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Chavanga Autumn 2018. Week 22.09 - 29.09

Last week of September seemed to be no different from the previous one.

Then storm broke out over the sea on south of Kola Peninsula, heavy rains and strong wind followed. Then it got cold. All the puddles in the morning were covered with ice, which disappeared only by the middle of the day. The water temperature dropped sharply to 5 degrees and water level in the river began to rise gradually.

It was interesting how this will affect run of fresh salmon and its activity. According to the observations of previous years on Kola Peninsula, we considered the best conditions when there is slow decrease of the water temperature in the river to 6-7 degrees and its stabilization for a week or two. As a rule, the peak of activity of fresh salmon established during the days with stable conditions in the river.

Indeed, we observed quite a lot of jumping silver fish, although most fish that reacted to our flies were salmons with a purple line on its body. These salmon have already spent some time in relatively warm river water and have lost their silver color.

Apparently, those first chills positively affected this group of fish, which entered the river in August or early September. Their average size was not impressive and was around 63-67 cm. Its important to note here that with colder water fish moved from fast current and boulders to more calm and flat waters. At first it was hard to locate where most fish took places. Some pools that brought us regular action for many seasons were not sufficiently productive. Other places, by contrast, have become unusually productive. As for me, it was very interesting to fish places we normally don’t pay much attention and have a great results out of them.

Part of resident salmon started spawning. The fish began to go into the shallow waters for spawning. It was fun to watch the males fight. It is a pity that the rising water didn’t let us observe the whole nature phenomenon. But it is pleasant to see that almost everywhere along the river, from the estuary to the Big Falls, the river is full of spawning fish.

During the last days of September, the water level continued to rise. According to my observations, in 3 weeks the water rose by 30 cm. Strong north wind appeared. Morning frosts were replaced by sunny weather in the afternoon. Not the best situation for fishing, but good size fresh fish began to appear in the river and our catches.

Fishing tactics mostly remained the same. We were mostly fishing places were fresh fish usually running through and pools where they prefer to rest for some time. The salmon provocation method still worked, the one I mentioned in the previous report. But here I want to note that it is difficult to predict the temperament and mood of the salmon. A method that works in one place or at one time is useless in another. The first decision in the absence of bites - change place. But sometimes the “empty” pool suddenly gives out some good fish to the angler, who has taken the vacant place. The second decision in case of failure is to change the fly. But here, some action does not guarantee that success will happen again. Same thing about methods of fishing and presentation. For example, you can try to fish deeper or vice versa, near the surface. The result is not guaranteed, it can be completely different on two adjacent pools, or a completely different result before and after lunch.

We cannot judge on the number and location of fish in a river. Often, we talk about amount of salmon in the river, we tend to associate our result and evaluate our skills. Sometimes, however, we are surprised at a suddenly reviving river, when dozens of fish suddenly begin to appear from nowhere. But this does not always make us change somethig in methods or technics. Most of the time its just simply change the place or change the fly. Although there are a lot of interesting options!

Finally, I want to talk about another episode, which, in theory, should stimulate the search for solutions. We used an underwater camera. The transparency of the water did not greatly contribute to such experiments, so we do not publish these scraps of records. But some recorded episodes once again convince us that where it looks like no fish - there is. And this is good, you just need to find an adequate and interesting way to catch.

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