Tour company "VULKAN"
Active rest and tourism. World class fishing in Kamchatka.

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Fish and fishing

Fish and fishing
Kamchatka is in many ways a unique place on Earth. Especially what concerns fishing. One-third of the salmon spawning grounds is concentrated here. Every year millions of fishes of all the pacific and other precious salmon species head in rush to the rivers of the peninsula to give life to progeny. So it would not be an exaggeration to call this land a fish bonanza. It must be said that Kamchatka is one of the last existing places in the world where you can catch fish in its state of nature. Only five rivers out of all 31,138 have fish ranching farms producing mainly sockeye and chum. As regards such species (which is to say are the objects of admiration of real sportsmen!) like rainbow trout or steelhead or some others – neither these days nor ever before have they been affected by pernicious influence of crossing with the species bred artificially. Here fish amazes you with its size, it is strong and full of power and is in marvellous condition so Kamchatka trophies will become the trophies of your whole life.
Species / English
Species / Latin
Species / Russian
King Salmon
Oncorhynchus tshawytscha
Sockeye Salmon
Oncorhynchus nerka
Нерка или Красница
Chum Salmon
Oncorhynchus keta
Silver Salmon
Oncorhynchus kisutch
Salvelinus malma malma
Голец (мальма)
East Siberia Char
Salvelinus leucomaenus
Thymallus arcticus
Сибирский хариус
Rainbow Trout
Salmo mikiss
Микижа (радужная форель)
Salmo salar
Pink Salmon
Oncorhynchus gorbuscha
Clupea harengus pallasi.
Сельдь тихоокеанская
Hippoglossus stenolepis
Carassius auratus gibelio
Mallotus villosus
Osmerus eperlanus dentex
Зубастая (Азиатская) корюшка
Pleurogrammus monopterygius
Одноперый терпуг
Suffron Cod
Eleginus gracilis.
Тихоокеанская навага
RAINBOW  TROUT  (Parasalmo mikiss)
   This is the stationary form of Kamchatka steelhead which is related to the precious salmons and is close to north-american salmons of the Parasalmo species and its stationary form – rainbow trouts.
   Widely spread in rivers of both coasts of Kamchatka. Spawning period lasts from May till June for what it chooses shallows with swift current and pebble sandy bottom ground. Spawns every year, from one to four times during life period. Average lifetime – 10 years, maximum size – 86 cm., average dimensions may vary – 40-45 cm/1,0 kg; 53-55 cm/1,4-2,0 kgs; 62-64 cm/2,7-3,4 kgs in different living conditions. The nutrition range is rather wide: young species eat amphibiotic insects, other fishes’ spawns, other salmons’ roe and adults – other species youngsters, benthos, other salmons’ roe and even small rodents.
   A beautiful object of sport remarkable for being omnivorous to any type of bait and also much active and aggressive attacking the bait.
   Prefers backwaters, reaches, snags, shadowy places though may be met on shoals and rapids. During the year migrates to other salmons’ spawning areas and other seasonal nutrition bases.
   Though rainbow trout has no industrial/market value still it presents itself as a desirable object of sport fishing. May be caught with a spinning, a fly-fishing or a simple fishing rod with a float. Types of bait used: swaying and spinning spoon-baits, green-flies (either dry or wet), artificial mouse or natural salmon roe.
KAMCHATKA  STEELHEAD  (Parasalmo penschinensis)
   A migratory species related to precious salmons. Enters rivers in September – November, winters in bottom pits. Spawns from May till June choosing rapids with swift flow and shingle sandy bottom. On entering the river (fresh waters) acquires mating coloring. The spawns stay in river for 2 or 3 years and after that migrate down to the sea.
   Average lifetime – 8 to 9 years. Reaches up to 100 cm in length and  ~12 kgs. Average dimensions – 61-81 cm/2,4-7,7 kgs. The conditional state of the population is close to being critical so this species is included in “The Red book”. Any fishing, industrial or sport, is prohibited.
KING  (CHINOOK)  SALMON  (Oncorhynchus tschawytscha)  
   The most large representative of the far-eastern salmon species. Inhabits Asian waters – rivers of Kamchatka and the Komandorskiye Islands, the northern part of Hokkaido, Japan, the Amur and the Anadyr’ rivers. It’s also spread along the US western coast from the southern California to the Kotzebu Sound, Alaska included, and in the Arctic Region up to the Coppermine river.
