Greetings from the Kola Peninsula! I have returned to the Ponoi River in Russia for another summer of guiding Atlantic salmon. A month has already passed since I stepped foot in Russia, so I figured it about time to send a brief update and share a few photos of the journey, the fishing, and life here in camp. Things are always easier the second time around, and I can gladly say that medical exams for the work visa, while every bit as invasive as last time (especially the “pipe cleaning”), didn’t produce the same level of anxiety or psychological damage as before. I at least knew what to expect, though I certainly wasn’t looking forward to it! It is nice to already know the river and my way around here, although my Russian is unfortunately still the same as before, which is to say almost nonexistent.
Atlantic salmon have a reputation for being exceedingly hard to catch (hence the nickname “fish of a thousand casts”), but the allure of the Ponoi is that it’s not uncommon to catch ten in a single day when the fishing is good. This certainly makes life easier if you’re a guide. Compare that with Scotland, for example, where a few fish per week is considered excellent.
True to form above the Arctic Circle, the weather has been incredibly erratic. We have to be prepared for all four seasons every day we go out. We recently had scorching temperatures in the low 90s all day, only to awake to snow flurries the next morning. The unstable weather is at least keeping the bugs at bay for a little longer than usual, although at times they are so thick you can’t breathe or talk without ingesting some unintended protein (see photo). ????????? ????, and stay tuned for more updates!