Mongolian Taimen – Fish Mongolia/Mongolia River Outfitters
Mongolia is the least densely populated country in the world. Outside of the main capital city of
Ulaanbaatar the remainder of this vast wilderness is sparsely populated by nomads who live off the
land tending their herds of cows, sheep goats, yaks, and camels. There are no fences, very few roads, and what people you encounter once you leave the city will likely be upon horseback.
Taimen are perhaps the world’s most incredible fly fishing experience. Every taimen you encounter whether you miss it or land it – is sure to create a lasting memory. Taimen are a pre-historic mega-fish and the largest member of the salmonid family. Taimen will migrate great distances each year to access spawning, feeding, and winter habitats. Mongolian taimen do not run out to the ocean or even large lakes, preferring to spend their entire life cycle in the rivers where they were spawned. In Mongolia, taimen can live for nearly fifty years and reach over sixty inches in length. Although giant taimen are caught every season, most Mongolian taimen caught on the fly are generally between 25 – 40 inches. Taimen are giant predators, renowned for a ferocious appetite and explosive strike. Their main diet is“small” fish and they do take well-presented streamers. However, taimen often feed on the surface, searching out small mammals and even ducklings. This means taimen aggressively take skated or gurgling surface flies, too. Taimen will absolutely explode on the fly, sometimes coming completely out of the water on the strike. If they miss the first strike, that big, angry fish will usually come back around and absolutely hammer your fly multiple times!
Fish Mongolia and Mongolia River Outfitters are situated five hundred miles (800 kilometers)apart. Although both river drainages offer very unique and quite different fishing experiences, they share a commonality of great service, productive fisheries, spectacular scenery, and waters exceptionally well suited to the fly angler. Northern Mongolia sits at the top of two of Asia’s major watersheds. The northwestern rivers drain into the Yenisei River and the Arctic Ocean and the eastern rivers drain into the Amur River and the Pacific Ocean. Together, these two rivers represent over 400 miles of taimen habitat conserved in partnership with local communities. No international angler may legally access these rivers without a permit secured through either Fish Mongolia or Mongolia River Outfitters.
Mongolia can be an excellent trout-fishing destination, too. While taimen are often the big draw, the same pristine and productive water that holds monster taimen also produces hard-fighting lenok and
grayling, and at times rare and elusive amur trout and pike as well.
Fish Mongolia operates on western Mongolia’s most awe-inspiring taimen and trout stream. This beautiful freestone river flows for nearly two hundred miles through a magnificent canyon.
The limestone and granite cliffs rise hundreds of feet above the river. Steep gorges filled with larch and birch forests cascade towards the valley floor. Extremely large taimen lie in wait within the easily
negotiated rapids and rock gardens. Banks covered with willows give way to deep pools, sparkling braids, and wide gravel bars. The scenery and fishing are both world-class.
Mongolia River Outfitters is responsible for all angling and fisheries conservation for the best Pacificwatershed river, coursing through a vast landscape of grassy steppes and rugged mountains. These remote eastern steppes border the Khentii Mountain Range to the west, the mystic birthplace of Genghis Khaan. This stream flows over two hundred and fifty miles through a lush and productive landscape and holds fantastic numbers of taimen, lenok, Amur trout, and Amur pike. The landscape is pastoral; rolling hills are punctuated by tall cliffs, forests of larch and Siberian pine, and extremely healthy
grasslands. The stream is constantly changing with a variety of shallow runs, deep pools, quick riffles, and long braids, providing fly anglers with endless opportunities to encounter big fish.
“Fish Mongolia Classic Canyon Adventure”
The “Classic Canyon Adventure” is designed for those who like a bit more comfortable with their expedition, and an opportunity to catch some of the largest taimens in the world. We pass day after day floating down a glorious mountain stream (110 – 120 mile float) casting to hungry grayling, large trout, and massive taimen. In the evening, we stay at a string of lovely and comfortable ger camps. This trip is a great mix of remote locations, incredible fishing, world-class guides, unique culture, and outstanding wilderness accommodation. Upon arrival in Mongolia, an English-speaking guide and driver transfer guests to a comfortable hotel in the center of Ulaanbaatar. Early the next morning, a ninety-minute commercial flight delivers anglers to the small town of Muron. From here, you’ll drive a few hours across the Mongolian countryside. This will be your first chance to see “real” Mongolia, complete with horse riding nomads living in traditional gers. You reach the upper river camp in time to prepare for the next six days of fishing, or an afternoon of walk-wade fishing around camp. Over the next week, anglers float in NRS drift boats between unique camps strategically placed along the river. When you arrive at each evening’s camp, the professional staff has your bags waiting, beds made, fires lit, and dinner prepared. At the end of the river journey, you’ll drive back to the airstrip and board a commercial flight to UB. After a relaxing overnight at a comfortable hotel in UB, you’ll be ready for your flight home.
