Sep 26th, 2019
Savan River Float
The Savan River system is a wonderful fishery with many of its hefty trout in the 22-24 inch range and fish up to 30-inches hooked each season. It is a spring creek system with crystal clear flows and a vibrant ecosystem. The Savan is easily floated and the wading is moderate to easy. It is flat, shallow and wide with a pumice and gravel bottom strewn with a few obvious boulders. Overall the terrain is gradual, which makes walking upstream, downstream and across the river a breeze. Vast rolling mountains and volcanoes flank the broad valley it courses through, and partway down the river there is a series of idyllic hot springs, perfect for a relaxing midweek soak. The river runs for over 70 miles, and features countless springs and one major tributary. Fish readily take streamers swinging across the current, and as with other rivers in Kamchatka, a mouse pattern will also produce aggressive takes. As it is a spring creek system, there are ideal conditions for aquatic insect hatches, but dry fly opportunities aren’t common-place. However, they do happen from time to time.
For more information please contact David at 800.552.2729
Expert Q & A with Fly Water Travel’s Kamchatka destination manager, David Kalinowski
Top reasons to go.
1. Kamchatka is one of the most productive wild rainbow trout destinations in the world
2. Have a super-productive river all to yourself for a full week
3. Experience the remote wilderness fishing and natural beauty of Kamchatka
4. Daily opportunities at trout over two feet in length that fight incredibly hard
5. Great and utterly foreign international travel experience in addition to superb fishing
Where is the lodge?
This is a wilderness float trip where guests set up two person tents each evening. There is a camp host and cook that also float along to assist and take care of you. The river is located about 50 minutes by helicopter south of Petropavlovsk-Kamchatskiy.
How do I get there?
Most of the season guests take the weekly flight from Anchorage to Petropavlovsk. You will need to arrive in Anchorage and overnight prior to flying to Russia. The morning of your departure date you will check in at the Anchorage airport and board your flight to Russia. The flight is about four hours and crosses the international date line, so upon arrival in Russia it will be late morning the following day. Upon arrival, you will line up and go through customs. The process can be slow but there should be no problems if your papers are in order. From there you pick up your baggage and a representative will be waiting with a sign from the destination you are visiting. They have a list of anglers, so once all the anglers are through customs and have checked in with the outfitter, they will load you up in buses for transport to the helicopter. Don’t be surprised if there is a delay as fog is common in the mornings. If there is a delay, the outfitter will take you to a restaurant or a local B&B to wait. Once its clear to fly, you will board the helicopter and fly to the Savan base-camp where you will pick up more staff and equipment for the trip. Once all is loaded, you will fly 15 to 20 minutes upriver to start your float trip.
Do I need a Visa?
Yes. All US anglers will need a Visa. You should obtain this at least one month prior to your trip date. The process is fairly involved so we will recommend a travel service to help you.
When should I go?
The season is July through early September and honestly, fishing is good throughout. Early weeks offer fewer Dolly Varden and fewer salmon maximizing rainbow catch. Mosquitoes will also be fairly active. August sees the arrival of more Dolly Varden and the salmon begin to spawn. There is more variety in the catch, bugs become less abundant but more bears show on the riversides due to the salmon.
Where do they fish?
The Savan River is broad and shallow throughout its course. The upper portion is a bit more rocky, so the wading here is moderate in difficulty. As the river meets its other fork, the Ichanga river, it becomes even broader with shallow gravel dominating and easy wading. The fishing is done while wading for the most part, but some may opt to fish out of the boat while the guide walks it down. Due to its shallow nature, the pockets of deeper water or any in-stream structure typically holds fish.
Where do we stay?
The program has each two guests sharing an expedition-style two person tent. It is appreciated if guests give a hand with set up and take down of your tents. The outfitter provides comfortable air filled pads but guests will need to bring their own sleeping bag. Guests should also have a large dry bag for all of their personal belongings. The crew will set up a dining tent, cook tent and outhouse at each stop. They can also set up a simple shower with water heated by fire or stove.
Who is best suited to this destination?
This is a trip best for those who appreciate simple accommodations and being in touch with nature. I feel that anglers with a bit of self sufficiency and the ability to wade at a moderate level will get the most out of this trip. The angling is productive, so beginning anglers will have success but its best if you can tie your own knots, choose your own flies and read water while independently wading. Last but not least, all anglers heading to Kamchatka should be game travelers that can roll with the unexpected punches that travel in Russia sometimes entails.
What are the meals like?
