My friends and I have been going to Karelia for many years, we have been there in the spring, summer, and late autumn — each season has its own charm. Once, having got there almost by accident, I did not escape the fate of many, and since then I have come to this region again and again. There are many reasons for this, but the main ones are the special northern beauty of these places and unique fishing. Unique not in the sense of huge catches – this, rather, refers to the Lower Volga and Ah-tuba, but in the fact that, after fishing there several times, you suddenly notice: you just don’t feel like catching somewhere else. It was felt not only by me, but also by many of my friends with whom we go to Karelia at least once a year. And every year we are drawn more and more there.
Here, even in a small area, you can find a very diverse landscape and completely dissimilar reservoirs. A huge number of different rivers, both calm and turbulent, but you can’t even talk about countless lakes. It is noteworthy that each pond has its own, unlike the others, underwater life and its own fishing. Here are inexhaustible opportunities to improve their skills. You can travel to Karelia all your life and still learn a lot every time. A variety of ponds allows you to catch here in a variety of ways, but friends and I have been coming here for several years, taking with us only fly fishing gear. If you take a fly fishing and, for example, spinning, then, as a rule, you don’t really get either. Therefore, it is not worth scattering, because there is always not enough time.
In addition to grayling, trout and trout, which you need to buy licenses for, other fish are well caught here: ide, including large, pike, perch, dace, roach. Here this fish is found in abundance. It is interesting that among locals pike and bream are often valued higher than salmon. In the northern part of Karelia, closer to the Kola Peninsula, one of the locals can hear: “What are you catching here? There is no fish here – only grayling and salmon! Go to the next small river – there are both pike and bream! ” But we are not going to fish. We go for sensations, for exceptional cleanliness with air and for silence, which, probably, does not exist anywhere else.
This time we climbed onto one of the small rivers about 70 kilometers from Belomorsk. Usually we drive cars as much as possible, then we leave them in the village, having agreed with someone from the locals, and they throw us on the river in motorboats – again, as far as possible. Then with all the equipment we go on foot to the point of interest to us. We set up a camp on the shore and begin to explore the surroundings. There are roads in Karelia, but there are few of them, and, as a rule, it is impossible to get to the most interesting places. Even on foot you can’t always reach – there are a lot of swamps. The main interest for us is grayling, trout, and, of course, trout. All of these species need a license, but buying it for visiting fishermen, whose time is running out, as always, is a whole story. Licenses should be sold everywhere and everywhere – then there will be, I am sure, an order of magnitude less willing to catch without them.
Trout always lives on more or less large rivers – this is a living form of trout. But there is also a passing trout, which can enter the river in spring and autumn. The main move is autumn. Residential trout can be caught throughout the summer, but it is not so easy to pick up a key to it. This time we caught only a few of these fish weighing one kilogram each, and I held twice larger ones, somewhere under two kilograms, but they were luckier than me. There is a whitefish here, but you still have to get on its move, which is rarely possible. Last year we succeeded, this is not. Most often, the course happens either in the fall or in the summer, but always in high water, and this year from the very beginning it was almost summer, low.
As for grayling and trout, they were caught quite often. The size was very different – from the little finger to a kilogram, but the main catch – copies up to 500 grams. These are already adult individuals, they briskly resist, and it is very pleasant to keep them on a fishing rod. In some places it was possible to catch a lot of fish, but almost all of them were released – we took only for food. For dinner, we had five or six graylings, and they were brought to the camp. The Karelian rivers constantly pose challenges for the fisherman. The fish are moving a lot here. She can rise from the lake to the river, and after a short time slide down. There are many rivers connecting the lakes; grayling migrates along them, obeying their own laws that are difficult to explain.
Grayling, and trout, often stand in the shallow water itself, where the water is just knee-deep. In the heat can go to the threshold. But still it’s easier to look for them “in the mirrors”. A mirror is a patch of calm water, which is formed behind some kind of obstacle, usually a stone. Very promising areas in front of the dump on the threshold and immediately below it. There are patterns in the location of the fish, but everything has to be considered in a complex: the water level, its temperature, the depth of fishing, the strength of the current. All salmon are very sensitive to water temperature, the location of fish often depends on it. Fishing on the small and small rivers of Karelia is also distinguished by the fact that having arrived at a well-known place, where you have always been fishing, you can find that the river is empty, and only a few days later it literally begins to fill up with fish in front of our eyes. This most often happens on rivers connecting fairly large lakes.
Usually, after rains, the level rises markedly and the fish begins to rise along the river, lingering at the rapids for a while. And this applies not only to trout and grayling, but also to white fish. But as soon as the level drops, the fish rolls back. White fish, and even a predator, here often behaves exactly the same as grayling. If there is little grayling in the river, then its favorite places are occupied by pike and perch, and sometimes dace with roach. Pike, it happens, stands right on the thresholds – it is not even clear how she succeeds. On the jet itself, small specimens are kept, up to a kilogram, a larger one prefers plows. Often you look at a powerful threshold and pretend: only trout can pass through this. And then it turns out that this place is taken by a pike.
And sometimes it happens that right on the doorstep, where trout should be standing under all conditions, there is a hard bite, and only after bringing the fish to the shore, you see that this is a large perch. It happens, counting on a whitefish, you throw a light fly in the lulls, you should be sure to bite, you feel that the fish is serious, but this also turns out to be a perch. It should be noted that pike here is a frequent trophy for fly fishing. On large trout, especially salmon flies, pike bites occur regularly. But the most interesting thing is that even when fishing without a leash, there are few slices. For some reason, the pike takes the fly very carefully, clinging literally to the edge of the mouth.
Large flies of 3-4 cm have to be used very often: trout and grayling are well taken on them, but most importantly, they help to cut off roach and other small fish. True, this does not always help. It happens that bleak grabs a salmon fly, and literally stretches it by mouth. A few words about gear. Most commonly used are fishing rods of the middle, 5-7th, class. On a trip you have to take 2-3 rods, a spare reel and the corresponding set of cords, undergrowths and lures. As always, I want to take a lot, but then I will have to drag it all on myself! Here’s what must be taken necessarily, so these are materials for knitting flies. The local fish is very unpredictable, and guessing what it will take this time is simply impossible.
It happens that you get to the flight of an insect, and if there is no such bait and there is nothing to make it from, then you have to forget about grayling, and trout, for a while. True, now, having the experience of many trips, I can already say in advance which fly can work, which can’t, but in the beginning I had to bring along a knitting needle and a full set of materials. All fishing on the Karelian rivers is literally labor. You need to walk a lot, here you can’t sit on the shore with a fishing rod and a beer. Most of the rivers are rather shallow, and they can be crossed in wagons, but there are also very deep points. Where a stream of water striking from the threshold flushes the rock, the depth can reach five or more meters. There are areas where the water is just knee-deep, but you can’t go, as the current simply knocks down.
The concentration of fish in rivers is high, but the fish moves much more than in the middle lane. This applies even to pike. Therefore, you have to constantly search for fish. This, perhaps, is the main difficulty, but also the main attraction of fishing in Karelia.