I want to tell you about an interesting evolution of the activity of the salmon , which I had seen in a week on the river Chavan'ga in early October this year.
I have already said that this season has been one of the driest in the last 10 years. Repeated, though not to the same extent , the drought of 2011. Rain, which could affect the level of water in rivers, was not the end of May . Marshes, which are densely covered tundra were dry. The water level in the lakes , buyout located in the upper reaches of many rivers , have also lost much of its water and became shallow . This led to a marked reduction of water in rivers. Since the beginning of August, the water in the river Chavan'ga became absolutely clear and colorless . It is unusual for the rivers of the region , which usually carry a humus- colored water from the marshes . In Chavan'ga water levels stabilized by mid-August and a further fall in the level was minimal. But the level was clearly inadequate for the active approach of salmon from the sea. In the 2012 season fresh fish in large quantities came into the river from the middle of August. In the 2013 season, the first fresh salmon entered the river until the middle of September. On Varzuga or Strelna situation was quite difficult , as the fresh salmon almost stops at the shallowed estuarine sections of the river . The situation in the Chavan'ga was not as critical. There are plenty of good areas from the first kilometers of the river, good stay and to rest.
By the end of September, fresh salmon showed fairly good activity. But the situation is changing right before our eyes. Within two weeks (end of September and beginning of October) it was possible to distinguish three standard variants of behavior and tactics of its salmon fishing.
The water in the river is low and very clean. The water temperature of about 8 - 7 degrees. Silver salmon coming up the river quickly , stopping for a short rest in the deepest places in areas with fast-flowing among large rocks and boulders. In large pits on the river bed and on reaches , he appeared less frequently.
Most fish were caught in areas with pronounced the mainstream of the river. Such places are easily determined for some experience. Sometimes their width was only 2-3 meters and a length of up to 10-30 meters. But the study of such a place can immediately determine that this ditch carries the majority of the water , there is a foot more dipper and is hiding among the large stones. This is very important for the salmon in a low and clear water situation. On sites with a good flow and depth , but with a flat bottom salmon almost didn`t got caught .
In such circumstances , when there is practically no space to maneuver the fish was very important to accurately apply the fly with minimal lateral drift. Most successful was the reception with a stop flies over the parking lot of fish. Easy to strip also sometimes resulted in biting .
At this time the flies were still working medium and small sizes not weighted with a standard combination of colors - black, silver , red and orange.
Apply two-handed rods have been difficult . Cast distance decreased to 10.8 meters. we needed a precise cast and accurate understanding of where the fly is . Part of bites accompanied by bursts of water or other obvious signs of activity. Salmon actively responded to the flies presentation and rises up to the surface actively.
With a sufficiently large number of bites it can be concluded that it was preferable to use thin nylon and fluorocarbon . In a very clear and shallow water coarse nylon was clearly visible in the sunlight . If we miss the mark with the localization of fish or with the presentation of flies, then we show the elements of our gear, or even line to the salmon eyes. Then a chance to bite sharply reduced. In this case, it was correct to change the place of fishing, go to another pool and return to the same place after an hour and a half.
These problems become critical within the next days. With the stabilized level of water the water temperature has a tendency to lower . After a night frost water has cooled to 6 degrees. It was noticeable that the salmon became harder to enter the river from the sea. Leaping salmon became visible around the lower portion of the river.
At the same time , it became apparent that in areas with fast flowing salmon flies become conventional to ignore when I present it near the surface. Perhaps the fish became less active and preferred to stay near the bottom. It is possible that some of it has to prefer areas with more calm and deep water. On this one might have thought , watching the cluster of fish jumping on the broad and deep places below the falls.
In this case, the most successful was the way to catch a salmon by provocation with fast motion flies . Quick presentation of the fly up or across the current often led to increased salmon and biting . The fish often come out to the surface with numerous , often ineffective bite. At the same time, has been steadily growing percentage of bites and unhooking after a few seconds of combat . Iin the case of sunray shadow flies we could think of too large wings.
These days there is an problem with anglers who have had problems with casting . High or fast water can forgive errors in the execution of cast, but now the situation on the river proved to be particularly difficult for those who have used the standard two-handed rods for Spey or Scandy lines. False casts or untidy drop of the line on the water instantly kill fish interest in what happens . Some anglers used very long tippets , increasing the distance between the line and the fly . Another option was to shorten the leader and tippet up to 2.5 meters and win in presentation and flies control .I'm more like the second option, in which it is more convenient very carefully, systematically and carefully fishing on the entire territory of the pool. The use of long leaders and tippets often leads to loss of orientation in the position of flies, which are very critical when fishing in restricted areas on the area of the river.
In the second week of October was intense rain . The water level in the river rose for the first time in 3 months. But the temperature continued to drop and reached 4 degrees.Perhaps this is due to the continuing decline in fish activity. The number of sea salmons in the river rise . Their movement up the river becomes so intense that fish are often hurt the fishing line during his jumps. At this time , it became clear that the fish almost non-stop goes up the river. Salmon ceased to show any signs of aggressiveness and surface activity . Fly sunray shadow and its tactics - fast provoking strips could be postponed until next year.
Now coming to the fore other problems. Salmon in the river was a lot, and we had no issues with its localization. We had to leave parts of the river with a swift current . Bite into the mainstream with the most profound and rapid flow virtually ceased. The exceptions were the direct inputs into the pits , just few meters , the first step down . Given that fishing was still very local , it was necessary to apply the weighted flies - on a metal tube , for example. Was effective method using Slack castes. Within 3-4 seconds fly sink down close to the bottom . Then stretch the line, stop fly with its slow ascent to the surface. This "nymph" reception caught considerable number of salmon . Of course , the technique is quite difficult in a turbulent flow . But for some skill and luck , the fish react to the movement of flies .
With the low activity of salmon had to change the selection criteria flies . Fly lost in size, but has gained some weight. In place of bright orange and red elements come only trigger points of the jungle cock feathers and (or ) orange tip , but more often green tag -but. You could leave a long black wing with flash , but make it very delicate and subtle. A half-inch or better yet a short and thin tube of gold or silver (depending on light) proved to be suitable for the tying of flies bodies .
By mid-October, the state of the river has changed. The water level has remained the same , the transparency of its decreased slightly after a very windy and cold days . But maybe the impression formed by cloudy weather . Thermometer still showed 4 degrees . Salmon activity continued to decline. It was difficult to identify any patterns in salmon reaction to certain flies or fly prezentation in the water. Perhaps the right tactic was a long wait in a promising position. It was possible to minimize the loss of time walking and searching for fish. Salmon rose steadily up the river. It was possible to take an advantageous position and keep the fly in the place which is held each fish . Of course , this activity is monotonous and boring . But this method have been caught the last salmon 2013 season in Russia on the River Chavan'ga.
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