Savan Basecamp is the newest discovery on the Savan River system. For the last 3 years we have been floating the Savan and the Ichanga rivers, finishing our trips at the comfortable base camp. The fishing has been consistently amazing all the way to the takeout, leaving us to wonder what was downstream from the Base Camp. What kind of river monsters lay undisturbed in the lowest reaches of the Savan? This last season we set off to find out, bringing in Jet boats to explore down river and return every night to the comforts of the permanent Base Camp. It could not have been better.
Every year we learn more and discover new secrets on our “NEW” river, the Savan, and this year, by adding the jet boat base camp, we were able to expand our reach to it’s maximum potential on this unbelievable system. Add to that the comfort of staying in the “lodge” all week, with flush toilets and hot showers, and you have Russian trout fishing’s version of luxury.
At the Savan Base Camp, inflatable Jet Boats are used to access the lower rivers beats, allowing us to cover an amazing amount of excellent water below the lodge. We still have not explored it all! Wading is relatively easy to moderate for most anglers, but slightly more technical than the upper river. The lower river is bigger water, like in most rivers, and can be deeper and faster in some spots. We tend to fish the softer water, as this is where the fish hold, but we still need to wade over to them on occasion. There are many stretches of braided water, making the lower Savan feel much smaller than it actually is a lot of the time. Vast rolling mountains and volcanoes flank the broad valley as the river courses it’s way through the wild terrain.
The lower river we cover is over 15 miles of pristine, untouched water. If you counted every channel of every braid separately, it would have to be way over 60 miles of water, far more than we were able to explore in 2 weeks of fishing with 4 anglers a week. The diversity in this section is also amazing. Different than the upper river, the Lower Savan had big broad runs as well as hundreds of smaller side channels, providing an unbelievably healthy trout habitat, with unique water around every bend. We were ecstatic about the outcome of this first exploratory season, finding a larger average size fish than we had anticipated and plenty of them.
A huge part of the diet of the Savan river rainbow trout is eating mice. This is some of the most exciting trout fishing you will ever experience. Fishing with a mouse fly, you get the visual aspect of the surface strike, like in dry fly fishing, and the tight line grab of swinging, giving you the best of both worlds. When conditions change or the mouse bite slows a little, we can cast streamers, swinging across the current, to produce an aggressive take. As a spring creek system, there can also be ideal conditions for aquatic insect hatches. Though dry fly opportunities aren’t commonplace, they do happen throughout the season. The season at Savan Base Camp begins in the middle of July, and runs through August. A variety of salmon runs enter the river throughout the season, including king, chum, sockeye, and silver salmon.
Our Savan River Base Camp is set up exactly like a stationary “lodge.” Everyone will get a double occupancy room in the spacious “Basecamp Lodge.” The lodge has 5 bedrooms and everyone shares an indoor hot shower and flush toilet. We are only taking 4 person groups at the Savan Basecamp in 2015, to ensure we are not crowded in the lodge or on the water. A cook and camp assistant are ever-present at Base Camp, preparing hearty meals based on local Russian fare. Anglers are responsible only for opening a beer at the end of a long day of fishing, and the guys will even do that for you, if you ask nicely. Comfortable beds with mattresses are provided, with a comforter and pillow, but we suggest you do bring your own sleeping bag and towel. For convenience of communication on the river and for a safety line to the outside world, Savan Base Camp is equipped with first aid kits, GPS, handheld radios, and a satellite telephone.
These expeditions are organized to be flexible based on the conditions, the group, and the nature of the fishing. This is the beauty of a jet boat camp, being able to go where we think it will be best. There are several sections of braided river where we may spend multiple days exploring the many channels. Other sections may be fished quickly, covering the water, looking for the types of water that consistently hold the Savan’s massive resident rainbows. The jet boats are used exclusively for transportation, with all of the fishing being done wading.