Sakhalin Island - the only reason why people came here long time ago and settled there were fish. Even the shape of this island seen from the sky is compared by some to the fish. Sakhalin is one of the easternmost outposts in Russia, an island lying on one side in the Ochocki Sea, and from the other side surrounded by the Japanese Sea. From the mainland it is separated by the Strait of Tatar, and from the Japanese island Hokkaido is divided by the Strait of La Pérouse'a. Due to the fact there is rather a sea climate here, we do not have to deal with such radically different temperatures as in Central Russia. On the southern tip of the island, you can see wild bamboo, which certainly does not associate with the Russian winter. On Sakhalin there is many lakes and rivers, streams, mountains and wild taiga. Sakhalin is the sea, the ocean, the rivers and streams, but also the salty and sweet lakes, where over 1000 species of fish live! Many of them are real fishing trophies and rarities.
We fish in Sakhalin for a whole year, changing only the places and species of fish. The winter fisherman starts here before the first ice, when you can actually count on taking almost every species: siberian taimen, sakhalin taimen, white spotted char, malma, amur pike and many others. After the first ice, there is a change of place and the anglers move to the sea, where they fish for small but delicious navaga. This period ends in April.
With the arrival of the summer season May-June begins with the fishing season of the cherry salmon and white spotted char. Sima – cherry salmon at that time goes up the river for spawning, while the char goes out to sea after wintering up the river. Sima also catches a fly and although she is not impressive size, its prowess is comparable to her much larger relatives, so it catch is so attractive. You can not skip the reds (chervica) or the sakhalin taimen - the giant and beautiful fish that is included in the red book, which is only caught in the "catch and release" principle.
July is definitely a good time for the pink salmon of the beaches. You can also count on good white spotted char. In the northern part of the island to the rivers and banks of the Sakhalin approaching sakhalin taimen. It is usually caught in shallow bays or near the estuary until October
Undoubtedly, Sakhalin is one of the most interesting fishing areas not only of Russia but also of the world. On Sakhalin there are two types of taimens - Siberian Tajmen and Sakhalin Tajmen called chervica or sea taimen. Salmonidae such as: chum, pink, sockeye, coho, brook masu, white spotted char, dolly varden, lenok, arctic grayling and many others fish species make this place unique for everyone angler. There is no way to skip the ussuri witefish and amur pike who has a completely different colors and is an exeptional trophy.
In brief, seasons for individual fish species in Sachalin:
June (rivers) - taimen, white spotted char
July - August (lagoons) – taimen, white spotted char, safron cod, kambala
September - October – siberian and sakhalin taimen, white spotted char, coho, chum, pink salmon, dolly verden and others
Expected date of the expedition: the second half of September / beginning of October - group of 5 anglers. The end of September and the beginning of October are one of the best periods in Sakhalin: two type of taimen, char, and salmons in different parts of the river.
Day 1. Meeting in the airport on Sakhalin. Transfer by bus to the city. City tour, including the largest Orthodox church in the Far East. Seafood dinner: fresh crabs, oysters, scallops and other seafood specialties. In the evening transfer to the train station and departure 620 km north of Yuzhnosakhalinsk.
Day 2. First meeting with the river. At 10:00 am we get off the train, change to cars (Kamaz, GAZ-66 and Jeep), drive to the upper part of the river, travel time about 4 hours, 1 hour asphalt road, the rest of the land. Around 15:00 we plan to arrive at the starting point of the rafting, unpacking things, preparing for rafting and fishing. Who wants can start fishing from the shore. On this stretch of the river there is a malma trout, char and taimen. Evening supper Overnight in tents by the river.
Day 3. Start of the rafting. 8:00 am breakfast, our guides move the camp and we start off with a fishing trip. Approximate starting time 10:00 AM. When we are rafting, we will be fishing from the boats, but we do stops on fishing from the shore or from the water itself, standing where the shore is inaccessible, and the depth of the river allows it. Lunch in the boat, everyone gets a packed lunch plus a tea or coffee thermos. In the evening we arrive at the meeting place of two rivers, set up a camp, dinner, overnight.
Day 4. Rapids, meeting with the new river. Breakfast traditionally at 8:00. Move of the camp, preparing for a rafting down the river. From here, the river changes its character, becoming much wider and deeper, with numerous cavities reaching up to 3-4 meters deep. There are rapids, but in the normal state of water you can swim without leaving the boats. On this stretch of the river there is a coho, chum, char and sakhalin taimen. The current on this section of the river, except for rapids, is not very strong, so it is quite easy to fish from boats. The river flows through the surrounding mountains and the views are unforgettable. Evening dinner, overnight.
Day 5. Again, rapids, other conditions and other fish. At 8 am traditionally breakfast, then roll up the camp and set off for the next stretch of another river. Here the river changes its character somewhat because it flows in the middle of the mountain ridges. Our river changes its nature and becomes basically a mountain stream, the current is faster and the depth is smaller. In this section, the depth of the river is no more than 1.5m with numerous rapids. This is where the spawning salmon takes place, which also collects other species, such as char, white spotted char, coho, pink salmon, and big taimen. Here you can fish in the entire stretch, both from the shore and from the water. In the evening in the camp in addition to traditional dinner, also Russian sauna - banya.
Day 6. Medium run of the river. Start the day with breakfast, then continue down the river. Here again, it changes its characteristics. From the mountain turns gradually into a more lazy, broader but deeper, with numerous caves and deeps. These are the typical places of living of Sakhalin's Taimen - the chervica, the big white spotted char, we can expect also the sakhalin char, coho and saffron. In the evening, dinner and overnight by the river.
Day 7. After breakfast and set off the camp, we go downstream. Here the river becomes even wider and deeper. Promising fishing places practically every 200 m of the river. In deep ditches, a predator lurking among its numerous roots, lurking fo its prey. Less here the char and the white spotted char, but there is a large population of big Siberian tigers - taimen. In the evening we reach the last camp on the river.
Day 10. Farewell to the river. After breakfast we begin to swim down the last stretch of the river. Fishing possible with boats without going to shore. Around 13:00 we reach the last point of the raft. We pack things and go to the village, where the typical russian sauna awaits us. Lunch at the restaurant, then transfer to the train station and return to Yuzhnysakhinsk.
Day 11. Arrival in Yuzhnysakhinsk, visit the fish market with local specialties, shopping. Transfer to the airport, departure.
The above program can be extended by a day or two at the hotel in Juznosakhalinsk
If you will have any further questions, just ask me: Irek Szatlach