Varzina Trout camp (Season 2001 review)                                                                                                 by Mika Vainio

This year fishing in Varzina Trout camp is now over. The short but hectic season started on 14.7 and ended on 18.8. Five weeks of fishing in one of the best brown trout fisheries in the whole world. The statistics of the season show that an average of 16 trout over 50 cm (20 inch) were landed /rod /week. Additionally, a couple of salmon and dozens of arctic chars were on average captured by an angler. The last week was the best week of them all: in total 192 trout over 50 cm were caught and released by a group of 10 fly fishermen. The previous week and the week before that were also outstanding: 132 and 151 trout respectively. The best salmon week produced 41 salmon for 8 rods with an average weight being clearly above 10 pounds.

The venue

The camp itself had been upgraded for the season with new tent canvases and a fine Finnish sauna with showers. The sauna was very much welcomed and many anglers tried a Finnish sauna for the very first time.(Some of them spent actually almost as much time in sauna as they did on the river). The quality of the food was very good thanks to our new chef, who was borrowed for the summer from a Russian atomic ice-breaker. The portions were plenty and tasteful and the energy they provided was definitely needed when clients were fishing and walking long days along our 12 kilometer piece of high-quality trout water.

Flies and techniques

The list of the best brown trout flies consists again of old time Varzina favorites: Black Marabou Muddler, Super-Tinsel(big flashy streamer), Goddard Caddis, Elk Hair Caddis, Parachute Adams, Montana Nymph, Rhyachopilapupa imitations and various mouse/lemming imitations. More important than the fly itself, was once again the right fishing technique. Especially, when fishing with a caddis pupa, the resentation, i.e., the cast and the direction, the speed and the pauses of the movement had to be perfect before the fish started to bite our flies. Also, mouse imitations were producing best when the natural arc of a swimming mouse was imitated. Some of the biggest browns were especially attracted to our large and bulky mouse imitations. The scenes from the movie Jaws came easily to our minds when we saw monster browns coming after our mice...

Top rod

The best fisherman of the season landed no less than 49 trout over 50 cm. The same top-gun also landed during the same week 22 salmon including several over 20 pounds fish and one giant of 125 cm. Being in a good condition, that fish must have been somewhere around 45 lbs. What makes his achievements even more impressive is that most of his fish, including the monster, were caught on a new type of dry fly fished with a class 7 weight single hand rod. The same guy also landed several trout over 70 cm, the biggest being 72. Again, nearly all of them with a dry fly. In this case with a small caddis imitation. During his stay, he earned a nickname The Machine from his fellow anglers -very justifiable, I might add.

The future of the fishery

It is easy to predict that this years Trout program, which will operate from this week onwards from the Varzina Lodge (the main camp), will have similar or even better success than what we had, in weeks to come. The clients will be transported to the best pools by a helicopter and they are accompanied with skillful guides. The closer we get to the spawning season, the more we will see big fish that are coming down from the large Lake Enozero to reserve the best spawning grounds. These fish will be highly aggressive and can be lured with large streamers and mouse imitations. They are at the peak of their fitness and the runs and jumps can be unbelievable. Fish close to 1 meter length are seen on a regular basis, but landing one of those brutes is a tough job for anybody. Those guys have no rules and they know all the tricks there are. But the hooking of one those larger-than-life-sized browns is definitely an experience of a lifetime. Trying to see a bit further to the future one could speculate, that the trout fishing in the Varzina river will stay as good as it has been over the years that our company has been operating there. The value of these precious living resources are well understood and tight regulations are used to secure this outstanding brown trout fi hing for the future fishermen. Catch&Release with barbless hooks is the natural way of fishing this beautiful and remote river in Russian tundra.

The best of the best

There might be a couple of Atlantic salmon rivers that are as good as the Varzina but there is hardly any other river that can provide this kind of fi shing of huge wild brown trout. These are fish that have been there for ages and which dont seem to know, that a brown shouldnt do the greyhounding, i.e., being more airborne than not, just like a 100 pound tarpoon in Florida Keys. That is really addictive stuff if anything. Varzina is a place where you have to use all of your skills to fool those big old browns. It might also take some extra efforts in a form of long walks, but the rewards are well worth of it.

© The Varzina River Company LTD, 2009 .     .  .