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 firstname.lastname@example.org for prices and an itinerary.
Henry Mountain and Peter Rippin
Could this be you in 2017?