Umba exploratory fishing report
By Charlie White
After our first season on the Umba in 2016 (successful but not a bonanza), we decided to run two June weeks after hearing the guides rave about some fresh fish...
as well as some big osenkas that they had caught in the past during that time of the year.
Bill Drury was our camp manager and just two rods gave the first week a go but it turned out that we were probably lucky there were not more there. As has been well documented elsewhere, the coldest winter and spring for 100 years on the Kola had a major impact on all of the rivers and the Umba was no exception.
Very high and very cold water meant that any osenkas had their heads down and the fresh fish had not run yet. Bill managed a couple of fresh grilse but it was ultimately disappointing.
We had 7 rods in the 2nd week and whilst the overall numbers may not have been quite there, we saw enough to realise that this is a programme we should persist with.
It rained almost every day and at some points it was torrential which of course did not help with the very high water levels. On top of this, an unfortunate drama on the Saturday morning meant that four of the rods hardly fished until the Wednesday and our team of three Scottish friends pretty much had the river to themselves. Despite all of that, 29 fish were landed in the week with one of 20lbs and several in the teens – there were a mix of fresh fish and osenkas from last Autumn.
Throughout the week the fishing got better and better and there was a real sense of sadness having to leave when it looked as if the main run of fresh fish were about to start.
Bill’s view was that even though the spring was a very cold and the season was late because of that, we may well have been there a little early in any case and next year we are going to run two weeks but starting a fortnight later.
Everyone who fishes the river falls in love with it and it is genuinely offers some of the best fly fishing experiences on the Kola. The lodge is fantastic, the food sublime and the guides are all seriously good. There are no helicopters which keeps costs down and with improvement in the infrastructure of the Kola, the trip to the lodge from Murmansk is really now very easy.
The Umba is not the place to go to land huge numbers of fish and it is probably not the place to go if you only want to catch a 40lbs fish but if you like action throughout the day, the chance of a 30lber and a superb fishing experience for a very reasonable price then it really is one to consider.
It was with a degree of excitement, trepidation and intrigue that we approached our first season on the Umba...
After a difficult two weeks, the season on the Umba is now really beginning to pick up. It is very hard to know if this delay is because of unusually high water, an extraordinary and unexplained influx of pinks or simply that the whole of the Kola appears to be running later than normal – or a combination of all three?