Sakhalin Taimen / Itou

17 Nov Sakhalin Taimen / Itou

Itou [jp] / Sakhalin Taimen
Hucho perryi (Brevoort, 1856)

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Natives to northern island of Hokkaido, itou or taimen is interesting specimen who became endangered species at the same time become available in hatchery market. This 65cm fish is 2 or 3 year old fish was caught in fishing pond where taimen is attraction for those who want to meet the challenge of heavy submarine-like fight. I never met the wild taimen, so my impression is limited to stocked one, it is a fish with head shake and driving force. Expect good reel fight.

1. Natural Habitat in the North

Northern Japan was connected to the continent during the ice age and taimen spread its habitat to main island . Out of 5 species of taimen in the world, one in Japan is the only one that is anadromous.

Shiribetsu River in Hokkaido island is known as the southern most habitat for taimen. Since number of taimen has declined due to no protection available for long time, occasional stockings are done in various rivers in Hokkaido which make it hard to distinct which one is native and which is not.

Taimen’s spawning season is between April and May.  Unlike salmons, taimens spawn series of times through their lifetimes which spans between 15 to 20 years. Young fish stay in the upper part of river then big fish stay in the estuary or coast depending on feeding circumstances.

Fishing season is May-June or November-December in Hokkaido.

2. Stocking in the South

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If you don’t have chance to visit Hokkaido, do not worry for there are plenty of fish ponds, lakes, and rivers where you have chance to meet taimen stocked.