In response to KK's Alaska fishing trip I mentioned that I'd post something after I returned from my trip to the far northwestern side of the Pacific.

I spent two weeks in the latter half of July, with a week each on the Sedanka River and Kalgauch River, tributaries to the Tigil River that flows west into the Sea of Okhoskt. The target species of fish were rainbow trout and kundzha, or white spotted char. The Sedanka is a spring fed river that flows clear and cold and contains vast braided-channel sections. The river was high, but fishing with streamers was good, and afternoon hatches allowed some premier dry fly fishing on some days. I even got in one good afternoon of "mousing," although it's a bit early in the season for that, and that is really exciting fishing. I caught trout up to 6 pounds, kundzha to about 4. Rainbows averaged 18 - 20" and are very thick in the body, which I think suggests a rapid growth rate even with an 8 month long winter. Most kundzha are 16 to 23". They are not so girthy, and but for their markings they resemble the Dolly Varden/bull trout that are common here. They may get a lot girthier when the salmon arrive and begin spawning and dying en mass, however.

The Kalgauch River is comprised of snow melt, glacial runoff, and rain runoff. It was even higher than the Sedanka. Fortunately it was clear when I arrived, so I had a day and a half of fishing the clear water, which included one afternoon of stupid silly dry fly action in a side channel pool. I'm glad for that because it rained more, the river rose more and became fairly turbid. We lost a day and a half to unfishable water conditions, so I became better acquainted with Russian vodka. I then fished a couple days with only 1 1/2 to 2' of visibility, which also put a damper on hatches and dry fly activity. I still caught plenty of fish in the turbid water conditions, although I had to work for them. So I suppose we simply would have caught even more fish had the river been lower and clearer - like last year. The last day I fished it we discovered a small, clear, lake and spring-fed tributary about 25 - 28' wide. We parked the boat and hiked and fished our way upstream casting to rising fish, both trout and kundzha. My partner hooked and lost a 6 or 7 pound trout near the mouth of this creek. I caught a 23 and 25" trout plus some smaller ones and a couple kundzha from the creek. Happening upon this little creek was a real added plus after two days of fishing dirty water, and the dry fly fishing was a nice way to finish the trip.

The trip was my first of its kind. It was an interesting cultural experience, unfortunately limited by language as I speak no Russian, and most of the Russians spoke only a little English. It was an amazing wilderness experience. The Kamchatka peninsula is easily more than 90% wilderness. 270,000 of the 360,000 people there live in the Petropavlosk area. The wilderness is well visited though. Military manuevers, including target range actions, were common from the end of WWII until 1990. Natives herd reindeer, hunt, and trap. There are volcanos everywhere you look when the weather is clear. The misquitos and other pest insects are an order of magnitude worse than I've ever experienced anywhere, hands down. Permithryn treated clothing and DEET on exposed skin are litterally keys to human survival there. The Russian guides wear DEET like it was cologne. So did I.

And the fishing ranges from good - how often are you going to catch 6 to 10 good trout a day when the river is out - to stupid silly where you raise or hook a fish nearly every cast.


Salmo g.