“Fish Mongolia Headwaters Expeditions”
Fish Mongolia’s “Headwaters Expedition” is a full-on expedition and one of the world’s most unique angling experiences, combining incredible fly fishing opportunities and a wonderful cultural odyssey into a true adventure of a lifetime. The first part of this trip emphasizes walk and wade fishing while the last two days incorporate specialty-designed inflatable drift boats. We’ve found this to be a great balance and the best approach to this unique fishery. Upon arrival in Mongolia, an English-speaking guide and driver transfer guests to a comfortable hotel in the center of Ulaanbaatar. Early the next morning, a ninety-minute commercial flight delivers anglers to the small town of Muron. From here, you’ll drive approximately five to six hours across the Mongolian countryside to reach our base camp which is well equipped with comfortable gers for dining and accommodation. During your first morning on the river, we load up the camels and horses to begin our upriver journey. Guests have the option to either hike or ride upstream and pack-stock will carry our gear. The route is not too rugged and has a gradual elevation gain. Crossing rivers either using the horses or with rafts. We’ll spend the next few days working our way back downstream, staying in comfortable expedition camps along the way. There are miles of excellent rivers accessible from each and every camp. Our fleet of specialty-designed NRS drift boats will be awaiting our return to base camp. We fish from the comfort of these boats over the last two days of the journey covering over twenty-five miles (40 kilometers) of the river. The last two camps you stay in below base camp are fully equipped and very comfortable ger camps.
Participants must be in very good physical condition to participate in this expedition. Anglers must be able to hike or ride horses several miles into the backcountry and should be accustomed towilderness conditions. Guests must be able to wade-walk along a river with a rocky bottom and strong current. Anglers should be proficient with a two-handed rod (spey or switch) or have a solid double haul to adequately cover the water on the walk and wade portion of the expedition. We keep angler and trip participant numbers low on this trip. We send two professional fly fishing guides on the trip. There is a limit of four anglers per departure. If booking as a group, accommodate six anglers on a departure.
“Buryat Headwaters Expedition”
This wilderness float and fishing adventure explore the uppermost reaches of Mongolia’s first taimen sanctuary. It is a journey designed for those of us who don’t mind just a bit of “roughing it” to experience remote and un-touched fishing in the birthplace of Chinghis Khan. Upon arrival in Ulaanbaatar, Mongolia (ULN), an English-speaking guide and driver transfer guests to a comfortable hotel in the vibrant capital’s center. After a relaxing evening in town, guests travel to the river by vehicle or flight depending upon the departure date. You’ll fish through a diverse landscape targeting world-class taimen, Amur trout, lenok, and Amurpike. Anglers experience a new stretch of river daily, floating between tented camps strategically placed along the river. These trips run with just one guide and two guests. The trip is supported by a small camp team that transfers equipment downstream using gear boats. Guests are accommodated in very large tent-tipis complete with cots and simple bedrolls. When we arrive at each evening’s camp, the professional staff has your bags waiting, beds made, fires lit, and dinner prepared. At the completion of your trip, you will return to Ulaanbaatar, the Mongolian Capital by vehicle or charter flight, again depending upon the Expedition date, where you will overnight in a comfortable hotel before the next day’s airport transfer and departure for home. Limited numbers, remote location, incredible fishing, world-class guides, a unique culture, and outstanding wilderness accommodation all combine to make for a remarkable adventure.
“Upper River Fly Fishing Adventure”
This is a classic Mongolia River Outfitters journey, with six days of fishing in a beautiful landscape, fascinating culture, professional staff, exceptional camps, and world-class fishing. A small group of anglers explore nearly ninety miles of pristine river, floating through the world’s first Taimen Sanctuary. You will cast for taimen, lenok, amur trout, and even pike on a fresh stretch of river every day, staying in a well-appointed, comfortable ger camp every evening. Upon arrival in Mongolia, an English-speaking guide and driver transfer guests to a comfortable hotel in the vibrant center of Ulaanbaatar. Early the next morning, a ninety-minute charter flight crosses the Khan Khenteii Protected Area to deliver anglers to river’s bank. Over the next week, anglers float between six unique ger camps strategically placed along the river. The “no shuttle” policy means that anglers experience a new stretch of river daily. When we arrive at the evening camp, the professional staff has your bags waiting, beds made, fires lit, and dinner prepared. After a week of exploring the Mongolian outback, anglers take a charter flight from the lower airstrip back to the capital city for a relaxing evening prior to the next day’s departure from Mongolia. This river is amazingly well suited for fly fishing. The river is wide and gentle. There are no rapids, but the flow is steady with loads of interesting features, including plenty of riffles and pools. Besides a variety of fish species, the healthy riparian habitat is great for wildlife viewing. There are roe deer along the banks and massive Whooper Swans and flocks of waterfowl on the river. It’s common to hear wolves and bugling elk in the evenings and just about every year someone spots one of these shy animals crossing the river. Birds are generally the highlight, including numerous raptors, swans and Baikal teal spotted along the forested river bottom.
