Fly Fishing Russia – How it all began

I just got back from a wonderful trip. I started in Siberia looking for Taimen then headed to the Kola Peninsula for Atlantic salmon and finished up in Kamchatka with its amazing wilderness and giant rainbows. What a trip! All as the guest of Lee Hartman, a long time Delaware guide and fisherman who was among the first to explore these amazing places.

I remember the cold war very well being a boomer who practiced air raid drills in elementary school, who watched sputnik unfold, the Berlin wall go up – and come down. I remember Khrushchev banging his shoe on the desk at the UN and his promise to bury us. All very scary.

Lee and his companions faced unbelievable difficulties and delays, uncertainty and lack of conveniences to bring this amazing fishery to the public attention. He was one brave adventurer to explore the then Soviet Union, with all its political and logistical problems, in search of fish in their vast wildernesses.  I learned of places I had never heard of, met people I never could have met.

The truth is I really did not leave my living room chair on my trip to Russia. I re-lived this amazing adventure through Lee’s self-published book Trails in a Wild Frontier: Kola Peninsula – Siberia – Kamchatka (2014).

The book brings you step by step on those early trips, and ends with a good summary of all the fishing that is now available to those who can afford it. Maybe some day…

You can call or email Lee directly for a signed copy and ask him if there is any room left on his guide schedule while you are at it: or call (570) 224 6371. 

If you are enjoying my posts, please consider trying my 3 book series –  Letters to Mack, Correspondence on a Fishing Life – click here.

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