Rybinsk Reservoir: history, fishing

Rybinsk Reservoir and History of Flooding of Mologa

The Rybinsk Reservoir is an artificially created body of water in the north of Yaroslavl Oblast, bearing the unofficial name of the “Rybinsk Sea”.

View of reservoir


For the most part, the Rybinsk Reservoir lies within Yaroslavl Oblast, but its western coast is in Tver Oblast, and its northern coast in Vologda Oblast. The reservoir was formed by overlapping the channels of the Volga and its tributaries Sheksna and Mologa. Much of the Rybinskoye reservoir lies within the borders of the Mologo-Sheksninskaya lowland, formed on the site of an ancient glacial lake.

The size of the “Rybinsk sea” is truly colossal: the length of the water surface – 172 km, width – 56 km, the total volume of water – 25,4 km3 , the length of the coastline – 1725 km. This is the largest closed reservoir of the Central Federal District, regardless of its origin. The waters of the “Rybinsk sea” have flooded 9% of the Yaroslavl region.

Construction of the Rybinsk Reservoir

Plans for the construction of the reservoir in the upper reaches of the Volga were made as early as 1923 and were called “Big Volga”. Rybinsk Reservoir was to become one of the 8 cascades facilitating navigation on the Upper Volga and connecting the Baltic and the Volga basins. Rybinsk Reservoir became an integral part of the so-called Volga cascade, which turned Moscow into a “port of five seas”. The final decision on the construction of the reservoir was taken at the Plenum of the Central Committee of the Communist Party of the Soviet Union in June 1931. However, before the construction of the reservoir it was necessary to ditch the Moskva Canal. The Moskva channel had to be dug prior to the construction of the reservoir.

Rybinsk hydroelectric power station

Flooding the lowlands allowed to regulate the flow of three rivers at once: the Volga, Sheksna and Mologa. Construction of the Rybinsk hydroelectric complex started in 1935 in the village of Perebori (now district of Rybinsk). Exactly in this place Sheksna flows into the Volga. At the same time preparations for the flooding of the area of 5 thousand km2 started and the resettlement of about 130 thousand people was organized.

By 1940 the construction of the waterworks was completed. In the same year the channels of the Volga and Sheksna were blocked, so it remained only to wait for the spring flood, which was to fill the reservoir. On April 13, 1941 the concreting of the last part of the dam was finished, and then the filling of the plain began. The commissioning of the reservoir was made in autumn 1941 in the midst of fighting for Moscow. However, it was not possible to fill it completely with water. Moreover, in the process of generating more electricity at the Rybinsk hydroelectric power plant, the water level dropped to its lowest levels. It was possible to fill the reservoir completely only in 1947.

Church of the Nativity of Christ in Krokhino

The Rybinsk Reservoir became the largest artificial water body in the world at that time. Only in the middle of the 50’s it was overtaken by the Kuibyshev reservoir, the area of which is 1.5 times bigger. But to this day the Rybinsk Reservoir remains one of the largest in Europe and Russia.

Monument to the flooded city

The flooded town of Mologa

The waters of the Rybinsk Reservoir now cover 745 settlements that were once located there. A large part of the town of Vyegonsk and several large monasteries were also flooded. Much of the settlements were removed along with their houses, but more than a hundred remained at the bottom of the reservoir. The largest loss was the fairly large town of Mologa, completely flooded by the waters of the artificial sea, as its numerous stone buildings were purely physically impossible to evacuate.

The ancient city of Mologa, known by chronicles since 1149, was located in the southern part of the present reservoir, 32 kilometers north of Rybinsk. The city, once even the center of an appanage Principality of Mologa, was not particularly large. According to the census of 1897 it had a little over 7 thousand inhabitants, by the time of flooding the population had practically not increased.

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Certainly, the overwhelming number of inhabitants at flooding has been moved in Rybinsk, however cultural and economic losses were great: under water have gone more than 900 houses from which about 100 – stone, 5 churches XVIII-XIX of centuries, some tens administrative and industrial buildings. Most of the wooden houses, along with their inhabitants, were moved near Rybinsk in the Slip, where a new district was later organized. To this day, most of the townspeople in the area are former residents of Mologa. Every second Saturday in August on the anniversary of the flood, former residents of Mologa and their descendants gather to honor the memory of the lost city. Recently, the meetings have been held on a ship that sails to the place where Mologa used to be.

