Fishing Safaris in Uttarakhand

Sustainable angling, as opposed to intensive fishing, benefits conservation of prized fishes like Mahaseer. Angling is allowed only in certain areas in the buffer region of the Corbett National Park after taking permits from the Forest Department. The best place for angling in Corbett National Park is Hideaway River Lodge. Hideaway River lodge is situated next to the Ramganga River that runs through the Corbett tiger reserve and is one of the great beauties of the Park. The crystal clear waters of the Ramganga snakes its way through the steep sided valleys, surrounded by thick forest and dense jungle. Involved in Mahaseer Conservation along with the Forest Department and Forestry Commission of Uttarakhand, this lodge provide excellent angling opportunities.

Anglers consider the Golden or Himalayan Mahaseer (tor putitora) as the main species available on the Ramganga / Kosi rivers, besides the Silver and Black Mahaseer. Goonch (Bagaraus Bagarius), a fresh water scavenger is also another species that thrives in these rivers. The challenge and thrill of an encounter with the Mahaseer 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. Our (Gillie) fishing experts from the local communities are involved in Mahaseer conservation and have the experience of fishing this section of water for many years now, and we have selected stretches of water that would suit every level of angler for a complete fishing experience.

The Ramganga River holds varied features for the angler to try, from white water rapids to deep holes filled with tackle-breaking rocks and tree stumps and lovely sallow sections from where fly anglers can target specific fish in the clear water and cast to it. There are a number of ways in which one can fish this river but no matter what your style, the fish can be seen and caught at very close quarters in the typically clear glacial waters of this area. We can also offer Jungle jeep drive and Elephant back safari through the Corbett National Park.

The Golden Mahsheer
Mahaseer in local lingo means “The Big Mouth” and is known to be the toughest among the fresh water sport fish. Mahaseer’s habitat, the Ramganga River has clear and fast flowing water with a high level of oxygenation. Being a migratory fish, the Mahaseer moves downstream in winters to warmer waters. As the Mahaseer has good sense of smell, it can detect food from quite a distance and its diet mainly consists of smaller fish & aquatic arthropods.

The habitat of the Mahaseer has high currents & fast flowing water, this fish is an ultimate swimmer and can go upstream through rapids of 20-25 knots. The largest specimen even caught was 121 lbs.

The Process
The time to angle the big Mahaseer is when they return after breeding to chase the shoals of minnows. Angling the Mahaseer is a virtual battle of strength, tact and speed. On overcast days the fish tend not to bite in the regular places, therefore trying out new places is advisable. Use 'hing' or asafoetida paste in your bait and let it lie in a deep pool next to a big rapid. Remember, patience is the virtue of the angler when fishing with ground bait. With fly bait, you can land upto 50 pounds of fish in the calmer areas around the rapids.

Remember, there is more oxygen in rapids and that is the reason why the big fishes are primarily concentrated in and around these areas. On catching a Mahaseer, don't try and stop the first run, hold the line tight and 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.

During 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. The best ways of Mahaseer fishing is ‘spinning’. It is a fish known for is fighting abilities and, after hooking one, you will realise the amount of its strength. It is the largest member of the carp family in the world.

Spinning Tackle
One needs a good quality, medium to heavy spinning / carp rod, ideally ranging from 2lb to 3lb and 8 -10ft. This will be more than enough for both spinning and paste fishing. Reels should be big enough to hold a good 200m of 20lb line and good quality size bait runners are perfect for every situation. They double up and allow one to stop and bait fish for an hour or two after spinning for the morning session, so one reel does two jobs. (A spare reel is always advised to be carried in case of a fault occurring) Spinners are easy to arrange, get a good selection of silver, bronze and gold Mepps in size 3, 4 and 5. These are great for fooling fish in broken water and for working amongst the rapids, rocks and old trees lining the river.

Plugs and lures are also used, but only the smallest lures one can buy, will see any action. And again these should be totally natural in their colour and in sizes ranging from 3 inches up to 5 inches. When using lures, make sure one has spare hooks and good quality split rings for any repair work that might need doing.

Hooks are very simple. A good, strong, heavy-wire saltwater long-shank hook in 1/0, 2/0 and 3/0 are perfect for paste fishing with singles, trebles also playing a big part in paste fishing. This is especially when small fish are present, so make sure you have some super strong trebles in size 1 and 2. These will be all you need for this style of angling.

Line needs to be as clear as possible, because the Ramganga River and other rivers of north India are crystal clear with fresh glacial water flowing in from the Himalayas. A dark line just gives the game away, so keep your eyes open for anything clear and transparent, not white. Fluorocarbon in 20lb and 30lb will also be used for hook lengths when paste fishing. 2 x 600 metre spools should be enough for a weeks fishing, but always change the line after a good battle for a lost fish.

