The taimen (Hucho taimen), also known as Siberian taimen, Siberian giant trout, and Siberian salmon, is a species of fish in the salmon family (family Salmonidae) of order Salmoniformes. These fish are found in rivers in Russia and adjacent regions, and are harvested throughout the year.
Habits and range
The taimen is distributed from the Volga and Pechora River basins east to the Yana River in the north to the Amur River in the south. On a larger scale, this includes parts of the Caspian and Arctic drainages in Eurasia and portions of the Pacific drainage in Mongolia and Russia (the Amur River). In Mongolia, the taimen is found in both the Arctic and Pacific drainages, specifically the Yenisei/Selenga, the Lena, and the Amur River Basins. The taimen lives in flowing water and is only occasionally found in lakes, usually near the mouth of a tributary. The taimen is not anadromous, but does show increased movement rates during the spawning season. The average home range size of taimen in the E.g.-Uur River of Mongolia is 23 kilometres (14 mi), but some tagged individuals show home ranges up to 93 kilometres (58 mi). Some authors consider the taimen to be a subspecies of the huchen, i.e. Hucho hucho taimen.
Coloration varies geographically, but is generally olive green on the head blending to reddish brown in the tail. Adipose, anal, and caudal fins are often dark red. The belly ranges from nearly white to dark gray. The taimen appears to be the largest salmonid in the world, being heavier at average and maximum sizes than the largest North American salmonid, the chinook salmon. Most mature fish caught weigh from 15 to 30 kg (33 to 66 lb). The average length is from 70 to 120 cm (28 to 47 in). The maximum size is not assured, but supposedly a fish caught in the Kotui River in Russia in 1943 with a length of 210 cm (83 in) and a weight of 105 kg (231 lb) is the largest size recorded. The maximum length is about 150 to 180 cm (59 to 71 in). The IGFA world record is 41.95 kg (92.5 lb) with a length of 156 cm (61 in). It can reach at least 55 years of age.
Adult taimen are mainly piscivores, though they frequently eat terrestrial prey such as rodents and birds.
Angling and commercial use
The taimen is becoming a more well-known game fish, particularly for fly fishermen. Catch-and-release with barbless hooks is practiced in many areas to conserve dwindling populations of this species. Organizations such as the Taimen Conservation Fund are working to conserve the remaining populations. While the taimen is sometimes (often illegally) harvested commercially, its low price and slow growth and reproduction make it more valuable as a game fish.
- Mongolian legend tells of a giant taimen trapped in river ice. Starving herders were able to survive the winter by hacking off pieces of its flesh. In the spring, the ice melted and the giant taimen climbed onto the land, tracked down the herders, and ate them all.
- According to Chinese folklore, a type of giant taimen lives in Kanas Lake in China. Villagers near Kanasi claim to have found fish weighing over 4 tonnes.
- National Geographic called the taimen the "Mongolian Terror Trout".
- Gilroy, D. J.; Jensen, O. P.; Allen, B. C.; Chandra, S.; Ganzorig, B.; Hogan, Z.; Maxted, J. T.; Vander Zanden, M. J. (2010). "Home range and seasonal movement of taimen, Hucho taimen, in Mongolia". Ecology of Freshwater Fish. 19 (4): 545. doi:10.1111/j.1600-0633.2010.00434.x.
- Zolotukhin, S., Makeev, S., & Semenchenko, A. (2013). Current status of the Sakhalin taimen, Parahucho perryi (Brevoort), on the mainland coast of the Sea of Japan and the Okhotsk Sea. Archives of Polish Fisheries, 21(3), 205-210.
- De Groot, S. J. (1989). The Eurasian huchen, Hucho hucho. Largest salmon of the world: J. Holčik, K. Hensel, J. Nieslanik and L. Skaćel. Dr. W. Junk Publishers, Dordrecht, The Netherlands, 1988. 239 pp., 29 plates, partly coloured, 32 text figures, 41 tables, Dfl. 225.00; US $125.00;£ 66.00. ISBN 90-6193-643-8 (also published in the series Perspectives in Vertebrate Science volume 5—ISBN 90-6193-897-X (series).
- Burger, C. V., Wilmot, R. L., & Wangaard, D. B. (1985). Comparison of spawning areas and times for two runs of chinook salmon (Oncorhynchus tshawytscha) in the Kenai River, Alaska. Canadian Journal of Fisheries and Aquatic Sciences, 42(4), 693-700.
- Safari and Expeditions — Taimen fishing in Yakutia. Safari.ru. Retrieved on 2012-08-23.
- (Holcik et al. 1988).
- Exploration for "lake monsters" to launch in NW China. Xinhua (2005-07-29).
- About Hooked: Monster Fishing Show – National Geographic Channel – Sub-Saharan Africa. Natgeotv.com. Retrieved on 2012-08-23.
- "Hucho taimen". Integrated Taxonomic Information System. Retrieved 30 January 2006.
- Froese, Rainer and Pauly, Daniel, eds. (2005). "Hucho taimen" in FishBase. 10 2005 version.
- Holcik, J., Hensel, K., Nieslanik, J., and L. Skacel. 1988. The Eurasion Huchen, Hucho hucho: largest salmon of the world. Dr. W. Junk Publishers (Kluwer), Dordrecht, Netherlands
- Matveyev, Arcadi N.; Pronin, Nikolai M.; Samusenok, Vitali P.; Bronte, Charles R. (1998). "Ecology of Siberian Taimen, Hucho Taimen, in the Lake Baikal Basin". Journal of Great Lakes Research. 24 (4): 905. doi:10.1016/S0380-1330(98)70871-8.
- Jensen, Olaf P.; Gilroy, David J.; Hogan, Zeb; Allen, Brant C.; Hrabik, Thomas R.; Weidel, Brian C.; Chandra, Sudeep; Vander Zanden, M. Jake (2009). "Evaluating recreational fisheries for an endangered species: a case study of taimen, Hucho taimen, in Mongolia" (PDF). Canadian Journal of Fisheries and Aquatic Sciences. 66 (10): 1707. doi:10.1139/F09-109. Archived from the original (PDF) on 2010-06-10.
- Taimen Research 
- From Madison to Mongolia: The crusade for a giant fish