Bhutan’s Department of Tourism is now establishing itself as a premier destination for anglers seeking the rare and exquisite golden mahseer. Bhutan’s Department of Tourism has been working with the Department of Forests and Parks Services in developing this unique recreational fishing opportunity, offered exclusively on a catch-and-release basis along specific river stretches within the nation’s pristine landscapes. The golden mahseer, known for its beautiful golden scales, has attracted anglers from across the globe to the pristine rivers and enchanting landscapes of Bhutan.
Bhutan is endowed with rich natural water bodies that are home to over 115 fish species, which includes the two most sought-after species, the golden mahseer (Tor putitora) and the common chocolate or the copper mahseer (Neolissochilus hexagonolepis). Even though these fish are highly sought-after by recreational anglers, past regulations restricted the recreational fishing of mahseer in Bhutan due to insufficient scientific data about the species. However, with the recent relaxation of rules by the Department of Forests and Park Services after thorough studies, Bhutan is now in a position to promote careful recreational angling of this beautiful species. As a result of these findings, Bhutan’s river system has now been delineated into mahseer waters and trout waters, which makes it effective in monitoring and permitting a seamless recreational fishing experience.
The golden mahseer is an endangered fish species that plays a critical role in maintaining river ecology. The fish is also one of the eight auspicious symbols in Buddhism, which represents good luck. Among anglers, the golden mahseer is one of the world’s most prized catches. Up to 2.9 metres (nine feet) long and golden-hued with big scales, the golden mahseer has a reputation as one of the world’s hardest fighting fish.
Visitors can enjoy mahseer fishing in some of the delineated recreational fishing sites on mahseer water including Manas River, Drangme Chhu, Mangde Chhu, Punatshangchu, Wangchhu, Amochhu, lower and upper Nyera Amachhu, and Jomochhu. The stretches identified are the main rivers through which mahseer migrate for spawning and overwintering, and often the river stretches pass through undisturbed pristine landscapes which offer anglers the utmost peace and concentration while angling. The classified stretches are also pliable by rafts giving added value to the adventure.
A certified fishing guide is required for all guests who wish to fish the golden mahseer, together with a fishing permit issued by the Department of Forests and Park Services.
“Bhutan has always been a nation with abundant flowing rivers. It holds various treasures including the rare species of golden mahseer. We would like to invite enthusiasts from across the world to come and experience golden mahseer fishing amidst the serene and unparalleled beauty of Bhutan, celebrating both the country’s natural beauty and its commitment to preserving and showcasing its aquatic treasures,” concluded Dorji Dhradhul, the Director General of the Department of Tourism-Bhutan.
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