Monday – depart Anchorage on Yakutia Air
Departure on Yakutia Air is early in the morning. Check in usually opens around 5:30 a.m. (two hours before departure) and it is advised you arrive around this time. The flight lasts about 4.5 hours, and crosses the International Dateline. You arrive to Kamchatka on Tuesday morning.
Tuesday -- Morning arrival to Petropavlovsk, transfer to camp.
Arrival from Anchorage is 8:00 a.m. Arrival from Moscow is 9:30 am. Arrival from Seoul is 11:15 am.
After passing through customs and immigration, fishermen collect luggage and are greeted by Andrey Konovalov, our handler for the Zhupanova trips, who will be there greeting the incoming groups.
Once all of the guests heading to the Zhupanova Float and Zendzur Lodge are through customs, Andrey and his helpers will help you load your gear onto two micro-buses waiting outside the small terminal. They will then drive to the offices of Purga, where Andrey will take your passports briefly to make photocopies to fill out the paperwork required for your fishing license as well as to fill out the paperwork that will be required for departure from Russia at the end of your trip. They will also request at this time the $100 (payable in $US Dollars is okay) for the weekly fishing license.
The Purga offices are located directly adjacent to the main heliport in Yelisovo/Petropavlovsk. They have a lounge area with chairs, and will set out hot water for tea, instant coffee, and usually some snacks while you wait for weather clearance. Sometimes they may drive you an additional 20 minutes to a different heliport, depending on where they can get weather clearance first. As soon as the pilots get the okay to fly, they will load your gear onto the helicopter, then the group will load up for the short, incredible flight into Zendzur Lodge. Sometimes they may drive you an additional 20 minutes to a different heliport, depending on where they can get weather clearance first.
The first few hours in Kamchatka are always an exercise in patience. Understand that this is Russia, and communication from the helicopter companies is often lackluster at best. Keep in mind that the outfitters want you to get into camp as much as you do, and they are often at the whim of the helicopter companies. The helicopter companies don’t get paid unless they fly, so their priority, too, is to get you into camp…safely. Mornings in Petropavlovsk are frequently foggy, and the helicopters cannot fly until the fog clears. If the weather is clear in the morning, you will head straight to the heliport. If the weather creates a delay, Andrey will give the group the option to travel to the nearby Old Castle Restaurant, which has very good food (and local draught beer, Kamchatksi #1). Lunch and/or drinks at the restaurant are not included in the package price, but typically range from $20-$30. They do not accept US dollars, but they do usually accept credit cards and Andrey will be on hand to help trade dollars for Rubles.
Depending on the weather, the flight into the Zhupanova can be as short as 30 minutes or as long as 50 minutes; either way you’ll pass dramatic mountains and towering volcanoes – enjoy the ride! The helicopter will land first at Zendzur Lodge and drop off those anglers, then continue on upriver to Camp One on the Zhupanova Float. From Zendzur it’s another 25-30 minute scenic flight up the river canyon to the “take out camp,” where the helicopter will land briefly to pick up the guides, cook, rafts, and equipment, before continuing upriver towards Camp One.
Once you’ve landed at Camp One, un-loaded the helicopter, and settled in to your cabins, the head guide will give everyone a quick orientation and fishing talk, and the guides will help you set up and organize tackle. For those wanting to fish, there is some great water right in front of the camp, and many guests are able to hook their first fish of the trip before dinner.
Wednesday through Sunday – 5 full fishing days.
After a leisurely breakfast each day at 8:00 am, you will be assigned a guide and begin the day’s float. The crew employs a guide rotation system so anglers and guides have a chance to fish with and get to know one another over the course of the week. Angling boats are organized over the day’s section of river either on a beat system, or by ‘leap-frogging’ each other, with the effect that you and your angling partner cast to un-fished water all week long.
During the morning, the cook floats past anglers in his raft and prepares lunch at a predetermined gravel bar. At 2:00 p.m. all three rafts meet for lunch. In the afternoon anglers again split up the water. In total there are 48 river miles covered over the course of the trip. With just 6 anglers per week, the exclusivity of experience and the health of the trout fishery combine to make truly special fly fishing moments.
Between 6:00 and 7:00 p.m., boats arrive to the night’s camp and dinner is served at around 8:00 p.m. Showers are always hot, cabins are cozy, food is good and plenty and electricity lights the camp during the few hours of darkness each evening.
You must bring a sleeping bag!
Monday: Returning home.
On the final morning, guests have time to dry clothes and waders, re-pack their bags, and prepare for the trip home. If you want to fish this last day there is ample time in the morning for several more hours of fishing around camp.
The helicopter will arrive sometime between 11:00 am and 3:00 pm (depending on weather clearance), and will transfer you back to Petropavlovsk in time to catch the 8 p.m. flight back to Anchorage. Andrey will meet you again and transfer you to the airport. If there is time, the bus can also take the group to a nearby store for souvenir shopping. Andrey will get everyone the departure paperwork at this time, which you will need to present along with your passport and visa at immigrations before boarding the flight home.
The flight lasts about 4.5 hours. Although you depart Russia on Monday evening, you also cross the dateline again, thereby arriving in Alaska at 5:55 a.m…on Monday morning! Customs and immigrations in Anchorage is very quick and easy, and you’ll have the whole day to connect back home, or to other fishing in Alaska.
If you are traveling home via Moscow or Seoul, you will have to arrange an overnight in Yelisovo (we can help coordinate this) to catch the morning departure the following day.