Mahseer in India – letter from the guru Misty Dhillon on flyfishing for mahseer.

Below is an update from an old friend about his mahseer fishing exploits and how his success has evolved. The Saryu is the most wonderful river and this is truly a superb trip for fishers and non-fishers alike.

If you fancy coming, we could form a team of four and go! Let me know on

Credit to Jim Klug for photos.


Dear Tarquin,

It was great talking to you the other day.

Mahseer-15Its been a while since I filled you in with the latest on our Himalayan angling adventures. Over the years our Mahseer trips have undergone quite a makeover.

Mahseer-18 My obsession with catching mahseer on flies finally seems to be paying off with good consistency, better sizes for our clients and a growing interest in fly fishing for mahseer. Season wise; we fish a small window, about 45 days in the spring and around a month in the autumn. March – April 15th and October. Some of the best time of the year to visit India, a good time to fish and overall comfortable weather.

Over the years we’ve grown through fly patters and come to design better ones. From sculpins to crease flies – deceivers and lately tubes; fishing them much like you would do for the Atlantic salmon.

We fish them using shorter belly fly lines (Skagit & Scandanavian style) with RIO’s new MOW tips, mostly T14. Fishing with single-handed rods is also equally effective. Shooting lines that feature a fast – 300 grain sinking tip are also the way to go if you wish to fish single-handed rods.

Mahseer-7On the river; we mostly fish the faster water (tail-ins & tail-outs) and the pools during twilight and dusk.

Feeding Mahseer behave much like aggressive saltwater fish – talking fish on the surface, pushing them up against banks, finding crustaceans in the shallows and ambushing bait fish in the rapids.

In an average week with 4-5 rods, we would expect 50 mahseer.

Mahseer-14A 12-day trip is guaranteed to provide window into the rich cultures and dramatic landscape of the Himalayan outback on the borders of India & Nepal.

Starting from New Delhi, the tour offers a bit of sightseeing, experiencing Delhi’s history. An early morning 1st class train the following day gets you to Kathgodam, the Himalayan foothills. From here you are driven to a comfortable lodge 2-hours from the station to break the journey, have a good night’s rest and possibly view some of the world tallest mountain ranges.

I personally guide all our trips, along with our guides. On the river, each angler has a guide, who is trained in fly fishing.

This past season, we’ve had some record breaking achievements.

First, a trip with the most number of mahseer our clients have caught on flies. A total of 6 rods had 94 mahseer in 6 days fishing.

Mahseer-4Then young Bobby, a Himalayan Outback guide who has been in training since the past 5 years went on to land a 40 lber on the fly. We have taken more larger fish, more consistently, this past season, than ever before.

Mahseer-13The trip is done float-trip style; drifting 20 miles, covering some lovely fly water that is fished from both sides of the river. The camp contingent follows with a an elaborate, campaign style safari camp. Close to 15 staff look after the anglers and shift camp to compliment the fishing.

Mahseer-12The river you fish is the Saryu which you know well. It flows into the mighty Mahakali river, just a mile from the final camp. The Mahakai divides the borders of India & Nepal. These rivers flow through the magical setting of sub-Himalayan mixed forests and terraced villages that live an almost self sustained lifestyle.

Mahseer-20I would highly recommend extending this journey by a few days to visit the Jim Corbett Tiger Reserve. It is the only tiger reserve in the country that allows for overnight stays in historic bunglaows within the tiger reserve.

Tarquin, I look forward to hosting you on this amazing angling adventure. The full itinerary is below.

Tight lines,




DAY ONE (1): Arrive at New Delhi Airport. You will be met and transferred to The Oberoi, New Delhi. Settle into your luxury room.

In the afternoon your hosts will organize a short sightseeing tour of Delhi.

Mahseer-1DAY TWO (2): After an early breakfast, proceed to the Anand Vihar Train Terminal to board your train to Kathgodam at 0600hrs.

You will arrive in Kathgodam at 1130hrs and transferred the hotel Te Aroha, Dhanachulli (3 hours) drive.  Enjoy a relaxing evening after a refreshing hot shower and a traditional Indian dinner with your hosts overlooking panoramic views of the Himalayas.


DAY THREE (3): After breakfast begin your Himalayan drive to the starting point of the float trip, Ghat (5 hours driving).

Float to your first private river camp, settle in and begin fishing.

Spend the night in this remote setting, and feel pampered by The Himalayan Outback’s signature style of service.


The Himalayan Mahseer has driven countless anglers to obsession. Bustling with abundant populations of the mystical mahseer, the migratory path found on the Saryu River, in the Himalayan foothills bordering Nepal, promises opportunities for trophy Himalayan mahseer.

Spend the next 6 days exploring and fishing some for these legendary fish. Your guides will have you fish a number of beautiful & productive stretches of the Saryu River.

