The Urr Gol
2013 will mark the 18th year of taimen fishing in Mongolia for Sweetwater Travel and Frontiers International. During that time, hundreds of fishermen have visited the world’s premier taimen rivers located in north-central Mongolia, and they have landed more trophy taimen on dry flies than any other operation in the world.
Located in north-central Mongolia in a region similar to Montana's Yellowstone River valley the two camps are approximately a two-hour helicopter ride from Ulaanbaatar. Each camp is positioned next to the river and consists of gers, that each accommodate two fishermen, a central dining room and bar area, ablution block with plenty of hot water and long drop toilets. The views from the camp are stunning, unobstructed by Western development, the valley floor lush with thick summer grass and vibrant wildflowers, whilst the mountains around the rivers are lined with unbroken stands of larch, birch, aspen and alder forests. This is the trip of a lifetime for most anglers.
Mongolia offers the best opportunity to catch taimen anywhere in the world. Historically, taimen have one of the largest ranges of any of the salmonids with their distribution stretching from Bavaria to the Kamchatka Peninsula in Russia. However, due to human pressures, healthy populations of this magnificent fish only remain in pristine sections of Russia and Mongolia.
Taimen are a fierce predator that Mongolians call the 'river wolf'. If safe from excessive human pressure, taimen live to a ripe old age of 50 years. In the rivers we fish, taimen reach weights of 75 lbs and lengths exceeding 60 inches. These larger fish are caught on a regular basis. Due to a strict catch-and-release policy, all of these magnificent giants are released unharmed to the river where they will continue to terrorise local rodent and fish populations. As a result of this practise, in over nine seasons, the catch rates have remained consistent with both the size and number of fish remaining very strong.
Mongolian rivers are also inhabited by the Asian trout, lenok. Lenok are reputedly the oldest trout species in the world and average between 16 and 30 inches. Due to the presence of taimen, lenok tend to inhabit the shallow riffles and flats near shore, where they gorge themselves on grasshoppers, crickets, and insect hatches. Once hooked, fishermen will discover another great sport fish that has been largely ignored due its remote geographic location. We recommend that you take some time out on the river to focus on lenok.
The programmes are small, between six to eight people to ensure an overabundance of fishable water for each guest and to remain flexible. Fishing is a combination of Atlantic salmon-style drops from the boat and wading. The rivers around the camps are a fly fisherman's dream, with moderate flow, easy wading, and predictable banks. There is one guide between two fishermen and each day can be custom-tailored to provide the kind of fishing desired.