: What's with the Kharlovfka / Litza?
10-01-2008, 04:03 PM
Anyone fish the Kharlovfka and Eastern Litza this year? Wonder how they did? I'm prompted to ask this question because I recently received my annual email from the outfitter who runs the camp telling me that the fishing was great BUT due to the increased costs of fuel and expenses they had to raise their prices, which seems pretty dramatic to me because it was by no means a poor mans river even prior to the increase.
They are charging $22,900.00 USD for the two prime weeks and 19,900.00 for the two sub-prime weeks. That's the price for one rod for one week during those periods. It goes down slightly from there. This is without jet fare to Murmansk, which perhaps costs at least another $2,500.00. So if you're going to fish their in prime time next year its going to cost over $25,000.00 USD. Divide that by 6 days and it will cost you over $4,000 USD per day or $500.00USD per hour.
I think if I would be fishing those rivers these calculations would put a damper on any success I may have. I probably would have done the math to know that if I take 25-50 casts per hour on average considering walking time, each cast would cost me $10 - $20 PER CAST. That is only if you fished every hour. Any time spent resting would raise that cost considerably.
I wonder how many guys in this world can either afford this or have the conscience to pay such a price when the world economy is in such dire straits. Oh, forgot to mention that they are trying to figure out a way in which you can go there and forgo the helicopter and have you walk several kilometers for a discounted price. That would mean you would be walking half the day which would essentially keep your casting charge the same.....
In 1993, it cost me $3000 to fish those rivers during the prime week with 6 rods besides myself (7 rods total). And back then that included all transfers from Moscow, including a social cruise in Moscow with live music and all the caviar you could devour. Now, forget the cruise, and forget them paying for the private jet to Murmansk, because you pay for everything right through to Murmansk. In addition, today I believe they put 12 rods on the river. If water conditions are low or the weather is such where they cannot helicopter to 4 guys to the Litza, I'm pretty sure there they are feeling a bit crowded that day on the Kharlovfka. So is it worth it and to whom? Personally, I can do a lot of things with $25,000.00.
And it's amazing Howie that I know people who fish 2 and 3 weeks there every year!
First time I went, I paid $2500 (as part of a small group exploring above Kharlovka first waterfall), next time $5000. I've fished all four of the ASR rivers (Kharlovka, Rynda, Zolotaya and my favorite the East Litza).
Absolutely wonderful stuff, some of the best, most memorable Atlantic salmon fishing I've ever done. They are the most well managed rivers and camps anywhere, but they'll just remain wonderful memories. I'll never be able to afford to return, but I'm happy that (at least at the moment) they are as well protected and managed as probably any in the world.
10-02-2008, 08:02 AM
I was in Russia first 2 weeks of June this year, fishing the Kola, but I bumped into Justin who runs the Kharlovka program for Peter Powers as the head guide. The price is 10,000 sterling for one week of prime time ( 22,000 US), don't forget the flights, hotel, tips, and gear requirements. You are looking at upwards of 30,000 us dollars "all in".
Now for the news that was swirling around Murmansk. A Russian oligarc made an offer to Peter in the spring to buy his rights to the Kharlovka river system, and Peter of course refused. The next day, he was informed that this was not an ask, it was a tell, and that he needed to name his price. After some negotiation, including allowing him to set the rules for how the fishing /camp will be run, a deal was made. Peter was very upset how this went down and had a heart attack soon after, survived but could not fly out in an airplane until mid summer. This is all rumor so do with it what you will.
Many Russians are not too thrilled with not being able to get to fish the Russian rivers. On the Kola, Arni Balderson takes all the prime weeks in advance, then sells them on the international market. The "Kola Rivers Co", a Russian company that he buys the rights from, is trying to alter the deal with him to get higher and higher prices and more prime weeks for their local Russians.
My view is that these Northern Rivers of the Kola are getting in higher demand locally and ineternationally, and the price reflects this. Being from the US with our now unstable economy, I personally am not going to Russia in 09, and this may be true for others, thus lowering demand, and in turn price ( hopefully). For the near term, "The sport of kings" is becoming this once again-at least as it relates to Russia.
10-02-2008, 11:45 AM
In reply to the "rumor" you mentioned, I have experienced the style and aftermath of Russian negotiations. In '95, my third trip back to that region, the Kharlovfka Camp was raided by a helicopter filled with Russian soldiers armed with AK47s. We stood there with our fly rods ready for action. They quickly came into camp and informed us along with the camp manager that the river was now off limits and was to be governed by their watch. One fisherman actually threatened the commanding officer, again, with fly rod in hand. He quickly silenced himself while staring down the barrels of a barrage of automatic weapons.
This was the outcome of one of their negotiations with the prior outfitters who ran that place. So I assume that your "rumor" has much truth to it. I can only imagine how they negotiate as I've seen the militaristic manner in which they enforce the outcomes.
I too feel the E. Litza must be one of the best salmon rivers in the world. I say must because I have not fished many legendary rivers. I can't imagine a river that is better. My best day on that river tallied 7 fish landed, most were big and two were huge. The tent pool and the pool above it gave me all the action. I guess I too will never see that kind of fishing again unless I defect.
Interesting, of course, that there's no mention on the Kharlovka site about a Russian buy out, but the site does acknowledge Peter's heart attack in Oxford on May 5th, I think. He returned to camp in June. But it certainly looks like they had a wonderful year.
10-02-2008, 01:41 PM
That's why they can fill it at $25,000.00 per rod week.
Perfect example of Supply equaling Demand in the realm of Atlantic Salmon fishing.
Eat you heart out with the rest of us. Lucky we had our chance to fish it.
10-02-2008, 07:10 PM
A good friend of mine who is a flyfishing guide in Slovenia tells me that Russians are now his most common, appreciative and fiscally generous customers.
10-03-2008, 10:30 AM
Besides the money, I'm sorry to be entertaining the thought that if our foreign policies and world events continue to take their coarse, we as US citizens may be faced with the same travel restrictions that were in effect during the cold war. What I am sure of is that the last thing on Putin's list of things to do is to make some rich capitalistic American happy by letting him fish the Russian rivers while depriving his fellow comrades the same........
I'm very sorry to hear that Peter Powers suffered a heart attack in the aftermath of his discussions, negotiations, or just being mugged. It's quite evident that he made major improvements to the camp, his marketing, and services. Hopefully it is a rumor as it was never mentioned in the marketing information I received, and he will recover and go on to live his vision. There are enough Fishers from Europe, Asia, and Russia to keep those rivers fished. Americans were never in the majority there.
11-14-2008, 02:35 PM
I can assure you all that the rumour about the negotiation/s between Peter Power and the afore mentioned Russian/s is as you all mentioned merely a rumour and nothing else.
Yes, there was a Russian fellow who was very keen on the ASR (he himself fished the Kharlovka / Litza systems every year) but the negotiation between him and Peter was stalled when the regional governor Yuri Evdokimov fully endorsed Peter's operation and asked him to remain director of the ASR untill his term (another 4 years) as governor of Murmansk was completed.
Any more questions?
11-17-2008, 07:49 AM
Good to know that Peter's work was rewarded with another 4 years of leadership.
thx for the update! Good news to hear that Peter is still on duty, i can't wait to get back russia!
I fished Kharlovka/litza in August and can tell you that Peter was up and running and smoking as always.
They are talking about making some "cheaper" offers in the late part of the season where you stay in tent camps two day come back to the main camp and then go out to another tent camp for a few days. Their idea is to cut down on the Helicpoter/fuel expencies and there by also the price.
That should make it possible for more normal people to fish these great rivers.