The Fly Shop Announces Operations in the Kola Reserve

fly fish Kola
Credit: The Fly Fishing Nation

From The Fly Shop:

The Fly Shop® is very excited to announce their newest addition to their award winning portfolio of Signature Destinations – The Kola Reserve.

The ­Rivers of the Kola Reserve are the most exciting additions to Atlantic salmon fishing on the Kola Peninsula since the Ponoi.

Introducing the Rivers of the Kola Reserve

The Fly Shop® recently joined a cadre of professional fly fishing pioneers led by Stephan Dombaj of Fly Fishing Nation on a mission to determine whether rumors of the existence of two phenomenal, lost and completely private Atlantic Salmon fisheries on the northern coast of the Kola Peninsula were true. Adding to the intrigue and speculation was the fact that both rivers flow north into the Barents Sea at a point only slightly southeast of the trophy-laden Yokanga and to the northwest of the prolific Ponoi. They are dead-center in the heart of a region famous for trophy-sized Atlantic salmon, numbers of grilse, and large Osenka (fall run) Atlantics. The rivers are completely private and have been designated catch-and-release, fly fishing only fisheries that will remain shielded from poaching, commercial harvest, and exploitation.

Kola fly fishing
Credit: The Fly Fishing Nation

Minutes after the helicopter arrival from Murmansk at the recently completed River Camp, the talented reconnaissance team was dressed for the occasion, had their rods rigged, and was launching spey casts toward the far bank of the home pool. It quickly became apparent that the river harbors an impressive run of trophy Atlantic salmon. The fish were acrobatic, dime-bright, full of fight, and our first one to grass was estimated to tip the scales at over 8 kilos. The rest of our scouting week proved the rivers were the real deal and had a healthy population of the large Atlantic Salmon typical of the North Coast of the Kola.

Kola Atlantic salmon
Credit: Matt Harris

Members of the exploratory team of anglers stayed on for the next month, filing daily reports on their successes and recording the entire, incredible experience on film. They were joined occasionally by members of the family, owners of the Kola Reserve, who were active participants in the angling survey.

Simply expressed, what they found left little room for exaggeration!Both rivers are cut from the same cloth as the other magnificent Atlantic salmon fisheries in the northern Kola. They share the same large fish, as well as grilse and Osenka.

An autumn intel-gathering expedition is planned in 2019 and will include another experienced team to vet the late season fishery.

Kola Reserve fly fishing

The Kola Reserve was purchased by the family in 2018.  Both drainages and fisheries have been set aside in perpetuity with the goal of preserving and protecting this part of Russia’s pristine, untouched wilderness while adding to some of the best fishing for Atlantic salmon found in the world. The rivers of the Kola Reserve flow north into the Barents Sea and, like the Kharlovka, Yokanga, Varzina and other regional fisheries, harbor some of the finest Atlantic salmon on Earth. Each of the rivers appears designed by Mother Nature to test both fish and fishermen. They have remained beyond human impaction and are wild, undisturbed, and free-flowing. The Kola Reserve rivers flow steep and fast, with perfect holding areas for swinging flies in between white water. These  magnificent salmon have faced some of the most rugged obstacles and conditions imaginable on their annual spawning pilgrimage and have  evolved into what many experts feel are among the very largest and strongest strains of their species.

Fishing the Kola Reserve is not for everyone. Both breathtaking rivers flow through steep canyons carved from stone before entering the sea. They are exceptionally picturesque, but remember you will have to wade the same terrain that forced the salmon to evolve big and strong. Bring your wading staffs and wear your cleats! What makes these two rivers unique and separates them from most other Atlantic salmon fisheries on the north coast of the Kola though, is their size.  They are not massive, but rather have an intimate character. Neither river is navigable; all the angling is done while wading, not from boats. Small dories have been positioned on some pools to allow safe and easy crossing of the rivers.  Competent spey casters will appreciate the ability to successfully wade, cast, and systematically cover the 3 or 4 pools in each beat and to be able to battle these fish from the shoreline.

The 2020 inaugural season at the Kola Reserve will incorporate  what are expected to be the eleven most productive weeks of the Atlantic  salmon run and only eight anglers will be hosted at the Camp  (far fewer than the number of expansive beats on the two rivers). Guests will be transported by helicopter from Murmansk to Camp where they will be surrounded by a deluxe property with accommodations that will challenge even the most well established camps on the Kola for supremacy.

While there may be some wrinkles to be ironed out in the first season, no excuses will have to be made for a nearly completed, top-tier lodge, warm, spacious, single-occupancy duplex cabins with en-suite baths, queen beds, superb cuisine, an open bar, and other first-class amenities that contradict the remote, arctic environment.

No expense will have been spared to ensure the most successful and comfortable angling holiday possible. The Kola Reserve has also assembled a remarkably skilled first-year guide staff with the help of The Fly Shop® (with more than 40  years of experience outfitting lodges and camps from Kamchatka to Tierra  del Fuego), Matt Harris (Legendary Photographer) and the Fly Fishing Nation (one of  Europe’s most experienced team of fly fishing trailblazers). The team will be dialed in.

Some guests will be transported each day to the most distant angling on one of two rivers by helicopter. For convenience, practicality, and to avoid any weather delays home river anglers will be quickly and comfortably driven by 4WD ATVs to the most productive of the spectacular pools, runs and tail-outs.

Pricing for the 2020 Inaugural season at the Kola Reserve will be temporarily reduced as an introductory incentive and those anglers will be given priority in the allocation of space in subsequent seasons.

This may be the best opportunity in decades to get in on the ground floor, and visit what promises to be among the top echelon Atlantic salmon lodges on Earth!

To learn more about the Kola Reserve or to inquire about 2020 introductory pricing and rod dates contact the Kola Reserve’s exclusive North American agent: 

The Fly Shop®
4140 Churn Creek Road
Redding, California 96002
(800) 669-3474 / (530) 222-3555 Fax: (530) 222-3572 /