Ponoi River Fishing
Fly Fishing for Atlantic Salmon
Kola Peninsula - Russia
The Ponoi River is located just above the Arctic Circle and is regarded as one of the world's best Atlantic salmon rivers. The largest river on the Kola Peninsula, the Ponoi varies from 200 to more than 500 feet wide, but with a gentle gradient and easy flow. The Ponoi provides Atlantic salmon fishing in two of its purest forms: floating-line fishing and excellent opportunities to fish skated dry flies. The Ryabaga Camp is one of the finest tent camps in the world, with its luxurious bath and sauna houses, plush robes, delicious cuisine, Wi-Fi access, and more.
Fly Fishing the Ponoi River
The strength of the Ponoi is consistency. Guests have landed as many as 150 salmon on their own rod in a week, with weekly camp totals reaching over 1,400 fish. While other anglers who have fished only skated or dry flies have landed 65 fish during their stay, with over 180 rises to their fly. Of course, we all know that fishing is not always like this, so one also has to examine the downside: "How reliable is the Ponoi?"
The worst five-year average is 17 fish per rod per week, which, across an 18-week season, demonstrates great reliability.
In July, the temperature rises, so dry fly-fishing has proven to be very effective. Forty percent of the fish caught are over 10-pounds, with fish landed every week in the 20-plus pound range.
Double-handed rods are used effectively here, but this river does not require heavy tackle.
Watch 15:31 Vimeo video.
Ponoi - Three Runs
A Typical Day:
Mornings on the Ponoi can start as early as 5:00 a.m. with an unguided visit to the Home Pool. From 6:30 a.m. on, tea and coffee are available in the Big Tent. At 7:30 a.m., cereal, fruit, yogurt, and fresh pastries are available. At 8:00 a.m., a hot breakfast is served. At 8:45 a.m., your guide will meet you at your tent and escort you to the boats, a 5-minute walk. If you prefer, you can get a lift in one of the all-terrain vehicles. Either way, you do not have to carry your gear. Once on the river, you might travel up to 35-minutes before fishing. You'll have a streamside lunch, then continue fishing. You'll return to the Camp at 6:00 p.m. Enjoy a sauna before dinner at 8:00 p.m. The big home pool right in front of the Camp is retained as open water for those who want to fish earlier in the day or after dinner.
Ponoi River Fishing Seasons
The Ponoi season runs from late May to early October. The largest number of fish are caught during the first five weeks of the season
during some of the famous white nights with twenty-four hours of daylight. During this period, grilse run with the salmon, although the salmon-to-grilse ratio is about 2:1. The catch stats range from 30 to 40 fish per rod per week and sometimes much higher.
The middle weeks of the season provide good value. The warmest weather tends to be the most productive for those who enjoy dry-fly fishing. Water levels are lower, and wading and bank casting are much easier and more interesting. These weeks produce 20 to 30 fish per rod on average, but many people have caught 40 or more.
From late June, a new run of fish known as the true Summer run enters the river. It consists of 9-14 pound mint-bright hen fish, with some larger males up to and over 20-pounds. With them also run more grilse. These are fantastic fish and are free-takers.
During the Autumn run, the numbers remain about even in the 20 to 30 fish per rod range, but these are some of the largest salmon. The run begins in the very first days of August at the same time that the mosquitoes start to disappear.
By September, nearly half the catch is 10- to 20-pounds-plus, bright and fit with only a handful of grilse showing. As with salmon fishing anywhere, weekly results are greatly influenced by prevailing weather conditions.
Physical condition: You don’t have to walk far or wade if you prefer not to. You can stay in the boat all day or fish the home pool. There are five steps to each cabin, but the Camp has several sturdy individuals who can help support a person up the stairs. The cabins have enough space for a wheelchair. The Camp can provide a folding chair or stool for the shower if needed.
Ponoi Boats and Guides
River Transportation: Both Hovercraft and boats are used for daily transport to the fishing beats.
Boats: Custom-made, wide-bodied and stable, 17-foot aluminum flat-bottom type boats powered by jet units are employed. Productive fishing water is accessible in both directions from the camp by boat and remote beats by boat or hovercraft. Fishing beats are rotated. Opportunities for endless wading or anchoring and casting from the boat. Two anglers per guide and boat.
Guides: The camp has at least 12 guides. All guides speak English and are true professionals, teaching all disciplines of spey casting and single-handed rod casting.
