Immortalized in the stories of Jim
Corbett and Rudyard Kipling, huge dark shadows of a
great fighter have lurked, in the deep waters of the
mighty rivers of the Indian subcontinents. The Mahseer,
found only in India, is the toughest fresh water fighting
fish in the world. Weighing over a hundred pounds, four
varieties inhabit the Indian river waters: the Golden
Mahseer, the Silver Mahseer, the Silver Grey Mahseer
and the Black Mahseer.
Today, in India, the sport of angling
is combined with conservation. As per the existing Indian
protection laws, the fish is allowed to be caught, but
must be released within a stipulated time period. The
average time taken to land a Mahseer is in ratio to
its weight-5 minutes to 5 lbs.
With just enough time to record its weight,
and preserve your moment of glory with the prize catch
of film, before the fish is revived-you have to be really
quick or else it could just end up as one of those fishy
stories of, “the great one that got away.
Trout fishing in the rivers and ice-fed
mountain streams is a great sport. You may put your
wits against the wily trout--both brown and rainbow--and
catch the excitement of hooking a rainbow. Solitude
seekers can spend hours in quiet contemplation, of the
The fast flowing clear water streams
and high altitude lakes of the upper Himalayas are excellent
for trout fishing. The challenge and thrill of an encounter
with the Mahseer attracts anglers from all over the
world. It offers a holiday with a fish, which not only
rules the Indian waters like the tiger does the jungle,
but also fights the way, no one can.
Rods, Line, Hooks, Spoons, Reel, and
Line are the most important and basic fishing accessories
required. For clothing, you need to have light brown
or green light cotton shirts and shorts. In the winters
you definitely need warm clothes. Slip-ons / loafers
are recommended, as they take to water well, protect
the toes, and are easy to remove for clearing sand.
For night, you will certainly need to have a small torch.
Some of the important places in India
for freshwater fishing are in Himachal Pradesh, Karnataka,
Uttar Pradesh, and Jammu & Kashmir.
Streams feeding the Beas River in the
Kullu Manali region are well known for Brown Trout.
The cold mountain streams are well suited for trout,
and are home to some of the biggest varieties of Trout.
The best beats are at Larji valley, situated on the
confluence of the river Larji and Tirthan. Sainj, which
is also a trout stream, flows on the other side. If
you choose to rough it, tented accommodation along the
riverbanks is an option to consider. Travelers need
to carry all the necessary equipment. One day permit
costs Rs 100 only.
License can be obtained from the fisheries
office in Patikhul (situated between Kullu and Manali)
or, from Himachal Pradesh Tourism Development Corporation
Marketing Office The Mall, Manali-175131 (Phone: 01901-52175).
Dodital Lake nestled among the snow-clad
peaks in the Uttarkashi Himalayas is a fresh water lake
and a tempting trout pool, where you can get a good
catch, during all seasons. The forest rest house at
Dodital and Barkot are ideal for the night stay.
Other options for fishing Mahseer in Uttar Pradesh are
in the Ramganga and the Sharda rivers in the range of
Jim Corbett National Park. You can also go to Rishikesh
that offers good fishing sites.
The best season to go trout-fishing
in the south of India is from April to September. Accommodation
is available at the forests bungalows. One can even
go camping, if the idea is to have some fin and adventure.
Cauvery Fishing Lodge near Mysore is a great place to
catch Mahseer. In Kerala streams around the hill stations
of Munnar are ideal for fishing.
Kashmir- with its network of rivers, streams and high
altitude lakes, all abounding in trout, both brown and
rainbow, has been rightly defined as an ‘angler’s paradise’.
Trout fishing in Kashmir is far cheaper than it is in
other parts of the world. Government departments are ensuring
that there should not be any depletion of stock by discriminate
fishing. Major points of angling in the state are the
Indus and Lidder rivers, their tributaries and a network
of smaller rivers and streams. The best time for fishing
here are early mornings and late evenings. There is an,
‘ideal’ fishing permit that allows you to fish exclusively,
in a beat of 2 km. One permit allows you to catch six
fish. Six days a week permits are issued only to tourists.
If you are more adventurous, you can fish in one of many
high altitude lakes (14,000 ft. above sea level), which
can be reached by trekking.