   King salmon become pubescent at the age of four. There also exists a dwarf form (presented in males only) which reaches the age of puberty in two years (with the species’ average length of 10 to 47 cm) without leaving their home reservoir. Despite of the fact this form takes equal part in mating along with the migratory male species. The migrants approach river-mouths in May. In Kamchatka the King starts reproduction on May 25-30 and finishes it in the first part of August. This fish can grow up to 150 cm long reaching 35-40 kgs in weight. Average dimensions – 73-85 cm/7-9 kgs.
   “Tchavýtcha” spends winter in the waters around the Aleutian Islands including Pribyloff-Unimak rayon in the Bering Sea. Species originated from the Kamchatka river and rivers of the Olutorsky region winter in the Olutorka-Navarino rayon.
   This salmon is being harvested during its migration to the spawn areas. Industrial fishery operates stationary nets with trap anchored on the seacoast close to the estuary and purse- and drift-nets in river waters. Permitted sportsgear – spinnings, fly-fishings. Types of bait used: swaying and/or spinning spoon-baits, green-flies.
PINK  (HUMPBACK)  SALMON  (Oncorhynchus gorbuscha)
   This is the most numerous of the pacific salmon species. Inhabits the northern part of the Pacific. May also be spotted in the Arctic Ocean to the west up to the Lena river and along the Asian coast downsouth to the Korean peninsula; then – to the east up to the coasts of Hokkaido and Hondo (Honshu), Japan. The humpback is also widely spread along the western US coast – from the Calville river in the Arctic Region to the San-Lorenzo river in California.
   This one reaches the maximum length of 76 cm and 5,5 kgs weight. Usually “gorbusha”, which migrates for spawning, is between 32 to 62 cm in size with the majority being from 38 to 59 cm and from 1,4 to 2,3 kgs.
   Gorbusha’s lifetime doesn’t exceed more than 1,5 years. On the second year almost all the fish become pubescent. It runs for spawning in summer and autumn. In Kamchatka this happens in July-August, in the South Kuril’skiye Islands – in June-September.
   Unlike other salmons’ spawning areas those of the humpback are located closer to the river mouth thus resulting in a shorter migration way. Pink salmon chooses pebble sandy shoals with steady (approx. 0,2 – 1,0 meters per second) flow and some 0,2 to 1,0 meters deep.
   This species has a great industrial/market value. It is harvested at sea in the pre-estuary areas with stationary nets and in the lower parts of riverbeds with purse- and drift-nets. But pinky is not much popular with the local sportsmen for it almost doesn’t react to various types of bait on its run to spawn sites. Though right there, in the spawning grounds, it attacks bait rather actively. Such reaction may ostensibly be initiated by the instinct of progeny protection from predators. Sport fishing gear – spinnings or fly-fishings. Types of bait used: spinning spoon-baits, green-flies (wet).
CHUM  (DOG)  SALMON  (Oncorhynchus keta)
   The second in number of all the far-eastern salmons. Much widely spread over the northern part of the Pacific from California to Korea and Honshu, Japan. Along the Asian coast may be spotted from the Korean peninsula northwards up to the Lena rivermouth.
   In general, keta migrates for spawning at the age of four and later. Three-years-old species and those ones older than six are rarely indicated. Chum’s most dense concentrations within Asian waters are located in the Amur river, on the coast of the Sea of Okhotsk, along the western coast of Kamchatka and in the Korfo-Karaginsky rayon. All through its population area chum is presented in two forms: the summer and the autumn which differ in qualitative and ecological peculiarities. The autumn form is larger in size, heavier in weight, is more productive and grows faster.
   Chum which migrates to the rivers of Kamchatka has average length of 52 to 81 cm and weighs from 1,7 to 5,4 kgs.
   Chum’s spawning sites are located higher up the riverflow than those of humpback; usually in the reaches with fine sand bottom and subsoil springs outlets.
   Keta has a great industrial/market  value. It is harvested with the same types of industrial fishing gear as the other species mentioned. Sport fishing gear: spinnings and fly-fishings. Types of bait: swaying and spinning spoon-baits, wet green-flies.
SOCKEYE  (NERKA or RED)  SALMON  (Oncorhynchus nerka)
   This species is related to the pacific salmons. It’s spread in Asian waters from Hokkaido in the south to the Anadyr’ in the north. Extremely concentrated along either coasts of Kamchatka, much seldom met in the northern part of the Sea of Okhotsk and in the eastern Sakhalin.
   Nerka migrates to and inhabits mainly rivers with lakes in their upper reaches where it spawns. In some rivers at the same time together with the migratory there exists a dwarf stationary form. This one is met in lakes in Japan, in Kamchatka and in North America. It never migrates to the sea. Dwarfs reach the age of puberty in fresh waters and spawn together with the migrants. This form originates in the part of migrants’ progeny which stationed in lakes because of favorable food conditions there.
