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 beauty around.
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.
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 Lohit.
There are four principle coasts where sea fishing may be undertaken: Goa and the Kerala coast, Lakshadweep Islands, Orissa and Andaman Islands.
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 Islands.
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.
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 angling experience.
All necessary permits and other government paperwork should be
done well in advance to avoid any last minute problems.
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.
Before going out for angling don't forget to check the weather conditions.
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.
Try not to destroy the environment for your personal gains. Don't leave something back; try to use the goods which are disposable.