Sport fishing, like hunting, is little advertised and therefore little known in Nepal. However, for the angling enthusiast, Nepal's lakes and rivers can prove good fishing grounds. There are approximately 118 varieties of fresh-water fish in these Himalayan waters, ranging from the much sought after Mahseer to the mountain stream trout-like varieties. The best season to go sport fishing on white waters is before and after the monsoon from February till April and October and November. During these times the fishes go upstream to spawn and they consume less food. But locals catch a lot of fish during monsoon as well for their livelihood.

Where to fish
Some of the popular fishing trips are done in Karnali, Babai valley in the Bardiya National Park. Chitwan also hosts a number of places like the confluence of Seti and Trisuli on the Tribhuvan Highway and also in the confluence of Kaligandaki and Trisuli river. Anglers can try their luck in the clear waters of Pokhara's lakes as well. While Phewa Tal offers some good sport, there is considerable activity and is not the ideal place for a quiet day's fishing. Begnas Tal and Rupa Tal are a better bet. Get out there on any of several local buses that start plying early morning or bike your way there. You can hire a boat and go out to some of the good spots in the lake.

Fishing rods and tackle are available on hire in Pokhara at around NRs.200 a day. If you hire a boat for the day, you can ask the boatman to get you a rod and tackle or you can hire one from one of many agencies. The bait is usually made of bread that is soaked in water and mashed into a thick paste (your boatman will do this for you). The lake boast of several fish varieties, the largest of which is Carp, which can weigh several kilos.

Ideally you could bring along a telescopic rod that can fit in a backpack and some artificial bait. Worms are hard to get in the winter months when they burrow deep to avoid the cold.

Fishing is also fun in many of the mountain streams. There are varieties of trout-like fish or even rainbow trouts and common trouts that can provide good sport. Recently the Fishery Department has released 4000 fingerlings in the Modi river, near Pokhara. There are agencies in Kathmandu that organise fishing trips to streams around the Kathmandu valley.

Dolalghat, east of the valley on the Kodari Highway, is easily accessible from the city - a bus ride from the Old Bus Park in Ratna Park early morning and back through the local buses by evening. You can encounter Nepali holidaymakers and the locals on the lookout for local variety of Asla and Katla, the former a kind of trout and the latter a carp. You could bring some flies along and try your luck. Some of the dams across Nepal's many rivers too have a good stock of fish.

Fishing in the Terai: the Mahseer
The rivers in the Terai are good fishing. Large catfish, Murrel and carp are found in abundance in these rivers. Anglers can also try their luck in West Nepal's Bardia Wildlife Reserve in the Babai valley where agencies organize guided fishing trips. While trekking or rafting in Karnali, Sun Kosi, Bheri, Arun river bring along a fishing rod or give the local methods a try - using a bamboo pole or a crude fish trap. The Mahseer is a large and much prized sport fish found in the Geruwa river that skirts the park. However, its numbers are dwindling rapidly and it is advised that you let go of one even if you land a catch.

Practical information
Asking local fishermen and boatmen for information on good fishing spots and varieties can be rewarding. The Tharus of the Nepal Terai are an active fishing and hunting community and can provide good company on a trip, or in just providing suggestions. In Bardia, apart from an entry fee to the park, you have to pay a fee of Rs.300 per rod for sport fishing. This may be well worth for a fishing trip in the Geruwa. You may just land a mahseer!

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