Fly Fishing in the Himalayas

Himalayan streams and rivers in India offer opportunities to target wild Brown Trout. Besides angling, the valleys along the Himalayan mountain range offer opportunities for observing rustic culture, wildlife and nature hikes.

From personal experience, our brown trout are best targeted with a 4wt 8’6 fly rod. Due to the high gradient of our trout rivers, we’ve had the most success using wet flies and streamers.

Obviously, when the fish are rising or feeding just below the surface, we use dry flies and nymph setups (with indicators). We use 8lb test as tippet.

During extreme summers, the snow melt kicks in, leading to high water levels so using a sink tip on our fly lines helps us present the fly to the fish’s level, besides making it easier to contend with surface currents.

Presentation and casting at the appropriate spot, depth and mending the line is a challenge on Himalayan streams but if you consider all these aspects, Himalayan trout will definitely reward you with a strike.

Mahseer Fly Fishing

Himalayan Golden Mahseer found in the spring-fed and glacial rivers and lakes all along the Lower Himalayan range in India.

Spring fed rivers run crystal clear for the most part of the year so you can spot a fish under many feet of water, which makes angling both challenging and gratifying.

Glacial rivers demand blind casting in prospective pocket water (pools and tails) since these rivers are fast and voluminous, but the Mahseer fight hard using the current to their advantage.

Himalayan lakes hold trophy fish and are productive in both size and numbers. There is little angling or commercial fishing pressure so the Mahseer are thriving.  Big fish from the lakes swim upstream to rivers pre- or post monsoons to spawn, following which you can experience consistent angling.

Best times to fish for Golden Mahseer are the post-spawning runs in April-May and October-November.

Mahseer fly fishing demands distance casting to prospective pools and pocket water. We recommend using a 7 wt 9’ single handed fly rod with an intermediate shooting head taper fly line. However, there are rivers and destinations where you can use a 6-7 wt double handed fly rod along with a Skagit line system. Mahseer’s diet includes algae, insects, crustaceans and other fish. A wide variety of nymphs and streamers work well. During afternoon, when the Mahseer are not chasing minnows, we often switch to tandem nymph rigs which triggers the fish to strike even at odd times. We use 12 to 15lb test tippet for Mahseer.

Although active stripping of nymphs and streamers draws the most strikes, you can very well use a dry fly on a floating line during pre-monsoon low water conditions. Besides this, dead drifting and swinging flies produces fish. Golden Mahseer being a finicky fish, fly fishing definitely offers an advantage.