Can't get enough

Rynda & Zolotaya | Russia


Atlantic salmon fishing in Russia is the epitome of excellence! The Kola Peninsula boasts the finest rivers: Yokanga, Rynda, Kola, Varzuga, Varzina, and Kharlovka, to name just a few. Going there during the prime time, which spans two to three weeks in June, has unfortunately become very expensive. Just for this reason alone, there's a certain level of expectation.

On Friday at 10:25 AM, I travel from Innsbruck through Frankfurt to Helsinki, where I arrive at 5:00 PM. At the airport, I meet Bernd and Peter from Germany. I already know Bernd from a two-handed casting course last year. We spend a pleasant evening together at an excellent seafood restaurant by the harbor. This is their second time heading to the Yokanga.

Rynda & Zolotaya | Russia
23. - 28. June 2013


The first Days

After a night at the Hilton at the airport, I fly to Murmansk early in the morning on Saturday, in about an hour. The check-in process takes an eternity. I continue with a military helicopter directly to the lodge. The flight is an experience: the vast expanse of tundra and the many rivers and lakes! At the Rynda Lodge, we are welcomed with our national flags – a great idea.

In total, there are 12 rods at the Rynda Lodge: five Americans (Yvon, Kurt, Bruce, David N. & David E.), two Englishmen (David J. and Mark), one Swiss (Hugo), two Russians (Vladimir & Anton), and myself, an Austrian.

The newcomers are briefed, and we receive information about the river and the daily schedule.

June 22, 2013: Arrival day

In the evening, we go fishing for three hours. Despite strong winds and bright sunshine, I try my luck at the Norway Pool, but I don't get any bites. But the initial impressions make up for it – it's impressive how this mighty river has carved its way through the tundra.

On the arrival day, a total of only two salmon are caught by all participants.

Let me introduce: My guide Petja and my fishing partner for the week, Hugo Baumann from St. Gallen in Switzerland, with guide Sascha. The lodge is located 600 kilometers above the Arctic Circle, so it's bright around the clock. At midnight, I still take photos of the Homepool with the waterfall.

The lodge and the food are first-class and deserve a solid five stars. The quality of the cuisine is truly exquisite, and the head chef is a master. I have never eaten so well at a fishing lodge.

Accommodation is in a small log cabin with a bedroom, desk, and bathroom.

June 23, 2013: First fishing day

I fish Down Under, Eagles Nest, Horseshoe, and Picnic Island, but I can't hook any fish. There are two or three strikes at my Sunray Hitch, and that's it. Hugo has better luck this day. He mainly fishes the pools Rebecca, Rubert, and Prunella, and catches three salmon.

In the evening, I'm really disappointed; I actually expected much more. At the dinner table, it turns out I wasn't alone with my zero results: Five or six of my colleagues landed fish.

From 10:00 PM to midnight, I want to give it another shot and go to the Homepool. Good decision: I catch three salmon, weighing 15, 18, and 20 pounds, and lose one after a ten-minute fight. Relieved and happy, the first day comes to an end.

I caught the 20-pounder on a Hitsch fly; the fish was already in the tailout, in the rapids. How I managed to bring it back up, I don't know – luck is also required.

June 24, 2013: Second fishing day

We are scheduled for the Homepool this day. Early in the morning, I take the inflatable boat to the other bank and hook a superb fish, which unfortunately is lost after a three-minute fight. After ten minutes, I catch a 15-pounder and another 13-pound fish at the Upper Home Pool.

Hugo stays on the bank near the lodge, catches one fish, and loses another.

After lunch at the Homepool, we switch to Rocks Island, where I catch a grilse and a 14-pounder. I can be very satisfied with four salmon.

In the evening, I try again at the Homepool, but nothing happens.

My guide, Petja, inadvertently takes a swim twice on this day. But the weather is beautiful, and he takes it in good stride.


Our great Travel Group

Day 3-6

June 25, 2013: 3rd Fishing Day

As every day, we are flown to our pools by helicopter. We had several pools, some spanning several kilometers of river, all to ourselves daily, so plenty of space.

We fish the Power Pool, a few small spots below, then the Round Pool, the 2nd Waterfall. Lastly, Hugo fishes the Nikolai and Deep Run, while I fish the Red Cliff.

