When Salmon Junkies closed the season at River Umba in mid October last year, water levels were the lowest in living memory – and consequently the famous run of big sea liced Osanka salmon almost came to a standstill. What a contrast this spring. When I arrived the 24th of May Umba was in full spate and water levels higher than I have seen during the 20 years I have fished this jewel of a river. Water temperatures were down at 6 degrees Celsius and fishing the Krivets section or even bank fishing the lower Umba was totally out of question at the start of the new season. So boat fishing with sinking lines og heavy sinktips were the order of the day. Famous Canadian maker of bamboo spey rods, Bob Clay, his three American friends Jeff Bright, Mike Spurlock and Ken Dayton and Danish Ingward Carstensen had to struggle for their fish. 46 fish were landed and released between five rods. Jeff was top rod with 16 fish and the biggest 17 lbs on his big Podolsky Tube. The last morning Mike managed to land a fresh run 16 lbs from the bank at the top of Doctos´s Pool.
The second week temperatures rose in both air and water and most days were sunny, but water levels dropped very slowly because of massive snow melt in the Kirovsk Mountains. Wading became possible at several places at lower Umba while Krivets was still too high for bank fishing. Monday Danish Jesper Ravn and his guide, Daniel Podolski – son of the legendary artist and famous manager, Nick Podolski – proved that Krivets still had an exiting potential. In his first cast with only half his shooting head outside the top ring a big fresh run salmon grabbed his Green Highlander Tube and after a long and dramatic fight he released a chrome female fish of 20 lbs. After a coffee break to calm the nerved Jesper was ready to continue and voila – again in his first cast he hook an even bigger fish – a slightly colored male weighing 23 lbs. What a miracle: Double 20 club member in two successive casts in a literally unfishable river! Friday German Bernhard Brandl lost another whopper after having regained most of 100 meter backing when the knot between the polyleader and the tip broke. The two Danes, Jimmy Jakobsen and Sören Riis landed a 17 pounder each and the weeks total was only 20 fish.
The third week summer arrived at Umba dominated by sunny days – and nights. The River was still very high but water temperatures rose to 15 degrees C. Steven Casey, experienced Irish fly fisherman, caught fish at 19 and 20 lbs at the beginning of the week on an all blue Kingfisher Fly and lost another big salmon the last day.
Mark Kumlin did the opposite. Lost a big fish at Lower Rat at a start but landed a 22 lbs beauty later in the week from the island in Home Pool. These were the biggest salmon ever for both Steve and Mark. Generally speaking our clients lost too many big fish among them Ole Holm from Denmark who landed fish at 15 and 20 lbs.
During the third week we obviously had an exiting run of big fresh salmon – bigger than we usually see so early in the season. I guess these were some of the Ozankas that did not materialize last autumn because of the extremely low water.
So an extra week at the river could have been very interesting but unfortunately we had to end the spring fishing. But many of the big fish will probably wait for our clients in the great pools of Krivets when the fishing starts again in mid August – and the autumn run of fresh Ozankas will have started too.
Umba Autumn: 3 open rods 16/8 – 23/8 and 1 open rod 13/9 – 20/9 – For more info please contact firstname.lastname@example.org