This third post in the series follows University of Montana graduate student Dan Bailey as he travels the wilds of Mongolia this summer to survey and tag Taimen, the world’s largest trout. From a remote field camp, Dan is working to assist with the Taimen Conservation Project. Taimen are highly endangered, have been known to grow to 6-ft long and can weigh more than 200 lbs. The information gathered will aid in drafting a conservation plan to protect this megafish. Trout Headwaters, Inc. is a sponsor of the project.
Notes from the Field June 20, 2011
The start of every season is a little nerve racking because you never know what happened to the river over the winter. Catching, tagging, and releasing that first fish is a great feeling knowing that populations survived the winter.
Winter in Mongolia is a time when poaching of Taimen occurs at its most destructive rates. The winters are so cold in Mongolia that the rivers often freeze solid except in deep wintering pools along the river. Taimen will migrate to these deep pools over the winter and congregate in large numbers. As these fish congregate they become vulnerable to poachers who drill holes through the ice and catch these wintering fish. Taimen population numbers of large sections of river can be damaged by this form of fishing. These fish are pulled through the ice, frozen solid and transported to population centers for sale (photo). Poaching enforcement has been virtually non-existent in Mongolia resulting in a drastic decrease of Taimen numbers throughout the country.Tweet