Mahseer-10End each day in the comfort of your ideally placed private camp, refreshing hot showers and delicious meals prepared by a team of camp chefs.

Mahseer-9This trip is hosted by Misty Dhillon. Misty, will be sharing with you some of the most effective fly-fishing techniques for the Himalayan Mahseer.  while guiding you on some of his favorite stretches of the Saryu River.

Mahseer-16DAY TEN (10): After a morning fishing session begin your drive to the ideally located Himalayan lodge, Te Aroha.

Spend a relaxing evening enjoying the company of your hosts around a delicious meal.

DAY ELEVEN (11): Depart from Te Aroha after an early lunch.

Your train that departs from Kathgodam at 1545hrs will get you to Delhi at 2130hrs.

You will be transferred to The Oberoi, New Delhi

DAY TWELVE (12): You will be driven back to the airport in the course of the day. Check-out from the Oberoi is at 1100hrs.

PRICE: US$ 3,800 (per angler)(sharing)
Single Supplement: US$ 1,700


INCLUDES: Meet & greet at New Delhi international Airport, 2 nights in the Oberoi, New Delhi (Luxury rooms) (double occupancy) (B&B plan), 2 nights in Te Aroha, Dhanachulli (double occupancy) & 7 nights in private river camps on the Saryu River (double occupancy), meals from breakfast on day 2 to dinner on day 11, beverages including mineral water, transport throughout the trip by train (1st Class) & by vehicles, guided fishing, permits, tackle if needed, some flies and taxes.

Not Included:
International air-fare, meals in the Oberoi Hotel except breakfast, gratuities, alcoholic beverages, items of personal nature, flies or lures, meals and/or accommodation in Delhi upon arrival or departure, additional accommodation / transfers / sightseeing that is not part of the itinerary and other expenses incurred due to flight delays / natural hazards / other hazards beyond our control.

Fly into New Delhi where you will be met by a representative.

Fly-fishing for the Golden Himalayan mahseer, visit an old temple (optional), short hikes through remote villages, and plenty of photography.

Accompanying non-anglers: An itinerary will be customized for accompanying non anglers, based upon his/her interests, and physical fitness.

Non anglers have choices ranging from bird watching to village walks along with our seasoned trekking guides who are on each tour. Village walks feature off-the-beaten-track hiking, views of the greater Himalayan ranges and experiencing life in India’s remote Himalayan outback. A visit to the ancient temple of Pancheshwar at the confluence of the two rivers is also a highlight of this tour. Apart from these activities, the river journey down this tranquil section of the Saryu River is truly inspiring.

Travel Insurance:
In order to protect you incase of having to cancel, postpone or reschedule your trip; we highly recommend that you purchase travel / trip insurance. Due to the nature of our business all deposits and final payments for a tour are non-refundable.

Food Preferences:
We will be happy to accommodate any dietary requests that you may have. We welcome any inputs regarding dietary restrictions, your likes and dislikes prior to your arrival.

Environment Policy:
Our policy is based on a high regard for the environment, and we request our guests to adhere to environmental guidelines to help keep the fragile habitat clean and un-spoilt. We wish to keep the environment and resources sustainable to benefit the locals, future generations and us. All of the fishing is catch-and-release.

We support local employment; hence most of our staff comes from the Himalayan regions we operate in.

Medical Conditions:
When booking a tour we request you to intimate us about any medical conditions that you may have suffered from in the past, like asthma, high blood-pressure, heart condition, allergies, or any other medical conditions you would like your guides to know about before you indulge in any outdoor activities.

We highly recommend that you travel with a comprehensive medical insurance.

The government of India prohibits the use of satellite phones, short-range & long-range radio / walkie-talkie / hand-held communication devices within India.

Please be intimated that for safety reasons we do not allow any firearms in our operational premises. This company policy / restriction are also applicable on arms like air-rifles / pistols, stun guns, large knives as well as any kind of fire crackers.

Comments 7

  1. Mohammad tariq


    My name is Mohammad Tariq, I want to buy spinning rod for Mahseer fish, u have good experience in Mahseer angling, can u tell me that what action and power and length of rod good for Mahseer, I m not a beginner..
    Surroundings : Small and medium River with slow and fair streams.
    Waiting for ur reply..


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  2. Gagan

    Hi, excellent article thoroughly enjoyed it. Mahseer fishing is not only about the fish but also the incredible backdrop of the Himalayas.

  3. Bill Drew


    We met in the Scottish Borders last year

    I am interested in a trip next spring but as a fishing guide myself funds are tight

    What could you offer?

    Also I have seen some other sites on Mahseer and everyone is spinning
    I only really fly fish
    is that worthwhile
    Very best regards


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