Off-the-Grid Freshwater Fly Fishing in Russia
As a destination and a fishery, Kamchatka offers anglers the most remote, off-the-grid freshwater opportunities found anywhere on the planet. And while many of the rivers of the Kamchatkan Peninsula offer great fishing, there are a handful of fisheries where anglers will feel as if they were the first person to ever fish there. The Upper Zhupanova River float is one of these places – a destination that will leave visiting anglers awe-struck with just how remote Kamchatka is and just how good the fishing can be. The Zhupanova float covers more than 60 miles of beautiful, healthy and pristine habitat that is home to some of the largest and wildest rainbow trout on the planet. These waters are also home to a species known as the Super Kundzha as well as all five species of Pacific salmon. Limited to only six rods per week, the Upper Zhupanova is as close to an untouched fishery as any river on the planet, with the action every bit as good as it was 100 years ago. This is a float trip that will leave guests with the kind of angling and adventure memories that will last a lifetime.
Anglers will depart Petropavlovsk and access the Upper Zhupanova float aboard a large Mi-8 helicopter. The Heli-flight is roughly 50 minutes long, allowing guests the opportunity to see vast and untouched forests, large rivers and Russian wildlife from above. Once you arrive at the river, anglers will spend their days fishing between various camps, moving downstream each day and overnighting at a different location each night. Each established, on-water camp features permanent cabins, hot showers, flushing toilets and a social fire pit where guests gather to relax, talk about their day on the water and enjoy evening beer, vodka, and cocktails. All cabins feature a small wood stove and two beds with mattresses, and anglers will need to bring their own sleeping bag and shower towel. All meals will be served in the main yurt or dining hall, where coffee, tea, and hot water will be available at all times. Each camp is located in an area overlooking the river, and each location offers great opportunities for fishing home waters after a hearty dinner. These are some of the best float trip accommodations in all of Kamchatka, and each location will leave anglers feeling well-rested and ready for the next day of fishing.
Food and Beverages
One thing about these river trips is that anglers will never go hungry while traversing the 60 miles downriver over the course of the week. Every day guests will enjoy classic Russian dishes that include various types of soup, fresh salads, meats, cheeses and hearty main courses that include either pork, beef or chicken. Breakfasts include hot cereals, eggs, bacon, and toast. Lunches are served on the river each day and consist of meats and cheeses, salads and even fresh Dolly Varden cooked over an open fire. All types of beverages are available throughout the week, including sodas and some Russian beers. Anglers are encouraged to purchase any additional alcohol at the Duty-Free store in Anchorage prior to their departure for Kamchatka. The food on this float is always a highlight for most guests and often-times causes folks to ‘loosen a notch on their belt’ after a full week of eating these Russian hearty meals.
Typical Length of Stay
Due to the set weekly flight from Anchorage (ANC) to Petropavlovsk (PKC), the standard package is six (6) nights with five and a half (5.5) fishing days.
Activities for non-anglers are extremely limited, as this is primarily a fishing-focused destination. The area does offer great opportunities for photos and great wildlife viewing, but this is not a trip that is recommended for anyone who is not primarily interested in fishing long and full days.
Internet / Communications
There is no internet connection or cell phone service while on the Zhupanova float trip. Sat phones are the only means of communication while on the river.
How To Get There
Yakutia Air has announced that they will once again be flying the direct route from Anchorage’s Ted Stevens International Airport (ANC) to Petropavlovsk, Kamchatka (PKC) which is the quickest and easiest option. Flights will operate weekly from mid-July to mid-September. More information on these flights can be found by contacting Yellow Dog.
Arrival and Departure 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. 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 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. For any international anglers not looking to travel through Anchorage OR if you would like to spend additional time in Russia, there are options to fly through Moscow, Russia or Seoul, South Korea to arrive to Petro on different schedules.
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)