   Average dimensions – 65 to 71 cm, 3,26 to 4,357 kgs. Can reach up to 80 cm and 6,13 kgs.
   The sockeye is of extreme industrial/market value. It is harvested with stationary, floating- and purse-nets as it runs for spawning. Considered unfit for sport fishery because of being passive to any bait. Occasionally attacks bait in the spawning area, though, probably reacting to it as to a predator.
SILVER  SALMON  (SILVERSIDES)  (Oncorhynchus kisutch)         
   Belongs to the salmon family, Far-Eastern species. Inhabits waters of the Asian coast from the Anadyr’ river along the shores of Kamchatka up to the rivers of the north-western part of the Sea of Okhotsk. May occasionally be met along the eastern Sakhalin and Hokkaido, Japan. The dense concentration of the population is found mostly in Kamchatka waters, either coasts.
   In Kamchatka silversides grows up to 88 cm and 6,8 kgs. Basically, an average catch consists of species of 56-74 cm long and 3,0-3,5 kilos. Male species are usually 5 to 8 cm longer than females. The fish reaches puberty at the age of 3 to 4 years. The period of its migrations to rivers is extended from the end of June till December. In Kamchatka there are differentiated three forms of “kízhutch”: the summer, the autumn and the winter form. The summers spawn in September-October, the autumn form – in November-December and the winters – in December-February. Spawning grounds are located all along the river from the estuary to the upper waters mainly in the reaches and channels with the flow speed of 0,3 to 0,5 meters per second on the bottom subsoil springs outlets.
   Unlike nerka silversides does not spawn in lakes. Though in some lakes it generates stationary communities which form independent populations. The stationaries reach puberty at the age of four.
   Kizhutch is of great industrial/market value. It is harvested the same way the above mentioned species are. The silver salmon is treated as an exellent object of sport fishing for it retains all the reflexes of a predator either during its migration up the river and at the spawning. For sport fishing both spinnings and fly-fish are used. Types of bait: swaying and spinning spoon-naits, green-flies (wet).
EAST SIBERIA CHAR (Salvelinus leucomaenus)
   This is a numerous anadromous species. Is spread only within the Sea of Okhotsk and along the eastern coast of Kamchatka up to the Korf Sound. Besides the migratory form there also exists a stationary – both in rivers and lakes. In spring ES char migrates to sea and runs back in autumn for spawning and wintering. Sea migration routes are not too long – chiefly within the coastal area. It migrates to sea for the first time at the age of 2 to 7, usually at 3 or 5 years of age, making 10-11 migrations (one in a year) during lifetime. Maximum duration of life lasts from 7 to 16 years. Reaches puberty at 5 to 10 yoa (after 2 or 3 migrations to the sea), more often – at the age of 7-8 years (after 4-6 migrations).
   Migration back to rivers starts in July and continues on until September. Char spawns in the end of summer – the beginning of autumn exclusively in the flowing waters in the river channels, deep branches and creeks. Builds nests in pebble bottom, hides roe in a pit covered with ground. Can grow as long as 120 cm and as heavy as 15 kgs! Though dimensional and mass characteristics of char from the eastern and the western  coasts of the peninsula differ substantively.
   Has no market/industrial value but deserves much praise as a sport fishery object. Distinguishes itself with aggressive activity in bait attacks, with the power and persistance while being caught on a fly-hook. Fishing gear: spinnings, fly-fishing, fishing rods (floats). May often be taken as a by-catch during ice-fishing for smelt, suffron cod or herring. Types of bait used: swaying and spinning spoon-baits, wet green-flies, artificial mouse (some occasional facts registered).
CHAR  (Salvelinus malma)
   A much numerous anadromous species. Length – up to 75 cm, weight - ~ 2 kgs. There are also dwarf river forms of some 17 to 34 cm long.
   Malma is spread all over the russian Far-East: from the estuary of the Kolyma river eastward to the Bering Strait and downsouth from there, in rivers on the coasts of the Bering Sea, the Sea of Okhotsk and in Kamchatka. Char runs chiefly a nomadic mode of life leaving fresh waters for sea in summer and returning back to rivers for wintering and matrimonial procedures in autumn. Its migration routes are extended as long as tens, sometimes hundreds of kilometers. It’s a registered fact when a char was found beyond its Kamchatka boundaries at a distance of 1,6 thousand kms! Young fish live in rivers for 2-9 years migrating down to sea then; a part of population migrates to sea not more than 3 times in a life period. Malma lives from 10 to 11 years (those in the northern areas – up to 15 ys). Reaches matrimonial age at 4 or 6.
