Kola Peninsula, river Chavanga
August can be considered the most comfortable month for fishing Atlantic salmon in the rivers of the White Sea basin. If you don’t have any special task or goal and you just want to relax and fish, then mid to end August may be the best time for this. If we remove all possible weather anomalies that periodically occur on any rivers, we can note several positive points for choosing this time for Atlantic salmon fishing.
- the low water level in the river makes available a huge number of pools and does not require special physical effort from the fisherman
- low water level allows you to use a variety of fishing techniques
- by this time a large amount of salmon (past Autumn, Spring, Summer and few fresh) took places along the river
-comfortable weather, long daylight hours for fishing, absence of mosquitoes and midges
I think it makes no sense to discuss each point separately. Everything is clear here. I think it will be more interesting to see how resident and fresh fish were combined in our catches and how we tried to choose the appropriate method of fishing.
This season, the first week of the Autumn season started in mid-August and seemed very good to us. The water level was sufficient and the temperature was 14 degrees. All summer turned out to be cool and rainy, which only pleased us. We are always afraid of the summer heat, the shallowing of the river and the delay in the run of fresh salmon from the sea into the river. This time everything was perfect.
There were a lot of fish and they actively attacked the flies. The average size was somewhat depressing, the majority of the fish caught were resident males 60-64 cm long. Large males, who give a lot of pleasure with their jumps and powerful resistance, did not come across as often as in previous seasons. Fish up to 88 cm were caught, but we were not able to see 1 meter fish this time. Perhaps this is due to the unusually high total numbers of resident salmon in the river. As you know, small individuals are more active, on the other hand, statistics is possible, which states that an increase in the number of fish leads to a decrease in its average size. Let's see what happens next, in early September. And while the resident fish were active, according to some observations it was better to fish in the mornings. Although, it seemed to me that just after a big lunch on the river bank, the fishermen’s physical abilities were lower ;)
All flies designed for low and warm water worked - Green Butt, Red Butt and many others. For the first time in the last few years, I myself returned to the once developed single-hook options. They turned out to be ideal in combination with lightweight # 7 \ 8 floating lines and leaders. We tried to immediately draw the attention of our guests to the effectiveness of the slow and delicate presentation of the flies. I want to say right away that the quality of the presentation became critical in the following weeks with the onset of cold weather and the emergence of mass of fresh salmon. Now, in August, it was already clear that the fish had not changed their preference for a slowly moving fly with minimal lateral drift. The greatest number of bites we get at the moment when the fly stops on a straight line directly downstream from you. This is a feature of Autumn fly fishing for salmon, with the exception of individual techniques and individual flies. Therefore, we advised anglers, especially those who do not have a good technique for working with two-handed rods, to choose the best position, simplify casting and avoid working at long distances.
Fresh Atlantic salmon came across infrequently. Perhaps this was due to the presence of a large number of pink salmon in the river, which led to a shift in the timing of movement of Atlantic salmon. Perhaps the total number of fish in the river was quite large, and this led to fresh salmon were less noticeable. Although the state of water in the river was relatively stable throughout August, the first Autumn migrant fish loses activity quite quickly.
Fresh fish came across to us sporadically, attempts to use more aggressive fly, designed for active, fresh fish, failed. The already mentioned technique of delicate presentation of a small fly showed itself best of all. In this case, the stop of the fly in the stream and its short upward movement against the current caused the greatest number of attacks. Surface fishing was the most productive. This is explained by the general small depth of the river in the fall, and the purely technical convenience of floating tackle and small light flies.
It is curious that this situation remained almost until the end of the season. Fishing the bottom did not give a result, unlike in the fall of 2018. The reason for this change in the behavior of salmon is not yet clear to us. But more on that later. Stay in touch for September – October reports !
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