Due to the fact that every 10-20 years the water level in the Rybinsk reservoir sinks for natural reasons, in the summer and autumn the water exposes the highest buildings of Mologa. During this time you can take a boat to the flooded city and see the tops of churches and belfries sticking out of the water. During the special low water period the water lowers to such a level that you can even set foot on the ground and walk along the streets of Mologa. The last time such a phenomenon was observed was in August 2014.

Flooded cemetery

Reservoir today

Now the Rybinsk Reservoir is the largest body of water within the Central Federal District. Its main functions include:

  • navigation;
  • power generation;
  • biological function.

Rybinskaya HPP generates 356 MW annually. This is a small figure compared to large thermal power plants, but the production of this electricity does not cause any harmful emissions. In addition, it provides a reserve stock of electricity in case of accidents, independent of external factors.

Rybinsk hydroelectric power station

Before the construction of the reservoir, the upper mouth of the Volga was unsuitable for navigation. The reservoir allowed to increase the depth of the mouth up to 4 meters and organize a full-fledged navigable route. With the development of aviation and automobile transport the importance of the Rybinsk Reservoir decreased slightly. However, even now through the waters of the reservoir a lot of ships, providing economic needs, as well as cruise ships pass.

Engine room

Biological significance of the reservoir is also difficult to overestimate. Now a new biosystem has formed here and the climatic conditions have changed. Part of the territory of the reservoir is occupied by the Darwin Reserve, which has the status of a UN sanctuary. Nesting of many species of rare birds, among which the white-tailed eagle and osprey are of particular importance, has been revived here.

Also the Rybinskoye reservoir has an important recreational value. Now the shores of the “Rybinsk Sea” are a favorite vacation spot for residents of the capital and regions of the Central Federal District.

Near Sitinka village

Fishing in the Rybinsk Reservoir

It is considered that “Rybinskoye Sea” is a great place for fishing, which is unambiguously hinted at by the name of the reservoir. Of course, it cannot be compared to the most fishy places in Russia, such as the Volga Delta, but in Central Russia, perhaps, you will not find a better place. But there are also important nuances, if you don’t follow them, you may end up without a catch.

  1. Rybinskoye reservoir is rightly called a sea. When the weather is windy, the reservoir is noticeably stormy, so fishing is out of the question. Therefore, the fishing depends a lot on the weather.
  2. Fish is not hungry because of the good food base of the reservoir, so bait is largely useless.
  3. It is optimal to allocate several days for fishing, as a one-day fishing trip may well turn out to be a failure due to the vagaries of the weather or fish.
  4. Winter fishing is impossible without the use of serious equipment: a snowmobile, a navigator, a stove and a tent. In addition, there are often ice puddles on the surface, so an independent trip on the ice can turn into a tragedy.
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Recreation center Sutka

But the rest of the fishing on Rybinskoye reservoir is really unforgettable. In total, there are about 40 species of freshwater fish in the waters of the “Rybinsk Sea”. Catch a trophy, which every fisherman dreams of, is quite possible here. Pike up to 10 kg, pikeperch up to 3-4 kg or perch up to 2-3 kg are not uncommon catches.

Fishing on the Rybinsk Reservoir can be divided into 2 different types: a trip “wild” and fishing at specially equipped bases. But it requires expensive equipment: a motor boat, an echo sounder and a navigator in summer and a snowmobile in winter. An independent trip is the lot of fishermen, for whom fishing is not just a hobby, but a way of life.

Kilogram bass

Rest at fishing bases will cost more, but the probability of a good catch is much higher. In this case, the potential catch does not depend on the cost of accommodation. More important is the experience of the gamekeepers and the location of the base.

It is believed that the best places for fishing are those where the surrounding rivers flow into the reservoirs: Sit, Mologa, Sheksna and others. It is in these places and there is a cluster of many fishing bases. To the most “fishy” places can be attributed the villages of Breitovo and Prozorovo, as well as the towns of Poshekhonye, Vesegonsk and Cherepovets.

