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Fly fishing for Mahseer in the Uttarakhand region of Northern India

Updated: Aug 11, 2019

Nestled in the forested foothills just outside of the Jim Corbett's National Tiger Reserve lies some of the worlds best golden Mahseer fly fishing, with an opportunity to sight fish for these rare Himalayan trophies.

"In one word, OUTSTANDING! In a few more, everything worked to perfection, and fantastic precision. 4 days here was worth 2 weeks anywhere else in terms of fishing adventure and pure relaxation. Many thanks to the whole team."

Ray Myers, November 2011

"I was extremely privileged to visit for a day and a half. The service was exceptional. Right from pick up to list breakfast. The food was excellent, and a true experience. I achieved my goal of catching and releasing a beautiful Mahseer, but need to come back to do so on Fly; my guide Bobby was extremely professional and knowledgeable. Great guy to fish with. I wish I could stay for longer, but will return with my family. Best wishes, thank you Misty and your team."

Patrick Page, November 2011

After being being received at New Delhi international airport the adventure to this remarkable fishery begins. It is recommended that upon arrival you spend a day in New Delhi (sightseeing & relaxing) before embarking on your angling adventure. In order to avoid fatigue, the 14hr journey to the river will be done in two parts. After completing the first part of your journey (Delhi-Kathgodam) by train, you will spend the night in a lodge and continue your onward journey to the river the following day. At all time during this journey, you are accompanied by one of our staff. The fishing commences the following day with a float trip down the Saryu, a tributary of the Mahakali. It is whilst floating down this ancient and unexplored river that you will have the opportunity to fly fish for the golden Mahseer. The fishing is conducted mostly from the bank, usually swinging flies or lures downstream as you cover significant river-miles.

Your angling adventure is complimented by a mobile-camp facility and the warm hospitality of friendly and experienced local staff. During your float-trip the staff will regularly break camp and re-establish them again on productive stretches of the river bank. Whilst both the Saryu & Mahakali rivers offer large stretches of remote Mahseer fishing, two of the highlights of your angling expedition are the confluences of Chukka and Pancheshwar.

A journey into India’s Himalayan frontier bordering its mountainous neighbours - Nepal, China, Burma & Bhutan, is complimented by India’s most impressive wildlife and enriching cultural experiences. And one begins to realise that isn't your average fly fishing trip and neither is the Mahseer your average fish.

The mighty Mahseer is mystical, rich in genus, and pound for pound one of the strongest freshwater adversaries you will ever encounter on fly. Inhabiting rivers which range from small, clear & intimate, New Zealand-like streams, to the mightiest of rivers that drain the Himalayas; the Himalayan Mahseer is at home. It's perhaps the most widely distributed of all Mahseer; propelling its way upriver during the monsoon to spawn. Surviving and flourishing in the somewhat inhospitable northwest monsoons that drain India’s Himalayas each year. Attired by armour – the largest scales on any freshwater fish; propelled by a fin-to body ratio that is second to none and glossy slink coating of slime complimenting the above. This is truly a fish of legend in the grand setting of the Himalayas.

Fly fishing for these specimens is not for the faint hearted. This is a fishery that is best appreciated by experienced, dedicated anglers. Good presentation and stalking skills are essential in successfully engaging this quarry. This is due to the omnivorous and skittish nature of Mahseer which feed on a variety of fish, insects, crustaceans and given the opportunity will feed as readily on figs and seeds. These pack hunters range from selective feeding to voracious and aggressive strikes, smashing into bait fish in the shallows.

A variety of presentations are used to take a Mahseer using both single and double handed fly rods. From drag free drifting dry flies in clear spring fed rivers, skating or then even the crease fly. Though, the most common technique being presenting sculpin patterns down and across the current and stripping as soon as the fly hits the water towards the far bank.

Stripping baskets are recommended as the fist few casts are often made whilst keeping a fair distance from the river. As the rivers in the are can be especially clear; it is often worthwhile using some of the fine river-sand to remove the shine from the tippet and stepping up in tippet diameter. Mahseer like action and letting the fly sink / swing in clearer rivers gives the Mahseer a chance to investigate. By stripping as soon as the fly hits the surface is most effective in provoking an aggressive strike. The strip does not have to be fast, and the principle of making the fly move away at a steady speed, often provokes Mahseer that otherwise would not to too interested. You will be surprised to see the lightening-like strike, when it does happen.

With friendly staff and comfortable campaign style camps you will experience an authentic adventure into India's wild, ending each day’s fishing in remote parts of the forest. In the evenings you will be pampered by your hosts with comfortable accommodation, appetizing meals and refreshing hot bucket baths. Each Safari tent is furnished with the very best of campaign furniture that includes a classic British army cot, 6” thick cotton mattresses, linen and Russian down pillows. Each tent is also outfitted with a leather hunting stool as well as a small wardrobe.


Day one: Welcome to India!

  • Arrive in Delhi airport where you are met by The Himalayan Outback’s representative.

  • You will be then chauffeured to our favorite Bed & Breakfast where you will meet your warm and knowledgeable hosts, Arun and Bani. Enjoy a delicious home-cooked meal and conversation with your B&B hosts, before getting a comfortable and well-deserved night’s sleep.

Day two: New Delhi to Corbett Tiger Reserve

  • After an early breakfast, spend the morning touring Delhi’s historical monuments that recall the days when India was the Jewel in the Crown of the British Empir e. C hoose from a variety of sites including the 11th century Qutab Minar, India Gate, the President’s house, the Red Fort, the Lotus temple, Akshardam temple and the Mahatama Gandhi Memorial.

