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I fished with a Brit in Thailand who had traveled to Mongolia and caught a few. He wasn't a fly guy and described his set-up of choice to me: 1) catch grayling for bait, 2) stuff a bunch of gravel down their gullet and rig them on a huge hook, 3) dead drift them through likely areas. He compared their fight to a doormat in the river current but they are impressive looking!

I've heard of WA and OR guides who host trips for catching them on a fly. Big $$$

Rod
 

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Hucho Taimen, a freshwater species, grow to such an impressive size from a longer life span. (They don't die when they spawn) Found an article which stated the Mongolians fish for them with prairie dogs. Anyone have a proven prairie dog pattern?
 

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A collector never stops collecting!
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I read an article about fishing for taimen a couple of years ago and they used some pretty big mouse flies. I think they were about 6 inches long. They also had to make sure and reel the small taimen in quickly, because if they played them too much they would usually get eaten by a bigger one!
 

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If you are really serious, I would scratch out mongolia and go to siberia, siberia holds almost every IGFA record and has a catch and release on them because they get 80 years old. I talked to an outfitter from siberia at the sportsman expo 2 years ago for awhile and he claims siberia is the best place to fish in the northern hemisphere on the pacific, exotic spieces that are still only abundant there, and everything we got here. just watch for the biggest tigers (900 lbs) and largest and the most abundant population of brown bears in the world.

he said the lure of chioce for those is a shark hook wrapped in squirrel pelt, casted and retrieved. it would definatley be a trip of a lifetime.:beer2
 

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Taimen downside

My former boss went on a trip to Mongolia, and my buddy and former coworker guided in mongolia for one "season". The most productive fly was a "mouse" style fly, because there was a kind of vole that was much relished by the taimen.

Here's the bad part. These fish are apex predators, and even moreso than the really big solo fish rivers in New Zealand, jumbo taimen population densities in mongolia (don't know about other locales) are often measured in miles per fish, not fish per miles. Not because they are endangered, but because that's how god/evolution made 'em. Makes me want to leave them alone. They are awesome fish though.

If you want to chase ancient salmonids, go down south and chase "golden dorado". Smaller, but better fighters from all accounts, the trip is cheaper, and there are more of them ;-)
 

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Since I saw my first photo of a Taimen six years ago on the www.acuteangling.com website, I have been absolutely fascinated by the Hucho Hucho Taimen. These are truly a magnificant fish, and as stated in the original post, have been caught COMMERCIALLY to over 200 pounds. I have spent the last six years gathering information on these fish, from various sources including a few people who have been there, an article in an Australian magazine, an article in a New Zealand magazine, an article in Fish and Fly, internet postings... I've even gone so far as to contact an outfitter in Mongolia for pricing information.

Sweetwater travel currently has a tent camp setup (or gers, as they're called in Mongolia), where they use jet sleds to access various rivers. This will cost you around $5,000 or 6,000 for five days fishing, PLUS airfare. Not cheap.

Independent travel, which is my favorite means of transportation (I've guided for too long to pay for a guide) in Mongolia is extremely difficult. The majority of the population lives in the capital city, Ulaanbataar, the rest are nomadic. Road systems are generally non-existant, basically just dirt tracks. Horseback is the main means of transportation. The countryside has been described to me by a number of different people as being "like Montana but without the people." Sounds bloody good to me!

As far as the fish itself goes, the largest I've heard of caught on a fly rod barely exceeded 100 pounds in weight. That's a damn big salmonid in a trout stream the size of the Madison. The reason Mongolia is the top destination for fly fishing for taimen is because the Russians have managed to completly destroy the population that they had, for more information on that, read Fen Montauge's book "Reeling In Russia". The other reason, is that the Mongolians have religious ties to the rivers, ie. most of them are sacred. Also, they apparently don't like to eat fish. Remember these fish are not adfluvial, meaning they do not come up out of a lake or ocean (although Kamchatka does have sea-run taimen, but that's a different story). These are resident fish that live in the river year round.

Much of Mongolia is a desert, but in the northern region on the border of the former Soviet Union, there is a large lake (I'm talking hundreds of miles), of which I can't quite recall the name, that has hundreds of rivers that flow into them, all containing taimen.

As far as fishing for these beasts, the few natives that do fish use lemmings with the head cut off and a treble hook stuffed down it's throat. Fly fishing is done using 10-12 weight rods, and the largest double mouse pattern you can find fished on the surface. It's all about waking flies. There are, of course, certain situations where you may be required to put on the shooting head or sinking tip lines, but in general, 6-10 inch mouse patterns seem to work best. I've heard people say taimen don't fight hard, but I've never heard that from someone who's fished for them firsthand. Why? Well if you hooked into a 100 pound steelhead, you've be in a serious world of crap, but with taimen, it's not about the fight, it's about the take. Spotting a 50 pound fish in a trout stream, and sight-swinging a massive surface fly to it, watching it explode on it like a musky eating a surface plug...

As side note, if you do head over there, bring a 5-6 weight rod as well, as there is good dry fly fishing for Lenok, a species of trout that vaguely resembles a brown trout but with a mouth like a grayling. Also, the grayling fishing is quite good.

I've been talking to a Mongolian outfitter about doing a combination trip, flying into Ulan Bataar, or taking the Trans Mongolian railway from Beijing. From Ulan Bataar, I was arranging a Russian Army Jeep with a driver and an interpreter for roughly 7 days into a remote drainage. From there, I would be arranging a few horses (two horses for riding, one for packing, and a horse tender) for another 7 days, returning to Ulan Bataar to fly out. All in all, the price quoted to me by the Mongolian outfitter last year was $150 per person, per day. Hell, that's 1/3 of what you'd spend in Montana for a guide. You have to remember, the president of Mongolia makes $500 US a year...

If anyone is interested in more information, please feel free to email me and I'll be happy to provide the appropriate information. Also, if I could find eight people willing to pay deposits for a trip, I'd be willing to set one up and organise everything. Oh yeah, the best time to fish is around October!
 

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A little history here... As a boy, I read every isue of Outdoor Life (all the others as well). But it was OL that had Jack O'Conner as the editor of hunting. Jack had shot nearly every animal in the world worth shooting, but he wanted a Siberian Tiger in the worse way. He wrote an article about the difficulty of shooting such a cat. I don't remember all the details except he said that the People's Republic of China would not allow him to hunt the tiger unless he hired no less than 100 mounted soldiers to accompany him. Otherwise, without this small army, the government could not insure his safety if he went alone with just guides.
"Damn! I thought, what a wild place--what a wild adventure!" I don't remember if Jack got the kitty.
But with all this talk of going to Mongolia, it dawns on me that the region has become far more civilized during my lifetime if someone on this web plans to go there in a jeep or horseback without an army.:professor
Boblawless
 
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