Fly Fishing and Travelling in Russia
Russia is an incredibly large country and so it will take hundreds of years till the last river will be explored. I have fished some of them from Altai to the Ural and up to Kamchatka in the very east. Whenever time allows it, I will try to add one destination after the other to give you an imagination what the fly fisher can expect when he enters Russia for a fishing trip.
standard of lodges and camps
Because of the fact that the country is so large, you cannot expect the same standards of living as e.g. in Canada or Alaska. This is especially true for remote areas. The Russian travel companies try to do their best to host you as comfortable as possible. They will try to make you enjoy your trip. The fishing is usually very good. The weather is not to be controlled by anyone. Fly Fishing tourism in Russia is quite young and the services have improved permanently within the last years. Of course in special high price areas like on Kola Peninsula and some places on Kamchatka you will find everything that you could imagine what should be there, but this comfort has of course its price.
extensive travel insurance
The traveller in Russia needs a good insurance because you never know what will happen. Especially in remote areas there are many wild animals like bears, wolferines and moose which can be dangerous but also a broken leg, a deep cut or illness can cause problems if you are in the wilderness and far from any hospital. So the travel agencies and private companies demand an extensive travel insurance which especially covers cancelation or annulment costs, travel incidents, optimum casuality compensation and sick person's care on site as well as extra costs of return flights. Anyway, all experienced, serious fly fishing tourists effect such insurances even if they were not requested to do so.
If you travel to Russia you need a visa. The forms that are required to apply for it can be downloaded from the Russian embassy websites of your country. Just fill in the form and send it together with the required documents(usually copy of insurance, passport, passport photograph) to a Russian travel company in your country. They know how to handle visa applications in the best way. You can of course also go directly to the embassy but this can take you a lot of time. Russians usually have no hurry when they work but take their time. They do not want to become slaves of time as most of us already are so they try to work against it. If you travel for more than 30 days in a row a business visa is required. This can also be handled much better by a tourist company. Visa help is usually provided by the fishing travel companies.
If you travel in Russia you are requested to register at a hotel or local administration building at least three days after your arrival. This can sometimes be quite difficult, especially if you travel on your own and far away from tourist areas. There, the people at the counters usually do not know how to handle situations which differ a lot from there everyday work. I still remember one time when I was sent from one place to another for more than two days to finally be sent back to the place where I started first. However this was also a good experience and gave me an insite view in Russian bureaucracy. Travelling completely on your own in Russia can be really dangerous. Better forget about that, especially if you are fly fisher and travel with expensive gear. I have always felt save in Russia but I was never on my own but always together with native friends. As in many other countries there are some unwritten rules which you have to follow but which you do not know if you are not native. There are many little things I would have done wrong or which I would have interpreted in another way. If you travel with a group, registration will usually take place at the hotel where you stay for the first night and it is usually done with the help of the partner company at site. Anyway two nights(after arrival and before departure) are usually spent in hotels before you fly out. This is necessary because you never know about the weather especially not in Kamchatka. So you always need to be on the safe side and better schedule one or two extra days in the town where your plane departs just in case a helicopter cannot take off in time to bring you back to the airport.
Fly Fishing Kamchatka
Fly Fishing Polar Ural