Recreation


Hunting

Kazakhstan has acquired the worldwide reputation of "a country for hunting,” as it draws people from all over the world who wish to obtain valuable antlers, like those of the giant deer inhabiting the Jungar Alatau. Foreign hunters also delight in the antlers of the Tien Shan maral, which can weigh up to an impressive 11-15 kg. Other trophies of Kazakhstani safari include the following:

  • Elks
  • Roe deer
  • Wolves
  • Saigas
  • Wild boar
  • Jeirans
  • Karaganda
  • Jungar
  • Tien Shan argali (Central Asian sheep).

Marals

HuntersThe Maral, a mountain deer in the Eastern region of the Altai mountains, is the target of many classic hunts during the September matting period. During a typical hunting expedition, hunters and guides will spend several days traversing the mountainside by horse or foot, pitching tents at night. Professional guides use the traditional method of trumpet-blowing to imitate the roar of the Maral, who range between 10 and 16 kg. in size.

Ibex

Ibex, a species of mountain sheep, are one of the world's most magnificent and sought after trophies. They inhabit the high mountains of Asia, Siberia, and Europe; however, the largest antlers have been collected in Kazakhstan and Kyrgyzstan. This under-promoted and under-commercialized hunt is best from August 15 to November 15.

Fishing

FishingIn the Republic of Kazakshan, the abundance of lakes and rivers allow for great fishing. Some of the most popular bodies of water include:

  • Zaisan Lake
  • Alakol Lake
  • Markakol Lake
  • Balkhash Lake
  • The Cherny Irtysh River
  • The Ili River
  • The Ural River
  • The Karantal River
  • The Lepsy River

Zaisan Lake, abounding in fish, is the largest fresh water reservoir, measuring around 30 km long and 8 m. deep with an area over 1,800 m. In fishing reserves such as this one, ten-kilo pikes, pike perches, and perches can be caught, as frequently as every other cast. Likewise, the Ili River is home to many fish, including the ever-popular catfish.

Beluga Sturgeon

In the Ural River, the monstrous beluga sturgeon reigns as the toothless predator of the water. Up until ten years ago, this corpulent fish was rarely photographed and spoken of in the sports fishing world; it was merely known for its expensive caviar. However, in the early 90s when the communist system started to open up the beluga sturgeon became available to anglers.

The beluga sturgeon is difficult to categorize as either a salt- or freshwater fish. It spends most of its life in the briny Caspian Sea but travels upstream through the larger rivers to spawn. April tends to be the best time to catch these spawning sturgeons, as the Ural River sometimes appears to be packed with the underwater leviathans, large enough to overturn fishing boats. In fact, local industrial fisherman weighed in the largest registered beluga sturgeon at 5,500 lbs, measuring 6 meters in length.

Sheat Fishing

The sheat fish, a freshwater predator, is a crafty and cautious fish, with some rare specimens measuring 5m in length and weighing in at 300kg. In the mouths of the Karatal and Lepsy rivers, as well as Lake Balkhash, anglers will find an abundance of sheat fish in the 40-90 kg range.

Similar to the beluga sturgeon, the sheat fish wakes up from hibernation, leaving its winter home and heads upstream from Lake Balkhash into the rivers. There, it occupies holes and other deep silty parts of the river, where it eats its fill of small fish, frogs, large mollusks, and waterfowl before spawning.

In this same location, anglers can find over 20 species of fish, including:

  • Barbel
  • Perch
  • Sazan
  • Bream
  • Pike perch
  • Zherekh
  • Amur
  • One-color gubach
  • Osman
  • Marinka
  • Rainbow trout