Hugo catches a 19-pound colored salmon at the Smart Dog below the Power Pool and a 15-pounder at the Deep Run. I catch a 12-pounder at the Red Cliff Pool, but I lose a big one at the Round Pool.

After dinner, I go fishing until midnight and catch a 6-pound salmon at the Dancing Platform and another 10-pounder at Rocks Island.

Thus, another great day comes to an end with three caught salmon for both Hugo and me.

The Sea Crab dinner this evening is the culinary highlight. The crabs are flown in fresh from the Barents Sea and deliciously prepared, a real delicacy.

My tablemates this evening are Vladimir Rybalchenko Junior and Anton; both are businessmen from St. Petersburg. Vladimir and his father run the lodge; they are spending this week with us.

June 26, 2013: 4th Fishing Day

Today, I start at the Reindeer Pool, where I only hook a few brown trout and no salmon. Hugo is at the pools Swan Lake and The Inlet.

Nothing works for me in the morning, not even at the 2nd Waterfall, where I don't like it overall. The pool itself is impressive and very deep, but the water has swirls and eddies everywhere. Maintaining contact with the fly is challenging there. However, significant salmon are caught there every year.

Hugo catches another one at the Swan Lake, and in the afternoon, I land a 17-pounder at the Rynda Canyon Outlet.

In the evening at Rocks Island, I catch one salmon and lose three.

June 27, 2013: 5th Fishing Day

In the morning, I'm supposed to start on the other side at the Homepool. Hugo has the same idea, so I let him go first. We head to the Racepool, which is above the Homepool – and there, I experience my shining moment. Within an hour and a half, I catch four salmon, including a male weighing 22 pounds, and lose one more.

In the afternoon, I catch a 14-pounder at Rocky Island and another fish at Bouchers Place. At the end of this pool, I hook a truly massive one that takes over 100 meters of line. After several leaps and another long run, the line gets caught on a rock, and I have to give up.

For my evening session, I go to the Racepool again and catch another on the Hitch.

Seven salmon in a single day – amazing! The day was equally good for Hugo: He caught five salmon.

The weather, as in the previous days, is far too beautiful. It's around 30 degrees Celsius, the sun is scorching the water all day, and the water temperature rises to 18 degrees Celsius.

Not ideal conditions for salmon fishing, but an exceptional day for us! Hugo and I assume it must have been a good day for everyone, but it wasn't. In total, 15 salmon are caught, with Hugo and I catching 12 of them! The Switzerland-Austria duo is doing well...

June 28, 2013: 6th Fishing Day

On the last day, we are flown to the Zolotaya River, a beautiful river located about 12 kilometers as the crow flies from Rynda and about half its size.

At Peters Pocket, I immediately catch a 12-pounder. Several small pockets don't yield anything. Before the Zolotaya Pool, at the Pool Jeremy, I hook a big one but unfortunately lose it after two or three minutes.

Hugo catches a salmon at the Russian Pool.

At noon, we meet with Hugo and Sascha at the Zolotaya Camp, where we have lunch together. After that, I head downstream. I skip the well-known Russian Pool; Hugo goes there after lunch. The pools downstream are average due to the low water level and weak currents.

For the lodge as a whole, this day is the best catch day. At Rynda, there is little sun today; water and air temperatures have cooled. A total of 24 salmon are caught, with Kurt catching the biggest fish of the week weighing 25 pounds.

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    Great catch
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    Mission accomplished
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    Enjoy the sun
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    Enjoy fishing
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    Don't forget to rest
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    One more
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    There we go
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    Sea-Crab Dinner
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    Our cozy Lodge
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    Sea-Crab Dinner
  • 2013-07-flyfish-adventures-russland-rynda48.jpg
    Catch & release
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    Wonderful Landscape

Saying Goodbye

Departure - That's How the Week Went

Throughout this week, 95 salmon were caught at Rynda with 12 rods.

The weather was suboptimal: It was warm and sunny, causing the water temperature to rise to 17 degrees Celsius. The heaviest fish weighed 25 pounds.

My personal result includes a 22-pound salmon and a total of 20 fish. Along with Hugo's 20 salmon, we had the best rod.

Aside from fishing, I felt very comfortable in the friendly group. We all got along very well and thoroughly enjoyed the exquisite food. It seems that some are already considering coming back.


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of the trip