Novaya Zhizn

Bathing and beaches on the reservoir

Recreation on the Rybinsk Reservoir is not limited to fishing alone. Here you can relax on the sandy beaches and swim in the artificial sea. In addition, the nature of the coast of the reservoir reminds something of Riga seashore: beaches are covered with fine sand, and almost at the edge of the water grow pines.


As a rule the beaches of Rybinsk Reservoir are attached to the most “fishy” places of the man-made sea. It allows to kill two birds with one stone: to place both the fishing fans and those who prefer to relax on the beaches and swim. Therefore the best places for beach rest are the area of the village Breitovo and the village Baranovo on the outskirts of Vyegonsk. For those who prefer “wild” rest, there are many islands, for example Yurshinsky island near Rybinsk. Also popular places include:

  • The villages of Kresttsy and Milushino halfway between Rybinsk and Poshekhonye;
  • Volkovo and Kamenniki in the suburbs of Rybinsk;
  • Smentsevo in Nekouzsky district of Yaroslavl region.

On the shore of the reservoir

Where to stay

Tourists who have decided to visit the shores of the Rybinsk Reservoir have several options for stopping. First of all, it is the city of Rybinsk itself, which gave its name to the artificial sea. In a large city with a population of almost 200 thousand people there are many hotels, hostels and guest houses. However, most tourists who come to the reservoir are primarily interested in nature, so most vacationers choose recreation centers located outside of major cities.

There are several dozens of large recreation centers on the coast of Rybinsk Reservoir which receive tourists. Most of them are located in the south, southwestern and western coasts, but there are large bases on the northern coast near Cherepovets and on the eastern near the town of Poshehonye.

On the southern shore of the reservoir, closest to Rybinsk, a whole “bush” of recreation bases is formed. Among them are:

  • Lehkovo” recreation base in the village of the same name in Rybinsk district;
  • Tourist base “Club of fishermen and hunters” in the same locality;
  • rest house “Big Fish” in the neighboring village of Pochinok;
  • “Fishing Club on Rybinka” in the village of Selehovo;
  • fishing base “Sutka” on the other bank of the Volga in the village of Verkhne-Nikulskoye;
  • holiday homes “Medved” and “Zagorodny Klub na Chesnave” in the village of Gorelovo, Breitovsky district, Yaroslavl region.
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Mologa river

The western shore of the reservoir – one of the favorite places for fishing and recreation among tourists. Here first of all stands out Breitovo village at the place where the Sit River flows into the reservoir. There are several bases at once in this place:

  • “Cherkasovo”;
  • “Naberezhnaya”;
  • “Sitinsky coast”;
  • “Grand Adventure Absolute Result Luxury Club”;
  • “Breitovo”.

Also a popular place is the village of Prozorovo, in which there are three campgrounds:

  • “Sokol”;
  • “Islands”;
  • “Zapovedny Krai”.

The next popular place is the village Protivie, already located in the Tver region in Vesegonsky district. Here you can also relax in one of several holiday homes:

  • “Fish place”;
  • “Luidor”;
  • “Zapovednye osty”.

The following campgrounds are located in Vyegonsk itself:

  • “Afanasii”;
  • “Vyegonsky Island”;
  • “Mologa-fish”.

In the north near Cherepovets you can also distinguish a large “bush” of hotels, rest houses and tourist bases, located at the place where the Sheksna River flows into the reservoir. They include:

  • “Roschino” base at the farmstead of the same name in the Vologda region;
  • “Gorodishche” and “Serebryany Bor” near the village of Kostyaevka of Cherepovets district.

On the eastern shore of the reservoir the bases are located near the town of Poshekhonye, Yaroslavl region. First of all, these are the tourist hostels “Chudny Dvor” and “Kedr” directly in Poshekhonye, as well as holiday homes “U Kuzmicha” in the village of Pachebolka and “Lapushka” in the village of the same name.

The prices in most rest houses start from 1000 rubles per room per night, although you can find a more economical variant. Well off tourists also won’t be left out of pocket – some tourist centers offer rooms that are worthy of a 4-5-star hotel. You can find accommodation in such apartments for several tens of thousands of rubles per day.

