Thursday, 29 June 2017

Bad Weather Day

Date: 28 June

Air Temp: 5C to 3C
Water Temp: 7C
Water height: 1.5m
Number of rods: 11
Number fish caught: 6
Biggest fish: 24.5lbs Alexey Peregudin
No 30+: 0
No 20-29: 1
No 8-19: 5
Grilse: 0

Weather: It was a pretty unpleasant day on the river in terms of weather. The air temperature dropped once again and along with that we had low cloud, high winds and rain all day.

Manager's comments: Given the very low cloud, the helicopter was unable to fly guests to their beats today. We are not utilising the higher beats on the river as the fresh fish have not reached there as yet so it was relatively easy for people to walk to the fishing. Very sensibly one or two rods elected to remain in the lodge and others returned early having given it a good go. 

 Low cloud over the Yokanga

The Danish duo chose to split their day with one fishing the morning shift, meeting for lunch back in the lodge and then the other fishing the afternoon session. Soren’s efforts were rewarded with a 14lber from the left bank of Pots with Old Sasha. Frank, who braved the weather in the afternoon, had a hold of what must have been a very good fish as it took him well into the backing but sadly it came off. The pair made good use of the lodge walkie talkies, one calling from the warmth of the lodge to see how the other was doing out in the wind and rain and offering words of encouragement!
 
'Running Angel' checks on news from the river

Bryan S continued his run of success with two fish from Lyliok, 8lbs and 11lbs. It is great to see that Lyliok now seems to be producing the goods. His fishing partner, Igor T, had a run of bad luck and unfortunately lost three fish in Lyliok having played them all for some time.
 
A good bend in the rod

Vladimir V had a 12lber from Poachers and his fishing partner, Alexey P, landed a 14lb osanka and a fantastic fresh 24.5lber the biggest fish of the week so far. A great reward for having walked from the lodge to Poachers under the miserable weather conditions.
Alexey P with his 24.5lber

With continuing high and cold water everyone is using heavy tackle still. Skagit lines are ideal for throwing heavy tips and big flies. 10ft of T14 seems to be the choice for many with some even using longer lengths on occasion. Flies remain on the large side, mostly brass tubes, with Snaeldas, Willie Gunns and Comets featuring heavily in the fishing book this week.

Henry Mountain
Yokanga wolf

Wednesday, 28 June 2017

Grand Slam

Date: 27 June

Air Temp: 10C-12C
Water Temp: 7C
Water height: 1.5m
Number of rods: 11
Number fish caught: 10
Biggest fish: 22.5lbs Frank Lorenz
No 30+: 0
No 20-29: 2
No 8-19: 8
Grilse: 0

Weather: A mild day with fluctuating upstream wind and occasional light showers.

Manager's comments: Keen observers of the blog will notice that the water level is up 10cm today but the great news is that the water temperature is also up to a relatively tropical 7C.

Collectively people reported seeing more fish rolling and certainly there was generally more action all round.
 
'Backwheeler' with one of his two from Lake
 
In the morning session Soren ‘Backwheeler’ S landed two fish from Lake, a 14lber and 12lber. Fishing partner Frank ‘Running Angel’ L landed a chunky 22.5lb hen osanka also from Lake. With the wifi connection in the lodge, half the fishing community in Denmark may well have heard the news!
 
'Running Angel' with his 22.5lber

Our Russian guests had a good day with Vladimir V who had an 11lber and also Igo T who landed a nice 20lber from Lyliok shortly before 6pm. Mark E continued his success with a 13.5lb fish from Lake and Jerome M scored with a 14lber from Beach.
 

Bryan S had a red letter day. Having landed a 13lb osanka he unfortunately lost a fresh silver fish at the net in the Home Pool shortly before lunch having just seen a couple of jumping fish. He then went on to land a good 17.5lber in the late afternoon. I believe that Bryan managed a Yokanga first today. He landed a fresh fish, an osanka, a kelt, a sea trout, a brown trout and a pike all on fly. A Super Duper Grand Slam possibly?

Bryan with one of his six 'species'
 
The mood was high in the lodge at dinner with a feeling that this upwards creep in water temperature may see more results in the latter half of the week.

Henry Mountain

New generator building

Monday, 26 June 2017

Mixed Weather

Date: 26 June

Air Temp: 8C to 11C
Water Temp: 5C
Water height: 1.4m
Number of rods: 12
Number fish caught: 7
Biggest fish: 21lbs Mark Emms
No 30+: 0
No 20-29: 1
No 8-19: 4
Grilse: 0

Weather: A mixture of bright skies, occasional rain showers and at times a strong upstream wind. Winds dropping later turning into a perfect evening.

