Varzuga in the Autumn - Charlie White reports
By Charlie White
In 2011, I led a very small exploratory team to fish Lower Varzuga at the end of September...
It was a great success and five of us landed 75 fish with 65 of these fresh. We had a wonderful week exploring the river working out new spots, had delicious Russian food and saw fabulous colours with the old deciduous forest still very much intact.
Based on this success we decided to try two weeks in 2012 but unfortunately, for whatever reason, this did not work out well. A much higher river than in 2011 may have been the cause or it may not; regardless we struggled to catch meaningful numbers of fish in either week, the food was poor and in general it was a tough fortnight.
Determined that there must be something to back up our local partners claims that September really is worth fishing, I felt that it must be worth another shot – if only to see if 2011 had been a total aberration.
As it happened we had a brilliant week. Lots of fresh fish showing and more importantly being caught, a really low river which made our ambush spots all the more easy to access, a wonderfully willing and able Russian cook and guides that really wanted the week to succeed. It was enormous fun and with a total of 103 fish for the week we all felt that it would be hard to beat it in terms of classic Autumn fishing.
The approach to this kind of trip is vital. All eight rods knew that it may have been a long journey for nothing and that anything we could find would be a bonus. Everyone was determined to enjoy the river and the scenery to its full whilst embracing many of the different Russian customs – including drinking vodka until late in the evening…
The run seemed genuinely strong and our Russian partners were adamant that as the weather cooled, the run would increase but we did not particularly notice that being the case and we did have some cold days.
We will try again next year as there definitely is something to be said for it and if you are the adventurous type and want to try a programme that involves lots of walking, confidence in your own ability to work out a river and the chance of 15 to 20 fish to your own rod in a week at an all-inclusive price from the UK of less than £500 per day then do contact me for further details of the programme next year.