Report from Charlie Conn on the Ramganga & Saryu Rivers, India

Fly Fishing Portraits - Charlie Conn with Mahseer, India 2012I’m not a big “bucket list” guy, but last month I had the pleasure of catching a fish that was on my short list of must-catch freshwater fish.  The Mahseer, found throughout Southeast Asia, Malaysia, Indonesia the Indian Peninsula and into Pakistan, is one of the most interesting fish I have ever pursued.  Technically, the Mahseer is a carp and it may seem crazy to go half way around the world to chase a carp, but I found it the most fascinating fishing trip of my life.

Before we were able to wet a line in India, we spent four days touring this amazing country.  With 1.2 billion people occupying India, it was a site to behold.  Watching the way that people interact in the densely populated cities was mind blowing, but equaled by the incredible food and the historical architecture.  I have never been so impressed with a man made monument as I was with the Taj Mahal.

The fishing surpassed my expectations.  We were lucky enough to fish in two very different settings.  The first was the Ramganga River located in the Jim Corbett Tiger Preserve.   It was a smaller river with fair gradient but did have some slow pools where we were able to sight fish the cruising Mahseer.  Although the fishing was tough, the solitude, wildlife and incredible scenery made it a wonderful place to fish.  The second fishery was the Saryu River which boarders neighboring Nepal.  We floated this river and fished it for six days.  The Saryu did not offer the sight fishing that the Jim Corbett Tiger Preserve did but it was a far more productive fishery.  Since the Saryu is not in a Preserve it meanders through villages, terraced fields, Temples, and Ghats.

Getting the Mahseer profile shot we wanted was not easy.  I was dealing with a new camera and not a lot of fish.  In addition, the biggest fish of the trip was caught when I was a few miles upriver.  However, we have some great pictures to share and we hope you enjoy them.

By the way special thanks to Tim Phillips, Greg Strimple, Misty Dillon, and the Himalayan Outback; they are great travel companions, anglers and buddies.

Charlie Conn
The Taimen Fund

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