Mahseer fishing summary
Himalayan mahseer are found in rivers with limited human contact, although specimens weighing up to 100 lbs can be seen where the fish enjoys protected status in the vicinity of Himalayan temples in Rishikesh. During the monsoon season from July onwards, golden mahseer make their way upstream through roaring rapids to breed in spawning rivers, before dropping back to the deeper holding pools of the main Ganges River when the monsoon ends in late summer, early autumn. Post spawning season, the rivers are teeming with life and September to November is an ideal time to target these huge predators before the onset of winter. From December to February the fish lie in deeper warmer waters and do not often show on the surface, but as the temperatures warm up towards the end of February activity increases according to the weather, with larger fish appearing if conditions are warm enough for snow fed waters to reach the main river between March and May, with the very hot months of June and July often proving to be good taking time.
Mahseer can be caught either by lures or with the fly. The largest fish tend to attack lures fished deep with specialist spinning tackle, smaller specimens inhabiting fast flowing rapids falling victim to a flashy streamer flies. Techniques include rafting downstream through grade 3 – 5 rapids, and also fishing from both banks of the river on foot, taking care not to spook this shy and reclusive predator. Mahseer fight like tigers when hooked, often using the rocks, rapids and strong currents of fast flowing mountain rivers to their advantage. Broken rods and straightened hooks are a regular feature of mahseer fishing, which is why our guides and staff carry plenty of spare equipment on these trips. Mahseer in the Himalayan rivers run up to 70lbs, and are considered to be amongst the top five fighting fish in the world.
Wild and Exotic Mahseer fishing sample itinerary
Please note this itinerary is a sample only, and can be modified to suit your requirements. During Wild and Exotic’s week long fishing expeditions guests enjoy a cooked breakfast each morning before heading off to explore the river’s numerous swims, pools and rapids that offer the chance to fish with either fly or lure depending on your preference. The smaller mahseer of between 5 – 10lbs are best targeted by fly, the larger fish that inhabit deeper pools and broader river sections fall to lures fished from bait rods. We offer fishing in different river sections and terrains providing opportunities to anglers to use different skills and techniques. After each morning’s fishing guests return to a beautifully appointed campsite to enjoy a refreshing swim and cold beer followed by lunch and a siesta.
Afternoons are devoted to fishing within walking distance of campsite once temperatures have begun to cool. Nights are spend at campsites located on pristine sandy beaches far from civilisation, usually overlooking a pool that is also suitable for swimming and bathing. Guests are accommodated in dome tents equipped with mattresses and sleeping bags, and are attended by a well-trained and efficient staff. Each campsite is also equipped with a mess tent, providing welcome shade beneath which delicious dishes cooked over an open fire by are served, washed down with alcoholic refreshments.
Day 1: On arrival in Delhi guests will be met and transferred to the Claridges hotel for an overnight stay. The following morning we will depart early in four wheel drive vehicles, reaching the foothills of the Himalayas around noon. Once in the foothills the drive is steep crossing the Elephant corridor between 2 national Game parks, reaching an altitude of over 6,500 feet, before descending to the Nayar River valley at 1500 feet. Our camp is located amidst a forest on the Nayar River which is ideal for fly-fishing for 5-10 lbs mahseer and the evening is spent trying out various swims and pools around the campsite. Overnight Nayar River Camp.
Day 2: We start early before sun-up walking to various sections of the river tracking and casting for fish returning to camp as the sun becomes hot to chilled beers and cool off in the river. Afternoons are spent walking to other sections of the river to try out other swims and pool. We cover almost 5 kms of the river today. Overnight Nayar River Camp.
