The beginning of salmon fishing season on the Kola Peninsula usually starts at the end of May. On the Chavanga river the season shifts sometimes for a week or two earlier but it happens once in two or three years. Usually the river is more or less accessible and comfortable to fly fishing at the end of May.
The main question that arises when fly fishing salmon at this time - where is the fish? The choice of tackles or flies, in my opinion, is a secondary or even a matter of minor importance. The main thing now, standing on the river bank, to understand where the fish stands or how it will move along the river in the coming days.
It is known that the main part of the salmon in the river at this time is fish, which entered the river in the autumn, also called Osenka. This is a aspect of most of the rivers of the Kola Peninsula that flow into the White Sea. Judging by the fact that most of the fish we catch on the fly at this time are Osenka, there are not so much of fresh spring salmon in the river. Later in June, there will be less and less autumn fish and more and more fresh spring salmon. With water temperature warming up Autumn fish become less active and our catching numbers look more towards fresh fish.
It is very common that the beginning of the season characterized by high activity of autumn salmon. On many rivers with an intense autumn salmon run, these spring weeks are considered the prime time. Throughout the first week of June, the weather remained cold, and the water level was high and stable. It is very good that the water temperature also remained approximately the same 8-9 degrees. It leads to the fact that the activity of salmon stays high for a long time.
The main task of salmon angler is to correctly determine the position of this overwintered fish. Usually salmon occupy places with a relatively smooth and calm current, extensive stretches, on which they can safely wait out the spring drift and flood. But the drop in water level forces the salmon to change their places, the fish actively moves along the river in search of the most convenient places.
As early as the second week of June, it was possible to notice how the fish left the places where we had some good fishing. Surprisingly, the drop in the water level by 5-10 cm leads to a significant change in the speed of the current and changes the interest of the salmon to this place. The most obvious example on the Chavanga River is the Cable Pool, where in the end of May we caught a significant amount of salmon. With a high water level and a temperature of 7-8 degrees, the pool is usually filled with salmon, which uses the bottom variations along the entire width of the river as a shelter and holding place. But as soon as the level goes down, and the temperature exceeds 10 degrees, pool empties. Salmon goes upstream.
Change of effective pools occurs constantly throughout the season. At the very beginning, we focused on the wide and quiet pools (Pantaloni Pool, Cable Pool, Table Pool, Sand Hill Pool, Island pool) that contain the highest concentration of salmon and have the most comfortable conditions for fishing in high water.
The ability to wade in the water at this time is limited due to the strong current and high level. In some places it is necessary to stay very near the bank. This situation requires long casting and a good knowledge of the river. Many excellent and productive pools have become available for comfortable fly fishing only in the second week of June.
First week of June stats:
Water level : +70cm to summer normal level
Water temperature: 8-9C
Water clarity: high
Catch stats: 91 landed and 85 lost for the team of 4 rods
Salmon activity: high
Size: most fish 6-8lbs (below average)
Tackles: sinking lines and leaders
Flies: heavy flies of medium and big size