Rybinsk city

How to get to Rybinskoye reservoir

The size of the Rybinsk Reservoir is so large that several roads lead to it at once. The most logical way to get to the shores of the reservoir from Moscow is near Rybinsk. To get to Rybinsk you have to leave the capital by Yaroslavskoe highway (M8 highway) and go to Yaroslavl. The distance is 200 km, travel time is a little less than 4 hours. In Yaroslavl you need to turn left on Moskovskiy avenue on the South-Western ring road, along which you need to move to the Leningradskiy avenue. Having turned to the left on the prospectus one should move westwards and take the road R151 Yaroslavl – Rybinsk that is situated near the southern shore of the reservoir. From Rybinsk one can go to the eastern coast (Poshekhonya) and the northern coast (Cherepovets) along the route R104. The total distance from Moscow to Rybinsk by this variant of the route is 350 km and the trip will take about 5 hours.

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The second variant to get to Rybinsk reservoir from Moscow is to turn to the freeway R104 Sergiev Posad – Cherepovets and drive by towns Kalyazin, Uglich and Myshkin. This route reduces the distance to 320 km. Another option is to leave the capital along the Dmitrov highway and go along it to the intersection with the R112 highway (Dmitrov – Taldom – Tempov). In the area of Tempy turn right and go along the road to the intersection with R104. Hereinafter the route will be the same as in the previous variant.

You can also take a bus from Moscow to Rybinsk. You will start at 08:00 and leave for the last bus at 18:30. Travel time is 5 hours and 30 minutes. The route passes through Rostov Veliky, Yaroslavl and Tutaev. Also several buses leave daily from the metro station “Botanicheskij Sad” and pass through Uglich. The travel time is about 6 hours.

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As for railway traffic, from the capital to Rybinsk runs a special train 602Ya “Moscow – Rybinsk”. The composition departs from Moscow on Wednesdays and Fridays at 21:08 from the Belorussky station. Travel time is about 12 hours. The train passes through Kalyazin, Uglich and Kashin. It is also possible to go to the northern shore of the reservoir to Cherepovets. The Sheksna train in the direction “Moscow – Cherepovets” departs daily from Yaroslavsky station of the capital. Travel time – 10 hours 40 minutes.

Rybinskoye reservoir

Rybinsk Reservoir

Rybinsk Reservoir can be called one of the most famous artificial lakes in Russia. This reservoir is impressive in size, so it is also called Rybinsk Sea. This artificial lake got its name thanks to the construction of a waterworks facility in the city of Rybinsk.

  • Average depth – 5.6 meters, maximum – 30.4 meters;
  • width – 56 kilometers;
  • length – 250 kilometers;
  • area – 4,55 thousand square kilometers;
  • coastline length – 2.47 thousand kilometers.

The Rybinsk Sea is situated immediately on the border of three regions: Yaroslavl, Vologda and Tver. Most of the lake is situated on the territory of Yaroslavl Oblast. The reservoir is formed on the Volga and its tributaries – Sheksna and Mologa. Near the artificial lake there are towns and small settlements.

Rybinsk Reservoir on Google maps

Leisure on the Rybinsk Reservoir

First of all, this artificial lake on the Volga is a recreational facility. People come to the reservoir to relax in nature, away from the hustle and bustle of the city. In the forests near the reservoir in the season you can pick berries and mushrooms. The lake itself is home to a wide variety of fish, so the Rybinsk Reservoir has become a kind of Mecca for fishermen, who can be found here almost all year round.

Near Rybinsk Reservoir there is an area of Darwin Biosphere Reserve, and the artificial lake itself is now a laboratory of the Papanin Institute of Inland Waters Biology. The closer to the reserve, the more diverse the flora, and especially the fauna.

Rybinsk Reservoir

Weather at Rybinsk sea

With the construction of this man-made reservoir, the climate in the coastal area was noticeably milder. The water in the lake freezes up in winter. The first frosts on the reservoir begin in November and last until May. The average thickness of ice on the reservoir reaches about 0.6-0.7 meters.

The closer to the lake, the cooler the air is. During the summer, the water in the entire water area warms up evenly only by the second half of July. On the surface the water temperature reaches +23 … +25 ° C. In the coastal area it can be a couple of degrees warmer.

