Saturday, October 8, 2011

Kamchatka-2011, Ozernovskaya creek

 Ozernovskaya Creek is a tributary to the upper part of the Kirganik River, which belongs to the Kamchatka R. drainagbe.  The creek is flowing among the mountains of the Central-Kamchatka Ridge, the "spine" of the peninsula.  The valley of the creek is covered with meadows, stone birch forest, and pine-bush. 
 On the way to the upper part of the Ozernovskaya we had seen several brown bears.  
The river valley is grown by mighty grasses, "shelomainik" in local slang. 
Our truck is parked at the end of the road.  From here we will hike.
Taking a sample of bottom invertebrates (benthos)
I had to find out how far into the mountains the fish can be found; so I went downstream the creek from the altitude over 900 meters above the sea level.  For some time I was not able to catch any fish.  This shot has an exposure of 1/400 of a second.
This shot has an exposure of 1/4 of a second.
 Finally I have caught the first fish, dwarf male of Dolly Varden charr.  This had happen at the altitude of 825 m. 
 In the valley there are several cold mineral springs which water is mixing with the creek. 
Further downstream the creek has lower gradient; here the small charrs are rather numerous.  There are hundreds of them on every kilometer of the river. 
 I was catching this fish with a rig of two small (#12 or 14), weighted nymphs.  In typical situation small charr dwelling in creeks are part of the anadromous Dolly Varden stocks of the main river.  All females do not reach maturity before 2 or 3 marine migrations (age 5-6 years).  On the opposite, lots of males become mature in the creeks, in the age of 2-3 years, when reaching weight of 20-40 grams.  Such dwarf males spawn with anadromous females coming from the sea.   
  Spawning sockeye salmon in the Kirganik River near the mouth of the Ozernovskaya Creek. 
Tiny charrs of the age 0+ years (born this spring). 
Aconite is a poisonous plant

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