Fishing in Mongolia
For today’s angler, Mongolia is a true paradise that offers a wonderful cultural and sporting experience, with a large number (more than 3000) of lakes (nuur) and rivers (gol), and few fishermen around – which means plenty of fish waiting to be caught.
Traditionally, Mongols prefers red meat, and consider fish as inferior meat, thus allowing fish to multiply as freely as they could for centuries. However Mongolia has a history of eating fish. Genghis Khan ate fish to survive when he was deprived by a rival people of all his family property and cattle.
The largest fish available in Mongolia is taimen,, an enormous salmonidae that are mainly piscivores, though they frequently hunt down marmots crossing rivers.
National Geographic called the taimen the “Mongolian Terror Trout”! That’s this Mongolian legend that tells of a giant taimen trapped in river ice. Starving herders were able to survive the winter by hacking off pieces of its flesh. In the spring the ice melted and the giant taimen climbed onto the land, tracked down the herders, and ate them all.
The taimen are on average 1- 1.5 meters long and sometimes reaching six feet and up to 50 kilograms! Catch-and-release with barb-less hooks is practiced in order to conserve dwindling populations of the taimen. Killing a taimen can indeed bring more problems than you will want to deal with! The superstitious Mongols believe that it will bring misery to 999 human souls!
Another highly valued fish is the Darkhat White fish , famed for its tender flesh with almost no bones. It is available only in the lakes of Darkhat Valley in far north of Huvsgul province and accounts for 85 percent of consumption. They can grow up to 60 cm, and up to 3 kilograms.
Lenok (a type of trout), grayling and pikes are also a good catch in Mongolia. Best places include:
- Khovsgol Nuur for grayling and lenok
- Terkhiin Tsagaan Nuur for pike
All foreign fisherman needs a fishing permit. Out-of-the-way rivers are usually not patrolled – but this does not mean that you don’t need a permit.
Permits are obtained from national park administration offices or from the Mongolian Ministry of Nature and Environment. If you are fishing without a permit, you will be fined and have your equipments confiscated!
The permit cost around USD50 a week, but to get a permit, you need a contract with the sum of where you are fishing and an approval by the aimag. Troublesome indeed! Best way is to get a reputable fishing tour operator to make arrangements for you.
Best Time to go Fishing
The harsh winter starts from October, and the lakes and rivers are frozen till mid May, rain and snow melt start filling them till September. thus, the best time of year for fishing in Mongolia is during September and October.