I had the good fortune of spending two weeks as camp manager on the peninsula earlier on this season.
The first week was our Acha Explore program, which is fishing on the Ponoi’s main tributary; the Acha River. We had 6 guys fishing that week; the youngest was 11, the oldest 64! Like everywhere else in northwestern Russia we did not have a lot of water in the river, but we quickly managed to locate the salmon in the few remaining pools with sufficient water. Actually the fish were stacked high here, and some guys managed over 10 salmon per day. As usual the Acha River also yielded some very fine fish from its stock of MSW salmon. We landed 3 salmon weighing 18-19 pounds. Strong stuff in a small river! The group was a pleasure to guide and all went in the best of spirits with the group becoming more and more tightly knit as the week elapsed. The total result for the week was well over 100 salmon for six anglers, needless to say everyone was very happy, and I had more than one inquiry into next year’s program.
My second week I went down to Umba trading places with Steffen Juhl, who was taking over our Ponoi camp for two weeks. Umba is always a joy to revisit and this time was no different; it is such a beautiful river! As usual for our operation I had a very international group of anglers; 3 Swiss, 1 German, 2 Swedes and 1 Israeli (with one additional German angler joining us later in the week). A very pleasant group indeed, tackling the somewhat tuff conditions in the highest form of spirit possible. We were struck by the extremely dry, warm and sunny conditions that have been the plague this year all around the Kola Peninsula. Luckily Umba very rarely suffers from a shortage of water/low water, like some of the northern rivers will, but salmon fishing is of course never optimal in conditions as described above. Still very nice salmon were landed, a new member of the 20-pounder club was acquired, and everyone agreed – newcomers and veterans of Umba alike – that the settings were wonderful. Umba is truly a magical place that any dedicated and passionate salmon angler should see.
Now I look forward and long for the autumn season in Umba with fat, sparkling bright salmon fresh from the White Sea. More than once a rather slow late spring/early summer season on the Kola Peninsula has turned into a fantastic autumn season with large runs of salmon. Maybe this year will be such a year…?
Speaking of dedication and passion; I did it finally. For years I have been considering getting a tattoo of the fish I love and covet above all. But I just couldn’t find any that I liked. Frankly, a lot of tattoos aren’t very cool – I am not crazy about sunsets over the Grand Canyon or naked women riding motorbikes as a decoration on your back. No, I really wanted something personal that means a lot to me – or nothing. Well, the salmon (Atlantic) means a lot to me, it actually fills a large part of my life and spirit; travels, fishing, excitement, relaxation, longing, thrill, despair, awe, hope, wonder, stress, dreams and so much more. A fantastic and mysterious creature I can only admire and respect deeply. So when I stumbled upon a Haida drawing of a salmon (west coast North American indigenous people), I knew I’d found it! I’d found a way to pay my respects. Check it out – I’d love to hear from other guys out there with similar markings of their burning passion. True junkies!
Jan Delaporte, camp manager