Saturday, March 28, 2009

Yellowcheek (Elopichthys bambusa, Cyprinidae)

This is fish # 2 from the 1st message of the blog. It is predatory Carp - the only Carp with teeth. Yellowcheek can be up to 200 cm long! The range of the species covers south-east Asia, China, and in the Russian Far East (Amur River drainage). The sport-tackle world recors of the species is 42,5 kg fish landed in China in 2001. Yellowcheek has mighty cigar-chaped body, wide caudal fin .. and powerful jaws with tiny teeth & a big knob on the lower jaw. This mouth structure helps the fish to capture its prey - sawbellies, gudgeons, and other fresahwater baitfish. Gill plates of the yellowcheek are gold-colored.
Fishing from a sandbar in the lower Amur River. The fisherman is casting to the junction of two channels. Such areas often attract baitfish & predators.
In Russia the species is considered endangered (it is Red Book listed). Its numbers are growing, and now yellowcheek is not rare fish near the city of Khabarovsk (Lower Amur).
Typical habitats of the Lower Amur River are vast sandbars with wave-like structures.
Yellowcheek is difficult-to-catch fish - it is feeding in huge deep river, mostly by cruising edges of sandbars and riffles. The best tactic in warm part of the year is to float or motor along the bank in suitable places, looking for mighty splashes of the feeding predators. Similar to Siberian taimen, mature yellowcheek often hold in pairs - male & female hunt together even during non-spawning periods. The best flies are big light-colored streamers (pearl, silver & yellow) and poppers.
In hot summer weather the best chances for trophy fish in Amur River you will have during evening and early morning hours

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