After hopping a train two stops south from Apatity, my hosts’ father and I walked about an hour further along the railway and then cut through the forest on a trail and over a short mountain with and old rusty lookout tower. The mosquitoes were incredibly huge and we constantly swatted them from our face as we walked. After another hour we arrived at the small family dacha set back about 50 feet from Lake Imandra. We grabbed the bamboo fishing poles and set off with the dog in the rowboat in the late evening.

This photo was probably taken at 2am. Being above the Arctic Circle in Russia’s Kola Peninsula, the sun never really set that evening; it just dipped below the mountain and came right back up again. We returned to the dacha at around 4 am and scaled the fish, threw some lake water in the pot on the wood-burning stove, and sliced potatoes and onions to make Ukha, Russian fish soup.

Text and photo by Stephen Bugno