Kamchtka VII: All Good Things

bozo

Active Member
#1
Kamchatka VII: All Good Things

Doug, Tim, and I flopped unceremoniously onto the raft as Justin pushed us into the current and then hopped cat-like to the oars. We drifted gently down the river to where the other fishing raft was beached, it’s fishermen scattered downstream of the raft, working hard under the blazing sun, hoping to raise a last fish or two. We were done, worn-out, fished-out, content to drift the last bit of the Peroshnikova to our takeout with our fly lines furled, the tattered mouse flies hanging limply from the rods. We traded barbs with Gary, Sherm, and Kevin as we passed by and watched the graceful, tight arcs of their fly lines and the mouse flies they twitched back across the current. For the first time in a long while, I wasn’t taken with the desire to get in the water and tease another fish from below the glistening surface.

We floated in silence, enjoying the last stolen moments on this pristine river deep in the Kamchatkan wilderness. The stillness was broken only by the whisper of the current and the occasional dip of an oar to keep us oriented downstream. Lazily we floated around yet another bend in the river and spotted the cargo rafts on a gravel bar, bereft of cargo and deflated, the camp crew feverishly stacking and sorting the gear on a flat spot a few feet above the beach. All good things must end.

Thursday, two days earlier, had broken clear and hot. We started the day about 7 km above the confluence with the Peroshnikova. The heat had begun to take its toll on both fishermen and fish. We worked hard to move fish and were our efforts were rewarded in spurts; mostly fish in the 14 to 18 – inch range. I caught several over 20 inches including my last fish of the day, a 22 – inch trout that was the last fish our group took from that unnamed tributary. I was pleased to have book-ended the river with the first and last fish.

LAST CAMP ON THE RIVER

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That night we made our last camp of the trip on a gravel bar at the junction with the much larger Peroshnikova River. Heat-drained, I spent about 30 minutes flopped in the river repeatedly walking above camp and floating back down in the current. That night, for the first time, a blessed stiff breeze blew up, cooling the camp and keeping the mosquitoes at bay. Most of the group turned in early anticipating a hard hot push to the takeout on Friday. Ironically, the camp crew broke out a spinning rod and tried unsuccessfully for two hours to catch a fish. You’d think that after watching six guys with fly rods catch hundreds and hundreds of fish in a few days they might have picked up an idea or two about how to put fish in the pot. On the other hand, they’ve been hunting and fishing these lands for generations and both they and the land seem to be doing well.

Our last day, we began the long push toward home, though I suppose in a sense, we’d been doing that since day one. The fishing again was hot and cold as the heat – stressed fish became less active and more selective. Still, it was one of the best days of fishing that I’d ever experienced. Our entire float that day was on the main – stem of the Piroshnikova that ran deeper and much broader than it’s trib. Rather than fish to structure, we more often covered water in the traditional method of casting quarter down with a twitchy retrieve and then stepping downstream to repeat until a fish rose.

THE PEROSHNIKOVA QUARTERING DOWN

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Late in the morning, on a long, shaded glide, we came about dozens of trout rising to small mayflies, a rarity on this trip. The trout were not selective though and eagerly slashed at our mouse flies while rolling on the mayflies with abandon. I tied on a size 14 parachute adams and for only the second time on the trip turned and cast upstream. Eighteen inches of flashing, acrobatic rainbow hammered the fly and reluctantly came battling to hand.

FISH ON

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A short while later we fished our way down to the stick that marked the end of our beat. Justin advised us that the takeout was just a short float away. I had just landed a 20 – inch rainbow and held him for a photo. The fish had struck well and fought hard. I released the trout; the perfect last cast to this trip. I broke my rod down. It was time to go home.

THE LAST FISH

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PACKING WAITING FOR THE BUS

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OUR RIDE OUT MODERN COCKPIT THE RIDE OUT

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WITH ALEXANDER IN RED SQUARE

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Next: Nuts and Bolts, Q & A
 

Steve Call

Active Member
#3
Once again, thank you for sharing what has to have been an absolutely fantastic experience. The next best thing is dreaming about it.

Great photo's too.

Steve
 

cabezon

Sculpin Enterprises
#4
Another sweet chapter in the story, Tim. Like you, I feel satisfaction telling the story my fishing adventures with words and pictures; none of mine reach the epic level of your adventure. I've been enduring this monsoon reading the trip reports from some of my adventures from this summer; it keeps the fires burning that it will soon be spring again and the game will continue.

Steve
 

Ed Call

Well-Known Member
#5
Bozo, what an epic adventure. Thanks again and again for sharing. I likely will never have the chance in this lifetime to take such a grand adventure, but hope springs eternal and stories like yours will keep that fire stoked.

So in photo 8 who's the guy fishing or standing downriver of the camp butt naked?
 
#6
Great report!! I've been saving for about a year now for a trip. I just haven't made up my mind where. Patagonia was at the top of the short list, but now russia ranks. Micing for trout is the apex of freshwater flyfishing.
 
#8
Thank you for all that you have posted during your trip. It truly sounds like it was a trip of a lifetime!!

Not your typical float, enjoyed reading about all the fish and all the beats that you hit!