For the first time in over a decade, fly anglers have access to the sections of the Zhupanova where Kamchatka trout fishing was first discovered! Be among the first to re-discover this amazing fishery.
The comfortable, well-appointed Cedar Lodge is located in the middle of the world-famous Zhupanova River, surrounded by stunning wilderness. These middle sections of the river are below the end of the upriver float trips, and above the river beats fished based out of Zendzur Lodge. Much of the early, pioneering fly fishing explorations in Kamchatka began here on these fabled sections of river in the mid to late 1990s. Indeed, this is the fabled water that first put Kamchatka on the angling map. Since the early 2000s, however, Cedar Lodge and the middle Zhupanova was kept as an exclusive resort for Russian sportfishers. These anglers focused on catching salmon, and as such the trout in this section have been mostly un-molested now for decades.
Now, for 2020, we’ve been granted exclusive access once again to four of the prime weeks at Cedar Lodge, directly in the heart of the Kamchatka trout season. A maximum of 6 anglers will enjoy this deluxe wilderness lodge, with each pair of two anglers departing the lodge each morning jetboat to target the productive reaches of the middle Zhupanova River.
As with the up and down river sections of the Zhupanova, the waters around Cedar lodge hold some incredibly large rainbow trout. These fish average 24-28 inches, and most guests fishing on the Zhupanova are photographed at some point in the week holding the largest trout of their lives.
Reservations & Rates
The cost of the week-long Cedar Lodge package is $6,995.00 USD per person.
• Kamchatka, more than any destination in the world, attracts adventurous single anglers. There is no surcharge to come alone. What's more, many people opt for two-week trips. In this scenario, Cedar Lodge can easily be combined with either Zendzur Lodge or the Zhupanova Float Trip for a two week package price of $11,995.
Included in your angling package at the Cedar Lodge is all ground and air transportation once in Kamchatka and all food, accommodation and guides once at the lodge.
Not included in your angling package at Cedar Lodge are airfare and travel expenses from your home to Kamchatka, Russian visitor's visa, fishing gear, flies, fishing license, medical evacuation insurance (required), and alcohol.
The Fly Shop® is not in the insurance business, but we recommend Travel Guard coverage as a service with a desire to see your best interests protected. It is impossible to know when an unfortunate situation (loss of luggage, fly rods, illness in the family, or an accident) may occur. However, such things can and do happen, and this insurance can provide a means of recourse against non-refundable financial losses.
• Travel Insurance Information
Seasons at Cedar Lodge
The flyfishing experience at Cedar Lodge is about "quality" of fish, not "quantity."
Anglers should not expect obscene numbers of trout each day. For that, you'll want to look at either Alaska or some of our other Kamchatka destinations such as the Sedanka Spring Creek, Wilderness Floats, or Savan River. What you can expect is a challenging, trophy rainbow trout fishery where an angler with beginner to intermediate experience can tie
into 3 to 6 trout per day that average 4 to 8 pounds, and are occasionally double that size. Advanced anglers skilled in reading water, wading, and casting, and who have a modest level of self-sufficiency usually encounter considerably more action. Many anglers will land the largest trout of their lives during a week on the Zhupanova.
There are two flyfishing methods commonly used on the lower Zhupanova River:
Real mice slip and fall into the river from overhanging limbs and grass and then swim like a cork at a down-and-across angle. As they do, they throw small V-wakes off their backs which the trout key to. Anglers replicate this action by plopping their flies against the opposite bank and skittering them out across the river, on tension and under control. What follows has got to be the most exciting thing in freshwater flyfishing. Since a live mouse in the stomach of a rainbow trout can do considerable damage, the fish tend to take the fly with a ferocious, bone-crushing chomp. All this, of course, takes place on the surface, totally visible to the angler. The skill comes in controlling your nerves to NOT set the hook when the fish merely swirls behind it - sometimes 2, 3, 4 or more times - before actually committing.
Salmon smolt and other juvenile fish make up a significant portion of Kamchatka trout and chars' diets. Woolly buggers, string leeches, baitfish and sculpin patterns, 3-6 inches long, all work very well on the Zhupanova throughout the season. Small fish elicit a chase response from their predators, so often it is best to give the fly a little movement as it swings through the water column. When probing for a strike, it's cast to likely structure in the river (tree roots, riffle-pools, rocks, undercut banks, etc.) that offer rest areas adjacent to heavier currents where fish can surprise-attack their food.
Unlike in other parts of the world, the number and size of rainbows you're likely to hook on a given day in Kamchatka is not seasonally dependant.
Instead, in picking a specific week to visit the Zhupanova should be based on your preferences for weather, for the different methods used during July, August and September, and whether or not you are interested in a variety of species or only rainbow trout.
