the fish took in a place where a relatively deep groove with a fast current turns into a deep pit. The current in this place slows down greatly, the line floats painfully slowly. Critical conditions for such presentation are a strictly straight line and strong nerves. We finished fishing at 7pm with a good mood and revived hopes.
The rest of the group took 3 tails that day. Flies that worked: Willie Gunn on a small Double Hook and twice the Allys Shrimp. It seems like someone had a bite on the Bomber fly but didn’t hook the fish. It becomes clear that we will not catch several dozen fish on Pana in these days.
07/16/2020 Morning fishing on Pana river from 5 to 8 am. The water level continues to fall, and its temperature rises. This is how the sun beats down at 5 am:
I lost about 3kg fish on this pool (long groove under the left bank). It looks like the female, because was trying very desperately to escape. So when, after a few minutes of playing, it unhooked, I was glad for her. The details are as follows: time is about 6am, classic presentation, Willie Gunn fly on Tiemco double hook # 8:
After breakfast we went back to the river. A decent fish attacked Leva’s fly, conditions similar to those of yesterday’s happy ones — a weak current, a small depression in the coastal groove. The salmon pricked with a hook and did not give to Leva a second attempt. I have a few sluggish bites in the jets.
We tie up small bright flies on double hooks. There are no conditions for tying flies either in the houses or in the wardroom. Which is strange, since only fly-fishing is allowed here. To somehow solve the problem with lighting, Leva comes up with this idea to use a smartphone and a baseball cap:
Since I have already started talking about the conditions in the camp, I will continue. The camp is called “Pana Fishing and Hunting Base”. I could not find website of the base, but the description and sale of tours are on different websites, for example here. Life at the base is well organized. Log houses for two, wonderful smelling of fresh wood, a bathroom with a shower and hot water. Comfortable beds and fresh clean linen. Everything is very clean, fresh and well-groomed, we were surprised to hear that the base has been operating for 10 years. Each house has a drying area for waders and wading boots. Not drying cabins, but in our sunny weather there are more than enough rails under the canopy. On the wall of each house there are racks for 4 rods, if desired, the rods can be left on the large rack of the service house, it is located closer to the river. Every evening from 8 pm there is an excellent wood-fired sauna, the quality of the steam room impressed me and Leva most of all in the camp. From the sauna house we go to the wardroom. Between all the structures in the camp there are paths — wooden decks. Industrial mosquito traps have been set up throughout the camp. True, I can’t say how they work — they were disconnected during our stay. There are a lot of mosquitoes in the camp and on the river, but not «horror-horror». Nourishing, tasty and varied feeding three times a day. Large screen with satellite TV, football fans have the opportunity not to miss interesting matches. In short, in everyday life — no questions asked. There are questions with the organization of fishing. With 11 fishermen and 2 boats equipped with water cannons, it would make sense to draw up a fishing plan in the evening and move groups between pools according to this schedule. It would be clearer, more convenient and more efficient. In fact, it is a spontaneous and not very convenient process, like “could you take us somewhere or pick us up from somewhere”. Perhaps this not the most optimal organization of fishing was influenced by the fact that this race was very «friendly» — all the clients and gamekeepers have long been friends. The price for this trip was also «friendly», with a very substantial discount, so I have no reason to be very mischievous. Perhaps there are more objective reasons. With higher water and more active fish, there are enough working pools within walking distance and there is no real need for a well-developed scheme for the operation of boats and rangers. For example, a 10-minute walk from the camp is the long “The Birch” pool. I think that if there were at least 20 sm more water, then would be great at catching there — grooves, boulders, flowing streams and «tongues». We had to move around Pana river on foot almost as much as we walk along the Kola. But it is more difficult to walk along Pana — the paths are not so trampled, often blocked by dead wood. In some places there are no trails (perhaps we did not find) and we had to move in shallow water. In short, the fishing turned out to be laborious, the hardening of the Kola river came in handy.
