Wednesday 28 June 2017

Cold spring of 2017. Salmon fishing.

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Vasil Bykau

Salmon fishing season  in 2017 has been delayed by 3 weeks. In recent years we got used to early start of the season, but this year is truly unique. A large amount of snow and ice on the banks of the river and in the tundra, even in June. Warming caused a massive rise in the water level, which became the main cause of problems for our fishermen. So, in the period from 04 to 06 June, the water level in the Chavanga river increased by 35 cm. In my opinion, in the beginning of June the water in the river was one meter above normal.
First of all, we lost most of the productive pools. The banks of majority pools were flooded with water and inaccessible for fishing. Cable pool and Pokosy camp pool with several pools downstream were the only available places to fish.  Due to the enormous level, we were not even able to fish pools like Clay and Island pool which are usually fished well in high water level. Sometimes Estuary rescued us where the stream of water spread fanwise along a wide channel.

Unusually cold water also affected the activity of salmon and prevented fresh fish from entering from the sea. With water temperature of 2 degrees, it was difficult to count on active fish. The usual catch in May is a mixture of salmons that stayed in the river from autumn and fresh springers. Kelts dominated our catching statistics, they were very active while getting ready to go back to the sea. Autumn salmons occupied the deepest and quietest parts of the river. As a rule, we caught them together with the Kelts. The physical condition of the autumn salmon was lower than last year's. The size and weight of the fish caught was one third less than last year.
In principle, the situation in late May and early June 2017 repeated the situation that we observed in mid-May 2014. The same late spring brought us melting snow and ice, a rapid rise of cold water and a mixture of Kelts and small autumn fish in the results. However  a large amount of good sized sea trout were caught while the temperature of the water was still below 5 degrees.
But the statistics of 2014 set us up for an optimistic scenario of events.

After a flood on the Chavanga River, the water level became comfortable and the temperature stayed just below 10, one of the most successful periods of salmon fishing in the last 10 years has arrived.

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