The taimen, once called the “Mongolian Terror Trout” by National Geographic, might be the most elusive of the salmonid family. It can only be found in the most remote parts of Russia and Mongolia, far away from any civilization. The taimen is known for it’s size and fighting power. Most fish weigh between 30 and 60 pounds, but the IGFA record is 92.5 pounds. There are rumors of a taimen that was caught on the Kotui River in Russia – which allegedly weighed in at 231 pounds – but these rumors were never confirmed.
The taimen is an important part of Mongolian and Chinese folklore. There is a Mongolian fable that tells of some starving herders who found a taimen frozen in ice. They were able to survive the winter by cutting off pieces of it’s flesh. Legend has it that once the ice thawed, the taimen came back to life and ate all the herders. One look at these beasts, and it’s not that big of a stretch for the imagination! However, that fable does hold some resemblance to the way that taimen are handled in Mongolia today. Their slow growth and scarce numbers mean that they are much more valuable to the locals as a catch and release gamefish than they are as a food source.
Bellow are some pictures from the man, the myth, the legend – Jako Lucas – who has guided everywhere you can think of. Check out our full interview with him.
Bonus: Check out this taimen video from Black Fly Eyes.