If you're not already familiar with Western Russia's Ponoi River (also spelled Ponoy), you should be. The Ponoi is the antithesis of virtually every other Atlantic Salmon river you've heard of. The Ponoi doesn't produce tales of fly fishing for Atlantic Salmon that you're used to, with fishermen in Eastern Canada or the British Isles heading off to the river for a week, casting a billion times, and landing a single fish or counting the success of the trip in tugs. Days on the Ponoi are often measured in dozens of fish caught.
The Ponoi is a pristine river, free of commercial fishing or significant human influence, which flows through the Kola peninsula, eventually dumping into the White Sea almost 800 miles north of Moscow. Getting there isn't easy, and it isn't cheap, but it provides most that visit it a sure-fire bet at the fishing trip of a lifetime.
Kirk Deeter, partner in crime with Tim Romano at Field & Stream's FlyTalk blog, has been faced with the difficult task of heading off to the Ponoi and reporting back. Kirk is blogging about his trip while on the road over at the FlyTalk blog. If you're not already reading the FlyTalk blog, you probably should be, so take this chance to get yourself acquainted while simultaneously becoming preposterously jealous of Deeter's current trip.
Results from the field that are in? The group Kirk is fishing with, which consists of 12 anglers, brought 205 Atlantic Salmon to hand the other day. Seriously.
For more Ponoi River jealousy, follow the blog of lowcountry Redfish guide Owen Plair at the Lowcountry Journal. Owen's taking a break from chasing tails all summer to guide on the Ponoi and reporting back on getting traveling to Russia, getting his spey casting in order, and the experience of guiding on what is perhaps the world's greatest Atlantic Salmon river.