Equipment: is not provided. Double-handed spey rods are the norm (14-foot for 9 wt. is perfect) floating and/or sink tip lines; flies range from double-hook traditional patterns to small tubes to skated dries, depending on water temperature and conditions. Chest waders and rain gear are a must. The Camp has a fully-stocked tackle shop with rods, reels, lines, and a huge selection of flies. A complete list of what to bring is included in our confirmation packet.
Fishing Licenses: are included in the package.
Staff: Over thirty staff, including 12 guides, 4 mechanics, 6 chefs, a doctor, and a camp masseuse, look after a maximum of twenty guests in camp.
Getting to Ponoi River Camp:
You'll fly to Helsinki, Finland, and spend the night at Hotel Kamp, one of Helsinki's finest hotels (not included, but the outfitter gets an excellent rate for the group). In the morning, you'll take a charter flight to Murmansk Airport in Russia. Here, you'll be greeted by members of the lodge staff who will assist you with customs and baggage transfers. You'll then board an MI-8 helicopter and fly directly to the Ponoi Camp, about a 90-minute to two-hour flight, depending if a fuel stop is required.
The roundtrip charter flight from Helsinki to Murmansk is not included in the package and costs approx. $1,250.00. The roundtrip helicopter flight (Murmansk to Camp) is included in the package.
The Ryabaga Camp caters to 22 anglers. Duplex-style, heated cabins. Each angler has his own room with a queen-sized bed, Wi-Fi access, around-the-clock electricity, daily maid service, plus, ensuite bathroom with shower, towels, and plush robe. The main social hub of the camp is the Big Tent, which has two wood-burning stoves, a fully stocked bar with a comfortable lounge area, and a large dining area. There are also luxurious bath and sauna houses, a fly shop, gym, an onsite helicopter, and a medical doctor in case of emergency, a massage service, and a museum documenting Ponoi history.
Meals: At the Camp, you'll find the finest food in all of Russia. Hot breakfasts with fresh pastries and superb river lunches. Five-course gourmet dinners feature entrees such as salmon, reindeer tenderloin, filet of beef, and other delicacies. Wine and Vodka are served with dinner.
Communications: The Camp has free Wi-Fi.
View 4:49 Vimeo Video on Camp Facilities.
2022 USD Rates
7-nights and 6-days guided fishing, plus a half-day of unguided fishing on the day of arrival.
One angler per room and two per boat.
Prices are per person:
• May 21-28 - $12,990.00
• May 28 - June 4 - $13,900.00
• June 4-11 - $16,590.00
• June 11-18 - $16,590.00
• June 18-25 - $15,790.00
• June 25 - July 2 - $13,390.00
• July 2-9 - $12,300.00
• July 9-16 - $8,990.00
• August 6-13 - $8,990.00
• August 13-20 - $13,390.00
• August 20-27 - $15,990.00
• Aug. 27 - Sept. 3 - $16,290.00
• September 3-10 - $16,590.00
• September 10-17 - $16,590.00
• September 17-24 - Reserved
• Sept. 24 - Oct. 1 - $14,490.00
• October 1-8 - $11,490.00
• October 8-15 - $8,990.00
2022 USD Rates
Ryabaga Guest House:
The Ryabaga Guest House is available on a request-only-basis for full parties of
Prices are per person:
• June 25 - July 2 - $14,390.00
• July 2-9 - $13,300.00
• July 9-16 - $9,990.00
• August 6-13 - $8,990.00
• August 13-20 - $14,390.00
• August 20-27 - $16,990.00
More about the Ryabaga Guest House: The private house has a great room and a fully stocked wader/drying room. All meals and services are provided by its own staff. The Guest House’s location has one of the most stunning views of the entire Kola Peninsula.
Roundtrip helicopter flight from Murmansk (Russia) to the Ponoi River Camp, all meals and accommodations at the river, vodka and wine with dinner, soft drinks, guided fishing, and fishing permits.
Packages Do Not Include:
Roundtrip airfare from your home to Murmansk, roundtrip airfare Helsinki/Finland/Murmansk/Helsinki (approximately $1,250.00 and subject to change), meals and accommodations in Helsinki or other en-route cities, visa processing, alcoholic beverages— aside from the vodka and wine served with dinner, fishing equipment, gratuities to guides and camp staff, travel insurance, Global Rescue, items of a personal nature, and anything not mentioned under inclusions.
Deposit Required:A 50% deposit is required to confirm a reservation. Final payment is due 90-days before departure. All payments are non-refundable. We recommend Trip Cancellation Insurance.
Visit our Travel Insurance page.