Friday, 9 September 2016

Season Report 2016

2016 will surely go down as one of the tougher seasons we have had on the Yokanga.

It was an early spring with the river breaking on 5 May and we started with a couple of fantastic weeks in what can be a very cold time of the year with high water and smaller numbers of quality fish entering the system. In the event, guests who have experienced hard fishing in previous years lucked out and had some epic fishing and landed some quality fish. There were 10 fish over 30lbs landed in the first two weeks of the season.

 26lb early season Yokanga salmon

The two prime weeks that followed had unusually summery conditions and fishing was sadly below what we might normally expect. It was unfortunate that an early spring coincided with the year that the fishing calendar had been reset and everyone’s weeks were running as late as they ever would. As guests basked in hot weather, it was hard to recall the same week at the of June only two years previously when we looked out on a dusting of snow, wore fleeces to dinner and no one was keen to venture out in the evening!

34lb fish caught during week 18-25 June
 
The normally short summer persisted for more than several weeks through July and water temperatures remained very high which hampered successful fishing and the biggest salmon remained elusive. These July weeks are when we would expect to see the biggest scoring weeks but conditions were simply not in our favour this time round. The same was being experienced on all other rivers on the Kola.

There was a constant topping up of water levels through the season and at one stage the river came up nearly 4 feet over a two day period. The result was that water levels were much the same at the end of the season as at the beginning and guides with 15 years’ experience on the river had never seen water so high in July. It seemed to be a season of extremes.
 
Heading off fishing
 
If the above may sound downbeat, we should remind ourselves that even in a tough season the fishing on Yokanga is exceptional by any other standard and we landed 854 salmon. The Yokanga produced 130 salmon in the 20-29lb bracket and a further 16 over 30lbs. By way of comparison, the 2015 season was 108 and 12 respectively. The Yokanga remains statistically your best bet for a big fish on the Kola Pensinsula.

Yokanga - your best bet for a big salmon
 
The biggest fish of the season were two remarkable 38lbers. Scale samples from one of them showed it to have smolted after three years and then to have spent four winters at sea, so a seven years old fish. We have scale readings from a further 25 salmon which we will report on in due course but interestingly there were a number of previous spawners among them.
 
46.5 inches x 25.5 inches = 38lbs

We are pleased to report that the lodge and operation was running better than ever. Guests unanimously enjoyed the wine, beer and vodka which is now included as part of the package. Yuri the chef did an excellent job with sashimi on the bar every night and it was generally agreed that the food was the best ever. We now have free internet for guests and while we do not encourage updating your Facebook profile it has allowed guests to tell those at home that they are having a good time without the need for costly satellite calls.
 
The best food ever during the Yokanga 2016 season 
 
We would like to thank all of our regular visitors and in particular those who fished with us on the Yokanga in 2016. The 2017 season will be upon us before we know it and we hope to see you out there.
 
If you are interested in fishing the Yokanga please email enquiries@flyfishergroup.com for prices and an itinerary.
 
Henry Mountain and Peter Rippin

Could this be you in 2017?

Monday, 15 August 2016

Week 6 to 13 August

Dates: 6 -13 August

Air Temp: 8’C - 20’C
Water Temp: 16C
Water Height: -20cm to -27cm
Number of Rods: 14
Number of fish Caught: 27
Biggest fish: 28lbs Ari Lahti & 25lbs Heikki Hamalainen
No 30+: 0
No 20-29lbs: 2
No 8-19lbs: 26
Grilse: 15
Sea Trout: 4


Weather: Generally speaking, greyish days with the odd spell of sunshine and the odd shower.

Managers CommentsA very mixed week this week but some good results nevertheless. We had two different groups this week, changing over on Tuesday night half way through the week. The first half of the week's fishing was certainly the tougher half. However, Ari L did manage a super fish weighing in at 28lbs. A true Yokanga monster, and a fish of a life time. Well done Ari!

The second half of the week did bring us slightly more action and some of the salmon seemed to have got slightly razzed up by something, perhaps the drop in pressure. All the pools began to liven up by the Wednesday. Everyone coming back to camp reporting that a lot of fishing were jumping.

We did as a team manage to get stuck into a few of the moving fish. We also had a couple of encounters with some monsters; Timo had an exceptional fight with a huge fish that sadly bent his hooks open resulting in loosing the fish. Heikki H managed to land a lovely 25lber, and almost every other rod had a salmon note. So well done to the team for keeping at it and coming away with a few good fish.

