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Fly Fishing in Russia

A few years back, I spent a year living in Siberia and had a chance to head out to a town called Tinda. Much to my surprise, a couple of the locals had fly fishing on the menu.

The Siberian Surprise

Mention the word “Siberia” and most people think of bleak, frozen tundra stretching for hundreds of miles. Well, this is more or less true in the winter. In the summer, however, much of Siberia is a burst of green with temperatures in the eighties and nineties. As I had failed to bring shorts, this was a bit of a surprise to me.

Living in the city of Chita, I had an opportunity to visit the forest town of Tinda. Tinda is located about a day east of Lake Baikal and was built in the 1950s to act as a lumber town. The communist government haphazardly relocated a hundred thousand people and there they remain today. The area around Tinda is very mountainous and very beautiful. As the winter snows melt, rivers, lakes and creeks spring to life.

While in Tinda, I was invited to go fly fishing with the sons of the people I was staying with. Hilarity was sure to follow since they spoke no English and I was fluent in Russian at about a kindergarten level. Off we went strolling to the apparent local hot spot.

After a 45 minute walk, we came upon a slow moving creek that looked like something you would find in Wyoming. Trees towered over us and cast shadows across the water. Shallow pools of water formed along the bank and I could’ve sworn I saw more than a few of our slippery friends.

As every person knows, a first timer at anything will always have success. The boys had fished this spot hundreds of times, but I hadn’t. By all that is good in the universe, I should’ve caught 20 while they caught nothing. Alas, evil had the day. I caught nothing, nada, zippo. Nikoli and Oleg, on the other hand, were getting fisher elbow.

Although they caught a lot of fish, I can’t tell you what they were. The language barrier was just too much. The fisher were six to 10 inches long and appeared to be related to Mackinaws, but the vodka celebration made this pure speculation.


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