The Kamchatka Peninsula
The Kamchatka Peninsula is a unique area, one of the few places in the world where nature and natural resources have been preserved pristine with its picturesque views of magnificent mountains and beautiful scenery that seems endless. There are over 300 volcanoes on the peninsula with 29 of them being active.
There are many reasons why one visits the Kamchatka Peninsula, one of Russia’s most isolated regions, a place rich in maritime history and abounding with natural wonders. This mountainous 1250 km long peninsula is located between the Okhotsk Sea on the west and the Bering Sea on the east. It is one of the most beautiful places on our planet. The scenery is a kaleidoscope of amazing landscapes where the pace is slow and local people friendly and welcoming.
A trip to Kamchatka is something special, a mysterious land shrouded in legends. You can feel the natural charisma of Kamchatka with its majesty and immense beauty but it is very hard to put into words.
How to Get to Kamchatka
There are a lot of interesting activities to do during the year, but my favorite time to visit Kamchatka is from July to September when you can take a short 4 1/2 hour flight on Yakutia Airlines from Anchorage, Alaska to Petropavlovsk-Kamchatsky.
Yakutia Airlines partners with AirRussia.US (InterPacific Aviation and Marketing, Inc., Seattle USA) who sells tickets for flights in North America. Tickets are also available through most professional travel agents. I really enjoyed dealing with Air Russia. I found them very easy to do business with from the very beginning when we were organizing our plans to the completion of our journey.
Our flight was the only one leaving the North Terminal in Anchorage at 7:30 am making it very easy and simple. The attendants at the ticket counter were very pleasant and soon had us boarding the plane. The food, refreshments and friendly service during our flight was very good; before we knew it we were looking at the picturesque views of the Kamchatka Peninsula from our window of the Boeing 737 and were touching down at the Kamchatka airport.
I love beautiful scenery but I am also a sportsman and enjoy the outstanding hunting and fishing that Kamchatka has to offer. Fishing opportunities on pristine rivers and streams is pretty much endless with some of the best fishing on the planet. All the species of Pacific Salmon including steelhead, rainbow trout and 8 species of char inhabit the rivers of Kamchatka.
Imagine floating down a pristine river with a fly rod in one of the most picturesque places in the world where huge rainbow trout wait to gorge themselves on any enticing morsel that floats by. Catching 10-40 fish or more per day averaging 5-8 lbs is quite normal with occasional trophy fish that weigh 12 to 15 lbs or more. This is fishing at its best, a place where catching true trophy fish is very common, not the exception. This is serious world class fishing in anyone’s book and it is only a short flight from Anchorage.
Do you like solitude? The rivers that you fish are so remote that you won’t see another fisherman other than those that are in your group, you essentially have your own private river for the week. There are very few places in the world where you can have that much pristine fishing all to yourself.
Other Things to Do
If fishing is not on your agenda the Fauna and Flora will overwhelm you. The Fauna of the Kamchatka Peninsula is rich and varied with 918 species and subspecies of vertebrates inhabiting the territory of the peninsula and coastal area. Among them are 500 species and subspecies of fish, 322 species and subspecies of birds and 88 species of mammals.
If you are into history, culture and art you will enjoy the vast depth of things to see and do with lots of national monuments and museums. If you are also a hunter like I am, Kamchatka is the right the place to go.
Traveling with Firearms
Traveling with firearms is not a problem. You just have to make sure that you follow the steps that are necessary. Qualified hunting outfitters, such as, Kamchatka Trophy Hunts, will arrange for your gun permit which will show the serial number, manufacture and caliber of your firearm along with the number of bullets that you are taking. You will also need to advise your air carrier in advance that you are taking firearms and ammunition. Your firearm has to be in a secured hard case and your bullets will need to be in a sealed and locked container in your checked baggage separate from your firearm. In Russia, you may be told to check the ammunition as a separate checked bag. When you return to the U.S. you will need a copy of your U.S. Customs declaration CBP form 4457 to prove ownership so that you can bring your firearm back into the U.S.
A Russian Visa is required to visit Kamchatka which takes a while so you need to plan ahead. I suggest applying 6-8 weeks in advance which allows extra time in case there are any issues with your application. You need to apply for your Russian Visa on line. There are multiple visa application services available including Invisa Logistic Services LLC and CIBT who are both located in Seattle, Washington. At the time of this writing you can apply for either a 30 day or 3 year multiple visit visa.