Help Save the Taimen!

Charlie Conn, Sweetwater outfitter and guide, is helping lead the charge to save the Taimen, the world’s largest, and one of the rarest, salmonids. He is currently raising money for the Taimen Fund (read more below), which is administered by the Tributary Fund.

You can help! Please consider a generous charitable (tax-deductible) gift to the Taimen Fund. Visit the Tributary Fund website and click on “Contribute”. Designate your gift for the Taimen Fund (in the memo line of your check or in the “Program Designation” field of the credit card donation form). Every little bit helps.

Charlie writes from Brazil:

“This month is the beginning of my third fundraising campaign for the Taimen Fund and I am writing to you from the Agua Boa Amazon Lodge in Brazil, where I am hosting for five weeks.  Despite the beauty of the jungle and the wonderful fishing, the heat does make me long for the crisp cool days on the Eg-Uur River in Mongolia.

Like most fisheries worldwide the Agua Boa River has its issue with commercial poaching and illegal fishing.  However, the conservation program on the Agua Boa River is fairly simple.  Without roads there is only one way for poachers to access the watershed and that is by boat.  So, if the mouth of the river is patrolled, the fish are safe.

The Eg-Uur Watershed in Mongolia is very different. There are roads and bridges, and the river is very accessible to poachers. But the laws in Mongolia are on the side of the Taimen – 100% catch and release.  That is why the Taimen Fund has focused almost exclusively on funding Poaching Patrol.  We have been successful in our two-year effort.

As we look forward to 2013 we are excited to continue our poaching patrols but there are two new benefits to our program.  First, The Tributary Fund has received a grant from the Disney Worldwide Conservation Fund that will help continue to educate locals, not will only in the Eg-Uur but in other communities throughout Mongolia near Taimen fisheries.  I am excited to be on the advisory committee for this project and I think it will be a success.

Secondly, while meeting with the rangers in Teshig last May, it was brought to my attention that most poachers were caught through tips from local herders. Mongolia law  rewards  any local who helps inform law enforcement of any poaching activities.  Unfortunately throughout Mongolia local officials rarely produce those rewards.  So in 2013 we are going to compensate locals who tip off patrollers to illegal fishing.  This will be an affordable way to increase our patrol ten-fold and help the locals participate first hand in the preservation of their valley.

The local herders are not the only new recruits to join the Taimen conservation team. This past summer I was lucky enough to meet with Mr. Enkbold the head of the Communist Party in the Mongolian Parliament, and Mr. Sandog former head of intelligence and the first Mongolian Ambassador to the United States.  They are both board members of the Taimen Conservation Fund, our Mongolian partner, and were in the Eg-Uur Valley observing the project first hand.   It was inspiring to see these influential leaders so eager to protect Taimen.  This bodes well for the future of the Taimen in the Eg-Uur Watershed and throughout Mongolia.

In addition to getting herders and politicians involved, there is one more group the Taimen Fund has influenced.  Three years ago on his visit to Montana I was able to spend time with the former Prime Minister of Mongolia, Mr Byer.  On that visit we discussed the idea of a flyfishing association in Mongolia.  Thanks to Mr. Byer, Bayaraa and Gana (Eg-Uur guides), and many others formed the Mongolian Fly Fishing Association.  Nearly 100 attended their casting clinics in Ulaanbaatar last year.  In addition they intend to lobby to make Eg-Uur a flyfishing-only area.

For all of these reason, I believe that the Taimen of the Eg-Uur Watershed have a bright future.  However, in the meantime, it is critical that we continue to support the poaching patrols we have worked so hard to establish.  So, please consider a gift to our project to protect the Taimen of the Eg-Uur.  Thank you!!


Charlie Conn”