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The biggest of all salmonids, these voracious predators are typically referred to as “river wolves.
Picture by Ojensen at English Wikipedia used by way of CC BY 2.5

A real river monster, the taimen (Hucho taimen)—also referred to as the Siberian taimen—can develop to proportions that appear unbelievable to your common trout fishermen. Whereas John Gierach as soon as wrote about “trout so long as your leg,” taimen can develop so long as your complete physique, over six ft, and the most important recorded specimen weighed in at 231 kilos! Armed with stout fly rods and foot-long, articulated streamers, fly fishers in Mongolia or Russia can spend days in search of a taimen keen to feed, however as soon as a fish makes up its thoughts, it chases down its prey with exceptional pace and aggression. If the angler’s expertise are as much as the duty, she or he will find yourself cradling a trophy of a lifetime.

Vary and Species Historical past

The unique vary of the Siberian taimen spans from the Higher Volga River basin in far western Europe to the Pacific drainages of the Amur River in China, which can also be the southern boundary. To the north, the species may be discovered within the Pechora and Yana Rivers, which empty into the Arctic Ocean. The taimen’s native vary has seen some discount alongside the western slope of the Aral Mountains, in addition to in Mongolia and China, however total taimen proceed to inhabit the overwhelming majority of their native vary, albeit in a lot diminished numbers.


Taimen anglers are obsessed with preserving habitat and selling catch and launch.
Picture courtesy Mongolia River Outfitters

Taimen are potamodromous, which implies that they spend their complete lives in freshwater, normally in swift-flowing rivers with excessive oxygen ranges, they usually typically transfer up- and downstream extensively. Utilizing telemetry tools, fisheries biologists recorded one taimen inhabiting a house vary of virtually 60 river miles all year long. Spawning typically happens in late Could or June, relying on water temperature. The fish journey upstream to smaller tributaries, the place spawning happens, after which drop again into the bigger rivers.

Siberian taimen don’t spawn till they’re 5 to seven years previous and may dwell for many years. Though some sources put the species’ life span at a conservative 30 years, others declare that taimen can dwell for half a century or extra. Due to the place they dwell and the way comparatively few fish there are in a given location, the species has not been extensively studied, which accounts for a number of the variance in “life information.” Grownup fish are additionally typically solitary, as nicely, which will increase the issue of commentary.

The biggest reliably recorded specimen, caught in Russia’s Kotui River in 1943, measured an astonishing 83 inches lengthy and weighed 231 kilos. The IGFA all-tackle file was a relative minnow, at 92 kilos, 8 ounces. A 50-incher is taken into account a real trophy, and fly fishers land Siberian taimen that enormous yearly in Mongolia and Russia. It anglers’ need to expertise touchdown such a river monster that will make sure the species’ survival.

Shut Relations

There are 4 acknowledged members of the Hucho genus, the others being the huchen or Danube salmon (Hucho hucho); the Sichuan taimen (Hucho bleekeri); and the Korean taimen (Hucho ishikawae). The Sakhalin or Japanese taimen, previously generally known as Hucho perryi, was reclassified into its personal genus and is now Parahucho perryi. The Siberian taimen and huchen are unattainable to tell apart visually, however as a result of they inhabit non-overlapping ranges separated by the flatlands of central Asia, they’re distinguished by geography. Not one of the different species attain the identical proportions of an grownup Siberian taimen, however the huchen can develop to virtually 5 ft lengthy and weigh over 100 kilos. The others are extra trout-size, topping out at 20 to 26 inches.

Threats and Conservation Efforts

All through its vary, the Siberian taimen has suffered from habitat loss, discount of water high quality, overgrazing, damming, and poaching. As a result of these fish are slow-growing–they take as much as seven years to succeed in sexual maturity–populations can’t bounce again in a short time, and the taimen is listed as “susceptible” on the “Pink Listing” maintained by the Worldwide Union for Conservation of Nature. Based on their analysis, taimen populations have declined by between 50% and 95%, relying on location, with the worst losses in China and probably the most steady populations in Russia’s arctic drainages. Mongolia has been probably the most progressive in its conservation efforts, introducing catch-and-release rules on all rivers and dealing with native outfitters to construct consciousness of how essential wholesome taimen populations may be to native economies. Enforcement of anti-poaching legal guidelines stays an issue, nonetheless.

Nearly 5 ft of Mongolian taimen is loads to deal with.
Picture courtesy Fish Mongolia

Gear and Flies

Siberian taimen are huge fish, and also you’ll want gear to match. Most anglers use single-hand or change rods in weights 8 or 9 with a reel able to holding 200 yards of backing and that includes a drag system able to slowing down a 60-pounder. As a result of the fish are likely to assault their prey close to the floor, there may be little “dredging”: the usual line is a weight-forward floater, though it pays to deliver a multi-tip sinking line system, as nicely. Ten foot leaders tapering to 0X or 20-pound-test will mean you can actually put the wooden to a fish and produce it handy as shortly as potential.

Imagine it or not, taimen will hit dry flies, however not reliably. Giant, splashy floor patterns, comparable to mice and baitfish poppers and sliders, set off the fish’s predatory response. Nonetheless, Siberian taimen are principally pisciverous, so giant streamers that imitate fleeing baitfish produce greatest.

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