Kola Penisula - Fishing Atlantic Salmon with Markus Leivo

I had dreamed of fishing the Kola Peninsula since I started fly fishing at the age of 10. Now, after over 20 long years of waiting, I was able to experience this every spey fisherman's dream. I had extremely high expectations about the coming fishing adventure due to one of the best early season fishing there have been at Kola River. When I arrived and heard fish were not running in numbers they usually do this time of the year I was wondering if my dream was turning into a big disappointment. Normal numbers for daily incomers have been 100 to 150 fish and now it was 20-40, wasn't very encouraging.

Kola River is a fairly big river and I was anticipating the need for my heaviest gear. However I ended up using my Burkheimer 8134-4 ninety percent of the time. I have played 40lb fish with it and it is amazing how much power there is in it. On the other hand it's still a very fun rod to fish grilse salmon. Nowadays I have been using it with "S" tip and Guideline shooting heads in range of #9/10. I am pretty sure anybody could feel as a rock star with this rig!

First two days I fished Kola River tributary Kitza. It is a river that is very easy to cover with light spey rod. Kitza is famous for huge salmon. It is said all the biggest Kola river salmon go to Kitza. One of my fishing buddies had a monster on the second day but he lost it. I had also a fish on but I broke my line. That is extremely rare for me when fishing Atlantic salmon. After my second day and about 30 hours of fishing I was naturally enjoying the fishing but at the same time I started to feel little restless. Little monkey started to climb on my shoulder.

On the third day I fished Kola River with a guide and Seppo Muttilainen, the CEO of the company that arranges fishing trips to Kola River and all over the Kola Peninsula also. Seppo has been arranging these trips over 20 years with his company Lapin Ekspertit. He has accommodated people from all over the world.
We had quite a lot of action on that day. I managed to land two beautiful fish and lost couple more. We used float boat and fished 7 different pools from boat and bank. I couldn't have had better teachers for how to fish Kola River. On the following day when I was solo fishing upper beats of Kola I was able to land three salmon in range of 81 cm to 91 cm. I also had couple nice fish on but lost them. Kola River salmon are wide shouldered thick fish that are blessed with strength and beauty. Probably the most beautiful Atlantic salmon I have seen.

Last two days were very hard. Weather was weird for the whole week but it became almost absurd at the end of my trip. Hot t-shirt weather to snow rain and thunderstorms. This just strengthened the idea of successful salmon fishing requires. There are so many variables that can mess up our game. The best part was having Seppo as my guide for the last day. At the end I had a fish biting my fly at the other end of the line every day and that is something I can only dream of on the rivers I have been fishing in Finland, Sweden and Norway.

Our cabins were nice and clean. Food was ok. Before the trip I was advised to have a following mind set during my trip: "Nothing works but everything is possible". What can I say, it was spot on. Considering the tough conditions and not so many fresh fish running into the river I was still so impressed about the fishing itself that I am already looking for the next trip to Kola Peninsula.