Fly Fishing Kola Peninsula – Russia
Species: Atlantic Salmon
Season: May – October
Capacity: Varies between destinations
Cost: Variable based on river package
Kola River — The destination for trophy Atlantic Salmon. The Kola is the largest river on the Northern Kola Peninsula emptying into the Barents Sea. No wonder the entire peninsula derives its name from it. The camp is situated about 250 miles above the Arctic Circle just below where the Kitsa (a major tributary and a very fine salmon river in its own right) joins the Kola. The Kola/Kitsa fishery is renowned for its exceptionally strong, large, and numerous salmon. The season opens in June and the entire month is dominated by the fresh run of the multi-sea-wintered fish averaging between 17lbs – 30lbs, with some monsters in excess of 40lbs.There are no grilse in the river at this time. The early weeks of June will see high and cold water conditions, characteristic of the early season dictating the use of heavy tackle, fast sinking lines, large flies and tubes. Normally towards the 3rd week of June, the fishing is done with floating lines and lighter rods because the water levels drop and the temperatures rise, creating optimal conditions for both fish and the fishermen.
Lower Varzuga River — Offers the opportunity to fish two rivers, both very different in character from the other. The lower beat of the Varzuga River is generally wide, with a mixture of fast water with short pools and long runs.
Some 13 miles from the sea, the beat is about 2 miles long, with 20 named pools providing plenty of fishing for three days. The Kitza joins the Varzuga at its mouth and flows virtually parallel to it. Here the river is more intimate, around 40m wide at its widest, with 27 named pools both above and below the camp on the 5 mile beat. Both beats fish with a double handed rod in the early part of the season though many opt to fish a single handed rod as the level drops. The Kitza is supplied by a lake and is generally a few degrees colder than the Varzuga.
At the end of April the ice on the river breaks and the fish start running in unprecedented numbers. During the first two weeks of the 2004 season, a total of 1,698 salmon were landed on 25 rods on the Lower and Kitza beats, an average of very nearly 68 fish each rod. Wading is straightforward in most pools although a stick and a life vest are strongly encouraged.
Upper Varzuga camp is some 95km from the sea and 10km upstream from the junction where the Upper Varzuga and Pana meet. By the time the season opens at the beginning of June the salmon will be filtering through into these upper reaches of the river and they will continue to do so until the end of September. The main run of salmon enters the Varzuga from the beginning of May in and, for genetical reasons, the larger fish tend to run the Upper Varzuga rather than the Pana, which sees more grilse.
Pecha and Ulita Rivers — Both are major tributaries to the Tuloma river — one of the biggest rivers in the northwestern Kola Peninsula — which empties into the Barents Sea not far away from the renowned Kola River. Both of them are wild, scenic and offer world class salmon fishing. They are surrounded by truly spectacular and undisturbed nature. Corresponding to their native rivers rugged character are the Atlantic salmon, claiming these waters as their birthplace, and whose strength, size and numbers will challenge the skills and satisfy the demands of even the most accomplished angler.
Pecha is bigger than Ulita with classic pools, riffles and truly spectacular vistas and the variety of water is endless. Ulita is a bit smaller in size and milder in character and offers a highly competetive experience which compliments fishing the Pecha and adds variety to the overall experience. The lodge’s guides know the rivers intimately and use their skills and expertise to assure that you enjoy the world class fishing. Both rivers also offer good opportunity to fish for the Northern pike, Arctic grayling, resident Brown trout and variety of White fish which further enriches this wonderful fishing trip.
The Ponoi River — The Ponoi originates deep in the Western part of the plateau Keiv on the Kola Peninsula, and then flows through the Lovozerski tundra for another 426km completing its journey by flowing into the White Sea. The Ponoi is the longest and largest river of the Kola Peninsula. Over its course it greatly changes its character, from the slow moving among the boggy plains river with the low banks, to the mighty one with swift and powerful currents framed by the canyons and the rocky banks, sometimes 30 to 50 meters high. This character the Ponoi retains for the last 110 km of its journey to the White Sea. The numerous tributaries split the plateau into the rugged hills and ridges, add the variety and provide home to the numerous species of wildlife and waterfowl. It is this part of the Ponoi which the noble Atlantic salmon claim as their birthplace and it is here where our Pacha and Acha camps are built and it is here where the anglers from all over the World are coming to enjoy the greatest fishing for the Atlantic salmon our world has to offer today.
Western Litza River — This is truly a beautiful river and has some of the biggest salmon of any Atalantic Salmon river . The proplem is that there is no accommodation available in the area. We are planning a rustic fishing trips for 4 anglers in a party for fishing the Western Litza. No luxury , no comfort , but some big trophy salmon to catch and lot of fun. This trip is for anglers who do not mind about any service and focus only on the fishing. Low price , but very little service included, accommodation is in tents, sleeping bags, we have 2 guides and 2 vehicles , we do our own shooping in Murmansk , we do our own coooking together with the guides.
The Pana River — Tributary of Varzuga, the Pana can be described as similar to the middle beats on the Spey. Ranging between 40m and 60m wide, the beat consists of deep, slow pools interspersed with fast runs and rocky stretches perfect for holding fish. At the beginning of the season the river is quite high and a double-handed rod is preferable. However, the temperature quickly rises and we switch to floating lines. In the middle of June single handed rods are used by many of our guests and, as with many of the Varzuga beats, at this time of year, surface flies provide exhilarating sport.
The beat offers fishing on two rivers, the Indel and the Pana, and the camp is located on the junction of the two. The Indel is more like a spring creek, narrow and clear running with a shingle bed and it offers a diversion from fishing the main river and can produce excellent fish. Another wonderful diversion is a float trip, driving from camp to the top of either the Pana or the Indel beat and floating down through the day to stop and fish the best pools on the way.
The Umba River — Umba is unique and anglers from all over has travelled deep into the Russian Taiga to fish this fantastic river and the fishing is both intimate and dramatic – but I also believe that the close contact with the local people around the lodge has brought an extra dimension into the journey – something very special that you won’t find on the other Kola rivers. To watch life rolling through the small community of Pogorst when fishing the home pool takes you into another world – back to your grand grandfathers life when everything was more simple and not on a leach of cell phones and E – mails etc.
The romantic but also dramatic nature around Umba River is an important aspect that feeds even the highest expectation a fisherman can have – here you will find all kind of challenging water that can bring water in the mouth of the most hard core Salmon anglers.