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Pike species for fly fishing in Mongolia

In Mongolia, there are two species of Pike, the Amur Pike and the Pacific Pike.

Pikes are very aggressive fish that, like taimen, are at the top of the food chain in many Mongolian rivers.

They are ambush predators, blending into their environment and striking with great acceleration to catch their prey with their sharp teeth.

Pikes have elongated bodies, flattened snouts, and a posterior dorsal fin to assist them in attacking with great force.

The two species inhabiting Mongolia are native and are as follows:

THE PACIFIC PIKE (ESOX REICHERTII)

This pike is known in Mongolia by the name Amaryn tsurkhai.

It is a fish that generates a lot of interest among European and American fishermen because it is a new species for them. There was only one attempt to introduce it in North America, in Glendale Lake, Pennsylvania, in 1968, but it failed.

This pike is characterized by its white-silver color with black spots. It is a fish of great beauty due to its colors.

This fish is found in the following rivers and lakes of Mongolia: Onon, Kherlen, Balzh, Barh, and Khalkhin rivers and Buir Lake. All of them share a common feature: they drain into the Pacific basin.

This fish shares its habitat with another great predator, the taimen. Within the same ecosystem, the pike tends to occupy a different space than the taimen, as it is found in very calm waters while the taimen prefers areas with strong currents.

Other interesting characteristics of this fish include:

 

Size and Weight:

It is slightly smaller than the Northern pike. Nevertheless, it can reach up to 115 cm in length and 20 kg in weight.

 

Reproduction:

They mainly reproduce in April and May, although it can start in March and finish in June.

After 4 years of life, they can start reproducing, with a size greater than 40 centimeters.

The higher the water temperature at the time of spawning, the greater the loss of eggs. Therefore, this species is subject to large population fluctuations due to climate change.

 

Feeding Habits:

It is an opportunistic animal. It feeds on fish, ducks, rodents… any animal that moves and has a reasonable size to be eaten. They have a high percentage of cannibalism.

In Mongolia, the months when this fish feeds the most are in spring and summer. Especially in the month of June, at the end of reproduction.

They are fish that like places with little current, shelter, aquatic vegetation, and large stones.

 

Seasonality:

In spring and early summer, they remain in shallow hunting areas. In winter, they seek out deep places to protect themselves from frost and lack of oxygen.

Fly Fishing Mongolia

NORTHERN PIKE (ESOX LUCIUS)

Also known as the Northern Pike or European Pike, it is native to Mongolia as well.

It is a species with a circumpolar distribution, found in the northern hemisphere; its range extends across North America, Europe, and northern Asia. It is a highly territorial fish with crepuscular behaviors.

In Mongolia, pikes can reach sizes exceeding 1.5 meters and weights greater than 20 kg. They have a lifespan that can exceed 20 years, thanks to low fishing pressure and abundant food helping these fish achieve these incredible sizes.

The Northern Pike can be found in rivers within the basin that drains into the Pacific Ocean. Rivers in the Selenga system and in lakes Terkhiin Tsagaan and Ugii (these lakes drain into the Arctic Basin) harbor this species, but not all lakes within this Arctic basin have pikes. For example, there are no pikes in Lake Khuvsgul. In the closed basin of Central Asia, where rivers and lakes near the Altai Mountains are found, there are no pikes.

Each female is courted by several males. Spawning occurs between March and June.

Fly Fishing Mongolia
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