The meals are tasty, but simple. Breakfast consists of crepes or french toast with eggs. They always have coffee and tea along. Summer sausage or cold cuts, crackers, bread and cheese is set out with each meal. Lunch is prepared riverside by the cook and camp host who meet you during your fishing day downriver from the previous camp. Dinner usually starts with soup and bread, then a meat option with a side of some sort. There are a lot of root veggies, potatoes, carrots, onions and such. There is no real dessert option, but chocolate bars and cookies are usually around to satisfy the sweet tooth.
How would you describe the general vibe and atmosphere?
The vibe is very casual. This is a remote environment where a simple issue can cause great problems. Its best to limit your risks and keep safety in mind.
Is there an on-site manager, owner or point person at the lodge?
The staff consists of three guides, a cook and camp hand. Typically there is an English speaking head guide that helps with logistics and acts as a translator to the staff. The Russian guides speak varied levels of English but communication is typically adequate.
Is there internet and cell service?
There is no internet or cell service while on the river. There is limited satellite internet at the base-camp where the trip begins and ends.
How do they fish?
All fishing is done on a tight line with either streamers or mouse patterns. You can have some instances where you can change it up and drift some dry flies in a traditional manner, but this is not consistent or the most-productive way to fish. It does offer a change of pace from all the catching though.
How many fish will I catch?
Typically lots of fish are hooked, a mix of rainbow trout, Dolly Varden and even chum or sockeye salmon can be encountered. Double digits should be easy to obtain. A handful of quality rainbow trout opportunities each day is decent. The rainbow trout here are thick, hard fighting and large.
What are the guides like?
There is a lead guide, Diego, who should be back next season, he is from Patagonia and a very experienced guide and an equally good man who offers great service and information to all. The other guides are Russian locals who are good at getting you in front of the fish. The all do not have the language skills to always properly communicate what exactly needs to be done to have the greatest success, but with some self sufficiency and a great attitude, you will get the most out of this trip.
Will we see other anglers?
No, the only people you will see will be in your party. This is one of the most enjoyable things about Kamchatka, having a river to yourself and soaking up the surrounding beauty in solitude.
Is there wade fishing?
Most if not all of the fishing is done while wading. Rafts are used to get from spot to spot and while there might be an occasion where the guide will walk the boat while you fish out of it, this is only if you want such service.
How far is it to the fishing grounds?
You are on the river the entire time, so you will have little to no travel time before you start fishing each day.
Does the lodge provide equipment?
No, this is certainly a trip where you want to come prepared with everything you need.
What is your favorite rod(s) for the trip?
Having a couple rods is important on such a trip. I brought two 6 weight rods along with a 7 weight. I fished them all, but mostly a 9′ 6″ 6 weight.
What are the top flies?
Your favorite mouse pattern. It is appreciated having an upturned stinger hook style fly. I found a trimmed down Morrish Mouse 2.0 to be great and the Mr. Hankey was a producer. Along with the Mouse patterns, having steamers like the Dali Llama and Morrish Medusa (flesh) is important and will help with catching the Dolly Varden. Any decent smolt or sculpin intimation should get eaten as well.
Are there other activities?
This is certainly a trip for anglers only.
What is the cost?
Please see the Rates and Details section of our Savan River Float page for the current rates: https://www.flywatertravel.com/destination/Savan_River_Float
Does this trip combine well with other trips?
Yes, since all the trips in Kamchatka have the same turnover dates due to the once a week flight from Anchorage, with advanced planning this trip pairs well with Alaska fishing trips.
Are there special skills required?
Guests just need to have some wading skills and a bit of self sufficiency when it comes to the fishing.
What are the physical demands?
There is some walking involved. Being able to wade moderately well is helpful. While many portions of the river are easily waded, there are instances where rocks and swift water can make it a bit more challenging.
Dangers and annoyances?
It must be said that the remoteness of this venue requires guests to be aware and careful. A simple accident here has significant consequences. There are bears and bugs, and there are helicopters and rafts, all which have related risks. The language barrier and style of guiding can at times be annoying, especially for those that haven’t had their expectations properly set. Weather-related flight delays are a real possibility as is getting picked up early if a major storm is predicted. Additionally the process of getting your visa and tickets is more cumbersome than many travelers are accustomed to, so staying cool and rolling with the punches is a great asset for all anglers headed toward Kamchatka.
Getting dropped off for the start of a true wilderness float trip.
A simple camp that is easily set up and moved downstream each day.
A chunky rainbow trout keeps Diego all smiles.
The brown bears on the rivers of Kamchatka see few humans each season and are also there to fish.
The bear dogs that accompany a group down the river are truly “man’s best friend”.
Bent rods are a normal sight in Kamchatka but some fish will strain the graphite into the cork.