The Belousiha and Voronya Rivers offer clients two totally different experiences, whilst at the same time providing the conditions for Salmon fishing that Russia's Kola Peninsula has become synonymous with. The Belousiha is a relatively small but exquisite looking river set amidst spectacular and changing scenery. suitable for light-single or switch rods it has a run of grilse alongside salmon that easily surpass the 20lb mark. The Voronya by contrast is the tail of what was once quite likely the largest and big salmon river in Russia. Double-handed rods are the order of battle for this powerful river, both to cover the water and to handle its substantial salmon! Two rivers, two different experiences but within 2 1/2 hrs drive from Murmansk!
The Belousiha river, overlooked by the lodge, is as intimate a river as you could wish to find in Russia. Fished by just 4-6 rods, it offers two quite distinct upper and lower beats, although there are significant stretches in between where salmon will also hold and are caught. The run of salmon in the Belousiha is predominantly grilse but in amongst them are a good number of fish which will reach sizes of up to 100cm. It is a small river, but with every chance of a bigger fish along the way. Anglers predominantly fish with single or short switch rods. Although during the early season the river will carry a degree of colour from the tannins as summer progresses you can expect the water to have Icelandic clarity and with it the use of similar techniques including very small and hitched flies. On a sunny day, it is usually possible to clearly spot a good number of salmon resting in the pools. Although vehicles can be used to get clients to some sections of the river, anglers predominantly walk from the lodge along reasonable riverbank paths. Along the length of the river are well-made fishing huts.
The bottom section of the Upper beat is approx 15 min walk from the camp. The river cascades over a series of small falls, creating a series of idyllic salmon pools with both tempting heads and tails to them. Below is a stretch of smooth water which can hold surprising numbers of salmon before reaching another tail where the water drops down a series of rapids. The upper section is accessed by a footpath which runs along the top of the hill past a series of ox-bow bends, where the river winds back on itself before opening out to a series of very fishy pools amidst faster sections. Beyond are a series of feeder lakes divided by a tantalising gorge!
Immediately below the camp is some very slack water which does not make for the easiest salmon fishing but equally holds salmon in deep section. Good for after dinner Trout fishing or the innovative salmon angler! The main fishing beat on the lower section is a 5 min drive or a 10-minute walk but again starts with an absolutely idyllic section containing a series of pools in between more broken water and small falls. A more significant waterfall divides the upper from the lower section of the beat where there is a combination of holding stretches amidst faster water followed by some deeper and longer pools which although they have limited water movement can hold very significant numbers of Atlantic Salmon interspersed by Pink Salmon. The Belousiha empties into the lower part of the Voronya.
The Voronya was once one of the Kola's longest and most powerful rivers. The salmon were large, some huge with some fish of gigantic proportions (30Kg+) being caught as recently as 2002. However in the 50's the river changed beyond recognition with the introduction of two large hydro plants and supporting dams which permanently blocked the passage of salmon from running all but the lowest section of the river. It is for this reason that the Voronya is the last big fish river on the Kola that you have never heard of. Accessibility and rampant poaching meant that its role as a viable salmon river meant that it was all but unheard of as a salmon river. Three years ago the fishing on the river was taken back in hand alongside robust controls to stop any poaching and fly-fishing on the river is once again viable.
The Voronya is a very powerful river. Although it's flow is controlled by the hydro stations, even when the 'taps' are all but shut it is an impressive river with a very significant water flow. The water level will rise and fall and although this definitely has an effect on the psyche of the fisherman the impact probably is not so keenly felt by the salmon! The fishing is double-bank and there is absolutely no shortage of water to cover. Vehicles and boats are used to access various fishable parts of the river however it would also be fair to say that much remains to be understood about this river from a fishing perspective. When the fishing is good, it can be very good. Durimngb the 2017 season, of 211 salmon landed 59 were above 90 cm in length (20-30lbs+). Voronya fish are typically quite short and deep and when caught in such a powerful river will give a blistering account of themselves, regardless of the time of the season!