In summary, it has been a really good fun week. We've had some very entertaining evenings with people of the the guitar and a good singalong on the Friday night. A couple of really fantastic fish have been caught, and we've had two Bear and Elk sighting this week which always adds to the excitement of being out in the tundra.

Great to have met you all, thank you for such a fun week. I hope to see you on the banks of the
river again soon.

Tight Lines!

Toby Burrell

Lost Fish

Date: 11 August

Air Temp: 18’C - 20’C
Water Temp: 16C
Water Height: -27cm
Number of Rods: 14
Number of fish Caught: 9
Biggest fish: 16lbs - Antero Vesterinen
No 30+: 0
No 20-29lbs: 0
No 8-19lbs: 3
Grilse: 6

Weather: A good grey day all day with no rain and a slight downstream breeze.

Managers Comments: A far better conditions for fishing today, some people coming home with some good results. Timo K had a great day in Nahodka, hooking five fish and landing four of them. The fish he lost was a serious fish of note, taking him up near the top of Nahodka it shot off like a rocket. Timo was having to put up a solid fight to prevent it going down the rapids and he just managed to do so. However, after 20 minutes of an almighty battle there was a heart-sinking moment as the fly came pinging out the water towards Timo and the fish slowly disappeared back in to the depths of the peaty Yokanga. The amount of pressure Timo was having to put on the fish had bent the hooks, and his hooks are certainly not weak ones. With the three eye whiteness of the fish we have come to the conclusion that its estimated weight was 30+lbs. Although disappointed to have lost the fish, a fantastically thrilling experience leaving us with another fisherman's tail to tell.

The result of playing a monster

On other parts of the river, Pentti K had a lovely 12lber that wasn't too coloured, perhaps been in the river for 10 days or so. Heikki once again had plenty of action ending up with only two on the bank and sadly loosing a couple of very acrobatic grilse.

Pentti K with his fish from Poachers

Jukka H also had a couple of nice fish out of upper Norcamp 6lbs & a 12lbs. Both on a small Willie Gunn. Antero V had a lovely 16lbers which is the fish of the day. Well done Antero.

More of the same weather forecast for tomorrow for the final day of the season... let's hope we can finish up on a high.

Toby Burrell

Thursday, 11 August 2016

A 25lber

Date: 10 August

Air Temp: 18’C -22’C
Water Temp: 16C
Water Height: -22cm
Number of Rods: 14
Number of fish Caught: 10
Biggest fish: 25lbs - Heikki
No 30+: 0
No 20-29lbs: 1
No 8-19lbs: 1
Grilse: 6
Sea Trout: 2

Weather: Incredibly strong down stream winds with bright sunshine.

Managers Comments: Today was a tricky day, bright sunshine and just to make it a little harder we had gale force winds.

Heikki with his fish from the Lake

Just trying to put an upstream mend in was damn near impossible. Even trying to balance yourself on a rock was a struggle with the wind. However the team persevered and returned home with some good results.

Hannu N and Heikki H had a good day in Poachers and on down to camp. They managed to land 5 fish between them, the biggest at 25lbs. Heikki had the 25lbers out of Lake, mid pool. He caught it on a size 8 fly - we haven't managed to come up with a name for it. But it is a sort of mixture between and green highlander and a Willie Gunn. Only a very small bit of buck tail on a green and silver body. Most of our fish that have been caught over the last 10 days have all been on floating lines with sinking tips but today however four of the eight caught were on full floating lines and very small flies. Perhaps a change of tactics is in need with the dropping water.

Heikki's killer fly

A good result today putting yet another 20lber in the book. Well done Heikki, hopefully its the first of many to come on the Yokanga. Let's hope the winds calm down tomorrow and we can get couple more monsters on the bank.

Toby Burrell

Wednesday, 10 August 2016

Scorching Day

Date: 9 August

Air Temp: 18’C -22’C
Water Temp: 16C
Water Height: -21cm
Number of Rods: 14
Number of fish Caught: 1
Biggest fish: 6lbs Pentti Kuusela
No 30+: 0
No 20-29lbs: 0
No 8-19lbs: 0
Grilse: 1

Weather: Another scorcher today with bright sunshine and very little cloud in the sky. A strong downstream wind.

