Sergei Shushunov taimen fishing expedition
There is no more prestigious trophy for a fly fisherman than taimen trout. Taimen fishing is difficult and requires travelling to some of the most remote places on earth. Mature taimen is very territorial and is rarely found in proximity to oher taimen. Taimen for a good reason is frequently called by the locals water tiger or river wolf. Taimen trout is a tenacious, merciless, swift, and strong predator, who prays not only on fish, but also on birds and small mammals – ducks, snipe, mouse, squirrels, and muskrats. Having excellent sight, it is capable of seeing well in the water, and also distinguishing the objects on the shore. Taimen can jump and snatch small animals on dry land when they are in close proximity to the shoreline.
With the autumn temperature drop Siberian taimen migrates into the deeper, not freeze through parts of the rivers.
Taimen lives longer than other Salmonidae, up to 50 years and more and continuously grows during the entire life. Most rapid growth occurs during the first 10-13 years, when its length increases annually by 8-10 centimeters (3-4 inches). Maturity is reached on the 5-7 year of life.
Young taimen usually stays in small groups of 3-7, adult – in pairs or as singles. Larger congregations of taimen are observed sometimes prior their migration into the lower streams of the rivers just before winter; during this period very deep holes can have up to 10-15 large specimens.
The activity of taimen into the summer-autumn season is subjected to very specific fluctuations. It is most high soon after spawning. With the offense of the hot weather, when water becomes warm, which happens often in the slower flowing rivers of the South Siberian and Northern Mongolian planes, taimen become sluggish. In the opinion of some fishermen, a drop in their activity at this time is also caused by the painful process of replacing the teeth. Therefore during July and first half of August catching large taimen in Mongolia and Southern Siberia is rather difficult. Nearer the end of August taimen becomes more active, and during September in anticipation of ice formation it becomes very active and even aggressive.
In summer the best time to catch a taimen is early in the morning and after 5-6 PM, up top the twilight. In autumn biting is more uniform during the day. Taimen can be caught with spinning, using yellow or silver spoon baits between 2 to 4 inches long, or fly rod, using “mouse”. Large taimen, when attacking the “mouse”, may “suppress” it by a violent strike of the tail before turning and taking the bait. In September taimen is not very discriminate in it’s diet and would take any bait, but during the summer different size and color baits has to be tried.
There are four known species of taimen: Danube taimen (Hucho hucho), and Korean taimen (Hucho ischikawai), Sakhalin taimen (Hucho perryi) and the most numerous, Common or Siberian taimen (Hucho taimen).
SAKHALIN TAIMEN (Hucho perryi)
Also called chevitsa is the only species of taimen that migrates to the sea. It is inhabited in Sea of Japan, from where it is in spring and in summer entered into the rivers of Hokkaido, Sakhalin, and Primorsky Krai for spawning. Sakhalin taimen can reached more than 1 meter in length (40 inches) and 25-30 kg (60-70 lbs) of weight. While at the sea it has silvery body and in the river body acquires reddish color similar to Siberian taimen. The sides have 5-8 light raspberry-colored transverse strips. Chevitsa usually feeds on small fish. Sergei Shushunov and Russian Hunting LLC offer Sakhalin taimen fishing on the mainland, in Khabarovsk region of Russia.
Also called Common taimen is the most widely distributed and best known taimen. This is also the most prized taimen trophy. It spawns in spring, right after rivers clear of ice. Siberian taimen can exceed 1.5 meters in length (60 inches) and 100 kilograms in weight (220 lbs). It inhabits rivers with clean water, gravel or stony bottom and large, flowing, cold-water lakes and it never migrates to sea. It frequently stays in the pools and deep holes, under steep shores and in the mouths of tributaries. The area of distribution is very wide, extending from the Ural mountains to the Pacific Ocean and from the Arctic Ocean to Northern Mongolia and China. Siberian taimen can be caught basically in all Siberian rivers and large lakes: Norilsk, Zaysan, Teletskoye and Baikal, as well as in some rivers in the north of Mongolia and China. The cases of catching taimen were noted in some rivers of the European part of Russia. Sergei Shushunov and Russian Hunting LLC offer Siberian taimen trout fishing expeditions to different parts of Russia, including Northern Urals, Siberia, Altai and Yakutia.
Also called Danube salmon, is found in the drainages of Danube and Prut rivers. This rare fish can usually reach weight of 2-3 kg (4.5-6.5 lbs), and occasionally10-12 kg (22-24 lbs). However, literature described the case of catching specimen weighting 52 kg (115 lbs). Danube taimen feeds on small fish. It usually spawns in April.
Current IGFA record of Siberian taimen, caught in 1993 in Keta river of Khabarovsk region of Russia is measured at 42 kg (92 lbs).
Unofficial records: Kotui river 105 kg., Amur river 80 kg., Yenisey river 63 kg., Lena river 60 kg.
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