It took multiple plane trips, 9 hours by Jeep through rugged country, and then two days by house for Boise teacher and artist Josh Udesen to make his way to a remote river in Northern Mongolia in search of a fish you’ve probably never even heard of, the Taimen.
"Which is the largest salmon trout species in the world. They can grow up to 72 inches,” said Udesen.
Udesen said the fish is considered sacred in Mongolia.
"It’s often times called the river wolf or the river spirit,” explained Udesen.
The goal was to catch, document, and then promote conservation for the exceptionally rare fish.
“The outfitter that I went with works with the government and subsequently the World Wildlife Fund to protect the river from any resource development,” said Udesen. “Now i’m a lifelong advocate for this weird giant fish that lives in Mongolia.”
One of the ways they thought the fisherman could help in the protection of the elusive fish is through his other passion, art.
"One of the ways they thought was to take my art and for them to use it to help promote the fish, to gain some recognition, and to maybe use it on advertising and to sell the pieces,” explained Udesen.
But while Udesen is working to help the fish, its the journey that took him to the fish that’s helping his classroom at Riverstone International School.
"It’s just endless. I can’t help myself so I always advocate to the kids the best experience in life is doing it yourself so hopefully I influence a few students to get out there and explore and see neat things and provide themselves with opportunity,” said Udeson,. "One of the best parts of teaching is showing my passion and hopefully allow them to discover theirs.”