I first learned about Mongolian taimen some 20 years ago, and have always been intrigued with the idea of casting to them, mostly because the flies they hit resemble large prairie dogs. I might be exaggerating a bit, but not much, honestly. I stumbled across the film below, and I’m all jazzed again to find my way to central Asia and see I can’t get one of these fish to hit a fly.
Taimen are the largest salmonids on the planet, and they range from Mongolia north into Russian Siberia. They are big, they’re mean and they just look like sinister predators. But, like any game fish, they’re susceptible to overfishing, overharvest and the like. I think what I like best about this film is the emphasis the Mongolian fishing guides put on protecting this resource—they clearly recognize it as an economic driver in a country that’s largely vacant and economically challenged. For this reason, there could still be taimen around when I’ve finally managed to save enough money to make the trip.
— Chris Hunt