Saturday, November 19, 2011

The last open water fishing trip in 2011 (November 10, the Gassi Lake)

 Today, when I write this message, it is -15*C and snow outside.  Lakes and rivers around Khabarovsk are freezing over.  We are already catching the first fish through the ice.  The winter had come to our region too late but truly in one night.  Not long ago it was +5-8*C at the days and no snow at all.  On November 10 I have decided to go to the Gassi Lake 140 km east from Khabarovsk.  I was thinking that lenok (Brachymystax) will be migrating out of the tributaries into the lake, and then down into the Amur River.  So, the lake outlet was looking a reasonable area to search for this fish.  In summer the water in that area is way too warm for any Salmonid, but not in November.  
The Gassi Lake is big and shallow water body; during the low water period in Amur part of it is dry.  The lower, narrov part of the lake is crossed with the road Khabarovsk - Komsomolsk.
 The road is crossing the lake with a mound and a 100 m long bridge. 
 The nights are already cold; the thin ice is formed at the lake during long cold hours.   It is drifting down the lake outlet. 
Some of the ice floes are over 10 meters across.  The ice is thin, but it had sharp serrated edges and can be dangerous for an inflatable boat. 
 My friend Arthur is roving upstream the lake outlet in his Waterfly inflatable kayak
 I was fishing from the anchored kayak with a 2-handed rod and 15' sink tip.  The only difficulty was the floating ice - it was necessary to look behind all the time and be ready to lift the anchor when the ice will be nearing the boat.  In two hours I have landed 2 lenok.  The one belonging to the sharp-nose species is at the image. 
 The best "fly" was a white-and-pink wobbler fly presented near the bottom.  This is the type of the fly designed to move its hook up.  I had decided to keep this lenok - it makes great fish soup named "ukha" in Russian.  In its stomach there were over a dozed of 6-7 cm long silver fish (fingerlings of some Carp species). 
 The most interesting was that all the bites did occur when the ice was passing the boat.  It looks like the fish was moving together with the ice, near it or under its cover.  I had observed similar migration patterns is salmon streams in April - the charr migrating downstream for the sea feeding was moving together with the ice.  
There will be no more flyfishing for me in 2011.  The next open-water season begins in April, unless I will be able to go to Brazil..


  1. That's an interesting species. Very nice catch!

    Do they taste similar to trout?

    Sorry you're being frozen in!

    May your winter pass quickly.