The glacial and rain fed rivers of the Indian Himalayas offer many opportunities for game fishing. Although I am not new to these mountains, like most people I tend to think of the usual destinations when planning my holidays. This new sport compelled me to approach the subject in a different way. For example, I have been to Jim Corbett National Park a few times and this destination is usually associated with wildlife safaris. But I never knew that the Ramganga river outside the park offered some of the richest opportunities for fishing Mahseer. Similarly, Manali is usually associated with what can be expected of a typical hill station. But the Beas offers excellent opportunities for fishing Trout.
This April I went on a driving holiday to Manali and decided to try my luck at trout fishing on the Beas. The weather was quite pleasant with plenty of fresh snow on the higher slopes. The roads were quite well maintained and traffic not very heavy as the school vacations had not yet started.
I purchased some basic equipment from the local adventure gear shop run by Mr. Rajinder Paul (http://visitmanali.com/trekshop/). Mr. Paul is a very knowledgeable and helpful person and a trip to his shop is highly recommended for anyone planning adventure activities around Manali. If not anything else, you are likely to bump into an endless stream of enthusiastic adventurers who are his ardent admirers. He was happy to give me a crash course into the basics of fishing and suggested that I should purchase a fishing permit from the nearby Kunzum hotel.
Armed with my permit and newly acquired gear, I hit the road the following morning on my 4x4 vehicle. There are many fishing spots on the Beas between Kullu and Manali and it is a very comfortable day trip with plenty of time and opportunities for stopping over for lunch and sightseeing, especially for people passionate about nature and landscape photography. I drove downstream from Manali on the opposite bank of the river through Nagar, crossed over to the other side just before Kullu before returning back to Manali in the evening. The road on the opposite side is narrower and more scenic but the river is closer to the road on the side of the main highway that goes to Manali.
Fishing is a highly evolved sport with passionate following among its enthusiasts. But for a novice like me, the biggest attraction is the opportunity to be close to nature and the fact that it needs very little equipment or preparation. Not only is it a relaxing pastime, a little study and practice can add a rather addictive dimension to this sport. Experts tell me that this addiction grows steadily with time and unlike most other sports, can be practiced by people of all age groups.
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