 Incoming heli 

Managers Comments: Not an easy day again today, we are really struggling with these conditions. There are very few fresh fish entering the river now at this late stage in the season and the older fish certainly don't like this bright sun in their eyes all day.

The team!

One half of the team headed back to Murmansk this afternoon meaning the only got a few hours fishing. Seppo K did manage to hook into a nice fish but sadly it was lost just before the net. A shame to have lost his first salmon but I'm sure that now has him hooked.

The other six rods that have joined us for the second half of the week all arrived safe and sound last night, both Juha and Juhan headed out to Lyliok but sadly with no success. It is getting increasingly more and more difficult to fish after supper with dark nights riding in earlier every night.

Ready for action in Poachers

Our saviour today was Pentti K who managed the only salmon for the team. A grilse out of Lower Norcamp, a good effort to get hold of him in the midday sun. I hope he can do the same tomorrow if we get similar weather.

Toby Burrell

Tuesday, 9 August 2016

Bright sunshine

Date: 8 August

Air Temp: 16’C -18’C
Water Temp: 16C
Water Height: -20cm
Number of Rods: 14
Number of fish Caught: 2
Biggest fish: 11lbs Yrjo Ojaniemi
No 30+: 0
No 20-29lbs: 0
No 8-19lbs: 1
Grilse: 1

Weather: A very warm day with bright sunshine all day and hardly a cloud insight.

Managers Comments: A very tough day today which was half expected with this very nasty weather - well nasty if you want to catch fish, rather good if you want to catch a tan!

The fishing at Poachers was very tough indeed today, although I am told lots of fish were showing. The two fishers did have some excitement with a very curious bear. Yrjo and Juha were both fishing away when a rather large brown bear started wandering down the bank towards them. In panic, Yrjo shouted for the guide to bring the boat over, Sergey paddled over to his rescue. At this this point the bear was sitting only metres away just casually watching them. Landing on the opposite bank they thought they were safe and out of harm's way. Not so lucky… the bear then jumped into the river and swam across. After a bit of yo-yoing back and forth keeping well away from the beast, it soon got bored and disappeared off into the tundra. Lots of excitement for both Yrjo and Juha and to top their day off Yrjo had a nice 11lber out of beach on the way home. Both full of smiles when arriving back at camp, a day never to be forgotten.

Elsewhere on the river was also a real struggle for our guests today; they have all said that there were plenty of fish showing but nothing was encouraging them to take.

Hopefully we shall lose this sun and they will come on again. A small bit of rain forecast for tomorrow, let's hope it comes. A good night sleep is in order read for action tomorrow.

Toby Burrell

Monday, 8 August 2016

28lber for Ari

Date: 7 August

Air Temp: 13C to 17C
Water Temp: 15C
Water height: -20cm
Number of rods: 11
Number fish caught: 7
Biggest fish: 28lbs Ari Lahti
No 30+: 0
No 20-29: 1
No 8-19: 2
Grilse: 3
Sea Trout: 1

Weather: 
A bright day with the odd wisp of cloud.

Manager's Comments:
A slightly slower day on the fishing front today but nevertheless a glorious day on the Yokanga. Island pool has provided well today by coughing up four fish for our two guests, Ari L and Pentti K. Pennti had a lovely fresh grilse of about 7lbs and another nice 12lber. Ari has had an enormously successful day by landing his biggest fish to date, 28lbs. A truly monstrous fish.

Ari's monster from Island

Ari’s fish took him high up in the Island pool draw in the the slow water. Fishing from the boat they immediately rowed up into the pool well away from the rapids to increase their chance of landing the fish. Although the fish had been in the river for a week or two it still gave an almighty battle. To begin with Ari felt rather helpless as the fish was torpedoing up and down the pool, even with a 15ft rod a fish like that does feel a bit like you've taken a knife to the gun fight. But Ari stuck it out and 35 minutes later he landed his 28lber. Well done Ari, a great fish to get and great start to the week.

Ahti M also had a nice 18lbers out of Upper Norcamp this afternoon. He got it out of the first main draw in upper Norway, a fantastic spot that has yielded many a big fish over the years, and this season. A really fantastic big fish spot!

Another nice Yokanga fish 

The weather seems to be warming up again now, let's hope that it only lasts a day or two!

Toby Burrell