India

The Himalayan Mahseer of India

The mighty Himalayan Mahseer is to fly-fishing, what the tiger was to big-game; a leviathan achievement in the carrier of any fly anglers.

Its terrain extends all along the Himalayan foothills through a large part of India, Nepal, Bhutan & even Burma - spanning the turbid rivers and streams; offering a variety of fly fishing experiences.

From sight-fishing in New Zealand-like gin-clear rivers, similar to the western Ramganga River outside the Jim Corbett Tiger Reserve, to large glacial rivers like the Mahakali / Saryu on India's remote frontier bordering Nepal" for a Steelhead style, Spey rod pursuit.

Swinging for monster Mahseer Land of the mighty - not for the faint of heart Stunning golden torpedoes Physically, Mahseer are built to last Familiar, settled conditions Large eyes, large nostrils, and barbells

From skated dries, to high-sticking with nymphs, or simply swinging streamers down and across these monsters and even dry flies, the sporting world of the Himalayan Mahseer has experienced a facelift complements to modern fly-tackle, techniques and tying materials, hence bringing us closer to discovering the hidden treasures of the Himalayan rivers.

The earliest captures of Mahseer date back to the late 18th century, during India's colonial days of the British rule; a sport that once only the elite indulged in; the British dignitaries and the Maharajas.

These stunning golden torpedoes are powerful, hard hitting fish, a feature that is owed to by the turbid Himalayan Rivers they live in.

Each year the monsoons flush these eco-systems, rejuvenating them for the coming year. And after the Himalayan Mahseer survives this intense yearly ordeal, while they migrate up-river to spawn in the sub-tributaries; the arrival of the Autumn season (October / November) brings about more settled conditions.

Finally, the dropping rivers bring about better and the much needed feeding opportunities for the Mahseer. With hardly any food in the rivers" the Mahseer take to feeding almost explosively, on minnows and dragon fly nymphs. This is one of the best times to fish for the Himalayan Mahseer.

That said, the pre-monsoon Spring period of March through the starting of the Summer, May is also a good time for fly fishing for the Himalayan Mahseer.

The Himalayan Mahseer demand good presentation skills, as well as the quality of forbearance. To our thinking, devotees of notoriously finicky fish like Atlantic salmon, Steelhead, Permit, Tarpon, and Milkfish will bring the right set of expectations to these rivers. More than that, however, we feel these anglers are likely to take from an encounter with a fish, even if brief, a complete sense for the accomplishment that such a feat entails.

The two best rivers are the Western Ramganga that flows through the land of the tiger! The Jim Corbett Tiger reserve, one of India's finest and oldest tiger reserves. As the western Ramganga River enters the tiger reserve it is separated into four beats that offer the world of angling a very special environment. These beats present unique sight-fishing opportunities for these legendary game-fish.

The other river is the Saryu / Mahakali, and a float trip along borders of India and Nepal, while floating down the migratory gateway of north India's Mahseer fishery. The large and un-dammed Mahakali River that demarcates the borders of the two counties is the main contributor to the Saryu's productive Mahseer fishery. Both these journeys can begin with you getting to the historical capital, New Delhi.

For the angler; and the ones who have heard and read about the Golden Himalayan Mahseer's sporting prowess and north India's rich heritage - this is a fascinating and contemplative sporting journey that captures the essence of a unique and very special part of the world.

In 1994 young Misty Dhillon was first seduced by the mighty Golden Himalayan Mahseer and after his first few encounters, with what he calls a 'Majestic Goddess', it became apparent that his extraordinary passion was more than a seasonal obsession. Misty's burning desire to encounter the Mahseer consumed him as he spent hours, days, and years researching and pioneering patterns and techniques for catching these fish on both spinning and fly-fishing.

It didn't take long before Misty began to dream of making his personal passion for the Mahseer into a fulltime career. In the year 2001, Misty took a step toward achieving this dream when he took a job with well a reputed white-water rafting company. During the next 4 years Misty managed, guided and quickly learned the ropes for running a successful outdoor adventure outfit. In 2004 Misty took a huge leap toward his dream by joining Mickey Sidhu to create their own company, The Himalayan Outback. Visit them online to learn more at: www.himalayanoutback.com

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