“Lower River Fly Fishing Adventure”
Seven days floating through a very beautiful and remote stretch of the world’s first Taimen Sanctuary. These trips are designed for those who don’t mind just a bit of “roughing it” in order to discover a glorious river full of taimen, lenok, amur trout, and even pike. A small group of anglers will explore nearly 90 miles of pristine river. The entire angling experience – remote location, incredible fishing, world-class guides, unique culture, and outstanding wilderness accommodation – makes this trip feel like an absolute privilege. Upon arrival in Mongolia, an English-speaking guide and driver transfer guests to a comfortable hotel in the vibrant center of Ulaanbaatar, the capital of Mongolia. Early the next morning, a ninety-minute charter flight crosses the Khan Khenteii Protected Area to deliver anglers to the river’s bank. Over the next week, anglers float between unique ger camps strategically placed along the river. There are no “roads” in this remote section of the river, much of which flows threw a National Park, so all of the camp equipment and your gear will be floated downriver by the “Mongolian Navy,” a series of rafts oared by the wonderful MRO staff. By the time you reach each camp at the end of a long fishing day, everything will be set up and ready for you.
The Lower River is remote, making vehicle access nearly impossible along much of the stretch. On Lower River trips, guests are accommodated in fully kitted ger camps for only the first and last evening.
The remainder of the trip we have rustic camps outfitted with large, comfortable Tent Tipi manufactured tipis complete with cots. Tent Tipis are set up for two anglers per tipi on comfortable cots. All of the camps have a simple shower and toilet facilities located in specially designed tents. The pace is relaxed and depending on river conditions you’ll have plenty of time to get out and wade interesting stretches with your guide. It’s best to cover an average of twelve kilometers (eight to ten miles) of river each day. The fishing is consistently good through all sections of the river.
Taimen Float Trips
The rivers are remote and difficult to access, offering pristine and secluded angling. There are very healthy taimen populations with fish over 50-inches encountered every season on both rivers. Boat travel is the only way to properly discover these rivers. We have a string of well-appointed camps set out along the core section of the rivers; guests float with professional guides for days on end between camps, enjoying the beauty of this exotic landscape and marveling at its wonderful fish.
Fish Mongolia uses state-of-the-art NRS manufactured inflatable drift boats on the western operation.
Mongolia River Outfitters utilizes deluxe Clackacraft fiberglass drift boats on the eastern river. The boats are all quiet and stable, easily accommodating two anglers and a professional guide. They have comfortable seats and large, secure casting platforms, with plenty of storage space for spare rods, camera gear, snacks, drinks, and other necessities. Every day you will cast over a new stretch of productive river. Lunch is served streamside by our great camp staff. You fish as long as you like without ever having to use a shuttle. Every evening you float into a stunning camp where the drinks are cold, the fires are warm, and the food is delicious. The next morning, you get up and do it all over again.
The camps have comfortable Mongolian ger (yurt) along much of the Taimen Sanctuarys’ waters. These traditional felt-covered dwellings are perfect for these trips: comfortable, aesthetically pleasing, and environmentally and socially appropriate for the wilderness of the Mongolian countryside The camps are one day’s float apart, each one situated along a uniquely beautiful stretch of river with great fishing right out the front door. All camps have the amenities one would expect to find on a comfortable African tented safari.The gers provide ample space to accommodate two anglers. The gers are nearly nine feet high and about twenty feet in diameter, outfitted with all the essentials: wood burning stove, wash-basin, small writing table, camp chairs, and sleeping cots. Woolen carpets decorate the floors. There are plenty of hooks for hanging jackets, waders, and other gear at day’s end. On the most remote sections of the river, more mobile tented camps are established, including a combination of traditional ger camps and more rustic camps outfitted with large, comfortable Tent Tipi manufactured tipis complete with cots. Tent Tipis are set up for two anglers per tipi on comfortable cots. Each camp has simple toilet and shower facilities. The toilets are clean, efficient, and private. The shower is placed in an insulated wall tent complete with a wood stove. The shower is private and warm, with plenty of space for changing. The stove is a nice touch, with hot water making the shower feel like a steamy sauna. The cooks are veterans. The food is fresh and diverse a mixture of meats and vegetables, fresh bread, and an assortment of traditional Mongolian dishes and classic Western fare. Breakfast and dinner are served either inside a dedicated dining ger (yurt) or in very remote camps a central wall tent complete with tables, chairs, and wood stove. Every morning starts with coffee/tea service in your ger or tipi, along with a fresh-made fire in the stove to really start your day in comfort. Hot shore lunches are served daily along the river. Sun-downers and hors-d’oeuvres around the fire cap every evening. All the beverages, sodas, beer, wine, and Mongolian vodka are included in the trip packages. Mongolian culture venerates hospitality and the camp staff is no exception. They are wonderful, hard-working, fun, and highly attentive folks. You’ll have a great time getting to know them and they will make your visit remarkable.