Russia - Ponoi 2018


Over the last year, the decline in the Salmon population has continued to fall in the UK, where catches this spring have been the lowest for many years.  A number of reasons have been  proposed, chief amongst which are salmon farming on the West coast and an explosion in the number of fish eating birds (Cormorants, Mergansers and Goosanders).  Add to this the extraordinary amount of rain that we’ve had over the winter, and the result has been a huge reduction in the numbers of fish caught. 

My own last trip of the year in 2017 was to the Tweed, where I have fished the same beats for the last 23 year, always with some degree of success, especially in 2013 when I had 14 salmon in one week.  After that the catches fell off a cliff, and I’ve had only 1 or  2 salmon per week, and in 2017 I had only a stale 18lbs hen.  So I have reluctantly decided not to renew my rod for 2018.  Goodbye Tweed...

My first day on the Wye this year  was 10th May, with the season starting on 3rd March, due to the river having been flooded every time I was due to visit.  Needless to say no fish were caught that day.  Next week - beginning 20th May I am fishing on the Spey for the week.  When Danny fished there 3 weeks ago, leading a party of 6 rods, they had only a single fish.....  And it cost them about £1,700 per head for the fishing & accommodation - each.   That salmon cost £10,200!

In the week of 20th May 2018, four of us fished Castle Grant beat 1 for the week, and had only one salmon, a fish of 12lbs taken late at night on a small silver stoat fly.  We return for what is supposed to be the best week of the year, on 24th June.  When we left the spey on the last trip, they had caught only 7 salmon in the season to date.  The most telling quote of the week, from the head ghillie was “you guys weren’t here for the best of the salmon fishing, but at least you’ll be here for the end of it’!!

The Wye on the other hand has fared well after the rain finally stopped, and on my next day there, 2 salmon were caught on the fly, and I like the beat the more I fish it.

So, its inevitably off to the Kola peninsula again in 2018, this time to the Ponoi river where it’s a little less difficult to get about.  Flying out to Helsinki on 7th July, I’ll be there from 7th-15th July, & am very much looking forward to it.  I’ll be traveling with Frontiers Travel, whose service has so far left something to be desired, but never mind.  The camp is the Rayagba Camp on the Ponoi and a link to their site is here..

I’ll be taking the same flies as I used on the Kharlovka last year, but am intending to add some Olive Frances and a few more small silver stoats to my ever increasing  collection of fly boxes!

An update 3 days before traveling -

We had another totally unproductive week on the Spey in the final week of June, and now I have received an email from Frontiers, asking us to limit the amount of baggage we are taking to the Ponoi!  As the Charted flight is full and may be over weight!!

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