Umba – Ponoi – Varzuga 2012

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Dear Salmon Junkies,

2011 will most likely NOT be remembered as one of the best seasons in the history of the Kola Peninsula – more likely it will be remembered as one of the thinnest seasons in years, though some parts of the river suffered more than others. It is difficult to say if it was the lack of water that caused this season’s weak run, or if it was just an unusual season. Anyway – a thin run combined with extremely low water is a poor prospect whatever part of the world you are fishing for Salmon in.

When we arrived at the Umba River at the end of May it felt more like the end of July. Thanks God Umba’s backcountry is vast, so we survived with pride and good fishing. Our first two weeks in June produced a good number of fish and a very high number of large fish. Very encouraging indeed. Our autumn season started in the middle of August and obviously the lack of water gave us some demanding weeks because the low river made it very difficult for the boat. In spite of these tough conditions that would have been devastating for most rivers, Umba produced a very good number of big fish during the whole autumn season. In fact, I have never seen such a high average weight in my twenty years of fishing on the Umba. In some weeks, we caught almost twice as many salmon in the 15 – 19lbs breakage than Grilses. In some weeks, most 10-rods parties were catching twenty pounders and some lucky guys even became double member in our Twenty Lbs Club. Read Terry’s article. In the first week in October we could pencil Heinz Pape in as our first triple member in our 20Lbs club. In the six-week period from mid August until first of October we caught 71 Salmon, between 15 Lbs and 19 Lbs and 45 Salmon between 20 Lbs and 30 Lbs – That is an awesome result in spite of the tough conditions…

Even in my wildest imagination, I had not expected the Ponoi River to be so affected by low water. However, Ponoi is probably the surest option on the Kola Peninsula, so of course we caught a three digit number of salmon, though not classic Ponoi fishing. But we all caught fish and we averaged around 22 salmon per rod. And as I have said so many times before – where else in the world can you catch those numbers of Salmon in those conditions? My only answer is the Varzuga River.

Which is the perfect opportunity to announce that Salmon Junkies have managed to get full exclusivity on a long-term lease of more than 30 km of the most attractive and enjoyable salmon fishing on the Kola Peninsula from 2012 – the famous Varzuga River. One of the most popular and fantastic salmon rivers on Kola, this charming section of the river will give us access to the most prestigious and remote part of Varzuga; from the Yzia tributary down to the junction with Pana River. The programme will combine the best from the Varzuga watershed with a two-day adventure, where you will float the river from Yzia River down to the Pana River. Varzuga is a very popular river among anglers from all over the world. No wonder, considering the catch records, amazing scenery and wonderful fly-fishing pools.
Grand Varzuga as we call the camp. Why? Because Grand Varzuga is where all the big fish of Varzuga head to spawn. It is located approx. 12 km upstream in the Pana tributary. The river here is medium sized, 30 to 65 metres wide with endless terraces of pools, as we have never seen before, fast runs and rocky parts, which provide awesome holding spots. There are also slower and deeper parts, where some of the largest Varzuga fish tend to hold. The biggest salmon of Varzuga are actually ‘designed’ to reach this part of the river. Close to the camp there is plenty of good fly-fishing water. Not all of the pools have been ‘discovered’ yet, so you could still manage to have a pool named after you!

Our Grand Varzuga programme: On Day 1 and 2, half of the 10 rod group will have the opportunity to be flown by helicopter, 15 km upstream and float from the top beat down to the camp during a wonderful day trip. The second half of the group will fish/float from the camp and down to the Pana tributary. On Day 2, the two teams will swap beats. You will enjoy amazing scenery during the trip and have wonderful pools to fish along the entire beat. The rest of the week the group will fish the entire beat upstream and downstream and transport will be by jet boat.

Grand Varzuga is an outstanding part of the river for all salmon junkies no matter the conditions, and therefore very popular with many guests from all over the world. If you want to go for the bigger Varzuga fish, you should aim for one of our three prime weeks.

Like our Ponoi and Umba programme, this programme is priced at nearly one third of the price of other programmes in Varzuga
Grand Varzuga is a very versatile beat on the Varzuga system, fulfilling the wishes and dreams of all anglers – the beat is so remote you will feel as if you have made it to Salmon heaven!

So what to choose in Junky world? Well for everyone who wants guaranteed easy wading and plenty of fish, Ponoi will not let them down. For the true adventurer who wants to try something new and get lots of fish and perhaps have a pool named after them, Grand Varzuga is the choice. For BIG whoppers and a chance to enter the now famous 20 Lbs Club, Umba is the ideal choice. Perhaps a combo of summer and autumn? Please note that as with previous years, the Umba autumn season 2012 is already nearly fully booked – so do not hesitate if you want something bigger this season.

Please contact Steffen Juhl for bookings and further enquiries at

All the best,

Steffen & Kåre

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