  • You and your guide will enjoy a traditional Indian lunch at well know Indian restaurant before continuing your tour of Delhi’s walls of history.

  • Return to your B&B in the evening and enjoy dinner with your hosts.

Day three: New Delhi to Corbett Tiger Reserve

  • After breakfast, your Himalayan Outback guide will accompany you to the Western Ramganga River Lodge to begin your India fishing experience.

  • Take a break from the 7-hour drive to dine at one of the best local restaurants en-route before reaching our remote lodge overlooking the majestic western Ramganga river.

  • The lodge is situated less than a 6th of a mile from the road, and while you are enjoying a walk though a local village along with your guide; the Himalayan Outback staff will portage your luggage to your cottage at the lodge.

  • After settling into your river-front cottage, enjoy an evening session fishing for Mahseer with your personal fishing guide close to the lodge.

  • As your seasoned guide leads you to the river’s edge you will discover the western Ramganga’s prolific, aquatic eco-system. As light fades, you may have the opportunity of hooking a powerful and majestic Himalayan Mahseer.

  • End the evening around the bonfire with appetizers and enjoy a traditional Tandoori Indian dinner in our dining thatch while your host Misty Dhillon briefs you on the following day’s fishing program.

  • Finally retire to your cottage and enjoy the comfort of our classic rosewood campaign-style beds.

Day four: The village fishing trail & begin your India Fishing Adventure…

  • Rise early, feeling energized by a harmony of bird calls and the comfortable down-stream breeze as you sip on a hot beverage overlooking the unique setting on the outskirts of the Corbett Tiger Reserve and the western Ramganga valley.

  • Your private cottage is complete with a teak writing table and a Havana cane chair.

  • After an early breakfast you will be lead by your personal guide to the pre-historic Nagtale village where you will begin fishing.

  • As your guide walks you to your first pool, he will take a moment to carefully explain to you the fishing strategy as he rigs your lure/fly to the end of the leader.

  • As you fish your way down to the lodge you will be wading through a series of undisturbed pools and beautiful runs.

  • After a brief rest, post-lunch you will begin fishing down-stream from the lodge.

  • That evening, while you are enjoying appetizers around the bon-fire your host, Misty Dhillon will brief you about the overnight fishing excursion the following day.

Day five: Hiking & fishing for Mahseer/Goonch in a remote beat (overnight in home-stay)

  • Start the day early. Leaving your belongings in your cottage you will pack an overnight kit for the night.

  • After a hot beverage your guides will walk you to the road. You will be chauffeured a short distance before beginning a mile hike via Balloli village to your beat.

  • Enjoy a full-day’s fishing with an appetizing lunch that is served on the river and refreshing cold beverages as you pursue the mighty Himalayan Mahseer on this secluded and productive section of river.

  • After a satisfying day on the river, your hosts will be accompanying you to the Balooli home-stay. Spend the evening enjoying the tranquility of this unique setting.

Day six: Hike & fly fishing for Mahseer (return to The Himalayan Outback Lodge)

  • Awaken to the luxury of a hot cup of coffee & tea at the doorstep of your private home-say cottage.

  • As your guide leads to you the river very early this morning, you may encounter deer and rare birds that include the Kaleej Pheasant and the red jungle fowl.

  • Make the most of the early morning’s fishing session. The first few casts may result in a fish of your dreams!

  • After enjoying the day’s Goonch/Mahseer fishing and a sumptuous breakfast and packed lunch on the river, return to the The Himalayan Outback Lodge as the sun disappears behind the foothills.

Day seven: Fish the home beat

  • Spend a relaxing day fly fishing for Mahseer in the home-beat from the Himalayan Outback Lodge along with your seasoned guide.

  • Pursue some exciting sight-fishing opportunities, learning sporting techniques for catching the mystical Himalayan Mahseer from your veteran host Misty Dhillon. The Mahseer is a fish that has been rated as one of the hardest fighting freshwater fish.

  • Pack your kit for a night’s stay inside the tiger reserve the following day and enjoy a delicious continental dinner around the bon-fire as your experienced host Misty Dhillon helps you strategize your fishing the following day.

Day eight: Corbett Tiger Reserve – overnight in remote & historic bungalow. (February through early June only)

  • An early start after a walk to the road you will be chauffeured in a 4wd to the Durgadevi gate of the Corbett Tiger Reserve (15 kilometers) from the lodge.

  • Enjoy a sumptuous breakfast on the river before you begin the day’s fishing.

  • Expect a unique angling experience in this magical location, as you sight-fish for these legendary fish.

  • End the day’s fishing at the historical angling location of Daumunda, after which you will be chauffeured to the remote and private Lohachaur forest bungalow that was constructed during the early 19th.

  • Soak in the tranquility of this special part of the forest, reflecting on the unique sporting experiences of the Corbett National Park as you are served appetizers and a delicious Indian meal.

Day nine: Fishing in Corbett’s Country (return to The Himalayan Outback lodge)

  • Drive through a beautiful mixed forest and calls of rare birds as you are chauffeured in your private 4wd to Daumunda.

  • Experience another exciting day of Mahseer fishing in India on the Western Ramganga River.

  • Return to the western Ramganga River Lodge and spend a quiet evening enjoying appetizers and reflecting on a trip of a lifetime!

Day ten: Corbett National Park to New Delhi

  • Depart from New Delhi early this morning. Arrive at your B&B by the evening and enjoy dinner with your hosts.

  • Depart the following day. (check-out from the B&B is at 1200hrs)

For more information about visiting fly fishing the KUMAON, UTTARAKHAND REGION OF NORTHERN INDIA visit our contact page

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