Ponoi Atlantic Salmon
Located just above the Arctic Circle, the Ponoi is regarded as one of the best Atlantic salmon rivers in the world. The Ponoi is the largest river on the Kola Peninsula, varying 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 with its luxurious bath and sauna houses, plush robes, delicious cuisine, Wi-Fi access... is one of the finest tent camps in the world.
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 and therefore 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.
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Ponoi Fishing Seasons
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 which is at usually served 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 enters the river that is known as the true Summer run. It consists of 9- to 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 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.
Ponoi Boats and Guides
Boats: Custom-made, wide-bodied, 17-foot aluminum flat-bottom type boats powered by jet units are employed. The boats are very stable and comfortable.
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 enjoys the luxury of no less than 12 guides, four mechanics, and four chefs, as well as many other equally important backup staff who ensure that the camp is clean and working efficiently at all times. All fishing guides speak English and are true professionals, teaching all disciplines of spey casting, as well as 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. A complete list of what to bring is included in our confirmation packet.
Fishing Licenses/permits: are included in the package.
Staff: Their thirty member staff includes 12 guides, four mechanics, six chefs, a doctor, and camp masseuse.
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 to Camp is included in the package.
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 burning stoves, a fully stocked bar with comfortable lounge area, and a large dining area. There is also luxurious bath and sauna houses, a fly shop, gym, an onsite helicopter and medical doctor in case of emergency, a massage service, and a museum documenting Ponoi history.
Meals: Here, 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.
2019 USD Rates:
7-nights and 6-full days guided fishing
One angler per room and two per boat
All Prices are per person:
May 25 - June 1 - $13,900.00
June 1-8 - $16,590.00
June 8-15 - $16,590.00
June 15-22 - $15,790.00
June 22-29 - $13,390.00
June 29 - July 6 - $12,300.00
July 6-13 - $8,990.00
August 3-10 - $7,990.00
August 10-17 - $8,990.00
August 17-24 - $13,390.00
August 24-31 - $15,290.00
August 31 - Sept 7 - $16,290.00
September 7 - 14 - $16,590.00
September 21 - 28 - $12,990.00
Sept. 28 - October 5 - $9,990.00
October 5-12 - $9,490.00
Roundtrip helicopter flight from Murmansk, Russia to the Ponoi River Camp, all meals and accommodations at the river, Wi-Fi, wine and vodka 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 $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, chest waders, rain gear, other items of a personal nature, gratuities to guides and camp staff, and travel insurance.