Top Ten Global Fly-Fishing Spots

From Russia with Lox: Kola Peninsula, Russia
By Jorgen Wouters

During the Cold War, the Kola peninsula bristled with submarines, ships, bombers, and nukes. But what was once the single most heavily militarized place on earth is now famous for a far more commendable reason: outstanding salmon fishing. The Kola, which juts out into the Barents and White Seas, shares the upper arctic reaches of Europe with northern Norway, Sweden, and Finland. Rivers like the Umba, Zolotya, and the muscular Ponoi pour through this landscape of forest, marsh, and tundra.

Thanks to the Iron Curtain that sealed off the region from westerners for decades, these salmon have probably seen fewer flies than any others on earth. This is what Atlantic salmon fishing used to be everywhere else, before civilization, pollution, and angling pressure changed everything. Salmon fishermen are gluttons for punishment, people who are used to getting—and actually expect to get—skunked on a regular basis. A single fish is cause for celebration. But double-digit hauls of big salmon are common on Kola rivers like the Ponoi. It's almost enough to make you thank Marx.


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