An adventure I have always wanted to embark on is finally happening next year. We are working with one of the most experienced travel guides in Mongolia, a relationship that has been built over the past few years. If you are tempted to join us or interested in booking a separate trip to Mongolia, just let me know.
“Taimen are the ultimate mega-trout. They are the largest member of the salmonid family. Mongolian taimen can live for nearly fifty years and reach sixty inches (1.5 meter) in length. Most taimen caught on the fly generally measure between 30 – 40 inches (.75 – 1 meter). Anything over 40 inches (1m) is considered trophy class. Every season, we catch and very carefully release several monsters that measure over 50 inches (1.25 cm). Mongolian taimen do not run out to the ocean or even lakes. These behemoths spend their entire life cycle in relatively small rivers. Taimen will migrate great distances to access spawning, feeding, and winter habitats. An adult taimen may use 60 miles (100km) of river each year, making conservation of vast stretches of water vitally important. Taimen are beautiful fish. They have stunning coloration. Taimen are also ferocious predators. Their main diet is “small” fish and they do take well-presented streamers. That’s great fun, but the amazing thing is that taimen feed on the surface. They will nail beavers, ducklings, gophers, and mice. Taimen will aggressively – and we do mean aggressively – destroy surface flies. Taimen will absolutely explode on the fly, sometimes coming completely out of the water on the strike. On witnessing this impressive smash and grab many anglers pull too soon and miss the hook up. And… strip set, strip set, strip set! The trick is to keep stripping until you feel the weight of the fish, then set the hook. If you miss the first strike, slam the fly right back on the water. That big, angry and very frustrated taimen will frequently come right back around and absolutely hammer your fly on the second, third or even fourth try. These taimen will often go airborne. Like a big tarpon, they will tail walk along the river’s surface. In skinny water, they will rocket across the river for greater depths. The four-foot long predator on the end of your line will charge around the pool, bore deep and shake its head violently like a very, very big brown trout. Mongolia likely has the world’s healthiest taimen populations. Taimen fishing is not always easy. These fish are big, old and smart. Taimen are river dragons. The fishing is a combination of drift boat and wade-walk. This is a great river for both single and double-handed rods. The single-handed rods are used from the drift boats. The double-handed rods are generally fished from shore, but some guests use switch rods to great effect from the boat. Most guests bring a five-weight single hand for the trout and a seven, eight or nine weight single hand for the taimen. This river is great for double-handed rods, either spey or switch. It’s a wonderful thing to fire a line out across a camp pool at sunset and skate a big mouse pattern to a giant taimen.”
For further details email me at Claire@zambuni.com