During the second week of the 2012 season, the tundra is starting to go green with tiny leaves on the birch trees. The advancing spring always brings with it warmer temperatures, and the endless arctic days that allow anglers to fish the famed Ryabaga <http://www.ponoiriver.com/public/publicWrapper.php> Home Pool through the midnight hours. Spring in Ryabaga is the time when anglers are met with the pleasure of catching seemingly countless salmon on any given day, and it is a springtime rule that guides rarely lay down the net. In addition to numbers this week, though, it was the size, strength, and shape of the fish that over-wintered under the ice that was a true testament to the quality of Spring fishing on Ponoi.
Water levels during our second week of the season slowly came into shape, dropping inches day by day. As structure and lies became more evident, the skilled Ryabaga guide team put a combined lifetime of angling know-how to good tactical use. Seeking out ideal drops or the best wading, anglers had the pleasure, particularly early in the week, of introducing Ponoi salmon to skated dry flies. This most coveted and exciting angling method worked well through the moderate flows of the week, and proved to anglers that the fish on this mighty river are brawlers through and through.
I had the privilege this week of once again guiding the acutely funny Howard Strowman. In between rhymes, limericks, and yarns we managed to eke out several fine salmon, including a 14 and a 15 lb fish deep in the thalwag of Kolovai’s “Black Rocks” pool. Fishing a 500 gr. Teeny and a large Max’s Tube, Howard, as usual, went against the grain of “conventional wisdom”. While other anglers skated their dries, Howard maintained his conviction in the heavy stuff, and pressed on swinging the depths. Moreover, he took great pleasure in the success he found bucking the trend! Nick Sigov and I revived the Argentine disco, and prepared a fantastic bank-side lunch for Howard and friends that included a filet of beef with onions and mushrooms and a lovely Tempranillo. We finished the meal with a smooth Partagas D4 Cuban, proving to all present that life cannot possibly get much better! At week’s end, Howard stood tall and proud and rose his glass to the efforts of the entire Ryabaga team, offering an accolade for the service, care, and attention that each individual puts forth. Thank you Howard, for your heartfelt acknowledgement!
Among the guests this week was Alan Maughan, who was commissioned by Steve Estela and Tarquin Millington-Drake to join Week two-and-three anglers in capturing even more Ponoi action for an addendum to the Gin Clear Media production of “Incomparable Ponoi” (available now for viewing at: www.ponoiriver.com <http://www.ponoiriver.com/public/publicWrapper.php> . This footage will support the full feature film as a list of video bullet points to enhance a viewer’s picture of the Ponoi experience.
Among other bits of news this week, angler Ian Morgan landed what may well be the salmon of a lifetime. After a lengthy battle, Ian’s 19 lb cock fish was brought to net by Big Dan Shelekov. This fine fish, taken in such a unique and beautiful place, will not soon be forgotten by Ian, or by Big Dan for that matter. Peter Barlow joined us for his first this season, and bore witness to the progression of a Kola summer and likewise to the steady increase in surface action. Timo of Danielsson Reels joined us as well, and put some of Sweden’s best craftsmanship to the test. Rest assured, Danielsson reels have brought more than one feisty Ponoi fish to bay.
Spring on Ponoi means numbers, and we posted a catch of 750 salmon this week having actually had some tough winds and dirty water. The quality of fish approaching the summer run is remarkable, and it will be something to see just what enters the system in the coming weeks. Spring means the return of old friends, and the chance to remember that relationships grow in this special place year after year. But perhaps more than anything, spring on Ponoi is a time to remember that any and everything can happen on this mighty river. We look forward to sharing the miracle of the Ponoi River with you in the coming weeks.