Russia has the fourth longest coastline in the world after Canada, Greenland, and Indonesia. The country’s fishing industry covers 7.6 million square kilometers of Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ) that includes access to twelve seas, three oceans, and two million rivers. The Food and Agriculture Organization of The United Nations (FAO) mentioned that in 2005 Russia had harvested 3,190,946 tons of fish from the wild fisheries and 114,752 tons more from aquaculture. This statistical fact put Russia on the ninth place of the world’s leading producer of fish.
Although the country has such a large area to cultivate fish from, there are regulations to obey to keep the environment healthy and balanced. The Fishing Rules regulate the seasonal closures, closed areas, specifications of gears allowed to be used, minimum catch sizes, and levels of allowable bycatch or accidental catch. If you go fishing in Russia, take notes of these 6 most notable places in Russia that are open and allow catching.
1. Volga Delta
This largest river delta in Europe drains into the Caspian Sea in Astrakhan Oblast region of Russia. It covers 27,224 square kilometers of area with very little rainfall. Since the early 1900s, Volga Delta has been protected as one of the first Russian nature preserves because of the endangered local fauna like water birds, raptors, and passerines. When you fish here, you would most likely catch sturgeons, catfish and carp since these three can be found in large numbers around delta regions.
2. Moscow Canal
Connecting Moskva River with the Volga River, Moscow Canal is located in – obviously – Moscow. The canal was constructed between 1932 and 1937 by the Gulag prisoners. Because of the canal, now Russia has access to five seas; the White Sea, Baltic Sea, Caspian Sea, Sea of Azov, and Black Sea. Until today, the area is used not only for transportation but also Moscow’s water consumption provider, and recreation zones. Because the water levels and streams vary in the Moscow Canal, fishing can be quite challenging especially for newbies. This is why the area is more suitable for experienced fisher. You can find pike-perch, pike, orfe, bream, perch, and roach here.
3. Senezh Lake
Located in Moscow, the lake covers 7 square kilometers of water region and is the beginning of Sestra River. It is one of the most popular fishing sites in Russia because of the rich variation of fish in its water like Ruffe, eels, roach, crucian carp, carp, pike-perch, pike, and bream. Senezh Lake is also people’s favorite place to relax and unwind because of its beautiful view. Wind and kite surfers also favor the lake for practicing.
4. Lake Baikal
Located in southern Siberia, between Buryat Republic and Irkutsk Oblast, Lake Baikal means The Nature Lake. It is the largest freshwater lake in the world and also the deepest one. The surface covers 31,722 square kilometers of area and is home to thousands of species of flora and fauna which many of them uniquely belongs to Baikal and can’t be found anywhere else in the world. In 1996, the lake is listed as one of UNESCO World Heritage Sites. Buryat tribe takes the Lake Baikal as home where they reside and raise goats, camels, cattle, sheep, and horses. The temperature around this region is relatively cold and cool all year long with the lowest at -19⁰C during winter and the highest at 14⁰C during summer.
Around 65 native fish species live in the lake basin with more than half of the number are endemic or uniquely Lake Baikal’s. The local species that fishers commonly catch are omul, Baikal black grayling, Baikal white grayling, and Baikal sturgeon. These fish can be smoked and usually sold widely in markets.
5. Kamchatka Peninsula
Covering 270,000 square kilometers area and 1,250 kilometer of length, Kamchatka Peninsula lies in the Russian Far East with the Pacific Ocean and the Sea of Okhotsk as the peninsula’s eastern and western coastlines. This peninsula is famous for its brown bears, and it seems to be related with the abundance of salmon living in the Kamchatka’s water. It contains the world’s biggest diversity of salmonid fish that includes all six species of Pacific salmon; chinook, chum, coho, seema, pink, and sockeye. But, due to the increased poaching that causes the decreased stock of salmon worldwide, some of the water areas that contains a lot of salmon are set aside as nature preserves – including the Kamchatka Peninsula. Fishers should obey the rules and restrictions while fishing here, not to mention to be aware of the brown bears.
6. Volga River
This river flows through central Russia into the Caspian Sea and dubbed as Russia’s national river. Eleven out of twenty biggest cities in Russia, including Moscow, sit in the Volga’s drainage basin. Here you can find sturgeon that is hunted for its eggs which make the best and most famous caviar of Russia. This causes the number of the species drop, so the government tries to control the poaching with running patrols on the river. Catfish is also abundant in the Volga River, but the nature of fishing in this area is “catch-and-release” instead of poaching for economic reasons. Both newbie and experienced fishermen love going here for game and fish for fun.
Looking at how vast the water regions in Russia is and how long the coastline it has, we now can understand why the Russians love fish bot for game and dining. Some of Russia’s signature dishes include fish like salted herring, caviar, mimosa salad, solyanka soup, and more. If you love eating fish, then Russia is your kind of culinary paradise. As for fishermen, fishing in Russia is surely going to be a great experience especially if you go and visit the 6 most notable places we have listed above. One thing you should keep in mind, though, to obey the rules and restrictions to respect the nature that has given you the fish and fun you love.