Rod & Rucksack - Mongolia
The second episode of the fishing travelogue Rod & Rucksack aired on Quest last night, and in this episode host Guy Elson made the long trip by plane, car and horse to a remote corner of Mongolia to target the enigmatic taimen and sample the local culture.
This was the most ambitious of all the trips, and for me the most daunting.
My plan was to horse trek 9 days north of Moron to the Mongolian/Siberian border carrying inflatable rafts. From here we would inflate the rafts and float for another 6 days south along the Eg Uur river. This river to my knowledge has never been filmed before so we were all a little apprehensive.
As I flew into Ulan Bator my immediate thoughts were how barren and uninhabited this place was. If ever there was a small city literally dropped into a giant field then this was it. The Ulan Bator outskirts are dominated by several imposing powerstations, but drawing closer to the centre you begin to see relics of its Soviet past.
From UB I flew north to Moron. This small town had all the charm of a drive-in Macdonalds, but 2 hours drive north was the magestic Lake Hovsgol. I travelled another days drive North of Hovsgol on unsealed roads to begin my trek. The scenery there was breathtaking and very similars to Colorado (where Dan my guide hailed from).
We passed through endless winter pastures and heavily wooded hills until we reached the head of the Eg Uur river. The days were long but the nights were hard......I never got used to the freezing conditions and nightly I would wake at 3am fully dressed and in my 5 seasons bag numb with cold.
Our first days drift was an eye opener. We had no space to bring the casting platform in the rafts, so fly casting was difficult from the offset.
My set up was my trusty 8# G.Loomis CrossCurrent teamed with a ULA force reel and a Rio WWF line. I used a furled 9ft leader with a heavy tippet and hopper-popper flys. The technique was to cast slightly diagonally downstream and let the fly swing over potential holding areas whilst twitching the fly to cause a pop!
As I reached the long tail-out of the first pool we spooked a huge taimen easily 1 meter in length. I was shocked how big they were and excited at the prospect of catching one.
My first taimen was taken late on the first day on a fly and to be honest I didnt see the take....I heard it. I averaged about 2-3 taimen per day, which was more than enough sport to keep it entertaining.
Due to casting problems from the boat I opted to spin and nothing was more deadly than a 7" soft plastic.
These rivers are also packed with lenok (Manchurian trout). These weird trout have the body of a brown trout and the mouth of a chub. They often harrased the big taimen flies and I even took a monster 3-4lb one on a soft plastic.
The biggest taimen I took was from a deep log-jam pool. I covered every inch of the pool and was about to walk away. I wanted to fish the bottom of the pool but considered it lure suicide with all the logs, but I'm glad I did. First cast I let the lure bump the pools' bottom and immediately hooked a monster, which was tailed to the bank by an even bigger taimen. I took two taimen in two casts from this pool using this technique. Unfortunately it would be very difficult to acheive these depths with a fly.
This fish was in the TOP 5 fish taken from this river! Tune in to check it out.
Articles by the same author
- Rod & Rucksack - Bolivia
- Rod & Rucksack - Panama
- Rod & Rucksack - Mongolia
- Rod & Rucksack - Canada
- Budget Costa Rica - a costcutters guide to adventure fishing