Friday, March 27, 2009

Sea-run taimen caught in the north-eastern part of the Sakhalin Island with "String Leach"
Most often I am fishing for Sakhalin taimen with two-handed rod equipped with a floating spey-line with a sink tip 3,5 – 5 meters long. On deep and swift places it is easier to use the full-sinking line. Fishing for all taimen species requires use of big flies.
Koppi River at the mainland coast of the Sea of Japan hosts healthy stock of Sakhalin taimen
Sakhalin taimen habitats in rivers are similar to the ones used by Siberian taimen or trophy brown trout. The best areas to catch this fish are the pockets just below the riffles with depths of 1,2-2 meters, swift current on the surface and slow - near the bottom.

Small sea-run taimen caught with tube-fly

If you want to catch trophy fish, use the biggest flies you can cast. Your lure will never be too big for the predator, feeding on adult salmon. In the Koppi River most of taimen were landed with long, dark flies. The best color will be black, dark brown, or red-and-black. Try big black lamprey imitations up to 20 cm long, or the biggest “Wooly Buggers” on the # 3/0 hooks. Nobody knows why Sakhalin taimen is seriously partial to bucktail. One of the simplest and attractive lures for this fish will be a heavy 2-inch copper or brass tube with a bunch of long black and red bucktail with some strands of Crystal Flash. Another good taimen fly is Intruder, tied in dark colors – black, crimson, and brown.
Black "String Leech" in biggest sizes is one of the best flies for all taimen species

Taimen grow rather slow; it will reach maturity by the length of around 75 cm. This is why the majority of fish in the catches of sport-fishermen are immature. This fish can have very long life span and reach gigantic size. The biggest, 210 cm long (!) specimen was caught in one of the rivers of Japan in 1937. It is a big pity that nowadays because of overfishing “marine” taimen is becoming rare or disappearing throughout the whole range. In many waters this species has disappeared completely. Its numbers have drastically decreased in the rivers of the southern Kuril Islands (Kunashir and Iturup). At the Sakhalin Island the stocks are listed as endangered. On the mainland coast of the Sea of Japan the species is almost extinct in the south of the range. Several quite numerous stocks remain in the north of its former range, in the rivers Tumnin, Koppi and Samarga, and in several smaller drainages. The biggest river with taimen is Tumnin. In Japan this fish is still present in some of the streams of the Hokkaido Island. For its rareness it is called here “ghost-fish”. In Hokkaido it is now quite small; even a 8-9 kg fish is very rare. If you will be lucky to catch this rare fish, please, release it!

85 cm long fish landed in the north-east of the Sakhalin Island

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