Fly Fishing
For fly fishing, you will need fairly stout gear and appropriate line. 8, 9 and 10 weight rods are perfect for the Mahaseer fishing in the Corbett National Park. Match this with a good quality reel loaded with a sinking fly line and 150 - 200 yards of 20 or 30lb backing. Flies that will work best are Streamers, Muddlers, Tubeflys and anything that resembles small fry or insects. Then, a larger selection is needed that will imitate the small bait fish you will find in the river, normally 2-5 inches long and have brown / silver scale patterns. Other good patterns are small crabs and large larvae imitations, such as dragonfly larvae that resemble a big beetle, and are usually around 1 -2 inches long with dark brown skin.

Fishing the drift, on a swift section of river, just above the rapids, is ideal when targeting the Mahaseer. In the Ramganga River, you will not only find raging sets of rapids, but you also have networks of deep pools that spill down the mountains connected by rapids. These deep pools are a great place for fishing in the heat of the afternoon sun, when the Mahaseer can be found concentrated here. When you fish these deep pools it is best to cast upstream from a good elevated spot, and allow the fly to hug the bottom of the river and bounce the fly along, keeping as tight a line as possible. Sometimes bites are very shy and sometimes not, so always keep in contact with the fly and feel your way around the pool. From here, you will be able to quickly pursue a running fish and find good landing ground. Eddies of the current, where the fast moving water meets the slack or even dead water, allow the fly to work along this crease and you will find the predatory Mahaseer lurking in the quick water waiting to ambush the fly.

Optional Items

  • Scales to weigh up to 120lb at least and sling to match
  • Floats, quivertips, swimfeeders etc for bait fishing
  • Rod rest
  • Lightweight butt pad.
  • Felt lined wading boots are a must. Other Things to Carry
  • A light rain suit for the occasional shower or boat spray
  • Polarized sunglasses (2 pairs) Amber, yellow, green or grey
  • Sunscreen and lip protection (15spf or higher and waterproof)
  • A good fishing hat
  • Camera with film & Extra batteries

  • Insect repellent
  • Light Clothing
  • Reading materials
  • Good walking shoes
  • A travel alarm clock
  • A small flash light
  • Personal Medication
  • Zip lock bags
  • Pocket-knife

Best Time to Visit
In Autumn (Sep/Oct/Nov), as the rivers begin to clear after the monsoon, and in Spring(March/April/May), when the early monsoon rain begins to raise the level of the rivers again. The Himalayan Rivers can be expected to clear around the end of September. In spring, the optimum fishing time can be variable ranging from the beginning of March to end of May. Fishing is stictly prohibited during monsoon as it is the breeding time for the fish.

Do's and Don'ts

  • Angling as sport, is a pure call from Inside and a pure angler will have his own Ethics to maintain the purity of the sport. Here are some points we would like to put in for our clients:
  • Understands fishing and local regulations & customs.
  • Care about aquatic and marine habitats.
  • Adhere to the angling rule of Corbett National Park i.e Catch & Release
  • As fishing takes you to some most pristine area therefore leave no trash, even if left by others.
  • Cooperates with authorities.
  • While fishing in the forest do not disturb other wildlife
  • Keep all the fishing equipment in a kit. Do carry landing net and guff along with the kit.
  • While carrying the rod in the stretched from, never keep the top of the rod in front because it is not safe; instead butt-end be kept in front.
  • Always wear footgear suiting to the terrain.
  • Keep fishing knives sharp and cover the blade when not in use.
  • Use safety glasses at all times when casting.

Accommodation
The camps are safari style tents with sleeping bags and rolling beds. Our support team including Naturalist, Angling Guide, Gillie, Driver Attendant & Chef would be there to assist you for your wilderness programme.

Food
The food served on the Angling trips and expeditions trip consists of a great variety, with special emphasis on the freshness of produce. You not only get to choose from a wide variety of Continental and Indian cuisines, but also savour specialties of the Kumaon region from time to time. Food is primarily vegetarian inside the forest. However egg is served on the trip.

Tariff
It varies as per program. Please find the tariffs for various itineraries

Program – Duration – Rates

  • Introduction to Angling – 2 Nights/ 3 Days – USD 550
  • Angling Expedition I – Corbett National Park – 7 Nights / 8 Days – USD 1500
  • Angling Expedition II – Corbett National Park & Bhikyasen – 7 Nights / 8 Days – USD 1700
  • Angling Expedition III – Corbett -Saryu – Pancheswar – 10 Nights / 11 Days – USD 2500
  • Angling Expedition IV – Corbett -Kali – Pancheswar – 10 Nights / 11 Days – USD 2500

Terms and conditions

  1. The operation of the itinerary and route is subject to the approval of forest authorities.
  2. Maximum strength on one angling expedition is 20 persons.
  3. A non-refundable advance of 50% will be required for the confirmation of the booking.
  4. The tariff does not include transport from Delhi to destination and back.