Kola river – A walk down memory lane with Terry Nab

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Hi Steffen – As you know I enjoy sharing my experiences with others….maybe someone can learn something from it? For example, in this case, if someone is fishing the serious pool on Kola river for the first time, and is not aware that you cannot get through the side channel on the back side of the island at the bottom of the island, then they would know that you have to keep a large salmon in the pool and cannot let them run downstream into the rapids below!  If you do, you will lose not only the fish, but maybe your line and backing too!  The day I hooked that big salmon there, the guide tried to tell me not to let it go downstream, but he did not speak English very well and I could not fully understand what he was trying to tell me.  I had never been there before and had no idea as to what was downstream of me, so when I followed the big salmon downstream and then found out I could not wade through the side channel, I was really surprised.  As you know, I am 6′ – 5″ tall and a very strong wader, so I somehow just figured I would just wade through the side channel to other side and then continue the fight further downstream.  Believe me, I thought really hard about swimming the short distance across the side channel, but after taking one look at the large waves in the rapids in the main river only a few feet downstream of me, I reluctantly decided not to go for it…..no fish is worth drowning over.  Of course, the next time I went through this pool, I did not hook a larger fish and the 2 smaller fish I did hook, believe me I did not let them get anywhere near to the bottom end of the pool!


We did not get to fish on the Kitza river while we were there because the water level was too low the week we were there.  I only got to fish for the 1/2 day we arrived on the bear beat, which was a disappoint to me.  We had to go through this area very quickly to make it all the way through in such a short time, so I did not really get to fish much of it or spend much time in any one spot. I did land 3 salmon that afternoon and then lost a very large fish under the railroad bridge at the end of the afternoon as we were taking out there.  So, I know there is some really good water up there that I would really like to be able to take another shot at.

One other very important thing that any one going fishing Kola river for the first time should keep in mind is the size of the fly rod you chose to fish there with.  Do not underestimate the size and strength of either the salmon or the river itself!  With that in mind, I would certainly suggest that the rod you chose should be at least rated for a 9/10 weight line!  I would also not use a leader any less than 13 to 16 pound test, unless it is absolutely necessary to use something lighter because of low, clear water or very small flies.  The salmon in the Kola are not only very large, they are also very strong…they need to be to swim up through all of the tough rapids they have to pass through on their way upstream, so every one of them will fully test all of your skills as a fly fisherman!

WOW!!!! Is the only word I can think of that describes the Kola River and its fantastic salmon.

When you are in a river where you have the opportunity to tie into very large salmon, it is very important to know the river so you can be prepared for the worse case situation.  This is especially true in a river like the Kola River, which has some very strong rapids and rough water.  On top of all of that, the Kola river is not that large, so there is not much room for error in many areas on the river.


If you are as successful on the Kola as you have been on the Umba, I am sure the salmon fishing in the Kola river will only get better than it already is. Susy and I fished on the Kola for a week in early July in 2008 and had a great time and also caught a lot of salmon there, including 3 that were over 20 pounds with the largest at 25 pounds.  I caught 28 salmon there that week and Susy caught 14.  Most of the salmon were between 10 and 20 pounds with only a few smaller ones. It was a great week of fishing.  I had one much larger salmon that I was not able to follow downstream and ended up losing in a large rapids.

Gosh, the more I talk about the fishing on the Kola, the more I want to go back there this year for another try at the big salmon there.   So, as I said in my last message, I am anxiously looking forward to hearing your reports from the Kola River fishing in June and July.

Terry Nab / Idaho


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