Angling , that is fishing with rod and line , is a legal , entertaining and relaxing sport. It is a philosophical activity requiring intelligence and skill and can at times test your agility and endurance. It will often take you among some of the best remaining environs on the planet, places of pristine beauty that can be refreshing to the body and mind.
It’s about getting close to the earth. Following a few primeval instincts. Tuning into life cycles.
The Himalayan Trout house offers guidance and facilities to anglers from India and abroad. Our knowledge of the river and the sport and our experience in the hospitality industry ensures that your angling experience will be satisfying and comfortable
There are four elements to being a successful angler. Follow the links below to learn more and see how you fit in.
The Trout House is situated in the tiny hamlet of Nagini on the banks of the Tirthan stream.
The Tirthan stream is a tributary of Beas with its source in the Tirthan Glacier. The Tirthan glacier is within the limits of the Great Himalayan National Park , a vast reserve of Himalayan flora and fauna. The Park and the glacier are also the source of the Sainj stream that joins the Tirthan briefly at Larji before tumbling into the Beas.
The stream itself is fast flowing and icy cold. Judging from the daily shift in temperature and the rise and fall of the river it is estimated that the water flowing past the Trout House is about 4-5 river hours from the Glacier. However a trek to the Glacier within the park , I am told , could take upto 4 days of good walking. You would necessarily have to carry all your living arrangements as the last hut is at Shilt, barely a days walk from the roadhead at Goshaini. You would also have to gain permission from Park Authorities.
Though the river is full of wild brown trout , the Tirthan is one of the last of the Himalayan streams in Himachal to still be so. Not long ago brown trout were teeming all over but over the years the angling has given way to hydel projects which bring in their wake , avalanches and mudslides accompanied by a total destruction of the local environment and culture. The valleys of the Parvati and Sainj stand as ugly examples of this ongoing devastation.
Your daily fishing license will allow you access to about 45 kilometres along the Tirthan from Larji to Ropa and upto Tila along the Palachan , a tributary also from the Tirthan glacier that joins the Tirthan at Goshaini. Though the riverbank is consistently rocky it is possible to get down to the stream at most points along this route. However as you go higher upstream away from the road , steep , overgrown hillsides can make access difficult and the catch correspondingly larger. Remember the best fish are in the pools least frequented by humans but I must admit there are large trout living in the deeper pools all along the river. I have seen many caught and know that there are lots more.
To ensure your safety and for a satisfying angling experience it is highly recommended that you avail of the services of the trained river and fishing guides at the Trout House.
There are two kinds of trout in the waters of the Tirthan.
The Brown Trout is a native of European waters and were introduced to Himalayan streams first in Kashmir in the 1860’s and later from there to the Beas in the 1920’s.The legend that they followed everywhere the British army and empire went, its officers insisting on fishing it for sport can’t be far off the mark as they are found almost everywhere, from North to South America to Japan to Korea to New Zealand to the Himalayas, where we are.
Their presence in these rivers over the last hundred years or so has enabled them to evolve according to the environment and hence the term `Himalayan Trout’. This and the nature of the river compares with some of the most exciting trout angling to be had anywhere.
There is a lot of talk about how smart a brown trout is. The truth is these fish have a brain smaller than a pea, like any other trout. They've been hunted with hook and line longer than most other freshwater fish, and the instincts they've developed may make them harder to catch (sometimes) than other trout, but "smart." may be a bit of an exaggeration. Don't let them become aware of your presence, match what they are eating, when they are eating, and you'll discover the mythical "wary old brown trout" can be caught. By you!
Brown trout--especially big brown trout--also have a reputation for being nocturnal and piscavorous. They fight well, but don't jump as frequently or as vigorously as a Rainbow. With Browns, it's often a bull-dog run toward the bottom, where he will try to fall into the next pool or lead your line into a hole to be snagged on a piece of wood. If you hold him and get him to the side the game almost always ends with a close range punchout.
A typical brown trout has a brown or yellow-brown body, with black spots on the back, sides, dorsal fin and tail, especially the upper portion. There are also some red or bright orange spots scattered down the sides of most brown trout, sometimes with light blue halos. The tail is square-ended on most mature fish. And don't stick you fingers or thumb in the mouth of a brown trout. They've got teeth down there and could very well take the digit off.
Brown trout are closely related to the Atlantic Salmon (Salmo salar), and share many of the same river systems in Northern Europe. Like the salmon, brown trout sometimes swim out to sea and return to the rivers as sea trout. Sea trout can be found in many European waters, but the most famous place in the world to catch large sea- run brown trout is undoubtably Tierra del Fuego's Rio Grande River (Argentina), where fish weighing 10-25 pounds are common.
All in all the Brown trout is a very fine game fish and makes excellent eating. The Trout House kitchen is geared with a range of recipes to make your meal a culinary delight.
