2008 on Russia's Yokanga: A year of big water and big fish! by Roddy Hall
In common with all of the Kola Rivers, 2008 saw a very late spring and therefore a cold and challenging start to our season. We were fortunate in that all the ice had left the river by the time we started on June 7th and although the water was cold at 3.5 C it was warmer than some other rivers in the northern parts of the peninsular. Read more .....
In common with all of the Kola Rivers, 2008 saw a very late spring and therefore a cold and challenging start to our season. We were fortunate in that all the ice had left the river by the time we started on June 7th and although the water was cold at 3.5 C it was warmer than some other rivers in the northern parts of the peninsular.
The main difference between this and other seasons was high water that continued from opening day almost throughout the season. During the first couple of weeks the high cold water seemed to discourage the fresh fish running up the river as quickly as they normally do and we suspect many of them stayed in the large Yokanga Lake, just below our 'Waterfall Beat'. Fish did of course start running into all the beats but definitely later than normal and what was interesting was that very few were sea-liced and seemed to have been slowed in their ascent of the river.
Despite conditions the quality and size of the fish was superb with late June and July providing some great sport with many fish over 30lbs and some in the late 30s and well into the 40s. Iain Kirk landed a superb fish of 39lbs from the bottom of Boulder Ally and 'Toti' the Icelandic dentist and Sigurjon Sigurjonsson both had fish of over 40lbs.
July started well, but just as the water seemed to be falling to a good level we had rain again and the river rose. This happening two or three times during the month, and we had quite mixed fishing as a result. There were a lot of grilse around and these took well at all times, but the larger fish seemed temperamental and fishermen definitely had to be in the right place at the right time.
That said, July and early August produced our best two weeks of the season in terms of numbers and good all round fishing. Week 7 in particular was outstanding, with a group of fishermen from Northern Ireland and Scotland, many of whom had not fished the river before. Two thirds of the group caught their largest ever salmon and many caught several seasons worth on their home rivers! The rod average was nearly twenty for the week and everyone was very happy. The following week, the 2nd to the 9th August also fished very well, and the most notable achievement was Dr. Martin Wright who landed three fish over thirty pounds during the week!
All in all 2008 was notable for our largest tally of very large fish for some time, a difficult start due to a late spring and a good finish with lots of fresh fish still running into the river in early August. See you there in 2009!
Fly Fish Yokanga Ltd
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