Atlantic Salmons

Kharlovka & Litza | Russia

Time for 
Kharlovka &

Last year, the weather during my stay at Rynda was a delight. The sun was almost always shining, and temperatures reached up to 30 degrees Celsius. I often fished wearing just a T-shirt and enjoyed fishing with a floating line on the surface or close to it. They told us back then that it was unusual Kola Peninsula weather. For salmon fishing, these are actually unfavorable conditions: Salmon don't like the sun and certainly not warm water. That's why I had some of my successes last year after dinner, once the sun had dipped behind the hills.

I'm thinking about this weather - or secretly wishing for it - as I travel to Kharlovka and Easter Litza in June 2014 for one week, and then to the Rynda River for a second week. Before departure, I check the weather forecast at home: entirely different conditions! Even the initial catch reports from the spring weeks indicate that 2014 is completely different. The weather is variable: one day sunny and warm, and the next day snowfall and freezing cold. The water temperature ranges from ice-cold to a maximum of 10 degrees Celsius; Rynda and Kharlovka have a lot of water and are running high.

Kharlovka & Litza | Russia
16. - 29. June 2014


Our Arrival

I fly again via Helsinki with an overnight stay at the Hilton before continuing to Murmansk. From there, I proceed to Kharlovka aboard a large ex-military helicopter.

We initially land at Rynda. I'm taken aback when I see the water level at the Home Pool. The river is truly running high! The water is transparent and excellent for fishing, but the river has significant speed. Kharlovka and Eastern Litza are undoubtedly among the best Atlantic salmon rivers during prime time, perhaps even ranked number one worldwide. The lodge is first-class. Everyone has their own log cabin with a bathroom, and the service and food are very good.

Upon arrival, we're briefed: the weather and, especially, the water level present challenging conditions. Many pools are inaccessible; crossing by boat to the other side of the river is too dangerous; the water is cold, and surface activity is rather unlikely. As a result, we all fish with sinking lines and large flies.

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    Surrounded by wild nature
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    Great landscape
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    Enjoy every moment
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    Big Catch
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    Our Lodge
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    One more
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    Helicopter Arrival
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    Great landscape
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    In Action

Our Cozy Lodge

Calendar week 25 at Kharlovka

After the briefing, we get started. We gear up and take off at 18:00 with the helicopter. I'm fishing with Johannes, an artist from Berlin, and guide Sasha. Luck had decided: we were scheduled to fly to the Litza Tent Camp and stay there overnight. Johannes is a skilled angler and has been to Kharlovka and Litza three times before.

Upon reaching the Litza Tent Camp, we walk a few hundred meters upstream and start at the Spawning Pool. I get off to a great start and after just five casts, I hook a 17-pound salmon, which I manage to land. It couldn't have started better! Litza and Kharlovka are a dream for every salmon angler - a natural gem in the middle of nowhere, pristine and untouched, an unspoiled tundra landscape.

Week 25 was extremely challenging in terms of weather. Temperatures constantly fluctuate, and it's often bitterly cold. There's freezing rain, and it's generally quite wet. However, the water level is steadily receding, and the chances of catching good fish are increasing. In this week, despite the poor weather and water conditions, the 14 rods managed to catch 96 salmon. I caught 10 salmon, Johannes caught 7. Both of us caught kelts (post-spawning salmon) as well on a daily basis.

Johannes, my partner, seemed to have luck on his side and mostly caught hefty specimens: a 36-pounder (Osenka) at the Military Pool and another 30-pounder at the Snowbank Pool. The 36-pounder Osenka was particularly remarkable. I'm glad I could witness that! Almost all the salmon are silver-colored and full of sea lice, indicating their freshness in the river. The fights are at times extreme because due to the high water level, the fish have a hard time holding their ground against the current. I was supposed to spend week 26 at Rynda, but I learned that the conditions there were poor. Due to the still-high water level, the salmon couldn't pass the Home Pool waterfall and weren't able to move upstream. As a result, the rods on Rynda could only fish the lower section of the river. In that week, 30 salmon were caught on Rynda.

When a late cancellation becomes available at Kharlovka, I seize the opportunity to stay there for the second week. I'm paired with John, an American, and we both had a fantastic week.

Calendar Week 26

During the first two days, the temperature becomes slightly warmer; the water temperature rises to 11 degrees Celsius, and the water level noticeably recedes. We can now wade into the river at many spots, revealing new casting angles and other opportunities.

Toward the end of the week, strong winds pick up, and it turns bitterly cold again. Nonetheless, we notice that we're catching more and more fish and encountering fewer kelts compared to the first week.

In this week, I achieve a great daily result with seven caught salmon on the Litza River, and I have an excellent day at the Golden Pool on the Kharlovka River, hooking eight fish and landing five in just one afternoon. My new personal best, a 25-pound salmon, was helped by my guide Dima. Together, we waded chest-deep to the middle of the river at the Cross Pool. He precisely guided me to the exact spot. After an extremely demanding and lengthy fight, we successfully landed the exceptional fish!

My best fly this year - a Templedog tied on a slim stainless steel tube - is named "Slim Beaty Bitch" by Dima. It's been performing remarkably well, and I rarely change it.

I'm already certain that I'll be fishing at Kharlovka again next year - it's a definite plan for me!


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