Thank you for your interest in the Kola Reserve on Russia’s remote Kola Peninsula. The Kola Peninsula is the world’s last great stronghold of wild Atlantic salmon, and the rivers of the Kola Reserve are the freshest addition to the big names of the north coast, which maintains a deserved reputation of being home to some of the largest Atlantics in the world. The Kola Reserve is comprised of 2 rivers in this wild landscape, the Lumbovka and the Kachkovka, each unique and offering diverse angling opportunities throughout the week. You are in for a fantastic trip!
From the magnificent lodge built on the banks of the Lumbovka, you will be sitting roughly 70 miles north of the Arctic Circle, in the remote granite and tundra landscapes that the north coast is famous for. The camp is about 205 miles from the town of Murmansk, about an hour and a half’s flight from Murmansk in the workhorse of the skies, the powerful MI-8 Helicopter. This location is also just at the boundary between what is considered the Barents sea and the North Sea.
The fishing season on the Kola is relatively short, but the rivers of the Kola Reserve do have 2 distinct runs of fish, allowing for 2 different times of the year to be very productive to quality angling. The Spring season occurs just as the late melt runoff concludes in early June running until it gets too low and warm in the rivers to maintain quality fishing. The fish this time of year are big and bright, and what the north coast of the Kola is known for. The second season is special with a strain of large autumn run Osenka’s entering the rivers in late August and through September. These fish come in packed with energy to survive an 18 month stay in the fresh water before they spawn. These things are lightning bolts when hooked fresh from the sea.
With these rivers being new to the scene on the North Coast we are still learning what is normal and what potential they hold, but our first season scouting was amazing with what we witnessed firsthand. The average size of the fish was excellent, between 15 and 20 pounds in the spring season. We landed fish to just over 30 pounds, with a few more that were just too hot to handle and our scouting party swore would have tipped the scales higher. It is exciting to say the least, to think of the unknown potential in these rivers and what we will discover in the coming years as we get more time and flies swung through the pools. These rivers of the north coast are known for their powerful waters which produce powerful fish, but many of them can be intimidating to fish. The rivers of the Kola Reserve are the perfect size to be covered by fly anglers so you can be sure to get your fly in front of the monster salmon you came to shake hands with.
Reservations & Rates
7 night, 6.5 day packages at the Kola Reserve range in price from $8,000 to $12,225 USD per person, depending on the particular week.
• Give us a call to get exact pricing for the week(s) you are interested in - 800-669-3474
Included in your package at the Kola Reserve is meet and greet at the airport in Murmansk, round trip helicopter transportation to and from the lodge, daily guided fishing, accommodations, meals, and all alcohol, wine and beer.
Not included in your package at the Kola Reserve are flights to and from Murmansk, accommodations and meals enroute, fishing licenses, gratuities, flies and tackle, personal items and Salmon (salmon must be earned!)
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 The Kola Reserve
There are 2 distinct seasons on the Kola Reserve. The first runs during the late spring season, from the beginning of June through late July. The second season is in the late summer and autumn for the Osenka run, from late August until the end of September.
June ushers in the beginning of the season on the Kola Reserve. June is when the biggest, freshest fish move into the river. The biggest rewards in terms of big bright Atlantic Salmon are found by anglers during the early weeks. With the epic fish comes demanding wading conditions in high water. Expect to fish sinking tips in the bigger faster river conditions. Anglers can expect these early fish to be very aggressive producing truly
arduous fights that put any angler, no matter what the experience, to the test.
July offers better weather, but expect volatile weather none the less! River conditions start to change with lower water typical. The wading remains challenging amongst the large granite boulders as always. Numbers of big fish going over 20lbs can be intercepted in the riffles, runs and pools. This time of year we rely less on sinking lines and more on floating lines thanks to the more accommodating river conditions.
In late August the autumn run of Osenka’s begin to enter the river. These are fish or legend, packed with energy to survive the next 18 months in fresh water without eating. Connecting with these missiles when they are fresh from the sea is every hard-core salmon anglers dream. The brutes will average 10 to 20 pounds and have the potential to go higher. They will continue to enter the rivers of the Kola Reserve from late August all the way through September when we wrap up our season.
Getting to The Kola Reserve
2020 KOLA RESERVE SAMPLE ITINERARY
Arrive Sheremetyevo (SVO) Airport, clear Immigrations and Custom (very modern and expedited). You will want to overnight in Moscow before making your way to Murmansk, the next morning. We highly recommend that you overnight at the Radisson Blu Sheremetyevo Airport Hotel directly attached to Sheremetyevo (SVO) Airport. After clearing passport control you will walk to Radisson Blu Sheremetyevo Airport Hotel with luggage cart and check in for the night. The rest of the evening is at your leisure. There is a great bar and restaurant at the top of the hotel you should definitely check out.