Belousiha Lodge and all its associated camp and staff buildings are located on a high plain overlooking the Belousiha valley and river. Each season Beloushia Lodge gets a little more refined. As the fishing has become more established and as the potential of the two rivers unravels, the lodge is being upgraded accordingly and for 2020 the main lodge building/dining room will be expanded significantly providing much more room to relax post fishing. A brand new sauna and shower room was added for the 2019 season, a welcome addition given the colder than normal conditions!
The most recent guest chalet consists of three twin bedrooms with ensuite showers and facilities that are of the highest standard, spacious with tasteful 'Nordic' decor. These rooms come at a €500 premium on a first come first-served basis. Unusual refinements for a lodge on the Kola Peninsula include both mobile telephone reception and high-speed wi-fi in the main lodge and upgraded guest chalets.
The standard 'red roof' twin bed guest bedrooms have comfortable beds, spacious cupboards and 24/7 electricity along with the rest of the camp.
Anglers typically fly into Murmansk, either on one of the morning flights from St Petersberg or Moscow or arrive the night before and can stay at one of the unremarkable but perfectly adequate hotels in Murmansk. You will be collected from your hotel or from the airport by car or minibus depending on your schedule/size of the group and driven to the lodge. The drive takes approx 2 1/2 hrs or slightly longer by minibus. Half the journey is on paved roads, the other half a little less forging track. The flexibility in accessing then lodge means that travel plans can be adapted to suit different arrival or departure schedules.
Beloushia Lodge has been exempt from any of the issues faced by other fishing operations on the Kola Peninsula. The Voronya River opens into a substantial sea loch which sets it back a substantial distance from the Northern Kola coastline. The camp itself is approx 25km distant and this places it outside the sensitive military restriction zone which encompasses the Kola Peninsula. Weather will always play a part in the success of any fishing trip but thankfully human intervention should not!
Our trip to Russia was cancelled last minute but luckily Justin saved the day. In less than 24hrs he had managed to get a friend and myself on to the Belousiha river in Russia. I had not heard of this river and having listened to our brief of wanting to fish an intimate river Justin assured us this would fit the bill. All of it could be fished with a single-handed rod and dry flies and hitches would be just the thing. We were not disappointed and all that had been described to us was true. The water was varied with Canyon sections, boulder runs and classic pools. It also had some much slower water that when persevered with yielded surprising results. The water is crystal clear and sight fishing was possible. I had a lovely fish in the canyon that I spotted and caught on an upstream hitch. For fishermen who like to experiment, fish dry flies and see fish this is the river for you with plenty of varied water to challenge and excite - 45 salmon between the two of us!!
-Overnight Murmansk (hotel not included)
-Collected from hotel or Murmansk airport
-2-3 hr drive to the lodge
-5 full days fishing alternating between Voronya and -Belousiha Rivers.
-Days fishing each river can be adjusted in line with preferences of the group
-Full day of fishing
-Potential depart Belousiha Lodge & overnight Murmansk
-OR early AM departure from lodge
The itinerary is flexible to allow clients to connect with the Helsinki-Murmansk charter as well as fly-outs to other camps on the Kola
Arrival schedule can be adjusted to suit specific requirements. additional charges may apply for extra transfers.
The season runs from mid June-mid Sept
Mid June -€3,500
Being further North the season on both rivers does not start until later in June than the other Northern Kola Rivers. The Belousiha typically starts to fill up with fish first and the main part of the run arriving on the Voronya 1-2 weeks later. Typically bright silver, sea-liced fish, can be caught throughout all of June & July.
WWMF hosted week fishing for 'big fish' on the powerful Voronya river alongside the intimate 4-rod Belousiha, with chances for both large salmon and grilse on small rods and light tackle. This is a prime Kola Peninsula week!!
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