Manager's comments: With the water continuing to drop and reasonable fishing conditions the prospects looked encouraging. Geoff opened his account and landed a 12lber at Lake. Mark E was the top scorer with three osankas from Poachers and Beach. His fish were an impressive 21lbs, 17lbs and 16lbs and gave a good fight in the heavy water.

Geoff B into a fish
 
Most of the party are fishing fairly heavy tackle. Often skagit lines with intermediate going into 10 foot of T14. The water has receded away from the bushes so the snagging risk has been largely eliminated. When fishing from the boat it is possible to go deeper. Heavy tubes, several inches in length are the order of the day with German snaeldas very much the fly of choice.

 Rockfish finally beginning to show

 Several of the team ventured out after dinner to fish Lyliok and reported near ideal conditions. The tail of the pool was silky smooth and the weather was a balmy 10C seemingly positively summery for this season. A jumping fish was seen but only a couple of kelts were landed.

Beer o'clock after fishing

The remaining snow is melting rapidly now so it will be interesting to see if the water level pushes up a bit. We really need the water temperature to rise and bring the main run in so this warmer spell could be just what is required.

Henry Mountain

Eurasian hobby nesting beside the Home Pool

Promising Start

Date: Evening 24 June and 25 June

Air Temp: 4C to 13C
Water Temp: 5C
Water height: 1.6m to 1.5m
Number of rods: 12
Number fish caught: 4
Biggest fish: 22lbs Bryan Sohl
No 30+: 0
No 20-29: 1
No 8-19: 3
Grilse: 0

Weather: A grey Saturday evening but Sunday was back to blue sky and sunshine with a developing strong upstream wind during the afternoon.
 
Summer temperatures at last

Manager's comments: The new team arrived in reasonable time on the Saturday afternoon and about half went out for a short while in the evening to try their luck. There was nothing landed but those walking to Beach and Lake were rewarded by the extremely close sighting of a cock willow grouse still mostly in winter plumage.

Willow grouse only 20 feet away
 
On Sunday we woke up to a stunning blue sky day that remained throughout. Bryan S landed an absolutely beautiful 22lber bar of silver from Lake and also took an 11lb osanka. Vladimir V had a fresh 12lber from the top of Home Pool and Igor T had a 16lb osanka to finish the days tally with a total of 4.
Bryan S with his mint fresh fish
 
Frank L had a rewarding day but not in the way he was hoping for. Now that the river has dropped and is out of the bushes he found three snaeldas at Poachers that weeks guests had lost. If this continues he will be opening the second Yokanga tackle shop soon.
 
Transport to the river

The river has changed dramatically since we arrived with the first guests on 17 June and is now much more recognisable. The fishable water has increased a lot and there are now plenty of plenty of places where salmon could rest. Lyliok is really beginning to take shape and is fishing well from the right bank and will certainly hold resting fish when they come.

Lyliok beginning to take shape

The river continues to drop 10cm a day and we hope that the warmer weather predicted for this week may bring the water temperature up a bit without melting too much snow and bringing the level up again.

Henry Mountain

Signs of spring

Sunday, 25 June 2017

Week 17 to 24 June

Date: 17-24 June

Air Temp: 2C to 14C
Water Temp: 2C to 14C
Water height: 2.6m to 1.8m
Number of rods: 13
Number fish caught: 24
Biggest fish: 24lbs John Horlock and Matt Harris
No 30+: 0
No 20-29: 2
No 8-19: 22
Grilse: 0

Weather: A generally cold week. Three fine sunny days with light winds and three days with strong upstream winds, some rain and very low air temperatures.

John H with his 24lber, one of the two best from the lodge
 
Manager's comments: It has been an exceptionally high water week with very cold water temperatures. Indeed none of the guides, some of whom have been here for decades, have ever seen it anything like this, certainly not this late in the season.

Guests and guides assemble on the first day
 
As a result the scores were very disappointing, especially for this time of the year. Guests persevered all week in difficult conditions and great credit should go to them all for remaining ever hopeful and for being so philosophical about things. Many die-hard fishermen, who would normally be out every evening, instead opted to remain around the bar after dinner. There were certainly plenty of stories swapped and lots of laughs to be had while enjoying a vodka or three.

John H and Matt H caught the largest two salmon of the week, fighting fit 24lbers. Matt also had the dubious honour of being crowned 'King of the Kelts' for having outfished everyone on the kelt front. Plus keen followers of the blog will know that he played one for longer than anyone else too...
 