Flights through Moscow are less than half the price of the Helsinki charter and, if there are delays getting out of camp, those every-day commercial flights between Moscow and Murmansk are easy to re-schedule (vs missing a once weekly charter flight). The time in transit will be exactly the same or less than traveling through Helsinki.
The rationale for the schedule choice is not complicated. A lot has changed in Russia since the charter flight from Helsinki was initiated over 15 years ago, and it is no longer the more convenient route that it used to be. Alternatively, Moscow's Sheremetyevo terminal is ultra-modern, features a smooth, swift, digital customs reception, and there are several excellent hotel options directly adjacent to the SVO terminal. The SVO-MMK schedule is far more convenient and significantly less expensive than the Helsinki option. It also allows travelers a broad choice of airlines from home to Moscow and eliminates the arduous, 2-hour customs ordeal faced by passengers arriving in Murmansk from Helsinki on the charter flight.
Everyone will make their own arrangements to arrive in Murmansk (MMK) on Friday morning for the start of your Kola Reserve trip. The 2.5 hour Aeroflot flight departing SVO (Moscow) at 7:00 a.m. that arrives in Murmansk (MMK) at 9:30 a.m. is the flight you want to book. No customs will be necessary (this was handled on your first entry into Russia) and anglers will be transferred via van to a helicopter pad (Lovozero) an approximate 2 hour drive from Murmansk and (weather permitting) off to camp. We plan on departing approximately 1:30 p.m. with arrival at the Kola Reserve at 3:00 p.m.
You will be flying to camp in the amazing Mi-8 helicopter to get into and out of camp from Murmansk. These beasts are used throughout Russia and in many countries worldwide and have an enviable reputation as a workhorse helicopter that is reliable in all situations.
Upon arrival in camp you will have plenty of time to settle into your cabin, enjoy a light lunch and be given the weekly orientation of the Kola Reserve program. You will be assigned your fishing partner and beat rotation at this lunch and given your fly time for that afternoon’s departure to fishing. Dinner will be served at 8:00 p.m. daily after returning to the lodge between 6:00 p.m. and 7:00 p.m. A rotation will be assigned to anglers to fish the home pool during after dinner hours, until 1:00 a.m.
The Fishing Day:
Every day, guests of the Lodge are transferred to the different pools of the Lumbovka or Kachkovka rivers by helicopter and/or all-terrain vehicles. Maximum flight time is under 20 minutes and by ATV, approximately 30 minutes. Two fishermen and one guide are transferred to each beat. There is a daily rotation of pools and beats giving fair and equal access to the fishing water.
There may be some flexibility from week to week in the itinerary, but a typical week would be as follows:
Saturday to Thursday (6 Full Fishing Days):
06:30 - Coffee
07:30 - Breakfast made to order
08:30 - Organize gear for fishing.
09:00 - Departure for your designated pool, by helicopter or ATV
09:20 - Begin fishing at your assigned pools
13:00 - Lunch on the River
13:45 - Return to fishing your beat
18:00 - Load onto the helicopter or ATV for the return flight/drive to camp
18:30 - Arrive back at the lodge. Showers and the banya are ready to go. Clean up for dinner.
19:00 - Cocktail hour
20:00 - Dinner
21:30 - Relaxing time. Fishing at the home pool is still open until 1:00 am with a guide, based on assignment
After your last day of angling on Thursday, you will want to pack as much as possible and be prepared for departure from camp Friday morning. Anglers will wake up in camp for breakfast and helicopter departure back to Murmansk (MMK) early afternoon.
Guests will depart by helicopter from the Kola Reserve at approximately 11:30 a.m. arriving Murmansk (MMK) Friday afternoon at approximately 1:00 p.m. From Murmansk you want to fly to Moscow Sheremetyevo (SVO) Airport that evening. There is an Aeroflot flight that departs Murmansk (MMK) Airport at 6:45 p.m., arriving (SVO) at 9:05 p.m. This scheduling will involve another overnight at the Radisson Blu Sheremetyevo Airport Hotel, directly attached to the airport. There are several morning flights departing Sheremetyevo (SVO) that will have you back home, on the same day – chasing the sun…
Lodging at The Kola Reserve
The Kola Reserve is extremely remote, making the luxurious lodge you will find in this wilderness setting even more amazing. The lodge itself was originally designed in Finland and all of the materials collected there and then imported to Russia. The Lodge was then masterfully constructed on the banks of the Lumbovka. The lodge is within a good cast to the river’s edge and the fishable home pool. You will be amazed with what they have accomplished. Each cabin is a duplex construction, with single occupancy rooms. Each angler’s personal room has its own showers and toilet and each room has spacious queen sized beds to stretch out on. The duplex cabins have a shared entrance with a covered porch and an indoor shared wader room for hanging and drying waders and whatever else you need
to hang. These are some of the most comfortable accommodations you will find in any fishing camp on Earth. There are 4 of these duplex cabins to house 10 anglers, roughly arranged in a circle.
