kola peninsula - freshwater Fishing

The Varzina river flows partly through a canyon and the pools are spectacular combined with fast flowing rapids, where you'll find Atlantic salmon (Salmo Salar) up to 25 lbs.

Trip Overview

The lodge is situated on a 14 km long stretch of water in between the upper trout-camp by lake Enozero and den Main salmon camp by close to the Barents Sea. This part of the river was seldom fished until the Camp was built a few years ago. The river flows partly through a canyon and the pools are spectacular combined with fast flowing rapids, where you'll find Atlantic salmon (Salmo Salar) of up to 25 lbs.
The only way to access the river is through hiking which is somewhat physically demanding, anyway it's possible to hire a little helicopter (dependidng on the availability) paying an extra fee.

Varzina river is situated on the northern coast of the Kola peninsula and is approx. 30 km long. The only way to reach the camp is by a 45 min helicopter transfer from the town of Lovozero. International guest will need a tourist visa, this can be arranged by the Russian embassy based on a written invitation from Sport Fish Tour/ Varzina River Company To get to the Kola peninsula you need to get a flight in to the town of Murmansk where staff from Sportfish Tour/ Varzina river will meet you.


The fishing runs from July to September. Here is a description of the pools accessible by foot from the camp:
HORN JACK POOL: A series of good spots that stretches 2 km downstream the outflow of Nizkiy on top of the stretch. This part is not fished a lot and is particularly productive during later in the season.
SWEEP: A wonderful, classic salmon pool with a steady stream of water, fishable even on low water conditions.
BIG FALLS POOL: Place for the biggest waterfall in the Varzina system and the home for some really big trofy salmon. Good fishing from mid July.
FILIPPOV OUTFLOW: Here is the camp, the outflow from lake Filippow forms the homepool for the lodge. This pool will hold fish from late June.
CAMP POOL: Situated about 10 minutes walk downstream from the camp. Here starts the deep canyon, held as the most scenic part of the river.
LONG WALK POOL: This is the end of the canyon and a highly productive pool throughout the season.
BOULDERS POOL: As the name suggest it is filled with big rocks, tricky to fish but very productive.
FINN POOL: One of the best pools in the river, deep and often the home of really big fish.


The Camp lodge was built in the summer of 2014 and is situated by the deep canyon in the area right by the sheer cliff, hence the name. The camp is for 8 rods in 4 big army tents with heating and beds in double occupancy. There is a dining cabin with a kitchen, a shower cabin and toilet facilities. The camp provides breakfast, lunch and dinner with good quality. There is 220 V electricity, hot and cold water, satellite phone and a motorboat for crossing the river. The staff contains of a camp manager, guide, chef, ground staff.

Tackle and Flies

Doublehanded rod 13-15 feet not lower than #8-9 + spare rod.

Medium size reel with a good break containing 30-50 lb backing min. 150 m.

Floating line + Sinktip lines (Type Rio Variotip / int ? s3, s6, s8).

Leader 5-15 feet 20 -40 lbs

Waders + Wading boots (remember that they need to be good to walk in, felt soles can be very slippery). A Simms Vapor boot with rubber-sole and cleats is ideal.
Wading stick
Rain jacket
Warm jacket
Polarized glasses
Warm underwear
Mosquito repellent (also bring a mosquito net/hat)

Flies: Bombers/Foamflies in size 2-6, Sunrays, Golden Killer, Phatakorva type tubes, Willy Gun , Collie Dog , Sunray Shadow" . Also different flies of green&black and yellow&black colors.
The river is very clear, most flies should be thin and with less material (There are some flies at the camp).

Dry Fly Bomber # 6, 8, 10, 12 Wet Fly Ponoi Green 4 - 6 - 8 - 10 - 12 Wet Fly Ponoi Red Wet Fly Black Dose 4 - 6 - 8 - 10 - 12 Wet Fly Black Bear 4 - 6 - 8 - 10 - 12 Wet Fly Cooper Shrimp 4 - 6 - 8 - 10 - 12 Wet Fly Mickey Finn 4 - 6 - 8 - 10 - 12 Wet Fly Blue Charm 4 - 6 - 8 - 10 - 12 Wet Fly Allys Shrimp 4 - 6 - 8 - 10 - 12 Wet Fly Shrimp Wet Fly Genprat 4 - 6 - 8- 10 - 12 Dry Fly N2 Bomber 2 - 4 - 6 Wet Fly Picasee 4 -6 - 8 - 10 -12 Wet Fly Green Rat 4 - 6 - 8 - 10 - 12 Wet Fly Shady Lady 4 - 6 - 8- 10 - 12 Wet Fly Green Machine 4 - 6 - 8- 10 - 12 Wet Fly Salmon Fly Wet Fly Tube Fly  Micro Sunrise  Sunrise  Agregar Nombre + Info  Surfboard  Tube Fly  Golden Killer  Agregar Nombre + Info  Agregar Nombre + Info

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A peak of Varzina fishing


2020/2021 US$ 5,400.-

~ Per person, sharing room and guide. ~

Rates include: Meet and greet at Murmansk airport, ground transport to/from Lovozero, helicopter transfer to the Camp, 7 night accommodation and 6 full fishing days, All meals + non alcoholic drinks, one guide each two anglers, fishing permits.

Rates do not include: International flights / domestic flights to Murmansk. Accommodation in Murmansk. Alcoholic beverages, cost of the visa, travel insurance (we suggest Golbal Rescue), other extras. Fishing equipment and flies.

Notes: The package includes the tips, but we always suggest an extra tip for the guide and Lodge staff. It's possible to hire a little helicopter in the Camp paying an extra fee. In case the fishing guide is NOT required, the rate has a significant discount (consult).

Fishing report

July 2020

First week of new season at Cliffhanger Lodge went off a storm. Stars were aligned: great conditions of water level; water temperature varies between +13C-+14,5C; weather was safely comfortable, except one day, when there was a strong south wind. Judging by number of catchings and final results, there were enough fish in the river. 8 guests caught 121 Atlantic salmon. Among them 2 samples were over 1 meter (100cm and 104cm), 6 samples over 9kg (94cm-97cm), one third of catchings were grilse, the rest were salmon of 5-8 kilos. Surprisingly on the 8th of July a kelt of 90cm in length was caught on Finnpool. It seems that this fish loves Varzina more than others, if it decided to stay in it for so long. The most productive fly was an outstanding Golden Killer. Summing up, let's say that fishing gave everyone a treat.


Excellent salmon fishing

By: Daniel Beilinson - July 2019

Excellent Atlantic Salmon fishing, during the last week of July 45 fish were caught from which 4 weighted over 20 and 2 over 30 lbs. Most of the salmon caught were bright silver, though the biggest ones had more time in the rivers. The whole group was able to fish even though the weather was not on our side, cold days, wind and rain… not normal at this time of the year.

The wading in this rivers is not for beginners, the guide’s help was much appreciated and we hired a Robinson helicopter which was essential to reach the further pools. The service of the camp was very good, abundant food, kind personnel and very professional guides.

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