Home Pool early in the week
 
The Gremikha team fishing the lower river fared rather better and finished up with 26 fresh salmon for the seven rods. A similar number were lost, some after extended battles, one notable one after 45 minutes which was never even seen. The largest fish were two 29lbers so it is encouraging to note that the fish are indeed there.


29lber from the lower Yokanga

It is hard to believe that the days are now getting shorter and spring has not even sprung and there is not a leaf to be seen on the trees. The water has dropped close to a metre this week and slowly the river is beginning to take shape. Air temperatures are due to rise slowly this coming week and the fish have to reach us at some point so keep an eye on reports over the coming days.

Henry Mountain

Saturday, 24 June 2017

Stoic Fishermen

Date: 23 June

Air Temp: 2C to 3C
Water Temp: 5C
Water height: 1.8m
Number of rods: 13
Number fish caught: 1
Biggest fish: 15lbs Spencer Palmer
No 30+: 0
No 20-29: 0
No 8-19: 1
Grilse: 0

Weather: It was possibly even worse weather than the day before. A very strong upstream wind but fortunately less rain. 

Where did the sun go?
 
Manager's comments: It was an impossibly tough day on the river but guests remained stoic and kept at it all day. Spencer P was rewarded with a fresh 15lber from Pump. The very same place he had a fish on the first day.

Pilots in team Yokanga caps
 
Other pairs reported little other action other than a good number of kelts which are migrating downstream. It was a disappointing finish to what has been an exceptionally hard week by Yokanga standards. We are hearing similar news from other rivers too as a result of the impossibly late spring.
 
'Green' the camp dog

There was better news from the Gremikha camp which fishes the lower Yokanga downstream. One pair of fishers had five fish in the morning, all mint fresh that weighed 18lbs, 18lbs, 20lbs, 22lbs and 29lbs. These all came from the same little pocket of 20 yards on Loopskaia.
 
Alan C with his 29lber from the lower Yokanga

The fish are clearly there and coming so it is just a question of when they will arrive with us up at Yokanga Lodge on the middle river.

Henry Mountain

Friday, 23 June 2017

Hardly Summer

Date: 22 June

Air Temp: 5C to 2C
Water Temp: 5C
Water height: 1.9m
Number of rods: 13
Number fish caught: 4
Biggest fish: 24lbs John Horlock
No 30+: 0
No 20-29: 1
No 8-19: 3
Grilse: 0

Weather: Rain in the morning, upstream wind and cool air temperatures.

Manager's comments: The weather was looking pretty grim this morning and it was decided that we should have a more relaxed start and so left at 10.15am instead of the normal 9am. Similarly everyone was picked up at 5.30pm instead of 6pm. Thankfully the rain eased off at lunchtime. Thank the likes of Simms and Patagonia for modern fishing clothing! We are eternally grateful on days like this!
 
 Can you see it? Camouflaged willow grouse

The best fish of the day went to John H who landed a 24lber from below Pots. On hooking the fish it was happy to fight in the heavy water of a rapid. It put up a seriously good fight in the current and John had the drag set tight and the rod bucked double to the point that his guide feared he was going to break it. Roberto T had a nice fresh 15lber from Lake, the same place that he caught one the day before. Matt H had a 15lber from Poachers and Jonathan Murray a 17lber from Waterfall. Of the four fish caught, one was fresh and the other three were osankas, last year’s autumn fish that will spawn later this year.
 
John H with his 24lber from below Pots

Below is some encouraging news from James Beaumont fishing the Lower Yokanga from the Gremikha Camp.

I had a truly amazing afternoon yesterday. There were 7 fish caught by the camp. I had 4. 18lbs, 18lbs, 20lbs and 29lbs. I lost another 3. One was lost after a few minutes, another after 25 minutes and another after 45 minutes which we never even saw. I spent 4 hours playing fish between 2pm and 7pm...only spent about 15 minutes casting...the remaining 45 minutes was spent watching Arni play a fish. It was only a 20 yard pool! I connected with another 10 fish, almost a connection with every cast. Quite simply the best afternoon's fishing I have ever had. I actually got cold because I spent so long standing still playing fish! Crazy to think that, in years to come, when someone asks me about my bonanza day and where was the lie, that I am going to have to point 10 feet up the hill to dry land!
 
James with one of his four fish from the Lower Yokanga

The good news is that there are clearly fish waiting to run the Yokanga but they have just not put in their usual appearance on the middle river as yet. They will surely come soon.
 
Snake Pool, Lyliok, June 2017
 
I will sign off by posting photos of Snake Pool on the Lyliok river, taken within days of each other this year and last year.

Henry Mountain

Snake Pool, Lyliok, June 2016