Thumallus vulgaris Vills
Of all the fish that inhabit the rivers and lakes of Siberia and the Far East, grayling is the most common fish. The distribution range of grayling is very wide: from the borders with Kazakhstan, Mongolia and China in the south, to the Arctic bays of the Ob, Yenisei, Khatanga, Lena, Indigirka and Kolyma in the north.
It is an independent family of salmon fish, very close to whitefish. Like lenok and taimen, it lives only in fresh water bodies, it is very sensitive to the purity of water and its saturation with oxygen, therefore it inhabits mainly water bodies located in mountainous areas, and in the lowlands – taiga rivers and streams that flow into large rivers (the Ob basin). Does not live in artificial reservoirs. Angara – earlier, one of the most grayling-rich rivers, since the beginning of the construction of the hydroelectric power station cascade, every year this stock of this valuable fish is increasingly lost.
Grayling in Siberia is represented by two varieties:
– West Siberian grayling lives in the rivers that make up the Ob basin (Irtysh, Tom, Ket, Chulym) and the Yenisei.
– East Siberian grayling inhabits reservoirs of the rivers Pyasina, Khatanga, Lena and further east.
East Siberian grayling differs from its western counterpart by a longer dorsal fin, which sometimes, when folded, almost reaches (in males) a tongue-shaped fat fin, which is a characteristic feature of the entire salmon family, dark and bright in color, more predatory in nature and larger in size.
Siberian grayling, according to some reviews, in wild, inaccessible and sparsely visited rivers, grows up to 3 kg, but individuals weighing 200 to 700 grams usually become prey to the fisherman. Grayling weighing more than 1 kilogram is already considered an enviable trophy. It is noted that in rivers with a fast current, grayling is always larger than in more calm ponds. The size of grayling directly depends on the number in the reservoir of its “brother” in the family – lenok. In rivers where there is no lenok, grayling reaches its maximum size and vice versa. This is due to the identity of the food supply and, as a result, fierce competition and common spawning grounds, from where the leok expels grayling and destroys its eggs.
Sexually mature, grayling becomes 3-5 years old (the farther south the pond is located, the faster it happens), with a length of 23-25 cm and a total weight of 200-250 gr. Spawning occurs from mid-April to the end of March in shallow pebble places. Caviar and fry hatching from it develop very quickly. Under favorable conditions, by the end of the second year of life, grayling reaches a weight of up to 200g.
Grayling leads a daytime lifestyle and feeds exclusively in the daytime.
Its main food consists of insects falling into the water from coastal plants and their catch of grayling dolls and larvae at various stages of development (spring flies, mayflies, caddis flies, mosquitoes, flies, wasps, grasshoppers, ants, etc.). He does not disdain water bugs, mollusks, mormysh, worms, etc. Very willingly eats foreign caviar. Large grayling, enjoys eating small fish (minnows, bullheads) and not bad, especially in the low-fed northern areas, it is caught on various small spinners. Quite often, a large grayling comes across when spinning on the mouse, therefore, like lenok and taimen, it does not pass by voles that have fallen into the water. Like all other salmonids, grayling determines the prey of the prey with the eyes, therefore, during the period of muddy water, it eats much less intensely than when the water is clear.
Small graylings live in small flocks of 10-15 individuals, but the larger the fish, the smaller their flocks. Large graylings are schools of 2-3 fish.
Grayling’s favorite habitat is above and below rapids and rifts. Young fish prefer shallow places, and large fish, on the contrary, have deeper holes. She likes to stay in the rubble of trees, in the corridors formed by aquatic vegetation and under steep banks.
Grayling is a sedentary fish, constantly kept in the same favorite places. Even if you catch a flock of graylings from such a place completely, another flock, usually smaller fish, will immediately occupy it.
Grayling is very sporty and interesting, especially on small taiga rivers. Given the transparency of the water and the shallow depth, the whole process takes place before the eyes of the angler, unless of course he managed to go unnoticed to the place of fishing. By caution, grayling surpasses the vast majority of fish species, especially in small rivers and in places often visited by fishermen. Here, first of all, it is worth preoccupying with the issue of camouflage (the fisherman’s clothes; his shadow cast on the water surface; the minimum of movements made, etc.) Sometimes, you have to plastically approach the treasured whirlpool to become the owner of an enviable trophy.
Grayling, very clearly observes subordination: as a rule, the first fish caught from one place, the largest, all subsequent ones, will be smaller and smaller. If bites have stopped, or frank “youth” is caught, you should immediately change the place of fishing. Constant moving, relentless search for fish sites.