Massive Taimen – Completely Unbelievable

Well known fly fisher, journalist and photographer, Matt Harris (you’ve probably seen his pictures even if you don’t recognise the name), recently shared a video made by his good friends, Jako Lucas, Charlie Conn & Bigfish Bayra. It’s a really nice film, that captures the majesty of Northern Mongolia, and shows what a special place it is to visit (it’s on my list!). I’ve posted the video below, but first, I want to give you a taste of just how big these fish are. First of all, check out this video. It covers a guy catching a 50-inch taimen (just a baby!?). These guys can barely get this monster in the net!!

The biggest taimen ever caught

Check out these pictures below of some of the biggest specimens ever caught, at least on camera. Taimen are known to live up to 55 years of age, which means they have a long time to get very very big. They are one of the largest ‘salmonids’ on the planet, with an ‘average’ fish thought to weigh between 30 and 65lbs. For their weight, they can also be extremely long – with the average length being between 70 to 125cm. At the time of writing, the IGFA world record fish weighed 92.5lbs (41.95kg), and measured 156cm long. Of course, they are believed to grow a lot larger: it is claimed that one fish was caught in the Kotui River in Russia in 1943, which measured over 2 metres in length and weighed 231lbs! The background for these facts is here.

Taimen pictures

Some of the biggest taimen ever photographed:

Massive taimen

Monster taimen

Hucho taimen

47kg taimen

Mongolian taimen fishing

Taimen fishing

Taimen folklore

I love this story. Mongolians can sometimes be found talking of an old taimen legend, in which a giant taimen was trapped in river ice and unable to move. Local herdsmen were suffering and hungry in the harsh winter, so some daring members of their group managed to get out onto the ice to where the taimen was ensnared. Reaching close, they were able to chop off some of its flesh, which they then shared among the group. Having survived the winter, the herders went about their springtime business. That is, until the ice melted and the taimen could escape its wintery prison. As soon as it was free, it is said, it climbed onto the land, tracked down the herders, and ate them all!

Catching taimen

Taimen are primaily fish eaters, but they are known to attack other animals when they get the chance, including various birds and rodents. They can be caught using large lures, which makes them a great target for fly fishermen, many of whom use floating lures and poppers, to incite spectacular strikes on the surface. Taimen are found right across Russie, Siberia and Mongolia, between the Yana River in the north, the Volga in the east, and the Amur in the south. Unlike salmon, they do not migrate from the rivers to the sea, but they do tend to prefer flowing water. They can also sometimes be caught in inland lakes, particularly around river mouths.

Taimen video

And here’s the video I mentioned at the start. Enjoy!

Got any taimen experiences to share? Let us know or send us your pics!!

Image credits

Sergei Shushunov’s fish on
Tasty Takes
56th Parallel
47kg Russian taimen
Mongolian taimen

James Green About James Green

James Green loves nothing more than casting a fly in pursuit of salmon, seatrout or, when the opportunity arises, a tailing bonefish, tarpon or permit.