Sakhalin Oblast is rich in fish; taimen is also found here. His biology has been little studied. This predator leads a secretive lifestyle. It is found in almost all water bodies of Sakhalin and the Kuril Islands as well as southern Primorye, for some time lives in coastal sea waters, and on Lake Tunaicha – almost all year round. Already 15-30 centimeters — two to four years old — begin to eat fish (ten-pointed sticklebacks, larvae of lampreys and char, young Pacific salmon), however, crustaceans still make up the majority of the ration of taimen of this size. And even the food of taimen 31-50 cm long is only half composed of fish. For specimens with a length of more than 50 cm, it becomes the main feed, and its weight in their diet is already 75 percent. But we must also bear in mind that many mice-like rodents and any other living creatures fall into the jaws of predators.
In each pond, taimen behaves differently, the shape and color of the body, the taste of its meat, may also depend on the pond. In places rich in food, it has a lumpy, thickened body shape. The meat of matured fish is bright red, very tender, oily, all the entrails are also filled with fat.
Taimen in the southern part of the Sakhalin Oblast (where the waters are less fodder) are more driven, their meat is not so tender.
In favorable conditions, taimen reaches impressive size. Instances of 30 kg come across annually.
Taimen spawn to almost its very source. In late March – early April, taimen appear in the Tym River in the vicinity of the villages of Tymovskoye, Krasnaya Tym, Beloe, located 200 km from the mouth. But here they do not spawn, but go to the sources of the Tym and its tributaries.
Caviar of this fish is 5-6 mm in size, from light yellow to bright orange. The number of se (10-20 thousand eggs) depends on the weight of the female. In the southern extent, taimen begin to spawn from estuarine sites to the headwaters.
Observations of the behavior of taimen in the Melkaya and Bogataya rivers, as well as in the Poronay river, confirm that after spawning not all predators go to sea, most of them remain in the rivers. Spawning, taimen usually in mid-June after the decline of mountain water begins to descend, occupying suitable pits for its summer standing. Usually a couple of specimens of the same size live in these pits (if they are large, 20-30 kg each). Never in the summer had I encountered three or more of these fish in one place. There are several taimen weighing less than 15 kg.
For summer parking, predators choose deep pits with blockages. It is almost impossible for an inexperienced eye to find fish in such a refuge. It takes a long time to crawl along the logs of the blockage and study the bottom of the pit, since the log-like body of large taimen from above has a dark color, almost indistinguishable from sunken trunks. But his always slightly moving reddish tail gives him away. It seems that the whole pit has been viewed, there are no taimen in it. And then you ask one of the comrades to shake the logs of the blockage. The hiding predator cannot stand it; for a moment it jumps out of the blockage and again hides among the logs. In these places he lives until October. At the end of September it begins to descend closer to the mouth, but does not leave the river, choosing shaded holes with blockages.
Catching taimen in the rubble with any gear is useless: even if you are lucky to catch it with sheer luster, he will still hook the fishing line on a branch or log and leave. Small specimens (3-5 kg in weight) rarely hide in the rubble, usually kept in open pits along with char, kunja and other fish, and only the appearance on the bank of a person makes them move to the opposite bank or hide in the rubble.
Before freezing in the deep estuarine pits, a dozen very large taimen are collected. So, in mid-November, we met in some places 8-10 fish weighing from 20 to 30 kg.
The largest predator we caught in mid-November 1976 weighed 30 kg. In the same pits, we saw several larger fish, but they refused to take the lure. We covered one of the holes with a continuous network of holes — there were none. about twenty. The ice was thin, transparent, the bottom and taimen were clearly visible, when we moved on ice, cunning predators instantly disappeared under its snowy areas, and they did it at such a speed that for the first ten meters it was impossible to catch their eye movement. A person lying motionless on absolutely pure ice is not afraid of taimen. If he does not make sudden movements, they gather in a pack and stand calmly. We watched their behavior for hours, while trying to catch a spinner, but apparently frightened by us, they did not take it.
In the rivers of the eastern coast of Sakhalin, taimen are found until the end of January. In February, April I didn’t have to catch taimen there.
Taimen is a pronounced predator. He begins to take spinners, as they say, from infancy. We sometimes came across taymeshki not only lighter than baubles, but also less than it in length. Sometimes taimen does not disdain snula or dead fish. In spring and autumn there is a course of smelt and herring.