When I told my wife, that I intended to go to Finnmark for salmon fishing for the 6th time in a row, she said "Why don't you try something new?" Simple question, simple answer "Your're right." And as I meet Steffen Juhl, owner of Salmon Junkies (they offer some formidable rivers on Kola like Umba, Kola and Grand Varzuga) some time ago through my good old friend Blumi, and as he already had spent a good week on Umba, I decided to go for it too. So I called Steffen Juhl and booked the third week in June.
Cut. Munich-Moscow-Murmansk. (I spare you the useless words on travelling to what we are looking for). But one part of the trip I have to mention. And I am tempted to call it "the spare part", which actually stands for the bus that tortured the 8 fishermen from Murmansk to Umba. This bus was just a nightmare. and this was just the trip to the river... imagine what it feels like when you have to leave the river.
Which gets us to the topic: Umba River. Beautiful. Mulitfaceted. Large in the lower part, wilder in the upper part called Krivetz. The lodge: perfect. The right mixture between the feeling of wilderness and the comfort of whiskey by the fire side. The team: just cream. Really nice and easy, but wide awake and attentive for every single guest. The guests: knock on wood, great mixture. 2 austrians, 1 irish, 4 french and me. Alltogether: a bunch of entertaining guys. My special notice goes to the french guys: just enjoyable. Former castings champions, 26.493 salmon catchers, cigarres and rum destroying savoir vivants ... and before all: regulars on the river. Coming for the 123rd time, coming back again in autumn and really good fishermen. So to make it short: I was impressed and enjoyed their company, as much as I - of course - enjoyed the others company too.
The fishing: finest. 11fish in 6 and half days (of which I didn't catch a fish three days in a row ... must have been a floating-line-wrong-fly-curse-thing, because everybody else went on catching).
The fly selection for Umba fits into a really small box: Cascade and Red Butt. That's it. There's nothing more you need. (The Billy Butt maybe ...). Those flies caught 70 salmon in total in one week, mostly Osankas.
My biggest fish where 7 kg, 6 kg and 6 kg. And as it goes, the most beautiful fish (one of the two 6 kg fishes), a silver rocket caught on the Golden Run (one of "the" pools), just released himself when I was about to get my camera out. It just took him a splitsecond to get up and away. Amazing. Did I loose big fish? Yes, I did. Probably every second lost fish was definitley a whopper ... of course.
Can I recommend a trip to Umba? Definitely yes. Because it's beautiful. Because it's affordable (that's why the bus is more of a nice little anecdote than an annoyance). Because all the guys, the guides, the staff are just nice to be with. And of course: because there is fish. Will I come back? For shure. If Kamchatka is not too alluring...
Here are some pics:
|My boat mate Brian from Ireland.|
|One of a few after dinner fish from the Channel right next to the lodge. The perfect stream.|
|The channel worked again.|
|Lunch at Long Pool.|
|The beautiful Lodge.|
|Very nice kitchen view.|
|6 kg at end of Golden Run.|
|Golden Pool. Golden Run in background.|
|7 kg below Long Pool.|
|Right in front of the Lodge, at Home Pool.|