Kharlovka Web Report

For the week ending Friday, June 25th 2010

by Justin McCarthy

Destination: Russia

Holiday: Kharlovka & Litza River

Click here to see a video taken by the super Swede Mikael of himself with his 42-pound sea liced salmon landed on the Litza this season!

Sometimes you have to be careful what you wish for! After battling through a couple of cold tricky spring weeks up here to open the season, we have experienced days on end of bright Arctic sun almost ever since. Although the unpredictable weather did begin to flip back around into our favour late week, including that one refreshingly cool rainy day that reminded us all why we brought our fancy new Gore-Tex wading jackets, it must be said that we have had more than our fair share of swift southern breezes along with some very warm temperatures up into the high twenties. Oh well, such is life sometimes up here along the magical northern coast of the Kola Peninsula.

Thankfully though, the majority of our guests don’t come here in search of large numbers of small fish – It is the unique opportunity to experience something Great that attracts our fanatical bunch.

Last week it all started out with Jeremy, who tried his best to contain his big fish grin, as he returned back from the middle Litza with stories of his 106cm sea liced 31-pounder. This turned out to be yet another personal best for Jeremy who has been slowly stepping up the big fish ladder here on the Northern Rivers for the past 15 seasons, previously landing several great salmon of 30, 29, 28, and 27 pounds. At this rate, he just may find that mythical 40 to 50 pounder over the next couple of visits.

Good old James was the next one to be spotted with that silver glare in his eyes returning from his overnight adventure to the Litza Tent. Turned out that after three spectacular leaps into the air along with a few good circles around the pool, that James was able to successfully contain his 104cm – 30-pounder in the Upper Tent pool.

Other highlights must include our good Russian friends Vladimir and Anatolly. While the experienced Vladimir is fishing his way across the prime time weeks of the northern Kola Peninsula again and will be going on to the Rynda next week to join up with his charming wife Svetlana, last week he introduced his friend Anatolly to his first fly fishing adventure ever here on the mighty Kharlovka. Together with their guide Vasiliy, this trio proved to be quite a force to reckon with where besides the couple of dozen nice fish they located in the teens, they also managed to combine for a cool half dozen salmon that were larger than 20 pounds – including three great fish of 28, 32 pounds along with the big salmon of the week at 112cm X 61cm 37-pounds for Anatolly. Needless to say, poor Anatolly is now hooked for life.

And then there was Hans who had no idea what to expect on his first experience here to Russia. One bright sunny afternoon we received a frantic radio call here in lodge from his guide Valentine who was chasing after Hans, who was chasing after a large salmon that had dragged him down out of the Amphitheatre pool just above camp. Without hesitation, we packed up the camera gear and sprinted off to the home pool to join in the big fish fun. Like a circus trainer leads a tiger into the cage, Hans cautiously led his beast from one trouble spot to the next before finally arriving down into the Home pool some 30 minutes later. Not wanting to let this great story get away, Hans struggled to pull in his resting salmon from the fast waters at the top of the pool. As it approached the shallows, Valentine lifted the net from below instantly cracking off the handle as if it were a toothpick. Thankfully, going into his 20th season here on the Kharlovka, Valentine has witnessed all this funny business many times before and instinctively reached out for the other half of the net before the bright fresh 103cm 30-pounder had any chance to escape. With the paparazzi quietly in position, Hans let loose his emotions and screamed out many things for joy that could simply never be put down in print…

A few days later Hans, Valentine, and this time Engrebret were at it again over on the Upper Tent pool. Blasting out his trusty Green Highlander like a golf pro hits a drive, all of a sudden Engrebret had located what he came for. The salmon shot up towards the heavy rapids at the top of the pool, then deciding against that, came straight back down almost just as quick, nearly beaching itself along the far cliffs only to end up in Valentine’s new heavy duty net less than five minutes later. Confidently smiling away upon their return back to camp, we asked, “What happened over there?” as Valentine moon walked by playing his net like an air guitar. “You should go ask Val about it, as he can act out the story for you far better than we ever could!” That fine day Engrebret broke his personal best with a stunning 111cm X 61cm – 36-pounder.

Traveling over from Aspen Colorado for the first time to see what all the big fish fuss was about here on the northern Kola, our new friend Robert will be returning home with plenty of stories as well. Robert was obviously a very quick learner for after warming up with solid 18 pounder for his first Atlantic salmon ever, the next day he ran into serious trouble down in the Litza Military pool. Upon catching a quick glimpse of something extraordinarily thick and silver only to be horrified moments later as it shot off again towards the boulder field on the far opposite bank, Robert deserves special mention for eventually hauling his great salmon safely back to the net. Gazing down at its impressive silver girth, it was not all that surprising that they initially estimated the fish to be much larger than it actually was. Stretching the tape to 99cm and then around to 68cm - this was one of the fattest 32 pound Litza salmon that we have ever seen. To give you some idea, Mikael’s 42-pound monster from the previous week was 118.5cm by a mere 64cm in the middle.

Thankfully, along with all their spectacular suntans, not to mention our seven proud new additions the Kharlovka 30 pound club or those other dozen plus over twenty pounds that ranged to 28, 28, 27, and 25 pounds - whose stories will unfortunately have to remain untold – the team had a most memorable time here combining for 151 salmon on the week.

Who knows what may happen next?

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