The Zhupanova is Kamchatka’s most famous trophy trout river. The fish here are big, averaging two feet in length with many fish nearing the coveted 30-inch mark. The Zhupanova float trip covers 57 miles through a scenic valley surrounded by volcanoes and covered with ancient birch forests. In addition to trophy rainbows, the Zhupanova has a run of anadromous kundzha (a large white-spotted char) that return to the river starting in August. There are also numerous Dolly Varden and also silver salmon which can be great fun in August and September. Guests overnight in six unique permanent camps as they move downstream each day. Zhupanova fish do not give themselves up easily, and while catch rates are lower than on some other Russian rivers, the average size here is unbeatable making this the ultimate trip for those anglers that like to work hard for a handful of exceptional quality fish per day.
Location: 30 to 50-minute helicopter flight north from Petropavlovsk
The Zhupanova Float Trip is centered around six distinct camps that angler float between in rafts. Fishing is done both from the boats and while wading with plenty of emphasis on wading. The river is somewhat challenging to wade with large slick rocks by Kamchatka standards. The guide team typically consists of two experienced Russian guides and one American guide. Anglers get to rotate between all the guides. The fish here are big and somewhat spread out, making it a trip where quantity is replaced by quality. While big streamers fished on floating lines are a staple, the most rewarding fishing involves skating mouse patterns. The fish will take notice of a well presented rodent that mimics the natural mice that fall into the river from time to time. Making accurate casts along the banks and skittering a mouse pattern across the surface with a v-wake rarely goes unnoticed. Anglers need to have nerves of steel as a typical mouse attack can be vicious. The first boil is typically not the one to hook the fish. These rainbows try their best to kill or stun the prey before swallowing it, so do not lift on the initial strike. Waiting for the return and for that fly to disappear before raising the rod tip is of utmost importance. Don’t fret even the most skilled anglers can get too excited and blow some opportunities, but it is those who can keep calm that will have the greatest success here.
Accommodations and Meals:
Through the course of six days, anglers will float between fixed base camps. While each camp is basically the same in their infrastructure. Anglers stay double occupancy in either wooden cabins or high tech weatherproof tents. The cabins have wooden floors, wood stove for heat and framed beds. Anglers need to bring their own sleeping bag for this trip. The tents are similar to what one would expect in an Alaskan tent camp, double walled and weatherproof. There are two flush toilets per camp as well as shower facilitates. The showers have endless hot water from the wood fired plumbing system. The kitchen and dining areas are permanent log yurts and each structure is connected by log walkways.
Food is plentiful and although not what one would consider gourmet, very much hearty and filling. The dishes consist of fresh meats vegetables grown locally. Tasty hot soups like borsh and ukra are always served first and typically a big hit with guests. Beer is provided with dinner and vodka available for sale. Other adult beverages of choice may be brought in form the US.
2019 Rate: $6,995 per person for a 6 night / 5.5 day package
Included: Accommodations and meals, guided fishing, meet and greet in Petropavlovsk, round-trip helicopter transportation between Petropavlovsk and camp.
Not Included: Airfare to/from Petropavlovsk, Visa fees, fishing license, gratuities, personal liquor and personal gear including a sleeping bag, towel and medical evacuation insurance.
Note: Anglers who miss their scheduled transfers to the lodge will be responsible for any incurred costs related to delays and special transfers.
Species: Rainbow trout, five species of salmon, char
Season: July to September
Capacity: 6 anglers