Lower Varzuga & Kitza, Russia
A unique opportunity to experience salmon fishing in Russia on two different rivers, both of which are extraordinarily productive.
To read an article on the Varzuga in Trout & Salmon Magazine, click here.
The best salmon fishing in Russia that you will find. The beats of Lower Varzuga and Kitza are fished in conjunction and guests spend three days in each camp which offer rods the chance to fish two totally different rivers in the same week on what is the most prolific river in the world in terms of salmon caught per rod per week.
The Lower beat of the Varzuga River is generally wide, with a mixture of fast water with short pools and long runs, reminiscent of the lower beats of the Spey in Scotland. Some 13 miles from the sea, the beat is about 2 miles long, with 20 named pools providing wonderfully varied fishing.
The Kitza joins the Varzuga at its mouth and flows virtually parallel to it. Here the river is more intimate, around 40m wide at its widest, with 27 named pools both above and below the camp on the 5 mile beat. Both beats fish with a double handed rod in the early part of the season though many opt to fish a single handed rod as the level drops. The Kitza is lake-fed and is generally a few degrees colder than the Varzuga.
At the end of April the ice on the river breaks and the fish start running in unprecedented numbers. Our season starts a week or two after the ice has broken in order to give the fish the best chance of filling the beats. At the beginning of May the weather is changeable and conditions would be similar to an early spring week on the Dee; some days can be cold whereas others will find us in shirtsleeves. Generally however, conditions tend to be mild as the Kola winter rapidly gives way to summer.
The first week of June is generally the cusp week, when we change from intermediate or sink tip lines to floaters. The weather is settled by now and, all things considered, the fishing is among its best. The following week we are definitely on floating lines with a great deal of water opening up for dry fly fishing, using bomber patterns or skated tubes. Wading is straightforward in most pools although a stick and a life vest are strongly encouraged.
Lower Varzuga has arguably the best accommodation on the Kola. Two brand new, custom-designed lodges have 18 bedrooms in all, 12 of which are en-suite. Under floor heating, power showers and very comfortable beds make this a supremely luxurious camp. Large, tabled verandas, as well as the main dining room and sitting room with its large wood fire, look out onto the home pools of this wonderful beat.
There is also a Russian sauna or ‘banya’ in which to ease aching muscles at the end of the day.
Kitza camp also has very comfortable cabins, accommodating up to nine rods in single cabins or eight single and one twin cabins. Each cabin has a private shower and a loo and the camp has a lovely central dining and sitting room and a banya close to the river itself.
To see a video of life on the Varzuga, click here. With many thanks to Julian Pullan.