The main lodge building is where everyone can come together to relax after a long day on the water with a cocktail, and enjoy meals together. Dinner and breakfast are served in the dining room that looks out over the river. Enjoy a cocktail at the bar while waiting for dinner to be served. A fly-tying bench is available in the event guests wish to add to their collection of patterns or try something new. There's plenty of comfortable seating to relax in while you discuss the days fishing with friends.
To refresh and rejuvenate a tired body, there is a traditional Russian banya (Russian sauna) every evening. This is real treat that you will want to make sure you take advantage of. Laundry service is available if you need it in a pinch.
Fishing at The Kola Reserve
On arrival, Friday afternoon, the Lodge Manager will make a quick orientation speech to advise you about the week ahead. Most days will start with a wake-up call at 7.00am and breakfast is available at 7:30am. Everybody must be ready to board the helicopter or ATV at their assigned departure times around 8:00am to 8:30am. Fishing is until the helicopter returns, around 6:00pm. Lunch is served on the river. Pre-dinner drinks, cocktails normally start around 7:00pm with dinner at 8:00pm.
Fishing on home-pool is available from after dinner until 1:00am. There is a guide available on home-pool until this time, with a boat used to access the other side.
The Rivers of the Kola Reserve are very interesting to fish. The large boulders and high gradient make each pool special and unique and a new and fresh challenge to the angler. The standard method of fishing is to cast either square or slightly downstream and let the line swing round with the current until it straightens out and hangs below you, the traditional down and across swing method. Atlantic salmon love to chase a fly on the swing.
Presentation absolutely matters on these rivers. It is more important to cast a straight line, with a fly that turns over, rather than a sloppy cast where the fly and leader lands in a pile. Worry more about fishing clean rather than worrying about distance. Do your best by fishing within your comfort zone. There is usually no need to mend up-stream to slow the fly but mending down-stream to speed it up is very effective! Retrieving is also a proven technique, either stripping or figure eight retrieving. Once the swing has finished it is important to leave the fly on the dangle before stripping in line. Atlantic Salmon will follow the fly until it finally straightens, the fly hanging on the end of the leader, suspended in the river current. The sudden take will be impressive to say the least.
After each cast take two or three steps downstream so that every cast covers new water. Anglers are encouraged by the guides to concentrate on the water they are fishing. The guides will coach anglers in making sure even small pockets, just big enough for a single salmon, are covered.
When you feel the "take", don't set the hook! Let that fish have all the time he wants to take the fly and then lift the rod slowly but firmly as he moves away with the fly, lifting into the tension or pulling snug to the fish. After that, keep the rod up and the line tight at all times.
You will be flying most every day in a smaller 5 seater Eurocopter’s. These are reliable and well-serviced helicopters piloted by experienced and highly professional pilots. These small helicopters have an excellent flight record and are amazing tools to get us into and out of distant beats with speed and ease. We will give everyone a safety talk in camp on the protocol to follow each time you fly in one. They can be loud, headsets are provided to reduce rotor noise and to communicate with the other passengers and pilot while flying.
What Makes This Destination Special and Unique?
• The biggest deal about the Kola Reserve right now is that it is NEW! There are not that many opportunities in life to be among the first anglers to fish someplace special. This has been a hidden gem, undisturbed for 20 plus years, hiding right next to the most famous rivers on Earth’s most productive havens of wild, native Atlantic Salmon... The North Coast of the Kola.
• The North Coast of the Kola has some savage rivers, many of them very big, making it hard to cover the best lies for big fish. The rivers of the Kola Reserve are the perfect size to cover confidently with a fly. Make no mistake, it is a challenge, as all rivers on the North Coast are, but if you wade deep and cast far you can swing your fly from bank to bank.
• These salmon rivers are extremely remote, as far as you can get from populations centers on the Kola. Not only does this provide you with a true wilderness experience, it also protects the rivers from poachers that can be an issue on places more easily accessible. These rivers are wild and pristine.
• There are 2 rivers on the Kola Reserve! This gives you diversity and dramatically expands how much water is available to the group. You will get to fish 2 totally separate rivers, not a tributary, and you will never have to fish the same beat twice.
• This is the North Coast of the Kola! If you are looking for Big Atlantic Salmon, This place needs to be at the top of your list. Be warned though, big bright fish in these rivers are a handful, you are going to have to hold on tight!
• No place else on the Kola has as nice of a set up as the Lumbovka Camp on the Kola Reserve. The accommodations are over the top with Single Occupancy rooms with Queen sized beds and private bathroom and shower, in duplex cabins with shared wader room. The food is world class and the main lodge house is fully appointed with a stocked bar, couches to relax and enjoy cocktails after long days on the water and a porch overlooking the home pool. This is a place you will want to return to year after year.