Fishing for taimen. Part 2

Where and when to fish?

After spawning, adult taimen slide downstream, choosing deep-water areas for their camps, usually pits with a whirlpool or the mouths of tributaries. Here they, having come to their senses, soon begin to actively eat. Those taimen (immature) that did not participate in spawning are concentrated in the same places. At this time, taimen usually takes at the bottom, at a depth of 4-5 m, where the current is relatively calm. But sometimes there are bites on the rifts. In spring, in big water, medium-sized individuals enter hens and ducts. In areas of the river where people disturb the taimen, it settles in deep pits during the day, and at dusk and at night it hunts in shallow waters and rifts. During the day, he usually hides under sunken trees, in snaggy pools, behind boulders. On large rivers, these can be vast and deep reaches, on small rivers, whirlpools.

If small taimen prefer a gregarious lifestyle, then adult predators, especially large ones, usually live alone or in pairs. Each of them has its own hunting territory. The large taimen jealously controls its “patrimony”, driving out rivals. In the pit where the “large” manages, I personally rarely met a pike, lenok or burbot. In summer, in hot weather, the activity of the predator decreases. Experiencing oxygen starvation, he, as a rule, tries to go where there is a spring stream. And this is understandable if you take into account that the temperature in July – August in the southern regions of Eastern Siberia is often above 30 ° C.

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The taimen changes feeding places not only depending on the season and temperature, but also during the day. During the day, he fattens in deep shady pits. Where there are blockages, shelters for ambushes, and often at the very shore, over which the crowns of trees hang. In the evening, he hunts in the shallow coastal zone. Sometimes there is a “duty” taimen under the roll. As a rule, this is a seasoned, experienced predator who is tired of chasing after prey. Here, a strong current itself carries him into the jaws of weak and disoriented fish and other living creatures. In summer, taimen is most readily taken in the early morning, as well as in cloudy weather. In September, immediately after the onset of Indian summer, they are sometimes caught throughout the day. It is easy to find taimen parking – and this is its vulnerability. Freshwater salmon give out characteristic blows, when, like from a cannon, it hits with its tail during sharp turns during the pursuit of the prey, or first you see fish jumping out of the water, and then boiling breakers from the turns of the powerful body of the predator.

Another feature. With respect to the seasons of the year, the taimen has a certain rhythm of nutrition, that is, the alternation of periods of zhora with periods of starvation. In large fish, the alternation is more pronounced than in small fish. The taimen feed most actively shortly after spawning and practically all autumn, right up to freezing. Already at the end of August, I had to observe the accumulation of small taimen in the estuarine areas of small taiga rivers. They grabbed the bait eagerly, as if competing with each other. In juvenile taimen, the intensive feeding period is usually in June. In the Far East in September, its main food is salmon roe. In Transbaikalia, for example, taymeshata are often caught by a worm. Large individuals feed mainly on fish: chebaks, grayling, burbot, gobies, etc. Large taimen does not need anything to deal with a squirrel, gopher, water rat, especially a mouse, which sometimes swim across rivers or find themselves in the water near the coast.

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Taimen is a very hardy predator. I have seen more than once how he pursued his victim for a long time. Once I witnessed how a grayling, exhausted by the chase, flew in despair to the coastal pebbles a few steps away from me. Only then did the taimen leave him alone. Among the many curious habits of taimen, there is one that makes it akin to asp. Both the one and the other predators, having crashed into a flock of fish fry walking on top, beat heavily with their strong tail to the right and left, causing fear to the fishes that are losing orientation. On quiet, clear mornings, taimen loves to hunt near the surface of the water, where dace, grayling and other riding fish pick up insects from the water.

Sometimes he beats a small fish in shallow water, but every time after a successful hunt he returns to the main stream. In the evening, when the sunset is approaching, there are also minutes of active zhora. The predator, as a rule, does not ignore the bait, exactly sent to the place of the next splash, even if it is full. But then dusk falls, and the blows in the depths subside. Having finished the “warm-up” over the pit, the taimen is slowly heading to the shore – will it fall into something here under the cover of the night mist?

author V.A. Kazantsev
Open Water Fishing (Complete Fishing Guide)