среда, 23 декабря 2009 г.

Elgygytgyn Lake, Chukotka - Ice-fishing in mid June

Mysterious Elgygytgyn Lake has meteorite origin and the age about 3.5 million years. The lake is situated in Chukotka at 68*N, at the altitude of 500 m.  The lake very cold (1 - 3*C only) and deep (180 m). The water is extremely clear, with transparency up to 40 meters in spring, and 25 m in the fall. In the lake dwell 3 species of unique charrs, two of which are endemic species (see picture). These two charrs have got into the hands of scientists not long ago (1979 & 1985). They were described as species new for science, and one of them - as a new genera of salmonids (Salvethymus).

In beginning of July the lake is still covered with the ice, which is already partly melted.  On some years this ice is not melting till the next winter. 

Except the Elgygytgyn Lake, Boganid charr Salvelinus boganidae was found in some other lakes of Chukotka, and at the Taimyr peninsula (Central Siberia). In the lakes of Chukotka this fish can be over 10 kg. In the Elgygytgyn Lake Boganid charr is feeding mostly at the big depth. To digest the food, this fish is coming close to the lake shore or to the inlets of small creeks, where the water is several degrees warmer.

In June the lake is covered with the ice, but near the lake shores there is some open water.  I was catching Boganid charr both by spinning lures ...

... and through the ice with a "diving" lure. The ice in mid June is still strong enough to walk on it.  The biggest charr was 9.1 kg.   

Charrs of the Elgygytgyn Lake:
longfin charr Salvethymus svetovidovi - new genus
smallmouth charr Salvelinus elgyticus - new species
Boganid charr Salvelinus boganidae

Longfin charr (30 cm, 30+ years old male in spawning colors).  This species dwells most of the year on the depth of over 70 meters, and comes to the lake shores only sometimes.  It is very difficult to catch it with hook & line. 

Longfin charr is swimming in the hole in the ice. 

The lake outlet, the Enmyvaam River, is still murky from the snowmelt.  The river (rated 3) has some falls, and is flowing through canyons to the Anadyr River.

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