Our team of 9 (sadly without John M) arrived at the Sabbachi camp after a trouble free journey to find the river just coming down to a perfect height – the Shark-fin stone on the Heli-Pool just under the surface – but a little warm for my liking at 9 degrees. Fish run through fast when the river warms over 5 or 6.
On our first afternoon just having a pre-dinner cast in the Heli Pool, we racked up 21 fish landed, so we knew it was going to be good.
Day 1. A good fishing day, overcast and mild but with a strong downstream wind which didn’t make the casting very easy. But we managed 94 Salmon with all the beats producing well.
Day 2. Squally showers but another good set of conditions for us: 103 Salmon for the day.
Day 3. Bright hot sun all day and just to prove that sun-shine is never conducive to good fishing even on a peaty river like Varzuga we were down to 63 for the day.
Then it was off to Kitsa that evening, where we had heard that the other team had been getting 30 or so fish a day, with the water higher and colder than Varzuga (as it always is) but coming down to a fishable height.
Day 4. Good fishing day except for a very awkward upstream wind making casting on the lower beats hard going, but only 22 fish for our efforts and only a couple of fresh ones amongst them. We also had an interesting visitor at lunch-time when a Capercaillie flew into the camp and wandered about. I have seen Cappers on Varzuga before but only flying and never so close! A good evening also followed as it was Craig P’s Birthday. Thankfully the Vodka stocks held up under the strain!
Day 5. Wet and raining all day. 19 fish in the book but again mostly ice fish and just ones and twos from all over the river, not the expected pods of new fish we should be getting.
Day 6. Nice fishing day with broken sunshine and 18 more for the book, but again only a couple of really fresh ones.
Totals for the book: 281 for Varzuga, 59 on Kitsa bringing us to 340 in all. Interestingly Lower Varzuga produced 597 for the week from both teams fishing three days each, whereas Middle only managed 435. Not for many years has the lower camp out fished Middle.
But the big question is where are the fresh fish for Kitsa? Hopefully they are just late and subsequent teams will benefit.
Summing up – A great weeks fishing by any standards. Plenty of fish and enough of a challenge to make it exciting and interesting. I am sure there wasn’t a single one of us, including me, that didn’t learn a lot more about these magical rivers.
Our thanks to Charlie, Bill, Toby and Maryke at Lower, Ollie and Rosie at Kitsa and all the Russian staff and guides for another fantastic week.