Another week comes to an end in Ryabaga, but this past week was an especially significant one, as it was the last week of our 2018 Ponoi salmon season. As we said farewell to our last group of guests we had the usual feelings of accomplishment and sadness; that said, we were yet again pleased to look back over a fantastic ending to a great season.
This past week we welcomed a group of 20 anglers in Ryabaga. We started the week with the hope that the push of fresh fish that arrived in Week 18 would carry on steadily, and to our delight it did. Throughout the week we saw sea-liced fish caught every day, and the steady pulse of these bright fish into our waters made for some wonderful angling opportunities. Again this week we had anglers of all experience levels in camp, with some who had come to catch their first salmon ever, and others who have been fishing for Atlantic salmon for more than 30 years. All in camp were thrilled when Vadim K. took his first Atlantic salmon this week, and equally pleased when Alexei S. and Alexander B. did the same.
The weather was consistent with what might be expected for a first week of October within the Arctic Circle. We saw frosty mornings and cold water, but the salmon were undaunted, and continued to enter the Ponoi. Our anglers landed an average of 8 fish per rod for the week. The fishing was not easy, but it was certainly rewarding. As is the case in these types of conditions, guides chose either Skagit lines with 15’ sink tips (in the T-10 to T-14 range) or occasionally full-sinking shooting heads to get the fly even deeper. Both tactics had positive results. The quality of fish was again remarkable, as is expected on Ponoi, and we saw stocky, silver fish with the broad shoulders that we expect from our Ponoi fall-runners. Gilbert P. and Martin V. posted lovely 19 lb. beauties, Birger B. took an 18 lb. brute, and Lois S. on her first visit to Ryabaga managed a 17 lb. and a 16 lb. brawler. A great week, indeed.
Perhaps the best news is that fresh fish are still coming into the Ponoi, and this bodes extremely well for 2019’s spring fishing. Ryabaga is still a very busy place, with so much to do before the last group of Mechanics leaves camp and the full clutch of winter covers the tundra. Several camp upgrades are still in store for the coming days, and then the camp will be officially put to bed.
It has been a fantastic week for all of us here in Ryabaga Camp, and an equally fantastic season. As we look towards the coming year we can only hope to again share great moments with friends in what is certainly one of the most special places in the world.
Until Next Time,
Austin C. Lo Greco
Ryabaga Camp Manager