Primetime in Yokanga

Russia | Russia

the wild

Stefan and Alex from AOS Angelsport in Graz were the ones who introduced me to the Yokanga trip. The Yokanga River was already on my wishlist last year, so it was easy for them to convince me. The Yokanga River is located on the Kola Peninsula, further south than the Rynda River, which I fished three weeks ago during the prime time. I believe that the Yokanga has a stronger salmon run, and it's also significantly larger.

The group consists of 11 Austrians and one person from Munich, and I quite like that. Last spring in Kola was extremely hot, and the massive amount of snow from the winter melted quickly. During the prime fishing time in June, the Yokanga River experienced up to 30 degrees Celsius of outside temperature and 19 degrees Celsius of water temperature. This is one of the reasons why the catches were relatively low and there weren't many large salmon caught. However, before our trip, the temperatures started cooling down, and despite the low water levels, we can expect a great summer fishing experience. Water temperatures of 13-14 degrees Celsius look promising.

The Haider brothers and our colleagues from the eastern part of Austria are flying out from Vienna. Helmut Aleeze, the person from Munich, and I are taking a flight from Munich to Moscow. We all meet at the Moscow airport and pass the time before our flight to Murmansk by enjoying a good meal. In the evening, we finally board the small Aeroflot plane to continue our journey to Murmansk.

Russia | Russia
13. - 19. July 2013

Our Travelgroup

Arrival in our cozy lodge

After spending a night in Murmansk, we wake up in the morning and a taxi takes us to the airport, where the travel organization greets us and transfers us to the helicopter departure site by bus within 20 minutes.

We embark on an hour-long helicopter journey to the lodge – an absolute adventure right at the beginning of this trip. Upon arriving at the lodge, we are warmly welcomed. I'm quite impressed by the lodge and its surroundings, and the food is delightful as well. I have a single room; the rooms are very well-appointed and truly cozy.

Time to


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July 13, 2013: Arrival Day

After lunch and an orientation, we walk to the Homepool. I have five strikes but no catch. Darn, it can be frustrating when I can't land a fish with five strikes. It's starting to feel like an arrival day curse; it seems to be always challenging for me. I'm reminded of my start on the Rynda. On the opposite side of the river, Alex and Stefan are fishing and having success there. On the first evening, nine grilse and six salmon are already caught.

July 14, 2013: 1st Fishing Day - Nord Camp

I'm teamed up with Klaus Dirnberger. Klaus is also relatively new to Atlantic salmon fishing, just like me. He was in Canada before, and I was at Rynda. We hit it off immediately and board the helicopter with full motivation, heading to the "Nord Camp." Getting in and out of the helicopter is truly an adventure. "Nord Camp" is a river section that stretches for several kilometers and has top spots for salmon fishing.

I catch four salmon weighing 8, 9, 10, and 16 pounds. Klaus hooks into a fantastic salmon within minutes, but unfortunately loses it during the final moments. The salmon is near the net several times, and in my opinion, with a bit more skill, the guide could have netted it. A 20-plus-pound fish!

Klaus loses more fish during the day, but then he lands a superb 21-pound salmon. After dinner, I try my luck at the Homepool and manage to catch 2 grilse and a small salmon. An excellent day!

July 15, 2013: 2nd Fishing Day - Bouchers

Currently, Bouchers is the best pool, but still, we aren't having much luck. I can't explain it: we can only land one grilse here. All the teams that come to Bouchers after us are catching excellent salmon. Because expectations are so high at Bouchers, we stay at the main pool until midday. However, it doesn't change things; we're just losing time. Eventually, we continue downstream.

Overall, it's not my day: I only catch my first fish around 3 PM. My daily result: two grilse. Klaus catches three grilse

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    The wild river
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    Despite the weather
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    On the boat
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    Have a break
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    Great catch
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    At the River
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    Preparing our lunch

Some of my catchs


Fishing day 3 - 6

July 16, 2013: 3rd Fishing Day - Homepool & Lilyok

Today, it's time for Lilyok and the Homepool. In the morning, I catch three salmon at Lilyok, then four more at the upper Homepool, and two more in the evening at the Homepool. Unfortunately, all of them except one are grilse weighing 12 pounds.

Klaus doesn't have a great day: he manages to land one grilse, nothing else. Luck is on my side: after things slow down at Lilyok, I decide to walk upstream in the late afternoon. There, I find a spot where I keep catching four salmon in rapid succession.

July 17, 2013: 4th Fishing Day - Crows Nest

Today, we're at Crows Nest, a beat downstream right after Lilyok. Initially a bit uneventful, it gets more interesting towards the lower end. I lose one salmon and catch one weighing 17 pounds. Klaus also has some success.

The lower pools are open right from the beginning of the season; they're later not fished anymore since no fresh salmon come through. Nevertheless, certain sections down below appear to be quite productive.

I regret that we spent too much time upstream. In the evening, I lose another salmon at Lilyok.

July 18, 2013: 5th Fishing Day - Cliff

I'm really enjoying myself at the Cliff. At the upper starting pool, I'm fishing from the boat, but I miss two strikes. It frustrates me as I might have struck too early. The bites come when the line is already extended; such bites are always hard to capitalize on. Then, at the upper section, I catch an eight-pound salmon. Klaus loses a strong salmon at the starting pool.

Moving downstream, at the next section where the Yokanga splits, I catch two salmon before the transition to faster water. One weighs 19 pounds (slightly colored) and the other 14 pounds. It's a real battle, as both fish dart into the rapid water and swim downstream. I give chase for at least 100 meters. In the evening at Lilyok, I don't get any bites. On that day, Klaus also catches three grilse and a superb 15-pounder. An exceptionally good day for both of us!

July 19, 2013: 6th Fishing Day - Seven Island

Already the last day, what a shame! Many would love to stay longer... Klaus and I fish the Seven Island section. This pool hasn't been good in the past few days; Klaus read yesterday that usually only one or two fish are caught there.

Klaus then catches two grilse, and I land a 14-pounder.

During dinner, there are closing words from Roddy at Fly Fish Yokanga. Everyone has had a fantastic week of fishing and is content. We all had a lot of fun, and there was absolutely no stress, just a great group.

There are medals awarded to Ian Eckersley, who caught a fantastic 31-pounder, the largest fish of the week. Diane O'Neil, with a 27-pounder, landed the second-largest salmon.

From the AOS group, Claude Celotto had a 27-pounder, and Wolfgang Mörtl had a 25-pounder.

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    Wonderful landscape
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    Our yield
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    Our yield
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    Our yield
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    Overview of the region
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    Our yield
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    Our yield
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    Our yield
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    Our yield
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    Our yield
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    Our yield
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    Our yield
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    On our way

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