   Anadromous migration to the rivers of the north-east Kamchatka starts in the first decade of July. Species of elder ages prevail in the beginning of it. By the end of the run the younger species ratio increases steadily. Char spends winter in the river, hiding in bottom hollows and in spring - after the ice moves away - migrates to sea (May – June). Malma spawns in autumn in the swift flow of cold waters building a nest in the pebble sandy bottom and hiding roe in it. A little number of species die after spawning; the rest may reproduce from 5 to 6 times but generally 1-2 times in a lifetime.
   While in riverwater char’s youngsters feed off benthos, other salmons’ roe and spawns. At sea they feed on zooplankton and fish. This species reaches great size in number in Kamchatka.
   An industrial fishery object and also a favorite target of sport including ice-fishing. Malma is distinguished for its active attacks on bait. Fishing tackles used: spinnings, fly-fishing, simple rods (floats). Types of bait: swaying and spinning spoon-baits, green-fly (dry or wet), salmon roe.
HALIBUT  (Hippoglossus stenolepis)
   Inhabits waters all around Kamchatka.
   Length – up to 267 cm, weighs up to 345 kgs.
Average length is about 185 cm, weight – 60 kgs and over; female species are limited with some 42 years of lifetime, males - ~47 years. The latter reach puberty in 7-17 years, females – in 8-15. Feeds on crabs, shrimps and fish. Adult species eat every eadible object they can catch. Halibut roams in shallow waters in summer; in autumn it migrates southwards and spends winter on the continental slopes. Migration routes are extended as far as 900 kms.
SUFFRON  COD  (Eleginus gracilis
   Is related to the cod family. Differs from its other representatives with the extended transverse vertebral shoots.
   Reaches the length of 52 cm and 845 grammes (western part of the Bering Sea); lives until 15. Suffron cod of the Cuckchee Sea reaches not more than 36 cm in length and 280 grammes in weight. This is a valuable object of industrial fishery. Usually it is harvested with traps under the ice as it spawns in winter. However in some places (the Terpeniya (Patience) Bay and western coast of Kamchatka) it is caught with bottom trawls.
   Suffron cod spawns in coastal waters in bays not far from rivermouths in wintertime (from December till March).
   Species inhabiting the western part of the Okhotsk Sea (in Tauiskaya and Yamskaya Bays) form an integrated population. Each year much dense approaches of fish for spawning are observed in Yamskaya Bay. The fish became pubescent here, in this rayon, at the age of two. Spawning runs in the coldest time of year (with its peak in the end of January – the beginning of February) with the average water temperatures from  -1,7 to  -1,9 deg. Centigrade in shallows approx. 6-10 meters deep. Kamchatka suffron cod has average weight of about 0,490 kg.
   Sport fishing permitted in winter and summer (June – July, on the western coast of Kamchatka). Tackles used: traps, fishing-rods, purse-nets.
PACIFIC  (FAR-EASTERN)  HERRING  (Clupea harengus pallasi)
   This is one of the geographical races of the oceanic herrings; belongs to the herring family.
   Herring is related to the school pelagic fishes having a float. It reaches  ~50 cm in length and up to 890 grams in weight. Forms a number of local populations which differ mainly in the speed of growth, age of puberty, time and regions of spawning and productivity.
   Pacific herring spawns generally in springtime in the coastal area in depths of 8-10 meters and shallower. In Kamchatka this starts in the middle of May; in the Bering Sea – in June.
   Very often herring enters rivermouths for spawning. During the process several approaches may be differentiated according to the age of fish. In the beginning the groups of elder species approach the spawning grounds, then come the younger and in the end – those spawning for the first time.
   Having finished reproduction the fish leaves the coastal zone in a week or two and starts to migrate southwards to the north Kuril Islands. The distance the so-called “gizhiginsko-kamchatskaya” herring migrates at from the Gizhiga Bay to the north Kuril Islands is more than 700 nautical miles. The main feed-up areas are located along the south-eastern coast of Kamchatka and around Paramushiru (the Kuril Islands).
   Herring is harvested with mid-water trawls from September till February. Sport fishing: ice-fishing in wintertime.
GREENLINGS  (Pleurogrammus monopterigius)     
   A second-grade object of industrial fishery.
   Is spread over the Bering Sea, around the Aleutian and Komandorskiye Islands, the Sea of Japan and the southern part of the Okhotsk Sea. Length – up to 52 cm. Average size: 30-50 cm, weight  ~2,0 kgs, ages from 2 to 10 years.