Wednesday, May 20, 2009

India part 4: Himalayan trout house

My last week in India I travelled north again to try for trout in the Himalayas. Originally I had planned on returning home after fishing the Cauvery, but I saw some of Apoo's pictures of the Himalayan Trout House, and decided to extend my stay until the beginning of the season up north. I am glad I did. The Trout House sits in the Tirthan valley. Home of the Tirthan river. Home of trout.

Christopher and Shefali Mitra left behind Delhi life to start the Trout House. They have now built numerous cabins ranging from comfortable to too comfortable. The food was excellent. Some of the best Indian food I had, and the continental dishes would have been good anywhere. I just felt comfortable there. It's the kind of place you don't want to leave. For the first time on my trip I wasn't worried or strategizing about the fishing. I could relax and just go catch some trout.

It is a nine hour overnight bus ride from Dehli to the Tirthan valley. The volvo bus's are comfortable, but the roads are sinewy, steep, narrow, mountainous, and horrible for about half the journey. Also, Indian drivers don't really use turn signals as we would. They use the horn. Changing lanes; horn. Need to pass; horn. People by the road; horn. See a cow; horn. Just for fun; horn. Unfortunately our bus driver really liked the horn. All night long. So I doubled up on my sleep pills and dozed off late in the night.

I was dropped off in the middle of a one lane mountain village waiting for a cab. It was about seven in the morning and cold. Cold for just about anywhere, but especially cold for India. I was a bit under dressed. About fifteen minutes later I was in a cab driving up the valley to Christopher's place. Breakfast, introductions and off for this:

It was early in the season when I was there, and the river was late in rising, so the water was especially low and clear. Fun to fish, but it didn't make for the most productive fishing. I assumed that the river would only hold smaller trout, but I heard stories and saw pictures of some pretty impressive fish caught in these waters. While most of the browns I caught were somewhere around 12 in. I did see some larger browns. I also found a couple rainbow escapees from one of the trout hatcheries.

This fish was smoked and turned into a tasty spread. Originally I had asked Viku, my guide, to hold it so I could get a better picture, but he pounced on the fish and started smashing its head on a rock. I didn't have time to explain that I wanted live pictures. Oh well. Just upstream from this fish I lost it's twin after a few jumps. The fishing was particularly good this day. Viku had a friend that had come along and he had told me afterwords that he had been praying all day for the fishing. He told me I had come a long way and deserved to catch some nice fish. It worked.

Christopher's webpage is There is now a plane service between Delhi and within an hour's drive from the lodge. I may try that out next time. I can't wait to get back. Probably the coolest place I've been trout fishing.


  1. Hi !
    I am glad to post one of the first comment on your blog about fishing in India
    I was there in 2004 and fished the Tirthan with a fly rod with Christopher
    I think I was his first fly casting instructor
    At this time fly fishing there was not very popular !!!
    Since I left the place I am thinking about going there again and see how it goes
    So nice place and so friendly atmospher !
    Fishing guide in France

  2. I remember being there as a 16 year old kid in 2006.The angler in me was born.Managed to land my first fish ever