The Mahseer fish is a famous game fish (equally delicious as a food fish). It is associated with the genus Tor.
A member of the carp family, the golden mahseer, or Tor Putitora, (a particular variety of mahseer found in the Himalayan rivers) can potentially reach 9 feet in length and weigh upwards of 50 kilos. However, large sizes are rare these days due to over fishing, habitat loss and other problems. It is known as the tiger or lion among fishes because it swims upstream to the higher reaches of the river to breed. In fact, it was known as the Indian salmon during the British colonial times.
Mahseer ranges from South East Asia (Malaysia, Indonesia), the Indian sub continent and even upto Persia.
Mahseer is a strong, fighting sporting fish. A legend among the anglers. It is not called the tiger among the fishes for nothing.
One look at its torpedo shaped body, with strong fins – and it is clear where the power comes from. The strong fins propel the fish from a standing start to extreme speed in split second. It can break the fishing lines and leave the tackle in pieces. Special skills are needed to reel in the Mahseer.
Mahseer is an omnivorous fish. Lures, baits and fly fishing can all be applied to catching this fish. Historically, lure fishing has been the most successful – with even copper spoons (during the times of Jim Corbett) used to tempt the fish.
This fish loves to eat smaller baitfish and fresh water crabs. These are the usual choices of Mahseer baits. Dough balls (with insect eggs and larvae) are also exotic baits for this fish.
Some people prefer fly fishing for Mahseer in the swiftly flowing clear mountain streams. Small insects provide a large part of the young Mahseer’s food source. They keep this taste for insects throughout their life.
Mahseer in the Wild
Significant population of the Mahseer fish can be found in these places:
In the Indian Himalayas (the Himalayan or the Golden Mahseer)
Ramganga River, Corbett National Park
Pancheshwar, Mahakali River, Uttarakhand
Kosi River, Uttarakhand
Pabbar Valley Region, Himachal Pradesh
Other places in India
Jia Bhoroli River, Assam
Cauvery River, Karnataka (“Humpbacked Mahseer”)
Krishna and Godavari river systems (“Deccan Mahseer”)
Poonch river, Pakistan Kashmir
Northern Thailand and Myanmar (“Jungle Mahseer”)
Chao Phraya and the Mekong river systems in Thailand and Vietam (“Thailand Mahseer”)
In Borneo, Indonesia
Tigris and Euphrates rivers
A cousin of the Golden Mahseer, it is the giant “Tigris Salmon”)
Other mahseer occupy the rivers of eastern Iran, Afghanistan, the mountain rivers of Myanmar, Laos, and China, including the great rivers that drain the Gandise Shan and Ningjung Shan areas of Tibet.
Fishing for Mahseer in the Himalayas
The Uttarakhand region in the Indian Himayan region is famous for Mahseer fishing.
The Ramganga, Saryu and the many tributaries of the Ganges river are famous for Himalayan Mahseer fishing. There are two main angling seasons: Autumn and Spring. Autumn is particularly nice with clear weather and crisp mornings.