September is the time India's big-game anglers pack their 10-weight rods and waders, and head to the Himalayas for a tryst with the golden mahseer, one of the fiercest freshwater fish in the world. Swollen by the monsoon, rivers gush down the rocky Himalayas — from the Ramganga in the western Himalayas to the Teesta in the east — and teem with the prized game. Living in fast-flowing currents, the mahseer is a ferocious giant — built to ascend the roaring rapids at spawning time — and gives sportfishermen a tough fight. Encounters with 40-pounders (18 kg) are commonplace and stories abound of injured casting arms and painful sinews.
Although Himalayan fishing licenses are easy to come by and cost only a few dollars, the roads are not always great — something that deters all except the most ardent, who are likely to find themselves alone amid the pine forests and scenic rapids. Fishing can go on past sundown, as the mahseer is known to take at night.
The best time to go is mid-September to November, and then from February to early May. You can engage an angling tour service — easy enough to find on the Internet — to take you to where the best catches are, as well as provide equipment. Or you can just toss tackle and a tent into a hired 4x4 and head to the Ramganga River, near Jim Corbett National Park in Uttarakhand, where a 15-mile (24 km) stretch is maintained exclusively for sportfishing
6 months ago