July is the warmest month of the year in Kamchatka and typically has the most reliable weather, with daytime temperatures between 60 and 80 degrees. Rain and 50 degree days, however, can happen any time of the year. Mouse and streamer fishing is consistent in the Zhupanova drainage from the beginning to the end of the summer. The Zhupanova gives up limited traditional dry fly fishing in July when mayfly and caddis hatches are at their heaviest. In fact, there is probably no river in the world where a larger river-resident, native rainbow can be caught on a caddis pattern! There are no salmon in the river at this time, but sea-run Dolly Varden do show up toward the end of the month. By the last week of July the famous "Super" Kundzha, a sea-run char species found only in the Zhupanova River, begin to pour in from the sea. They are big, powerful sportfish that take the fly well and put up a fight comparable to a king salmon or steelhead. Though the Zhupanova is the least mosquito-intense river in Kamchatka, there are plenty of them around in July. If you have a low mosquito tolerance level, consider a trip later in the season.
August is the middle of the season. Chum and sockeye salmon enter the river and the cycle of life is laid out in full magnificence. rainbows are targeted with mouse and streamer flies throughout the month. The first two weeks of August, too, are the peak time to intercept the Super Kundzha. By the middle of the month the mosquitos, black flies and no-see-ums are completely gone and the weather transitions toward fall.
September is fall in Kamchatka. It can be chilly, in the 50-degree range. Sunny weather (which is quite common) makes for beautiful fishing days, but brings with it frosty nights. It is also the most photogenic time of year to be amid the sub-arctic taiga and tundra foliage as it turns to blazing yellows, reds and oranges with a backdrop of snow-capped volcanoes. Trout are taken with surface skaters and with "big nasty" leech and baitfish patterns. The latter, fished on a sink-tip line, become more important as water temperatures drop.
Getting to Cedar Lodge
There are a few different ways to get to Kamchatka, depending on the season.
Direct Flights Via Alaska: For a few weeks each summer, there is a weekly direct flight from Anchorage, Alaska to Petropavlovsk, Kamchatka.
Via Moscow or Seoul: There is a daily flight from Moscow that arrives at 10:00 am to Petropavlovsk, as well as a daily flight from Vladivostok (via Seoul) that arrives at 8:40 am. It may be possible to arrive the same day of your scheduled departure to the river, AS LONG AS YOU ARRIVE NO LATER THAN 10:00 AM.
However, we strongly recommend arriving a day early. This allows a chance to acclimate to the time change, so you’re not a vegetable when you arrive to the river. It also allows for any possible lost luggage or airline delays. If you miss the helicopter departure into camp, you will either miss your entire week of fishing or have to charter a very expensive extra helicopter flight into camp!
For overnights in Petropavlovsk, guests will typically be housed at one of Martha Madsen’s cozy guest houses in Yelisovo, or the Art Hotel near the airport. Nightly lodging fees (not included in your fishing package), range from $60-$100; guests are typically accommodated in double occupancy, but pending availability single rooms can sometimes be arranged by special request. The Fly Shop will make the reservations for you, and you will be able to settle up upon arrival.
Transfer to Camp:
All guests heading into the lodge will be met in the morning by Andrey or Veronika at your place of lodging (they will communicate the time with you the night before), or at the airport if you are arriving that morning.
They will help you load gear into micro-buses. 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 near 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 Cedar Lodge.
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, Kamchatksky #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 Cedar 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! Upon landing on the helipad in front of the lodge, you will meet the Cedar guide staff, who will assist in gathering your luggage from the helicopter and showing you to your rooms.
Once you’ve settled in to your rooms, the head guide will give everyone a quick orientation and fishing talk, and the guides will help you set up and organize tackle for the week’s fishing. There is no scheduled fishing on this day, but guests are welcome to make a few casts in front of the lodge and often the first fish of the trip is hooked before supper.
5-6 Full Fishing Days:
After a leisurely breakfast each day at 8am (no need to beat the crowds here!) you and your partner will be assigned a beat and a guide and head out on the river in “Alaska style” jet-equipped river boats. Cedar Lodge organizes anglers on the river according to a beat system. There are three beats, ‘upper,’ ‘middle,’ and ‘lower,’ each consisting of about 8 miles of water. Guides typically stay on their beat as anglers rotate through each day. In this way fishermen get to fish each beat twice and with each guide twice during the week. With just six anglers in camp, the feeling of solitude on such an expansive amount of world-class, trophy trout water cannot be overemphasized.
Lunch is prepared on the river, and often features fresh salmon or char, caught in the morning and grilled streamside over a fire, along with assorted breads, meats, cheese, and fresh fruit and vegetables. Around 6 p.m. you’ll return to the lodge for dinner, hot showers, and relaxation. A nightly soak in Cedar’s on-site banya is a sublime way to end the day.
On the final morning, guests have time to dry clothes and waders, re-pack their bags, and prepare for the trip home. The helicopter will arrive sometime between 11:00 am and 3:00 pm (depending on weather clearance), and will transfer you back to Petropavlovsk.
