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Atlantic Salmon Reserve

Written By: Justin and Vladimir
On Date: 6/5/2019

Following the significant late winter snowfalls across much of the Alps - central Europe and the northern US - that were in contrast to the somewhat mild winter conditions in the UK, we wanted to send you all a spring update to let you know how the upcoming season is beginning to take shape on the far north coast of the Kola Peninsula. The recent end of the long polar nights heralded the first opportunity to make a significant visit out to the camps to take stock of things.

Looking back at the snow measurements for the last 10 years on the ASR website, so far the conditions this winter have been about 17% below normal with a snow pack of 81cm on the camps as of mid April. This compares to last season at this time when we were reporting levels of 14% above average with a snowpack of 110cm. As is often the case, by April the snow depth can remain broadly the same but the water in the snow blanket normally continues to creep up as has been the case recently with snow falls compacting the snow. Water levels in the snow blanket are currently about 15% below the 10 year average.

Reviewing the catch records for the last 5 years - the snow pack last spring was slightly above normal, which led to a 19% increase over the 5 year average in the number of salmon caught through mid July when the extreme hot dry conditions set in, which also affected much of the rest of Europe, slowing down the late summer catches for a couple of weeks before welcomed cool Arctic breezes from the north abruptly returned increasing the catch back up well above average again by early August. These results can be compared to the unprecedented 2017 season when record high snow and water led to an icy cold start to the season - while the later July weeks more than made up for the slow start, producing several all time record weeks. To further illustrate the difficulty in drawing early conclusions, the 2015 season which received the lowest winter snow pack, went on to benefit from the consistent weather conditions during the season which were mostly mild and cloudy and produced the highest overall ASR catch results over the last five seasons.

While the snow levels and current warm spell may turn out to be good news for the early spring die-harts - it really depends upon how the thaw proceeds into May. Will it continue to be on the warm side or will it be delayed and slow down again as in 2018? This will dictate the conditions for the opening weeks however forecasting the rest season above the Arctic circle beyond about 6 hours ahead will remain as unpredictable as ever. Stay tuned to the ASR website for more snow/water updates over the coming weeks.

On the administrative side, the charter flight schedule between Helsinki and Murmansk operated by Finnair has now been confirmed for the 2019 ASR season. The itinerary remains the same as previous years, so you will need to arrive in Helsinki on the Friday before fishing and depart Helsinki on the following Saturday after 4pm. Check out the Travel section of the ASR website for flight times and more info.

This seasons guests will have recently received their official booking letters and invitations. We'd encourage you not to delay with getting your visas in place - especially those guests that will be joining us on early upcoming June weeks. British guests should expect normal delays over the current holiday period with the standard 5 day service currently expected to take between 5 and 20 business days. The fast track process which is considerably more expensive is no longer 1 day turnaround but is up to 5 business days. Please also note that the Visa Processing Centres (certainly in the UK) observe the Russian public holidays as well as the local ones. To that end, do not forget that the travel section also contains detailed notes to assist in completion of the visa application process.

Similarly, we are delighted to offer all fishers travelling to the ASR this season a 15% discount on all pre-trip purchases over 300 made online or in-store in Farlows, London. As you start to think of any kit that needs replacing before your visit, don't hesitate to get in contact with our colleagues at Farlows in the UK, (Tele. +44 207 484 1000

Finally, whilst there are very few rods remaining available for the season, the inevitable unforeseen circumstances mean that a couple last openings have arisen during the July weeks. If you have either not yet fixed your own plans for the season or feel tempted to visit us for an extra week in 2019, do get in touch with us before these last few spaces get snapped up.

Won't be long now until the ice breaks.

Best wishes and Happy Easter from the ASR team,

Justin and Vladimir

Atlantic Salmon Reserve

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