Fly fishing for taimen in Mongolia is a unique experience, one of the best venues is the Delger River. It starts its course in the high steppe landscape in north western Mongolia. It then flows south along the Russian/Mongolian border before turning east. It gains in size as many small rivers and streams join its course before meeting the Ider River, the confluence marks the start of the mighty Selenge River. The high altitude beginnings have given strength to the powerful river to carve one of the most beautiful river valleys in the world, this is the Headwaters of the Delger River.
The river is a rich vein of life in an otherwise harsh environment. Temperatures range from -50C degrees in the winter to +30C in the summer. Mongolia on the whole is an incredibly dry country, with most precipitation falling during the short summer months.
Traditionally, taimen fly fishing in Mongolia has been narrowed into two specific seasons, spring and autumn. The reason for this is that they are relatively dry periods and the weather is warm enough for the fish to be active. Mid-summer has generally been considered as too risky due to the heavier rainfall and many Mongolian rivers experiencing long flood periods. This is where the Delger River stands out, due to its swift flows and steep granite valley sides the river rises extremely quickly but also falls and clears exceptionally quickly.
With a more reduced chance of having a prolonged flood on the Delger River, it is more feasible for groups of anglers to fish during the height of summer. This is a time when the weather is at its hottest and the taimen are willing to move to surface flies as much as streamers. There is also some amazing grasshopper fishing for lenok trout and grayling which should not be missed.
The taimen fishing on the Delger River is about quality of fish rather than quantity. For the past decade we have been sending travelling anglers and fishing the river ourselves and are amazed that the average size has consistently stood at about 33-34 inches (approx. 85 cm) with many fish surpassing 40 inches (approx. 100 cm). The average catch expectancy is around 1 – 3 fish per angler each trip but you will have multiple chances most days on the river. Combine the taimen fishing with the chance of catching 20-30 lenok trout a day to 5 lbs+ on dries and you truly have an exceptional fishery.
The headwaters of the Delger is referred to as “The Temple” by the guides. The river here is extremely isolated and strikingly beautiful. Steep, forested walls frame the boulder filled stream. The high-country river is very well protected and holds ancient taimen that rarely see a fly. You fish meticulously, quietly walk/wading accompanied by a professional guide. There are some enormous fish in these waters. When the river is clear, there are opportunities to sight fish for extremely large taimen reaching sixty-inches. The trout fishing is generally spectacular. This is a more rugged and adventurous trip requiring a good level of fitness. Most of the trips also require a basic knowledge of horse riding but the trip can be organised without.
There is just one trip still available in the 2019 season:
4 – 16 July for 4 rods.
Cost: US$6,450 per person.
Read Alex Jardine’s trip report from the Headwaters Expedition HERE.
For more information about the Headwaters Expedition or our other Mongolia trips please contact Alex Jardine or call our office on +44(0)1980 847389.