Week 19 Report
Another Season Passes
The final week of the 2017 Ponoi salmon season has come to an end, and with impressive numbers of bright fish still pushing through our system, we were privileged to finish the year on a very high note.
As in previous weeks, the weather remained as favourable as can be expected for this time of the year, particularly as cooler temperatures and shortening days made the approaching winter more evident. Though we did see some wet moments, the wind was quite mild, and the continuous overcast kept air temperatures well above freezing each night, as water temperatures hovered around 6°C.
Though the Fall Run arrived somewhat late this season, it came on strong as the last days of the season approached. A new record was achieved in Week 18, and if we hadn’t suffered the last-minute cancellation of a few guests we might well have had another week for the record books in Week 19. Salmon numbers within the system kept increasing through the week as evidenced by the sea-liced fish taken right up until the last session of fishing. We witnessed an average of 45 fish per rod this week, and with the steady pulse of fresh fish entering the system we can only assume that the 2018 Spring will be something quite special.
As was the case over the last couple weeks, the fishing was done mostly with Skagit heads, fast-sinking lines, and triple-density sinking lines fished in conjunction with the traditional Max tubes. We were all thrilled to note some lovely fish taken by Ryabaga anglers this week: Katia landed a lovely fish that tipped the scales at 21 lbs., and Head Guide Max Mamaev achieved his personal best with a 22 lbs salmon from Lapynyarka. William had a good day with 5 fish over 15 lbs., and Dan was the envy of all in camp when he caught a 16, 17, and a 19 lb salmon in a single fishing day with a single-handed rod!
This size, number, and quality of salmon that we saw through the week made for a great way to wrap up the season. With such a strong run still moving into the Ponoi system, the prospects for the coming season seem more than promising. It always feels good to head home at season’s end with full confidence that we will return to find a river full of salmon come May. As we learned through a challenging spring season in 2017, the weather and conditions will play a significant role in 2018 Spring angling, but for the time, things couldn’t look better.
It was with some sadness that we saw the last anglers of the year depart, but the team turned quickly to the work of putting Ryabaga to bed for the winter. As of now the camp is growing quiet; only the team of mechanics remains on-site readying the buildings, generators, boats, and vehicles for the long, cold, Arctic winter. In the coming days all will be silent, as the long nights of winter will witness the Kola at rest once again. Nonetheless, under the ice and snow and shortened days, the great salmon of Ponoi will lie in wait, filling us all with boundless hope for what the future holds.
Until then, we will celebrate the memories built this year, and cherish them. For those memories, we are indeed grateful.
Joaquin Arocena and the Ryabaga Team
Specializes in the Ponoi and Iceland fishing programs, and Elegant Journeys.
Co-Owner, Global Destination Specialist
Specializes in Atlantic salmon fishing programs and heads up Elegant Journeys.