Someone recently asked, what my top 3 Himalayan Mahseer fly fishing rivers are, and why?
A great question that inspired me to write and share some of my personal experiences while fly fishing for Mahseer.
For over two decades, my passion for Golden Mahseer has lead me to explore Mahseer expedition options as well as training local guides after becoming India’s first FFI casting instructor.
So here’s my advise on the 3 top Himalayan Mahseer fly fishing rivers.
Uniquely situated along the borders of India and Nepal, the Mahakali river is joined by a few good tributaries that offer Mahseer fly fishing opportunities. Of these the Saryu river that comes in from India, is probably the largest and most productive for fly fishing. Fortunately, it is also relatively easy to fish. During the season (April, May and a small window in October) fresh fish come in from the main river, chasing schools of bait fish, which makes it an ideal time to be out there with a fly rod.
Though do keep in mind, this piece of water can sometimes get a bit crowded. As it is a hot favourite among lure anglers, which makes it imperative to visit this river with the right guides so you can find the productive windows of opportunities. Saryu is also where some of the record (50lb +) Golden Mahseer have been taken with a fly rod.
One of Bhutan’s largest rivers, The Drangme Chhu, has a magnificent watershed that stretches along eastern Bhutan.
Coming from Trashi Yangtse, the Drangme Chhu is joined by a series of freestone rivers such as the Gamri, Sherri Chhu, Mekuri Chhu, Kuri Chhu and Mangde Chhu before flowing into India’s, Manas National Park.
Additionally, this is a largely unfragmented Golden Maheeer population, providing the perfect conditions for world class fly fishing for Mahseer. I love supporting regions that serve as vital protected watersheds for the future of these legendary fish.
Bhutan’s capital, Thimpu is a beautiful three-hour drive to the stunning waters of the Puna Tsang Chhu in the Punakha valley. Famous for it’s monastery, it provides a dramatic and sacred backdrop. Downriver from Punakha are some of my favorite waters for swinging flies in front of mammoth Mahseer in completely unpressured waters.
Bhutan has a sparse population along with an inspiring conservation mindset that preserves pristine ecosystems. The culture, the landscape, the pristine waters, world class Chocolate and Golden Mahseer fly fishing, make this a dream river, especially during the months of April as well as May.
Although there are many other amazing rivers out there in the Himalayas that offer Mahseer fly fishing potential. Getting to them during the right window is essential along with the right flies and fly lines. Reach out to me if you are feeling called to fly fish for this golden beauty in the Himalayas.