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The Zhupanova River

Author: Bryan Smith

November 19, 2012

We have just arrived back in the capital of Kamchatka after a 4-day trip on the Zhupanova.  This was a unique trip for the team, as our focus turned towards the abundance of fish on the Kamchatka peninsula as well as contributing to a Monster Fish show with host Zeb Hogan.  It was a transition on this expedition that we were perhaps even more eager for than the whitewater of the weeks prior.  Almost a year ago we started talking with Ryan Peterson about the Zhupanova (check out the Fly Shop).  He spoke of giant rainbow trout, ten of thousands of salmon, bears and a river ecosystem as pristine as it was 10,000 years ago.  He showed us nothing less.  I don’t think any of us have ever seen so many fish in our lives.  Seeing 5 species of salmonids and literally paddling over thousands and thousands of fish working their way upstream has left us speechless.  Knowing that a place this wild, healthy and pristine still exists will be the lasting impression from this trip for all of us.  We are now talking advantage of good weather and getting on a heli this afternoon to see the salmon and bears at Kuril Lake.

Bryan Smith

Bryan Smith is an award-winning filmmaker and expedition kayaker based out of Squamish, British Columbia. His first documentary, “49 Megawatts,” received acclaim both for its amazing kayaking footage and insightful exploration of the controversy over British Columbia’s river-based energy production. An online version went viral and led to two-feature length sea kayaking films. His work has appeared at numerous film festivals across the world, including the prized Banff and Telluride Mountain Film Festivals. In the past few years, Bryan has built on his adventure film roots and developed a strong reputation in both TV documentary and commercial cinematography. In 2010 Bryan earned a National Geographic Expedition Grant for his work in Kamchatka, Russia, and launched into digital media co-producing and directing The Season web TV series. Most recently he co-produced and directed “The Man Who Can Fly,” a 60 minute special for the National Geographic Channel Explorer series.​