Zhupanova River: Home to Some of the World's Largest Rainbow Trout
Kamchatka is home to some of the most remote, isolated and pristine freshwater fisheries in the world. A handful of rivers found on this wild and rugged peninsula are truly world-class; collectively in a league of their own with regard to huge, aggressive rainbow trout. One of these select fisheries is the mighty Zhupanova, a river known as home to what is arguably the largest rainbow trout in the world. With fish reaching lengths of 35 inches and weights of over 10 pounds, anglers have the opportunity to hook the biggest trout of their lives during a single week of fishing. Zendzur Lodge has access to over 30 miles of the river right from their doorstep – every mile accessible by jet boats operated by seasoned American and Russian guides. The lodge itself is also the most established fishing lodge in all of Kamchatka, with the finest amenities, accommodations, service, and food that any angler could ask for.
Just a 30-minute flight via Mi-8 helicopter from Petropavlosk, Zendzur Lodge sits atop a riverside overlook that gives guests a beautiful view of the Zhupanova River. In a part of the world where rugged and rustic wilderness lodges are the norm, Zendzur is an amazing exception – one of the nicest operations in all of Russia. Zendzur offers comfortable rooms, great food, and excellent customer service; a fantastic base of operations where anglers return each evening to enjoy a huge dinner, comfortable overnight accommodations, and on-site, natural hot springs. Each room at the lodge has either two or three beds, a private bathroom with flushing toilets and towels, and an entryway for storing waders and gear.
Food and Beverages
During a week at Zendzur, anglers can expect some of the finest Russian cuisine homemade right at the lodge. Fresh pastries, salads, fruits, seafood, soups, and several other entrees will decorate the table each evening with the main course of pork, chicken or beef to follow. It’s a perfect ending to a long day on the river. Breakfasts include hot cereals of many styles, eggs, bacon, toast, and fresh fruit. Lunches will be served on the river and include a variety of meats and cheeses, fruit, and freshly caught Dolly Varden cooked over an open fire. All beverages are included in the trip package and will be available throughout the day. Any additional alcohol other than beer will be an extra cost. It is recommended anglers purchase any other alcohol at the Duty Free in Anchorage prior to their departure.
Typical Length of Stay
Due to the set schedule of the once-a-week flight from Anchorage (ANC) to Petropavlovsk (PKC), the standard package at Zendzur Lodge is six (6) nights / five and a half (5.5) fishing days.
Activities for non-anglers are very limited in Kamchatka, and the Zendzur Lodge is primarily a fishing-focused destination. That said, anglers will enjoy the overall area itself, as the scenery of the nearby mountains provides breathtaking panoramic displays. Over the course of the week, each guest will experience tamarack and birch forests, wildlife, snow-capped mountains, a view of Zhupanovsky Volcano and salmon-rich, gin-clear waters.
Internet / Communications
There is no internet connection while at Zendzur Lodge and cell phones will not work. Sat phones are the best means for communication if needed.
How To Get There
Once Yakutia Air has announced they will once again be flying for 2019, the direct route from Anchorage’s Ted Stevens International Airport (ANC) to Petropavlovsk, Kamchatka (PKC) is the quickest and easiest option. Flights will operate weekly from mid-July to mid-September 2019. More information on these flights can be found by contacting Yellow Dog.
Arrival and Departure Details / Times
With direct flight service to Kamchatka (PKC) from Anchorage (ANC), anglers can once again enjoy a quick and easy flight to the best rainbow trout fishing on the planet. It is anticipated that the weekly Yakutia Air flight will depart from Anchorage on Monday mornings, with arrival in Kamchatka the following morning once the plane crosses the international date line. With this new schedule, anglers will no longer have to overnight in Petro on their way to camp, instead of proceeding directly from the airport to the helicopter that same day. After a great week of fishing, you will arrive back in Anchorage the following Monday evening. You will arrive back in Anchorage the same Monday morning after crossing back over the international dateline. This early arrival back to the States allows plenty of time to clear U.S. customs and immigration to connect up with your flight home that same day.
A Russian Visa (which Yellow Dog will assist with) and a valid passport with at least six months of validity remaining are required. Due to the remoteness of this location, Yellow Dog Flyfishing Adventures requires the purchase of medical evacuation and trip insurance.
Yellow Dog works directly with and recommends Kanna Travel. They can assist with airline tickets, hotels, transfers and all travel logistics for every destination that we offer. Contact them at 855-739-3139 or [email protected] for more details on airfare ticketing, travel services, and trip insurance.
Most fishing on the Upper Zhupanova involves either large streamers or large mouse patterns skated across the surface. Anglers typically use a combination of walk and wade techniques and fishing from the rafts while covering 10-12 miles per day. The amount of wade fishing versus fishing from the boat will depend entirely on the length of the float each day. Large streamers cast into the bank using mid-weight to heavy sink tips are the main technique used when floating, with a back-up rod rigged and ready with a floating line and a mouse pattern. The rainbows found on the river average between 20-25 inches in size, with opportunities at 30-inch fish always a possibility. Super Kundzha is present in the river from late July through late August, offering great streamer action and amazing photo opportunities. The river also harbors a vibrant and healthy population of Dolly Varden and five different species of Pacific salmon. This definitely isn’t a technical fishery which requires delicate presentations with 5x tippet sizes. Anglers are urged to bring heavy six, seven and eight-weight rods, reels with sound drag systems and tippet sizes no lighter than 15-pounds.
Boats and Equipment
All air transportation to and from the Upper Zhupanova River is by Mi-8 helicopter, which will transfer anglers to camp once a week. Upon arrival, the guides for the week will assemble the rafts that will transport guests down the river over the course of the next six days. Anglers will fish from the rafts as well as wade fish prime sections of the river each day. There is no rental or demo equipment available on this trip, and no flies, leaders or tippet for sale. That means anglers will have to bring everything with them, including rods, reels, lines, waders, boots all terminal tackle and flies. Please refer to Yellow Dog’s detailed pre-trip materials and packing lists for all required and recommended equipment.
Remember that Yellow Dog’s services are completely free! When you book a trip with Yellow Dog, you never pay more than when you book directly with the lodge or outfitter. All prices listed below are per person, based on double occupancy and quoted in US dollars.
6 nights / 5.5 Fishing Days = $6,995.00 USD
- Six (6) nights lodging at the Zhupanova River Float (double occupancy)
- Five and a half (5.5) days fully guided fishing (two anglers per guide)
- Possible arrival day and departure day fishing (will be dictated by transportation schedule and weather)
- All ground and air transfers to/from the Zhupanova River Float
- All meals while on the Zhupanova River Float
- All non-alcoholic beverages
What’s Not Included:
- Airfare to Anchorage, Alaska (ANC) and from Anchorage to Petropavlovsk, Russia (PKC)
- Hotel accommodations, meals and transfers in Anchorage (if necessary)
- All flies and terminal tackle, rods, reels, waders, boots and all other fishing equipment
- Russian fishing license (approximately $100.00 per person)
- Gratuities for guides and camp staff (payable in USD)
- Russian Visa and Visa processing fees
- Alcoholic beverages (beer and vodka available for purchase or bring your own)
- Trip insurance and Global Rescue insurance policies (required)