Searching for a Monster Salmon in Umba River, Kola Peninsula, Russia

We flew over the Umba rivers into the Kitza sandbank where we made camp that evening. The following morning, we pitched the camp at 8am. Between then and 12 noon, I had caught 15 fish. On casting the first fly bait into the river, it was immediately caught by a salmon. All the stories I had heard about Kola Peninsula being a salmon fisherman’s paradise were now dawning on me. Over my many fishing expeditions, I have never caught so many salmons at ago.


Ponoi is the best place to start fishing for experienced and new fishermen alike. From Ponoi, we headed to Umba River the same day in the search for a monster Salmon. The following day, we fished the Verzuga, part of the Pana and Indel (its tributary). This too produced a myriad of fish and proved that this is indeed the greatest place to fish the salmon. Verzuga is easy to wade and you do not need a boat to catch a salmon. Coupled with the great accommodation and the delicious Russian cuisines, I vouched to go back on another fishing trip. Perhaps I will catch a bigger salmon.

My search for the monster salmon started on the Umba River (Southern Kola, Peninsula). Here, there is a plethora of fish. However, I had to use a boat here. The average catch was 7 fish per day and the largest salmon weighed 16lb. This was however not the largest reported and my search was not going to end up there. Nay. I told myself that I did not come all the way to Kola, Peninsula just to catch the 30th largest salmon. It had to be a monster.

Umba did not perform as I expected and so I moved back to Verzuga where I fished on my second day of the trip. Verzuga is always awash with salmon fishermen and at first you would think of it as a market place. On a lucky day, you will get to taste fresh salmon prepared by the locals. Our helicopter driver, who on most occasions was drunk, mingled with the crowd counting the number of salmons each of the members in our tour group fished. Verzuga was not promising either.

descărcareI was almost losing hope of ever catching a monster salmon in Kola Peninsula even after visiting a number of rivers like the Varzina, Yokanga, Ponoi and Umba. I tried to hide my disappointment and held to the common saying that men never cry. Finally, one morning, I caught the monster salmon. She weighed 28lbs and the largest I had ever seen. Mosquitoes were baying for my blood as I celebrated my catch that night.


One comment on “Searching for a Monster Salmon in Umba River, Kola Peninsula, Russia

  1. Faiz

    Axel, apart from previous one I sholud note unfortunately the taimen is much depressed in the last decades in a lot of rivers of Siberia in areas with more or less increased human impact. For example, it was included in the Red list of Irkutsk Region as ‘under danger of extinction’ and in the Red book of Buryatia as ‘vulnerable, data deficient’.

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