Day 3: This morning we will drive 7 kms to the confluence in time for morning fishing at the most famous spot for Himalayan Mahseer. Our campsite has a breathtaking view of the Ganges River and we sleep with the roar of the river tonight. We also visit the small village of Bagi, home to our guides and celebrated in many books written about Mahseer fishing. Evening spent over campfire. Overnight Nayar-Ganges Confluence, Bagi village
Day 4:Today we raft down to our river camp crossing few grade 2-3 rapids to our campsite located in the wilderness with quiet pools and swims with big mahseer splashing around. This is the secret place in the Ganges to strike big fish. Overnight Ganges River Camp 1
Day 5: Full day spent casting for the elusive big fish and relaxing in the camp beach and swimming in the river. There are long walks and river crossings on smaller rafts to reach various spots on the rivers giving opportunity to all the anglers. Evening spent around the campfire with fishing stories of the day. Overnight Ganges River Camp 1
Day 6: A final day at this magical campsite. We will appreciate this extra day for another chance at the mighty mahseer that make their home in these waters, and the serenity of the location. Overnight Ganges River Camp 1
Day 7: This morning we raft downstream, prospecting for massive mahseer en route to our last campsite, located on a picturesque white sand Ganges beach set amidst hills both sides with forests. Quiet swims and pools provide good fishing spots. Ganges River Camp 2
Day 8: This morning there will be an opportunity for a final cast or two whilst the camp staff pack up and load our rafts. We raft down to the road head where our vehicles await us for our drive back to Delhi via Rishikesh. We reach Delhi late evening and transfer to the Radisson Hotel.
Day 9: Guests will be collected from their hotel early this morning, in time to check in for their flight home. Alternatively Wild and Exotic can extend your stay in India to visit other regions within this fascinating country.
The price for this itinerary is available on application and is inclusive of all transfers as per the itinerary, together with all activities described, full board and lodging, and based on two people sharing, except at Delhi Hotels where the rate is bed and breakfast only. Sleeping bags, mattresses and camp equipment are included for those nights spent under canvas, as is all fishing tackle other than fly-fishing equipment. The price does not include items of a personal nature, gratuities, and visa fees.
Please note that it is the responsibility of each guest to ensure they obtain the correct visa prior to travel. Wild and Exotic will assist with visa applications if instructed but cannot be held responsible for a client’s failure to obtain a visa for whatever reason
Neither Wild and Exotic nor the operators or suppliers can accept any responsibility for changes to itineraries or dates that may arise due to weather or unforeseen circumstances such as changes, disruptions or delays to airline flights for whatever reason. This holiday is subject to Wild and Exotic’s terms and conditions, a copy of which is available on this website under the general info tab.
India general information and map
Capital: New Delhi
Getting there: There are regular direct flights from London to Delhi and Bombay with several major airlines including Air India, British Airways and Virgin. Flying time from London to Delhi takes 8 hours and 45 minutes, and from London to Bombay takes 9 hours and 15 minutes.
Time: GMT plus 5 hours and 30 minutes.
Try not to miss: The culture and history of Rajasthan, whose extravagant forts, palaces and temples are famous throughout the world, and a legacy from the aristocratic Maharajas that once ruled this semi desert landscape. Unmissable sights in Rajasthan include the Taj Mahal, the Amber Fort and the 14th century Jain Temples at Ranakpur situated in a peaceful valley through the Aravali hills. If possible time your visit to coincide with either the Pushkar Fair in autumn or the equally absorbing Nagaur Fair in February, where thousands gather to witness colourful stockmen plying their trade, accompanied by cattle, camels and horses. Rajasthan is especially well served by the quality and variety of accommodation available to the visitor, ranging from the most extravagant palaces and forts to historic family houses.
The great forests of central India that are home to the last of the sub continent’s once flourishing populations of wild elephant, tiger and rhinoceros. Three of the best places in which to glimpse a sight of the iconic wild tiger are in Bandavgarh and Kanha National Parks or at Ranthambore tiger reserve, where we work with lodges offering high standards of comfort and service, and with guides who have a proven track record of providing their clients with regular tiger sightings. The Himalayan foothills in the north are also spectacularly beautiful, divided by deep forested valleys whose fast flowing rivers are home to mighty mahseer fish.
Kerala lies between the Deccan Plateau in the south west and the azure Indian Ocean. The pace of life throughout this rural region of palm trees, lagoons, lakes, rivers and canals is noticeably slower and more laid back than other parts of India, making it the perfect antidote to the dust and bustle of Rajasthan. Further north, the beaches of tropical Goa have retained the charm and ambience that made this region so attractive those seeking an alternative lifestyle in the sixties.
Visas: UK passport holders require visas for India, which must be obtained prior to travel.
Why India: For the colour and culture of Rajasthan, the chance to see a tiger in the wild in either Bandavgarh or Kanha National Parks, and the west coast’s sleepy Indian Ocean.
“I had a fantastic time, I would not have missed it for the world and was over the moon with my two fish of 25lb and 30lb!”