07/17/2020 All day from 9 a.m. to 7 p.m. Leva and I spent on foot in search of promising jets-grooves. The conditions for fishing are difficult: the sun beats down for 4 days in a row, the water is extremely low, the water temperature is 17 degrees. I had to walk and throw a lot of kilometers to find my fish. Today from the whole group only I caught, a female 3kg:
A fly specially tied for these conditions on the gold Salar # 13 was successful:
When we were tying flies the day before, I looked at Leva’s fly Allys Shrimp that was successful. The Shrimp is like a Shrimp, perfectly tied by the St. Petersburg craftsmen Uncle Zhenya Zhukov. Everything seems to be standard. But I noticed that instead of the traditional bucktail there is a red painted polar bear in the tail. Which sparkles brightly in the water in sunny weather. That is why I tied a variation of my successful fly, replacing the yellow feather from a golden pheasant crest in the tail with eight orange hairs of a polar bear. In addition, the long tail added stability to the fly in slow flow. Probably, it was the replacement of the tail that worked — I drove both variants of the fly along the pool that was happy for me and the points active on it, the salmon reacted only to the variant with a polar bear in its tail. A couple of words about the pool:
I don’t know if the pool has a well-established name, I call it “Grayling and Salmon”. There are a lot of grayling in Pana. Gamekeepers and regulars say that if there is grayling in some place, then there is probably no salmon there. On this pool salmon and coexist. Before getting the first salmon bite, I caught a dozen of grayling, one of which is 930 grams:
On this pool, I found salmon at two points. First, at one of the boulders on the edge of the groove, the salmon sipped at my little Shrimp’s tail. Catching fish at the second point became a decoration of the whole trip for me. Time 16-40 (strength and enthusiasm is about running out), long-distance casting, classic presentation, powerful bite, desperate fish resistance, a photo for memory — a thrill!
Leva walked along the river ahead of me and also fished this pool. At the point where I caught the salmon he had a sluggish bite. It is very likely that my special fly was the decisive factor in this case.
In addition to the numerous grayling that regularly take small salmon flies, there is a lot of pike in the Pana river. During these days, Leva had 2 incidents, when the pike ended up on his hook, swallowing salmon fry that had took the fly. In both cases the pike were at least 2 kilograms. Leva’s priority was to keep his hunting fly, so in both cases he tried to shake off the pikes, which he successfully succeeded. It is noteworthy that one of the incidents occurred in a very strong current, the pike stood behind a stone in a fast stream.
07/18/2020 The salmon I caught was not only the only one over the past day, but also the last for our group in general. Yesterday evening Leva and I were surprised to learn from our colleagues that we were leaving at lunchtime today. Although we remembered well — initially the return to Murmansk was scheduled for Sunday 19/07. It looks like the grimaces of a «friendly trip» — the comrades ran out of fishing enthusiasm and alcohol, they called a helicopter a day earlier… Therefore, having slept a little, we rushed to our «cherished» points early in the morning. Leva — where he had the previous bite of nice fish, and I on yesterday’s pool «Grayling and Salmon». The water warmed up even more and fell 3 cm since yesterday evening. It was not visually noticeable on my pool, but the fish were significantly less active Even grayling took flies less cheerfully than yesterday. And salmon (presumably) only pinched yesterday’s shrimp fly a couple of times. Leva’s point, on the other hand, because of these minus 3 cm, completely «died» — a complete absence of flow, the impossibility of making a classic presentation, on a strip — zero emotions. We didn’t manage to finish the trip on a major note. Several colleagues also went out on the water in the morning, also to no avail. After lunch, we boarded a helicopter and left the picturesque Pana.
07/19/2020 One day changing each other at the wheel of the car, time to think and discuss the wonderful days that flew by on the rivers, at midnight on July 19, we are at home. This strange state, when you are already bored and glad to return, but still don’t want to believe that the main fishing of the year is over.
Conclusions. The fishing turned out to be not very effective, but we had a good journey. In the previous ten years, I have fished only on one salmon river — the Kola. There were reasons for this, the main of which was that a senior comrade and mentor in salmon fishing, Volodya Bolshakov, lived in Shongui township on the Kola river. I always tried to spend as much time as possible on the river with him, constantly learning something new about the habits of salmon and the intricacies of catching it. In the spring Volodya was gone. So it’s time for me to get acquainted with other rivers and check how much the experience of the large, rich in various pools, but not particularly rich in salmon, Kola is applicable to other rivers. It turned out that knowledge and «Kola hardening» work and are useful in other salmon rivers. Leva and I did not feel like strangers either on Titovka or Pana rivers. Although the reasons for our low performance are partly in the frequent change of rivers. We stopped at Titovka to get acquainted with the river, in order to really catch it properly, we had to spend more time on the new river. True, our comrades, who were camped on Titovka, said that the week after our departure was weak on Titovka, there was no salmon run, the water level remained relatively high. On Kola, on the contrary: we picked up flies, presentations, and found new points on the pools. In the remaining 2 days, it was possible to count on a noticeable result. And with the fish-rich Pana river, we were just unlucky!)) It is possible that if we stayed on Kola, we would have taken a larger number of tails, although it is unlikely that more in kilograms in comparison with our catch on Pana. From the joyful one — on Pana Leva made his dream come true — he got over 5 kilograms of salmon! And we also took note of a couple of rivers, which we heard very interestingly about from colleagues on this trip: the Tigoda in the Leningrad region and the Pas river on the Kola Peninsula, on the border with Norway (as I understood, it is not easy to get there). So: not a lot of fish, but a lot of emotions, impressions and food for thinking about gear, equipment and flies. As always, after any salmon fishing. There is no such thing as bad salmon fishing!