The Grayling

The grayling is a freshwater fish, which is very widespread in the northern parts of European regions of Russia. In Karelia it is met everywhere, but prefers rivers with fast current. The grayling has pretty bright color: there are lots of black spots on grey-greenish back and fulvous stripes - on the light grey sides. Its high backbone with bright quadrangular spots, situated close to each other catches one’s eye. There are very small and almost imperceptible teethes on both jaws.

In Karelian reservoirs there are two ecological groups of grayling: river and lacustrine. The river grayling spends the whole life in rivers, where it also spawns. In autumn it goes into stretches. By the way of life it is similar to the river trout, keeps to ludas or stony banks, where the spawning is held. In our lakes the grayling is the most widespread in the largest ones – Onego (Tolvuiskoe and Pyalemskoe Onego, Small Onego, near the islands Ivanovskie, along the shoreline of Sholtozero), Ladoga (near the islands of Yalayasaari, Palinsaari, Tehsansaari, Mekerikke), Pyaozero. It’s rarely possible to see the river-lacustrine grayling in our lakes, which lives in lakes and for spawning gets into rivers. The river-lacustrine also dwells in large reservoirs.

The food of the grayling is pretty various. In its ration are larvae of insects – dragonflies, mollusks, aquatic bugs. In open parts of large lakes the role of relic Crustaceans increases. In summer the grayling feeds with falling into water air insects. It also eats through roes and the youth of other fish. Its victims also can bee frogs and small rodents that felt into water.

The grayling spawns in spring, May-June, at water temperature 4-6C on pebbly and stony grounds at the depths of 4 m. Its average prolificacy is 7-10,000 roes, the maximum – 28,000 roes. The hard-roes are ground, pretty bog (3-4 mm). The maturity of roes is about 3 weeks. In lakes the average weight of the grayling doesn’t exceed 500-600 grams, the river grayling weights only 200-300 grams. Large species are presented by single specimens. In Ladoga, for instance, there were cases of catching species of 2 kg at the age of 11 years old. The food value equates the same with the whitefish.

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