Fly-Fishing for Atlantic Salmon on Russia’s Kola Peninsula
The Road to Russia’s Kola Peninsula
There are fly fishermen and there are Salmon fishermen. Once smitten, many look on any other form of fishing with a certain degree of irreverence -an off-season distraction prior to the main event! Simply put, Salmon fishermen are as often as not overwhelmingly focused on one majestic and elusive quarry - The Atlantic Salmon. For many this obsession will lead to one place; Russia’s Kola Peninsula, home of simply some of the greatest Atlantic Salmon Rivers on the planet.
The Kola Peninsula
Sovereign territory of Russia, but in physical appearance ‘bolted’ on to the side of Finland, the Kola Peninsula was the last remaining Atlantic Salmon fishing wilderness to be discovered. There were numerous pitfalls for the early pioneers who explored the region however the rewards that waited emboldened the organisers and inspired the followers. Gradually tales from these Rivers began to permeate through to the wider Salmon fishing community and names such as the Kharlovka, Litza, Rynda, Umba, Ponoi, Yokanga, Kola, Varzina and Varzuga have become household names amongst those who make this annual pilgrimage.
Kola Peninsula map - credit by Sue Rudge
The Atlantic Salmon Reserve - Kharlovka, Litza, Rynda & Zolotoya Rivers
The Kola Peninsula and its wide variety of rivers and camps will mean different things to different people. At WhereWiseMenFish we have been granted exclusive access to what we perceive as being the four most exciting rivers on the Kola Peninsula, all within the confines of the Atlantic Salmon Reserve (ASR). The ASR was established in 2003 by Peter Power and covers the watersheds of the Kharlovka, Eastern Litza, Rynda and Zolotoya Rivers. The primary aim has been to sustain and develop the fantastic Salmon and Trout fishing within this area, whilst preserving and protecting this pristine and uninhabited wilderness for the benefit of future generations.
For many the Kharlovka is the home of big Atlantic Salmon on the Kola Peninsula. Although the Kharlovka is fished in conjunction with the Litza, held in equal or greater reverence, it is home to the main camp from which all anglers deploy. The Kharlovka camp has supremely comfortable individual cabins with en-suite bathrooms and above all is within two minutes walk of what many consider to be the greatest Home Pool ever.More about Kharlovka River>>>
Eastern Litza River
Unquestionably a big fish river and home to the capture of the largest Salmon caught to date within the ASR. The Salmon fishing is just 9kms in length running from the impassable Litza Falls to the river mouth, the duration of which is characterized by deep ravines, and a host of perfect Salmon pools. The upgraded Tent Camp in the middle allows all guests the chance to spend a night surrounded by some of the best Salmon water imaginable, and a very real chance of hooking a 40lb + Salmon.More about Litza River>>>
Possibly the most attractive of all the ASR rivers, the Rynda is for many the only place to fish on the Kola. Slightly smaller in scale than the Litza but with an equally wonderful variety of water ranging from classic open pools, waterfalls and gorges to more streamy pots and rapids. Although not as abundant in the ‘huge’ category of Salmon as the Kharlovka and Litza, it has very strong runs of MSW fish augmented by a healthy number of grilse. Above all it lays claim to the title as being the most comfortable of all the camps on the Kola Peninsula with accommodation, food and service that go beyond expectations.More about Rynda River>>>
Fished as part of the rotation with the Rynda Camp the Zolotoya is something very special. Little more than a mountain stream it nevertheless has pools which can be covered with ease by a single-hand rod and yet can and often do contain Salmon of 20lbs.More about Zolotoya River>>>
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