There the only realistic target are (small) perch. Though we do hear of
rumors of occasional pike, there are no greyling and salmonids at all -
what a shame, with this much water appearing a perfect habitat for trout.
For us, this is the nearest weekend getaway within the Moscow city circle.
Here we can at least wet our lines, without worrying about the traffic
jam to get back in.
Here in Volga, there are hardly any salmonids. In the absence of sexier
target species, Greyling, Pike and Perch make flyfisher's grand slam up
here. Very well, when in Rome, , ,
This time we took a lodging in a nearby town of Rjef, so we could not fish the golden hours in the evening and the morning.
Perhaps next time we will bring a tent and spend a night by the river,
to do Volga a due justice.
Another thing we must put up with is a heavy traffic jam on our way back
to Moscow. Many Muscovites have a country house (Dacha, which was given
by the government during the Soviet era as a basis of subsistence) and
they love spending weekend there in peace. Not so peaceful is the traffic
to go home though.
In fact Volga is the longest river in the European continent. It originates
in the Valdai hills in the north west of Moscow, slowly flows down to the
Caspian ocean some 3,600kms south east.
Worth noting is its elevation, or the lack thereof. The highest point of
Valdai hills is about 220meters above sea. Caspian sea lies some 30meters
below sea but the total difference is still very modest 250meters. It tells
how flat the topography around here really is.
Another option nearer to us is Moscow river which, as I wrote earlier,
is one of the tributaries of Volga. There are hardly any current and at
places it looks like a lake than a river. But the water is clean, and wading
is fun on a sunny day.
The volga here was still of a manageable size, say 30-50meters in width.
Wading was easy with flat gravel river bed, and only the center of the
river too deep to wade, at least now in September.
Anton warned me, in spring and early summer, you often see big flood here,
when the both banks and sprawling pastures, woodlands will be drowned altogether.
While the flat flow made good waterways and irrigation canal, for us flyfishers it doesn't help much. Most of the stretches look like a still water, and there are few salmonids in Volga system if not none at all.
There a new Russian friend of mine, a flyfisher Anton gave me an interesting
tip - some stretches in Valdai hills offer venues suitable for drifting
a fly, and they host healthy population of greyling. Well, we had to go
check it out!!
Russia is enormous. So much so, when you go fishing you first have to fly.
That's a handycap we had not expected before coming to live here.
That said, Moscow does offer fair amount nature, and some water access
along the Moscow river, which is one of the tributary of the mighty Volga. In summer you see big cruise ships departing for a voyage that could
literally go thousands of miles.
Anton explained, if you time your visit to a warm evening, there should
be active hatches of mayflies and caddis, and dry fly fishing can work
This time our visit, over the first weekend of September, it was already
cooling down with a scent of autumn in the breeze, and we had better success
with a nymph, such as #14-16 hare's ear.
The area he guided us looked promising - with dynamic bends, sand bars and nice shallows here and there.
The 250kms drive from Moscow was not overly exciting, but this is one precious
few playground for the flyfishers around the Russian capital - where you
can go without airplane.