Saturday, August 15, 2009

Huchen Fish (Hucho hucho)

The Huchen is a large and heavy member of the salmon family, and is a permanent inhabitant of the mountain and submountain reaches of the Danube and its tributaries. It has a long head, slightly flattened on top, and a jaw which extends far behind its eyes. Its back is brownish red or brownish green, often with a purple shade, whilst its sides have a reddish sheen. The belly is white and its sides are dotted with dark spots.

Young huchen are silvery in colour and resemble young trout. The huchen spawns in spring at a water temperature of between 6° and 8°C. Its spawning habits are similar to other members of the salmon family. Young huchen grow very fast; they feed on the larvae of water insects and begin to cat fish already when they arc 5 to 6 cm long. In the adult stage huchen catch only fish and other- invertebrates. In the River Kama in the European part of the USSR a close relative, the taimen (Hucho taimen), can be found, which achieves an even bigger size.

The huchen is sensitive to water pollution and any oxygen deficiency and therefore in recent years has become extinct in many areas. It is a highly prized angling fish, as specimens weighing up to 10 kg are not exceptional.

Maximum size and weight: 120 cm, 50 kg. Identifying characteristics: Long head, slightly flattened from above, jaw reaching behind eyes. Back brownish red or grey-green, sides with reddish sheen and numerous dark spots.

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