The spring/summer season on the Kola Peninsula will probably go down in the statistical records as one of the driest and hottest in twenty years. An early spring with a very modest amount of rain in May and June had most of the river’s catchment areas dwindle to almost nothing.
The big northern rivers were without exception all affected by extremely low water levels having a negative effect on the fishing right from the season start. On some northern rivers catches were down 30 -50% compared to a normal year.
The two large water systems – Ponoi and Umba – fared much better through the dry month of June due to their enormous watersheds, which always ensure a stable flow of water. In June the weekly average in Ponoi was 20-25 salmon; 10-15% lower than normal.
One of the most positive trends was the very good fishing we came upon, when we started fishing in Umba in the beginning of June. Increased and efficient control in Umba has – as we anticipated – really begun to pay off. Due to the early spring all pools in Krivetz were fishable, which of course produced many fine salmon. We landed several + 20 pounders, as well as a very good number of 14-18 pounders daily in Krivetz on floating or sinktip lines. Late June proved to be much harder as dry, sunny and very windy weather settled on the Kola Peninsula.
Varzuga running parallel to Umba on the southern part of the Kola Peninsula had – as usual – very good fishing with almost ’hysterical’ daily catch figures until mid-June. Then they were also hit by the drought and soaring temperatures. But due to its very early run of salmon the Varzuga was not affected in the same manner, as the prime time was already over, when tropical temperatures and drought hit northwest Russia.
The 2011 season is far from over. Luckily we have ahead of us a wonderful autumn season in Umba. This time of the year has always had its steady and loyal band of salmon junkies, and that’s for a good reason: To hold a fresh and sealiced salmon over 20 pounds in your hands is one of the most ultimate experiences you can have as a salmon angler. Our new Umba conservation plan has again placed Umba on the world map of salmon angling.
Umba River is one of those places, where you may lose your soul forever, but you may very well also find it there.
Stay tuned on www.salmonjunkies.com for news and weekly reports in August, September and October.
Steffen & Kåre