Friday, August 28, 2009

Khanka Lake fishing - the first attempt

Khanka Lake is a big water body, situated in the south of the Russian Far East, between Russia and China. The surface of the lake depends on water level and can change from 4 to 5 thousand square kilometers. Its size is 90 by 70 kilometers. The lake belongs to the Amur River drainage; it drains through the Sungacha River into the Ussuri River.
The lake is rather shallow and has murky water. Its fish fauna is almost the same as in the Amur River. The most common sportfishes of the lake are Amur pike, skygazer, lake skygazer (gorbushka), Mongolian redfin, and catfish. Non-native species is European walleye (zander) which was stocked by the Russian scientists in nineteen sixtees and seventees.
Khanka Lake looks like a murky freshwater sea. It is imposible to see the opposite bank of the lake - it is too far.
The lake hosts mighty hatches of mayflies, dragonflies.. It is a pity, that at the time of my trip the fish did not come close to the shores, and nothing was feeding of these hatches..
The lake was stormy, and I have decided to fish one its tributaries near the Astrakhanka village
The creek was deep and slow; its current was moving downstream, to the lake
Lake skygazer (gorbushka) was biting imitations of clear freshwater shrimp. These shrimps are numerous in the lake.
I was lucky to find a school of Mongolian redfin
The fish was biting shartreuse "Gotcha" on #4 hook
I went further downstream, to the lake. Big waves were moving through the reeds at the creek outlet.
In half of an hour I went back to the lucky place, but everything has changed. The fish was not biting, and even the creek current was moving in the opposite direction - upstream, from the lake. This was caused by the lake "tide" (wind-induced surge). Next time I will try to visit the Khanka Lake in more appropriate time, and in better weather.

Sunday, August 16, 2009

Sakhalin Island, Poronai River, Part 1

Poronai is the biggest river of the Sakhalin Island; it is 350 km long. THe fish fauna of Poronai is mixture of resident fish from the Amur River (pike, ide) and anadromous fish from the Pacific ocean (Pacific salmon, charrs, sea-run taimen, Pacific redfin).
The river is protected by marshes and swamps; its upper part it is impossible to reach by car. To get to the starting poind of the float we had to go by ATV.
This road to the upper part of the Poronai River is impassable by any car
To get to the river we had to hire an army personnel carrier
This is upper Poronai near the mouth of the Taulan River. The river has colored water; it is 10-20 meters wide, and up to 2 meters deep.
We were floating the river and fishing in all suitable places. Here we had to saw through a log jam. Passing another log jam
The first fish was Amur pike. It is one of the most numerous species in the river.
In summer the Amur ide is feeding mostly on insects, but it is always ready to swallow small fish. Silver streamer on a bottle-tube was working well.
On the gravel bars of Poronai there are lots of pieces of coal; we were using it for cooking
Tiger lily

Friday, August 7, 2009

Burga Creek grayling fishing

Burga is a little forest creek, which belongs to the Gassi Lake watershed (Amur River drainage). I was fishing it on a hot day August 6, 2009.
The water in a creek is 17*C, much cooled than the air, which was about 30*C on that day. The air above the water is foggy because of this.
The hiking along the creek through unpenetrable taiga forest is tough.
I was using 3-weight, 7'6" rod made by Kola Salmon
The cast of a light and small wet fly into the current
The bite
Fish on!
It was tiny Amur grayling.
The head of another grayling caught that day. Its upper jaw is absent; the fish was damaged by a hook of some too excitable fisherman.
Lagovski minnow is biting the same flies
There were lots of Achillides maackii on the flowers along the creek

Saturday, August 1, 2009

Cherry salmon, Agnevo River, Sakhalin Island

Agnevo River is 66 km long. It is a mountainous stream, flowing into the Tatar Strait on the west coast of the Sakhalin Island. Mid June is the best time to fish for fresh bright cherry salmon. This "6th species of Pacific salmon" is spawning in the rivers of Kamchatka, Sakhalin, Hokkaido, and in the streams of the Sea of Japan - from Korea to the Amur River mouth.
In the lower reaches Agnevo River flows through rocky canyon
Most of the river is shallow; the bottom structures are formed by boulders or bedrock
Running cherry salmon will stop in deeper places with some current Some holding water look suitable for Atlantic salmon 0r steelhead
Cherry salmon of the same length is heavier than any other salmon species
The fish is often ignoring spinning lures, and biting mostly little dark wet flies
Cherry salmon parr spend from 1 to 3 years in fresh water. Smolts migrate downstream in the first part of summer. Both parr and smolts are eagerly biting different flies.