Gentlemen fish with flies , Hunters with spinners and Murderers with worms’
Live bait fishing is neither recommended or encouraged by the Trout House , the reason being that there are few fishermen that are fast enough to hook a fish by the mouth as the trout are quick to swallow the bait complete and so are very often hooked from deep inside the gut, severely damaging the fish and in most cases making release an impossibility. With fishermen using bait for trout releasing doesn’t seem to be on their mind anyway. However for those that need to know the trout will take an earthworm, a minnow, a grasshopper (the black variety as opposed to the fluorescent green types) and various nymphs and other insects that can be found under the rocks by the river.
Spinners are a little more sporting in the sense that the trout rarely gulp them all the way down and the angler also stands to lose as they are liable to get snagged on the rocks or a log in the river. We have had a visiting angler with a score of 12 – 0 , that is twelve spinners lost and no fish!! It has been my experience that there are more spinners lost than fish caught. And with spinners the catching game is extended. Local youngsters set up spinner traps and will watch anxiously to see whether they got you or not as you pass on the river below their village. So in effect spinners fuel the poachers economy. The river guides at the Trout House largely manage to retrieve most spinners and can be a big help in lessening the pain.
While it is true that trout are piscivarous and eat little fish, that is not their usual diet. Sometimes they will take a spinner out of curiosity thinking they could spit it out if they didn’t like it. I’ve seen Rainbows at the fishery do this with flower petals and one of our river guides once caught a trout with chewing gum on a hook. On other occasions Himalayan Browns being territorial, a spinner might just actually cheese them off and they jump it aggressively. The treble hooks on spinners can be quite deadly and not only for the fish. It makes good sense and release easier if you flatten the barbs on the treble.
I would recommend a light 8 foot rod and reel combo with a 10-12 lb monofilament line. Longer rods tend to send spinners into the bushes often on the other side of the river. Spinners No. 0 , 1 & 2 from most of the brand names should be fine though my personal favorite is the no.1 silver Mepps aglia . I am personally not fond of streamers on the spinners and also like a clean line, so no swivels for me. But you may do as you see fit.
Fly angling for Trout is the champagne of the sport. It brings you closer to the earth and your environment than any other form of fishing. It introduces a whole new player into the game – the aquatic fauna of the river.
The aquatic insects are the main diet of the Trout. They spawn during season by millions in the river and the trout will feed on them at all stages of their development, from the nymph all the way through to the spent fly. And thinking as a pea brained trout it shouldn’t be hard to imagine that a certain nymph or emerger might be a delicacy to be sought after in this or that season. Knowing this and matching it is all it takes.
Fly fishing is 75% observation. A fly angler could target the fish he wants to catch as he watches it feed. To watch a large brown feed would necessitate a stealthy approach to the pool and maybe a fifteen minute squat hidden among the rocks and bushes , observing the insects in and around the river, gradually being able to tell the signs of them emerging from the river and the feeding action of the trout from the ripples they make on the surface of the water.
Fly angling is more than just about catching fish. Many a fly angler has been lost to the magic and lure of the cast, repeating the motions whether the fish is taking the fly or not. It is more a game of skill and artistry than strength or stamina. The setting up of the leader, the tying of the fly, the nature of the line and the rod all require a degree of expertise and training, the first few steps of which could lead to a lifelong obsession and philosophy.
The Tirthan is a fast flowing glacial stream. The ideal equipment would be a 10' rod with synthetic line DT n°4 or 5 though those who come with a 8’ to 10' rod n°3 to 6 will enjoy fishing the place.
Taking into account the fast flow of the river wet flies and nymphs are easier to control. Weighted nymph imitations of the mayfly, caddiss, stonefly, dragonfly and other midges tied on number 10-14 size hooks work well. Two favourite patterns that work consistently are are the pheasant tail nymphs and the gold beaded hare's ear, but largely chunky weighted flies that are similar will also be effective. There are, however, a few deep still pools where a dry fly might be used to great satisfaction especially during a hatch.
The Trout House is well geared for the fly angler and our in house equipment includes a collection of rods and lines , some flies that work and others that don’t, a complete fly tying workshop with a variety of vices and bobbins and what nots, books and cds on entomology and aquatic fauna and loads of stories and experiences.
To check out some of my favorite sights jam onto
Fly Fishing - The Online Magazine for Fly Fishing Enthusiasts.
Anglers are a breed apart and recognize each other. The Himalayan Trout House is home to anglers worldwide.
the Tirthan is approachable and fishable by anglers of all ages and physical
ability, below are some qualities that might help you get that extra edge
on the trout.
Stealth and Balance: To leap from rock to rock along the river to reach the best vantage points for casting into a pool. Without losing your rod and tackle!
Endurance, Patience , Perception , Perspective : To back up the above
You’ve got your stories and we’ve got ours. So lets get together for an exciting trout experience.
is always learning. With angling even more so. One always needs to know
Specialized courses in spinner and fly fishing are held for teenage anglers in April, May and September. . Student Anglers will learn about the nature of the glacial river , the trout and the insect fauna and use of the specialized equipment required. They will also undergo courses in fly tying , camping and outdoor survival.
The Trout house offers different options of accommodation. There are large family suites, spacious mud hut suites and light brick walled Eco Cabins... More