Wednesday, December 28, 2011

New, better blog on the same topic

I have started a new blog on the same topic - fishing and travel.  The blog is bilingual - Russian and English; now I have started to fill it with information.  Some of the future posts will be on the same trips on which I had already told here, but at the new blog I will be able to show better quality images, to show some new images, and to give the readers more info in the texts. 

Happy New Year!

Saturday, December 24, 2011

Kamchatka, Raduga River, September 2011 - Part 3 (Azhabacie Lake)

On the next day we had decided to go to the nearby Azhabachie Lake.  The big water body is famous by its sockeye salmon spawning grounds and by "hordes" of brown bears.   At the image is the downstream view at the Kamchatka R. from the mouth of the channel, connecting the river with the lake.  The channel is about 10 km long.  
 The "Raduga" biological station at the channel belongs to the Institute of Marine Biology (Rus.  Acad.  of Sciences, Vladivostok).  Here the scientists study the ecosystem of the lake. 
 We go upstream the channel, heading to the lake
At one good-looking spot of the channel we have seen lots of rising fish and decided to stop for fishing. 
Some of these fish were smolts of Pacific salmon (coho).  Some small charrs feeding with insects were also caught with a dry fly.   
 Andrey was able to catch something bigger with a heavy leader.
 It is a charr
 Most of charrs of the Azhabachie Lake are not silver; these fish are resident. 
 I have hooked something strong and fast moving
 It looks like a trout!
 Yes, it is one. 
It is a good size fat trout with a healed scar from some predator (otter?).  The trout in the lake outlet feed with sockeye smolts, so they have enough food.  
Finally our boat is nearing the Azhabachie Lake, which is 8 km long and up to 36 m deep.  
To be continued..

Thursday, December 15, 2011

Kamchatka, Raduga River, September 2011 - Part 2

The next morning was foggy.  I was fishing the Raduga near the camp, at the first pool upstream from the junction with the Kamchatka River.  Because of the low light conditions the fish were not very active.  The best flies were the brightest ones - fluorescent pink or red. 

 At the opposite bank from the camp there was a bear trail.  No, it was not just a trail, but a true bear highway!
 Some prints are made by the "nice" size animals. 
 I was wading on sand along the low bank, casting to the deeper water. 
 This silver-sided kundzha (white-spotted charr) is fresh from the sea. 
In the pool there were lots of silver charr, but nothing very big
 A tiny red wobbler-fly with a foam back had a profile of a mayfly nymph.  This #12 fly was wiggling under the surface, and was considered a morsel by grayling. 
 The same fly was also attracting good size charr.  The fish were rising to the surface to intercept it. 
 Steller's sea eagle (white-shoulder sea eagle) with its 2,5 meter wingspan and 9 kg maximum weight is the biggest bird of prey.  Condor is bigger,  but it is a scavenger and not a hunter.  The main food source of the bird in Kamchatka are Pacific salmon.  This particular specimen is young - it does not have the full, mature colors of the species. 
 My friend Andrey had decided to test Tasmanian Devil - this lure is new for Kamchatka.  When spin fishing Andrey is always making a single hook out of a treble.  The pink lure was catching all local fish - charr, trout, salmon, and even grayling.

Monday, December 5, 2011

The boat trip from Ust-Kamchatsk - upstream the Kamchatka River

Before the trip upriver we have met the local fishermen.  We wanter to gather some info on the sport-fishing in the Bering Sea near the mouth of the Kamchatka River.  The local fishermen catch mostly Pacific cod; other fish including halibut are also present in the area.  This is the self-made sea tackle; comparing with the modern gear it looks very rough.
The downriver view in Ust-Kamchatsk.  The sea is to the right from the mountain chain at the background. 
 We are going up the Kamchatka River.  In its lower part the river is wide and shallow.  Today it is easy to see the Shiveluch volcano (3283 m) which is often hiding in the clouds.
 Shiveluch: the main summit (3283 m) to the right, the new erupting summit (2800 m) to the left.
 The Raduga River is a left tributary to Kamchatka, which mouth is 35 km upstream Ust-Kamchatsk
  In the lower reaches of the Raduga is a site of the town of Nizhnekamchatsk.  This is one of the oldest towns of the peninsula.  Nizhne-Kamchatsk was founded at this site in 1732.  A wooden stockaded town of the same name was constructed in 1703 at the distance of 90 km upstream from the Raduga.  That first town was burned during the riot of the native Kamchadal people in 1731, and was constructed again near the Raduga R. mouth.  Here you see the Nizhnekamchatsk - as a local artist sees it.  The town used to have a log stockade, but it is absent at the picture. 
This wooden church was constructed around 1740; so now it is over 270 years old!  
 This historical site is also famous by its fishing. In the Raduga River 
there are lots of charr.  Most of the local charr is not the Dolly Varden charr.  This species was described as "white charr" Salvelinus albus.  The head of this predatory fish is shorter, and has a convex forehead.   

