one of the world’s finest of all Atlantic salmon waters
Salmon fishermen went through very tough times for many years as the domain of their favorite species shrunk considerably. Then the discovery of the marvelous angling in Russia’s Kola Peninsula occurred and salmon fishermen everywhere rejoiced.
Among the very best on the Kola Peninsula is the Umba River. Located on the southern coast of the Kola, the Umba is one of the most productive rivers in a region where salmon migrations overwhelm those in other parts of the world.
The Umba has three overlapping runs of salmon. The first fish begin their arrival in mid May, a second run typically starts at the end of June and the final run surfaces in early August. Thus a constant supply of fresh salmon is assured throughout the Umba’s four- month season.
The Umba River Lodge has an exclusive, long-term lease on the lower 20 miles of the river, with over 15 major pools, some of which stretch for over 500 yards. Anglers can fish most any of the pools both by wading and by boat, always with a skilled guide close at hand.
During the 1995 season, over 2800 salmon were landed by less than 160 rods. This averages out to almost 19 per angler per week. Bob Grayson has fished the Umba for years, and his results are superb: Last year he averaged 33 salmon per week, for his two- week stint. In a previous year, he landed as 83 salmon!
While grilse are obviously present, the majority of the salmon encountered on the Umba are mature fish that have spent at least two winters at sea and weigh from eight to 15 pounds. In 1995, every week of the season except one yielded at least one salmon over the 20-pound mark, and during many weeks, there were quite a few (the best week was 16 over 20 pounds). At least ten salmon of over the 30 pounds were caught in 1995 from the Umba. The season’s largest was an incredible 40 pounder taken during the last week of August.
PanAngling’s Paul Melchior has led a group to the Umba the last two seasons. In 1995, Dr. Jay Shroyer, a seasoned angler but new to salmon angling. On the first day of fishing, Dr Shroyer landed an 18-pound bright salmon within a few hours of setting foot in the Umba. Through the remainder of the week, he landed quite a few salmon, including two between 20 and 23 lbs. Jorge Xifra, took the group’s largest, a hefty 25 pounder. Melchior’s great thrill was a 17 pounder that forced him to race downstream over 400 yards.
The Umba, while most prolific, is not a huge river, and many anglers with little salmon experience can enjoy great success here. Long casts are not required in many locations. Because many of the pools can be fished from the camp’s skiffs, adjustments can be made by the guides according to the angler’s casting ability and conditions.
Umba guides uniformly pleasant and exceptionally hard working, with a solid understanding of the river and the salmon.
The Umba River Lodge offers plenty of creature comforts. Anglers enjoying a hearty meal can view salmon leaping in the home pool. Individual rooms in the lodge all have private bathroom facilities, including hot showers. Each room is heated and is fully electrified. The dining room serves well prepared meals that combine local cuisine with Western-style dishes.
Fly Fish in Kola, the parent company which runs the Umba Lodge, also offers quality salmon fishing on a number of other Kola rivers: including the Karlovka, Litza and Rynda.
The upper reaches of these rivers feature untapped brown trout fishing: three- to five-pound browns are commonplace and several trout of over 10 pounds were landed.