India with its dozens of rivers and thousands of streams, offers vast opportunities for fishing and angling. With an estimated 50,000 km of waters- Rivers, streams, and lakes included- and an additional 3,000 km of coastline the country defiantly has a lot of scope for fishing and angling. Major rivers like the Ganga and its tributaries, the Yamuna, the Brahmaputra, the Mahanadi, the Krishna and the Kaveri are home to a wide spectrum of fish, including mahseer, rohu, katli, and trout. The coastal waters caressing the shorelines of India harbor marine fish like – mackerel, marlin and sea bass.
In India, most major cities lie along the rivers, as a result finding a fishing zone is generally not a problem. In addition to this, most states have well-organized Departments of Fisheries, where special breeding areas assure that there’s always a gene pool of local and exotic fish. Fishing licenses are mandatory for all anglers. Fishing licenses are mostly not issued during the monsoon as it coincides with the breeding period of most fish species. Also anglers are restricted to catch a specific number of fish in a day.
The vast expanses from the foothills of the Himalayas to the northeastern slopes in Assam offer an abundance of fishing grounds that are rich in various species of aquatic life forms. Some must-visits include:
The Ganges River, the holiest river of India, offers exciting and exclusive locations for fishing. The Mahaseer is the most sought after catch in the area. The Beas ghat situated on the foothills of the Himalayas provides the ideal habitat for the Mahaseer. An average Mahaseer weighs up to 60 lbs. Nayar a rivulet of the Ganges is also one of the ideal spots for fishing.
Located 5 hours from Shillong, Rankior is a small town on the border of India and Bangladesh. It is one of the last wild fishing spots left in the state of Meghalaya. The place is famous amongst the anglers for fish species like the Golden Mahaseer and Goonch. The most ideal spot for fishing in Ranikor is on the river Kynshi. Ranikor is an isolated place and very few people have tried their luck at angling here. A regular catch of Golden Mahseer can be around 20-30 lbs. One can also see tribal anglers using modern as well as traditional means of fishing. There is also a very active tribal conservation program, which was started by some local tribal boys, due to which there’s a very healthy growth in the fish population.
Located on the Mahakali River, Pancheshwar is situated quite close to the India-Nepal border. Pancheshwar is a point where Kali & Saryu converge. The river due to its remote location is one of the best angling spots in the country. Kali is a snow fed river originating from Glaciers in Higher Himalayas of India & Nepal. There are various tributaries joining this river which also great sporting value. Very few anglers have ventured out into the Mahakali. The best catch if Mahaseer in the Mahakali weighs up to 75 lbs. The water at this beat is crystal clear providing you a unforgettable fishing experience.
Home to Redfin and Yellowfin Mahseers, the Yamuna also yields rare Indian Trout, Mulley and Goonch catfish. The likely spots for fishing here are the famous Tajuwala canal works and Hathnikund. The Giri River also has some great fishing routes. The Giri is a famous for the springfed mahseer. The Tonse and Pabbar rivers are chock full of brown trout in the upper reaches and are of the nature of large freestone rivers with fast, deep pools with big, tough fish.
Ramganga River flows through Corbett National park & is the lifeline of the area. The legendry river offers a great opportunity for Golden Mahseer & Gounch. The largest trophy in this part of river is 70lbs. The best way of fishing spinning & therefore selection of equipment is very important. Once hooked than only one will get the real sense why this fish is called as – The water Tiger.
Located in Upper Assam, Nameri national park is nestled in foothills of Himalayas. The river Jia Bhoroli creats the border on Nameri National park, which is Unesco listed World heritage site & Project tiger listed National park. Jia Bhoroli is a famous angling destination since the British time. It’s a lovely wild destination for Golden Mahseer. The river is snow fed which enters Nameri through southern Periphery of the park. The river enters the plains of Assam near Bhalukpung which located at border of Arunachal pradesh. The other sporting species of fish found in Bhoroli are Saal, Gorua Korang and Boka This destination holds an annual Angling competition. The biggest catch of Golden mahseer recorded was in 1997 which scaled 52lbs. AS the river is located around National park therefore fishing are regulated where all the catch have to reported & released.
Compiled by Vignesh Iyer.