One trek, in particular, starts from Sonmarg and goes
on to Vishansar, Kishansar, Satsar, Gadsar and Gangabal
all alpine lakes. During winters when the lake surface
is frozen, the fish (mainly brown trout) keeps close
to the bottom of the lake, rising nearer the surface,
as the ice melts. In these lakes, unlike other places,
the use of spoons and spinners is allowed. The trekking
season is from July to October while the fishing season
extends from March to October.
Main sites for fishing in Arunachal
Pradesh are Bhalukpong and Tipi on the river Kameng,
Pashighat on the river Siang, and Tezu on the river
OPEN SEA FISHING
There are four principle coasts where
sea fishing may be undertaken: Goa and the Kerala coast,
Lakshadweep Islands, Orissa and Andaman Islands
Goa & Kerala
The sea fishing region of Goa and the
Kerala coast extends from the beach resort of Goa to
Thiruvananthapuram along the long southwest coast. The
local boatmen and the local travel agents can give empirical
information on the best fishing areas. The main ports
in the area are Goa, Mangalore, Cochin and Thiruvananthapuram.
Lakshadweep Islands in the Arabian
Sea are rich in game fish including sharks, barracuda,
blue marlin, kulvel and groupers. Hotel, and other accommodation
is available at Bangaram Island
On India’s east coast, Orissa offers
unique game fishing in its largest brackish water lake
called Chilka. It is rich in Tiger Prawn, Tuna and other
varieties of fish.Chilka Lake is also known for migratory
bird life, which can be of much interest to ornithologists
Andaman Islands, some 293 in number,
stretch across 25 km from the north to the south of
the Bay of Bengal. The Islands open to tourists are
Port Blair, Jolly Buoy, Red Skin, Cinque, Neil and Havelock
October to November is the best season
to venture out for fishing in India. For the Himalayan
region, April to June is the best season. Angling can
be enjoyed throughout the year in India, the only exception
being the Himalayan region, where tough weather conditions,
make it impossible to do so during winter months.
The time to angle the big Mahseer is
when they return after breeding to chase the shoals
of minnows. Angling the Mahseer is a virtual battle
of strength, tact and speed. On overcast days the fish
tend not to bite in the regular places, therefore try
out new places. Use ‘hing’ in your bait made of paste.
Let the bait lie in a deep pool next to a big rapid
and remember, patience is the virtue of the angler when
fishing with ground bait. With fly you can land upto
50 pounds fly fish in the calmer areas around the rapids.
Remember there is more oxygen in rapids and the big
ones are in and around these. Don’t try and stop the
first run, hold the line tight let the fish complete
its first run. Remember the fish can see you, therefore
make sure you avoid its eye. Do not disturb the water
where you intend to fish, as the fish can hear any disturbances
on the surface. Patiently sit it out and try for other
fish. In a snag the line remains constantly in one place
but if a big fish is on the line then the line will
keep moving on water and will not stay in one place.
If the line is snagged don't pull or you will snap your
line but if the fish is on the line and is not snagged
then try to wear it out, before it tires you into making
a mistake. Keep fighting and reeling in, never let the
fish rest. Learn the importance of pumping your rod
and keep your reel properly oiled. Also try and discard
a shredded line.
PERMITS AND GOVERNMENT AGENCIES
All the state governments do have their
tourism and fisheries department offices in the capital
cities where you can ask for fishing permits. For angling
in the restricted areas, restricted area permits are
required. These permits can be had from the Indian embassies/consulates/high
commissions, Ministry of Home Affairs of the government
of India, Foreign Residents Registration Offices (FRRO),
and state government officials of the respective states.
It is important to follow these essential
guidelines, in order to ensure an eventful and incident-free
1. All necessary permits and other government paperwork
should be done well in advance to avoid any last minute
2. Chose your destination according to the time and
money that you can afford. Get yourself medically checked
and avoid high altitude destinations in case, you are
suffering from any serious ailment.
3. Before going out for angling don’t forget to check
the weather conditions.
4. Dress accordingly to the needs of the place and climate.
Rubberized shoes, felt cap, sun protection cream, and
goggles can make you safe in so many ways.
5. Try not to destroy the environment for your personal
gains. Don’t leave something back; try to use the goods
which are disposable.