Same as Dolly Varden, this charr is often going out into the sea for feeding.  Now, in September, it is entering the rivers for spawning and wintering.
 In the Raduga River there are lots of Kamchatka grayling Thymallus arcticus mertensi.  It is easy to catch it with literally any lure or fly. 
 The Prince nymph was catching not only grayling but charr as well. 
 Rainbow trout in Kamchatka loves Pacific salmon flies.  This one was caught with a pink wobbler-fly. 

Friday, December 2, 2011

Road trip to Ust-Kamchatsk, Sep 2011

 The main road of the Kamchatka Peninsula goes west and north to Milkovo (300 km), Klyuchi (570 km), and Ust-Kamchatsk (740 km).  Ust-Kamchatsk is a town and port in the mouth of the Kamchatka River which is the biggest at the peninsula.  

In the wide flat valley of the Kamchatka River the dirt road between Milkovo and Klyuchi is made of volcanic ash.  
 On the way to Ust-Kamchatks the road is two times crossing the Kamchatka River.  The cars are crossing the stream by the ferry. 
 The bridge across the Kamchatka River is under construction. 
 Kamchatka River is not very swift; it has deep quiet pools and sandy banks.  This is a side-channel (less than 1/4 of the river).  
 From the road Milkovo-Klyuchi one can see the volcanoes of the "Klyuchevskaya" group: Dalnyaya Ploskaya Sopka (left, 3943 m), Klyuchevskaya Sopka (middle,  4700 m), and Kamen' (right, 4575 m).  The area is covered with the ash of the Tolbachik volcano eruption.
 Kharchinskaya Sopka from the road Klyuchi - Ust-Kamchatsk.
 Shiveluch volcano from the road. 
 Fresh mud flow (torrent) from the Shiveluch volcano
 Old part of the Ust-Kamchatsk
 New part of the Ust-Kamchatsk
 Church in the Ust-Kamchatsk

Thursday, November 24, 2011

October 2011, Urmi River, Amur River drainage

Urmi is 458 km long river which is joining the Kur River of the similar size.  The result of this marriage is a mighty 90 km long river named Tunguska.  Tunguska River is floating into the Amur River from its left bank, on the opposite bank from Khabarovsk.
In October I was with my friend Sergey in the middle reaches of the Urmi River, upstream from the Kukan village.  After a 90 km long trip on a beaten dirt road from the city of Birobidzhan we are pumping up a 15' inflatable motor boat. 
In this area the Urmi is 20-60 meters wide stream, swift and clear.  The river has many log jams, so some of its channels are tricky to navigate even with a jet-boat. 
In the lower part of a tributary named Kosmun' there were lots of different graylings.  
"Lower Amur type" grayling is living in the middle reaches of the rivers; downstream from the lower limit of the habitats of this species in summer there will be no other Salmonids. 
 This is another species, so called "yellow-spotted grayling".  It is relative to the "Upper Amur type" grayling.  In the Lower Amur River this species is sympatric (living together) with the "Lower Amur type" grayling, but its habitats are different. The yellow-spotted grayling in summer is populating the swift upper reaches of the rivers on higher elevations.  This species is migrating down into the middle reaches of the streams only in the late fall. 
The next morning was morose and foggy.  A deep cyclone was coming, threatening with the rain by the next evening.  The fish was not feeding, so it was rather hard to catch anything bigger than grayling.  This is a sharp-nose species of lenok.  
A slightly bigger blunt-nose lenok was caught with a 5 cm long pink wobbler-fly, presented deep. 
A tiny cabin of a trapper at the bank of the Urmi River. 
 Below this rapid Sergey had found some lenok. 
 This small taimen was caught with a lure and released.  We are releasing taimen which is becoming rare in many areas of the Far East. 

A tiny, very skinny, immature taimen was caught below a shallow riffle.  It looks like taimen are more active before the coming cyclone than lenok.  I had observed the same behavior in the summer, on different rivers.