Red Dawns: In Search of Russian Rainbows

Red Dawns- Part One

by First Lite Pro Staffer Riley Buck

Until recently, Kamchatka was nothing more to me than merely a far

"Did you check the 7th Fetzer valve?  It's all ball bearings these days." "Did you check the 7th Fetzer valve? It's all ball bearings these days."

off place. I first learned about Kamchatka about 6 years ago, although I had little more than become aware that it existed.  Over the next few years I began to hear many more rumblings about it.It was a place

so foreign and unknown to me as a western angler, that its descriptions and stories seemed fabled and borderline mythical.  It was so far away and historically entrenched that it seemed to be locked away from the rest of the world in the Soviet past. And, even when I did learn of it, I brushed it off as something so intangible that the thought of actually ‘going there’ never even fired the synapses of the gray matter in my head.  It didn’t occur to me that actually physically ‘going there’ was even within the realm of things that are possible.  “Oh, there’s someplace far off that is untouched by man, locked away from international and

public access for the last 50 years and has never been developed? – Oh, it’s a pristine, untouched fishery you say… just like Alaska, but better?”  “Cool.” I thought.  I dismissed it almost immediately. Sort of like flying or magic.… I could neither have spelled the name nor pointed it out on a map then, if you had paid me.  But over the next several years I learned that this little never-never-land was REAL, and it was supposed to be incredible.  But, never did I think I might go.


“Pal, I got some dates I want to see if you can make.  I’m headed to Kamchatka and…” “I’m in!” - I had cut him off mid-sentence to figuratively jump at the opportunity. I may have literally jumped too, I’m not sur

e.  About a 20 second conversation with a dear friend, and I was committed to going to Kamchatka with a group of family who also happen to be great friends.  Figuring out how to make it happen wouldn’t be as easy.  If someone asks you if you want to go to Kamchatka, you say yes. In the coming months we talked about it a lot, but it still just wasn’t real to me.


"Wolverines!" "Wolverines!"
Diagnosis:  Delicious! Diagnosis: Delicious!

Nearing the departure date of the trip some months later I found myself at the vice sorting through the fog, or more accurately, smoke of reality. While friends and family prepared for the worst and evacuated their homes, a nearby forest fire ripped through the mountains left dry from several back to back drought years. The fire made its way through the arsenal of fire crews and assailing aircraft buzzing overhead like something out of the movies.  It made its way right on into the small valley we call home and the thought of leaving home in such a state was more than unsettling.  Meanwhile, I was trying to grasp a few things: 1) that in a matter of days I would be in Kamchatka, the land of Brown Bears, Snow Sheep and the most

Tent City Tent City

aggressive of mammal eating trout known to fly fishing. (not to mention the launching point for all the ‘bad guys’ from Red Dawn). This is a place roughly the size of California yet held in such contrast, that there exists literally over a hundred thousand rivers amongst a population of less than 1 person per square mile.  2) The fact that very soon some giant bow may actually be attacking the articulated rodent patterns I had been conjuring and creating.  And, 3) that I’d be headed so Far East on this adventure of an expedition, that I would actually be going West to get there.

Author Riley Buck is a First Lite Pro Staffer, big game bow hunter, waterfowl slayer, upland bird chaser and most importantly, super passionate angler who currently resides here in the Wood River Valley of Idaho with his lab, Suzy, and fiancee, Maggie.

Stay Tuned for Part Two:  The Invasion Begins!



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