Mahseer fishing in India Travel Guide

Guide to Mahseer fishing in India

Unlike the murky, muddy Ganges, the Ramganga’s waters spring from underground, giving them startling clarity. The Ramganga is so ideal for mahseer, in fact, that a record-breaking 76-pounder was taken here only seven years ago.

Mahseer like to collect in rocky pools where they breed. Like salmon, they ascend to these pools from downstream, leaping as they go. Countless broken lines and bent hooks have taught impatient anglers to let this fishy strategist run free for a minute or two after it is hooked, so that with patience and careful control the mahseer can be successfully taken even by newcomers to the waters and the region.

Live Bait Pros And Cons

Anglers don’t come all the way to India to hook small fish. When using live bait to catch mahseer, fishermen and their guides need to make sure that lesser-sized fish don’t snatch the goodies intended for their bigger brothers. One trick to accomplish this is to simply use bait too big for small fry to swallow.

Experienced mahseer anglers take up positions on rocks or rapids above the pools, allowing them to peer into the water and gauge the size and weight of fish residing there. This technique, called “view and cast,” cuts down on time wasted on inferior catch, giving the fisherman a greater chance of success.

As stated above, the mahseer can and does travel upstream, and once hooked it may head in the same direction. Anglers should be ready for action and wear appropriate shoes, as they may have to sprint uphill to land their catch.

Speedy Spinners And Lovely Lures

Like all carp, mahseer are carnivorous. The movement of spinners, lures, and bobbers in the water can, with skill, simulate the movements of an injured fish, and mahseer will be all over them in an instant. Seek out lures with colours resembling the mahseer’s usual diet, such as the green or black of frogs and the blue-white of flies. Mahseer eat fruit, too, so a gold or red coloured lure can yield bounty.

Strong enough to crush a metal spool between its teeth, the mahseer will destroy ordinary hooks so easily, anglers may not even feel the rod tip bending under pressure. That’s why the best guides and outfitters recommend stainless steel split rings and hooks that are a match for those powerful piscine jaws.


Inspiring scenery, a bracing climate, expert guides and a powerful game fish unknown elsewhere in the world: the stage is set for your next adventure. Come fish for mahseer in the Himalayas, and experience the mental and physical thrills of this accessible, timeless sport.

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