You will typically need to overnight in Yelisovo, unless departing on the weekly flight to Anchorage, as most of the departing flights through Moscow or Vladivostok/Seoul take off in the morning. There are some afternoon departures, but due to the un-predictable timing of the helicopter flights out of camp, the outfitters cannot guarantee they can get you back to town in time to catch those afternoon flights. The Fly Shop will help make these arrangements for you (not included in the package price), and you can settle up prior to departure at the hotel.
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 when departing Russia.
Lodging at Cedar Lodge
Cedar Lodge is a beautiful, comfortable wood structure hidden among birch and cottonwood trees on the banks of the Zhupanova River. Lodge amenities are surprisingly deluxe, given the remote nature of the operation. They include double and triple rooms, each with a private bathroom and shower, a comfortable sitting room for cards, chess or pool, a Russian Bonya sauna (complete with an adjoining cold pool, showers and dressing rooms), a flytying bench and even a ping pong table! This style and quality of fishing accommodations is almost unheard of in Kamchatka!
Cedar Lodge's location was specifically chosen for its convenient access to the legendary fishing beats of the middle Zhupanova. This was the patriarch of the Zhupanova, Anatoly Kovalenkov’s, personal lodge for many years, and the comfortable rooms, hot showers, banya, and amazing fishing beats will be your personal wilderness outpost for the week.
Cedar Lodge offers the most deluxe accommodation in Kamchatka. The guest suites are spacious and appointed with comfortable beds and bedding, a sitting table, chairs and shelves for stowing gear and clothing. Each has a private bathroom and an entry/wader area.
With a skilled kitchen staff, the food at Cedar is as good as you will find in all of Russia. Appetizers, soups, main courses, desserts and breakfast pastries are all made from scratch on-site, featuring fresh ingredients from the PK markets, from the local greenhouse, and of course from the river.
Fishing at Cedar Lodge
Jetboats are used to access the rarely fished middle sections of the Zhupanova, where most of the fishing is done on foot. These fast-moving boats allow access to the river both above and below the lodge, and gives anglers the ability to fish sections of the river rarely seen by Westerners since the early 2000s.
The Zhupanova River is home to the oldest, largest rainbow trout in Kamchatka. The average trout on this river is 24-28 inches, and trout over 30 inches are hooked almost daily on the river. There may be no better river on Planet Earth to catch the largest trout of your life.
Cedar Lodge is the closest access point to the famed Right Fork, known to have the highest concentration of trophy fish in Kamchatka and accessible only by tank. While it’s not a guarantee, guests fishing out of Cedar may have the rare opportunity to ride in a Russian tank and cast a fly in one of the fishiest places on Earth.
7 am: coffee and tea
8 am: breakfast
9 am: on the water
1 pm: lunch on the river
6 pm: back to the lodge
7 pm: dinner
All Kamchatka programs employ a guide rotation system, so each group of two anglers spends two days with each guide. Staff consists of one Western Guide and two seasoned Russian guides. Our head guides are talented professionals with years of Russian and/or other international camp management experience, and years of prior experience guiding in other International destinations.
Our Russian guides come from varied backgrounds, usually associated with biology, wildlife management, hunting, trapping or commercial fishing. Flyfishing being a relatively new sport to Russia, our guides come equipped with varying levels of pure flyfishing knowledge. Some are exceptional, having been with us for 10 or more years. Others have been brought on board for their skills as woodsmen and watermen, whose technical abilities are still evolving, but who are in rhythm with the lives and habits of rainbow trout.
Every staff member works to see the smile on your face when you hook up.
What Makes This Destination Special and Unique?
• New for 2019! For the first time in over a decade, American anglers have access to the sections of the Zhupanova where Kamchatka trout fishing was first discovered! Be among the first to re-discover this amazing fishery.
• The Zhupanova River is home to the oldest, largest rainbow trout in Kamchatka. The average trout on this river is 24-28 inches, and trout over 30 inches are hooked almost daily on the river. There may be no better river on Planet Earth to catch the largest trout of your life.
• Enjoy deluxe accommodations at a full service wilderness lodge. This was the patriarch of the Zhupanova, Anatoly Kovalenkov’s, personal lodge for many years, and the comfortable rooms, hot showers, banya, and amazing fishing beats will be your personal wilderness outpost for the week.
• Jetboats are used to access the rarely fished middle sections of the Zhupanova. These fast-moving boats allow access to the river both above and below the lodge, and gives anglers the ability to fish sections of the river rarely seen by Westerners since the early 2000s.
• Cedar Lodge is the closest access point to the famed Right Fork, known to have the highest concentration of trophy fish in Kamchatka and accessible only by tank. While it’s not a guarantee, guests fishing out of Cedar may have the rare opportunity to ride in a Russian tank and cast a fly in one of the fishiest places on Earth.