Rybinsk Reservoir

Recreation bases

As one of the recreational facilities in the north of Central Russia, this artificial body of water implies a huge number and variety of different bases and rest houses, hotels, apartments and hotels. Most of them are located near cities and towns. There are also such recreation centers, which are built near the shore of the Rybinsk Sea.

Besides comfortable apartments there are also camping sites near Rybinsk Reservoir – special equipped areas for recreation with tents. You can find all the necessary conditions for comfortable rest in the camping sites. You don’t have to pay for camping at the camping sites.

Rybinsk Reservoir

You can swim in the lake, sunbathe on a sandy beach, take a walk in the nearby forest or fish for free. Those who likes comfortable rest can rent a room in one of the numerous hotels, recreation centers and guest houses that can be found along the coastline.

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The price range for a room at a rest home or a hotel varies a lot and depends on the level of service, additional services and location. You can rent a room for as little as 1,500 rubles or 8,000 rubles per day. You can also rent a motorboat for 1-2 thousand rubles per hour.

Rybinsk Reservoir

Fishing in the Rybinsk Reservoir

This reservoir attracts not only tourists and vacationers. On the reservoir all year round you can meet fishing enthusiasts. This place enjoys great popularity because of the number of varieties of fish that are found here.

In spring, it is recommended to fish at the mouths of rivers, closer to the shore. In summer you can fish not only from the shore, but also from a boat. You can rent a watercraft in almost any locality. In winter, you can go fishing as soon as the ice on the lake gets thicker. Usually winter fishing begins in November and December and ends in March.

Rybinsk Reservoir

Fish in Rybinsk Reservoir

Most often fishermen are caught on the rod: pike, perch, burbot, pike perch, bream, roach. There are also sterlet, burbot, burbot, smelt, loach and vendace. In total, if you believe the sources, there are about 40 species of fish in this artificial reservoir. Here it is quite possible to catch large specimens, for example, a pike of 10 kilograms or pike-perch, which weighs 3-4 kilograms.

Beaches of the Rybinsk Reservoir

The inhabitants of the surrounding settlements nicknamed the artificial reservoir “Riga beach” and for a reason – the coastal part of the reservoir is covered with fine sand, and almost at the water’s edge there are coniferous trees.

Rybinsk Reservoir

Along the shoreline of the reservoir there are mostly wild beaches. The coast is clean and the entry into the water is gentle. Beaches are popular not only on the coast, but also on the islands. The most popular of these islands is located near Rybinsk and is called Yurshinskogo.

Reviews about rest

Rest on an artificial body of water can become an alternative travel option. Tourists who have vacationed on the Rybinsk Sea, talk about a large choice of types of recreation. Here you can swim in the lake itself, sunbathe on the beach, fish and walk through the woods, and in the season – gather berries and mushrooms.


About 17 thousand years ago there was a glacial lake on the territory of the lake. After it dried up, in its place appeared the big Mologo-Sheksninskaya lowland.

Rybinsk Reservoir

Construction of the reservoir was in the 30s-40s of the XX century. According to the plan, this lake was to become the largest artificial lake in the world. In 1935, work began on the construction of a waterworks facility in Rybinsk. In the 1940s the lowland was completely flooded. During the period of works on flooding more than 120 thousand people were resettled. Were flooded several monasteries and settlements, including more than 3.5 thousand square kilometers of forests.

How to reach

In the vicinity of the reservoir there are many settlements, which can be chosen as a place to rest. The town of Rybinsk, from which the name of the reservoir derives, is situated in the south of the artificial lake, about 90 kilometers from Yaroslavl and 310 kilometers from Moscow.

To get to Rybinsk from Moscow you can take a direct bus from the bus station “Northern Gate”. You can also get to Rybinsk by train from Moscow from the Belorussky railway station.

Timetable of buses and trains from Moscow to Rybinsk on Yandex.Schedule

Often tourists go to Rybinsk from Moscow by car. This trip will take 5-6 hours since you have to cover a distance of about 310 kilometers.

Scheme of the Moscow-Rybinsk automobile route

There are two cab companies in Rybinsk: Maxim, Yandex.Taxi, Taxi Rybinsk, and Vezi Taxi.

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