The Ponoi - Ryabaga Camp Russia

Of all the Atlantic Salmon rivers in the world, the case could be made that Russia’s Ponoi is the most famous. And of all the salmon camps in Russia it is hard not to conclude that the Ponoi’s Ryabaga Camp is far and away the best known and managed. The fact of the matter is that everything about the Ponoi is remarkable. With a long productive season, miles and miles of great fly water and typically  the highest annual catch rates of wild salmon in the world, it has become the benchmark by which all other Atlantic Salmon rivers are measured.

How good is it? Well let’s just say over the course of their 23 year history, that their worst ever season still produced an average catch of 19 fish per angler per week. On a good week during a good season, camp catch rates exceeding 1,400 fish per week are not uncommon and the camp record for the most fish landed by a single angler in week rests at 150.

Equally remarkable is the quality of the camp. Here anglers can choose from luxurious safari style tents or cabins and enjoy remarkable meals in the “Big Tent.” The lodge features a lounge tent, a traditional Russian sauna or “banya” and an on staff masseuse.  Additionally, the camp has a great team of guides and a world class home pool that can be fished through the wee hours of the night.

The Ponoi sits above the Arctic Circle in Russia, at approximately 67°N latitude. It flows from W to E, and enters the Barents Sea on the SE coast of the Kola Peninsula. This 400 kilometer long river is easily identifiable on any map since it is the largest on the peninsula.

Documentation Requirements:
You will need a valid passport and a Russian tourist Visa. Once we receive your deposit for your trip, we will provide you with all the information needed to get your Russian Visa.  You will need to obtain your Russian Visa approximately 2 months prior to departure.

Fishing Program:
The Ryabaga Camp has a well-deserved reputation for phenomenal Atlantic salmon fishing. It offers remarkable numbers of fish, placing it statistically as the most productive river in the world, with balanced catches from grilse all the way to plenty of good-sized fish into the 20 pound class. Here a great many methods of fly fishing can be used, from long casts with double-handed rods to more delicate single-handed rod fishing with skated flies, and even the occasional catch with an upstream dry. Anglers who enjoy fishing on foot can enjoy endless wading or elect to fish productive runs from the boat. All beats are fly fishing only, and "Catch and Release". Over 50 miles (80 km) of double-bank water offers guests unprecedented fishing opportunities. Beats are accessed using 17-ft jet boats and by hovercraft for the most distant beats. All Russian guides speak respectable English and are highly skilled in terms of spey and single hand casting, jet boat operating, helicopter safety and CPR. Anglers fish two per guide and are welcome to fish the home pool after regular fishing hours.

Accommodations and Meals:
Ryabaga camp is a luxury wilderness operation in the heart of a remote wilderness location. Its crew of 30 includes five mechanics, three chefs, four housekeeping staff, a massage therapist and a doctor. Every effort has been made to make sure the camp staff has the best possible equipment with which to operate and ensure the finest food and amenities. In terms of food, comfort and management, Ryabaga is unmatched in Russia.

Accommodations are in high quality American-made canvas wall tents with carpeted wooden floors. Each tent features two extra-wide, hand-crafted beds with comfortable mattresses, premium arctic sleeping bags with flannel sheets and over-sized Finnish down pillows. Each tent also has a wood-burning stove that is lit for guests before they rise in the morning and in the evening before they return from fishing. The camp has a luxurious shower building and Russian sauna that our guests always enjoy after a long day on the river. There are many facilities including a drying room and a fully-stocked tackle shop that is often the hive of fishing tales in the camp. The Big Tent is the social center of the camp. It plays host to the dining room, bar and evening activities, such as the fly-tying bench, poker and music- if a staff member or guest can be persuaded to play the guitar.

Sample Itinerary:
Day 1: Depart home (on Thursday if originating from North America).
Day 2: Arrive Helsinki and overnight (Friday). Hotel not included in package.
Day 3: Take a charter flight (operated by Finnair) from Helsinki to Murmansk (charter flight not included in package). Then take a helicopter to the camp (Saturday).
Days 4-9: Six days of fishing (Sunday – Friday).
Day 10: Departure day. Take a helicopter back to Murmansk and then the Finnair charter flight back to Helsinki (charter flight not included in package). You may fly home this evening or overnight in Helsinki (Saturday).

Typical Daily Schedule:
When you are in camp the day breaks down as follows:
6:00 AM: Generator starts
8:00 AM: Breakfast
9:00 AM: Depart to fish
1:00 PM (approximately): Lunch on the river
6:00 PM: Return to camp
8:00 PM: Dinner
9:30 PM: Tackle shop opens
11:00 PM: Generator shuts down

Rates and Details

2020 Rates: $7,990- $17,290 per person for a 7 night/6 day package

Included: Accommodations and meals at the camp, round-trip air transportation between Murmansk and the camp, guided fishing, one guide, boat and motor for each two anglers, fishing permits 

Not Included: Round trip airfare to Murmansk, accommodations and meals in Helsinki or other en route cities; Visa processing, alcoholic beverages and other items of a personal nature, staff and guide gratuities 

Species: Atlantic salmon

Season: Late May – September

Capacity: 16-20 anglers (depending on week)