Mongolia is the least densely populated country in the world. Outside of the main capital city of Ulaanbaatar the remainder of this vast wilderness is sparsely populated by nomads who live off the land tending their herds of cows, sheep, goats, yaks, and camels. There are no fences, very few roads, and what people you encounter once you leave the city will likely be upon horseback.
This Outfitter offers two fishing areas, eastern and western, situated five hundred miles (800 kilometers) apart. Although both river drainages offer very unique and quite different fishing experiences, they share a commonality of great service, productive fisheries, spectacular scenery, and waters exceptionally well suited to the fly angler.
Northern Mongolia sits at the top of two of Asia’s major watersheds. The northwestern rivers drain into the Yenisei River and the Arctic Ocean and the eastern rivers drain into the Amur River and the Pacific Ocean. Together, these two rivers represent over 400 miles of taimen habitat conserved in partnership with local communities. No international angler may legally access these rivers without a permit secured through our Outfitters.
The outfitter operates on western Mongolia’s most awe-inspiring taimen and trout stream. This beautiful freestone river flows for over two hundred miles through a magnificent canyon. The limestone and granite cliffs rise hundreds of feet above the river. Steep gorges filled with larch and birch forests cascade towards the valley floor. Extremely large taimen lie in wait within the easily negotiated rapids and rock gardens.
This Outfitter is responsible for all angling and fisheries conservation for the best Pacific watershed river, coursing through a vast landscape of grassy steppes and rugged mountains. These remote eastern steppes border the Khentii Mountain Range to the west, the mystic birthplace Chinggis Khaan. This stream flows over two hundred and fifty miles through a lush and productive landscape and holds fantastic numbers of taimen, lenok, Amur trout, and Amur pike. The landscape is pastoral; rolling hills are punctuated by tall cliffs, forests of larch and Siberian pine, and extremely healthy grasslands. The stream is constantly changing with a variety of shallow runs, deep pools, quick riffles, and long braids, providing fly anglers with endless opportunities to encounter big fish.
“Headwaters Expeditions”- (June-July-August)
The “Headwaters Expedition” is a full-on expedition and one of the world’s most unique angling experiences, combining incredible fly fishing opportunities and a wonderful cultural odyssey into a true adventure of a lifetime. The first part of this trip emphasizes walk and wade fishing while the last two days incorporates specialty designed inflatable drift boats. We’ve found this to be a great balance and the best approach to this unique fishery.
Upon arrival in Mongolia, an English-speaking guide and driver transfer guests to a comfortable hotel in the center of Ulaanbaatar. Early the next morning, a ninety-minute commercial flight delivers anglers to the small town of Muron. From here, you’ll drive approximately five to six hours across the Mongolian countryside to reach base camp which is well equipped with comfortable “gers” (Mongolia portable tents) for dining and accommodations.
During your first morning on the river, guides load up the camels and horses to begin your upriver journey. You’ll often travel up to twelve miles (twenty kilometers) into the headwaters to reach the upper most camp. Guests have the option to either hike or ride upstream and pack-stock will carry our gear. The route is not too rugged and has a gradual elevation gain. You must make several river crossings either using the horses or with rafts.
You’ll spend the next few days working your way back downstream, staying in comfortable expedition camps along the way. There are miles of excellent river accessible from each and every camp.
Their fleet of specialty designed NRS drift boats will be awaiting your return to base camp. You will fish from the comfort of these boats over the last two days of the journey covering over twenty-five miles (40 kilometers) of river. The last two camps you stay in below base camp are fully equipped and very comfortable ger camps.
Clients must be in very good physical condition to participate in this expedition. Anglers must be able to hike or ride horses several miles into the backcountry and should be accustomed to wilderness conditions. Clients must be able to wade-walk along a river with a rocky bottom and strong current. They send two professional fly fishing guides on the trip. There is a limit of four anglers per departure. If booking as a group, they can sometimes accommodate six anglers on a departure.
“Lower Canyon Adventure”- (June-July-August)
The “Lower Canyon Adventure” is designed for those who like a bit more comfort with their expedition, and an opportunity to catch some of the largest taimen in the world. You will be floating down a glorious mountain stream (110 – 120 mile float) casting to hungry grayling, large trout and massive taimen. In the evening, stay at a string of lovely and comfortable ger camps. This trip is a great mix of remote location, incredible fishing, world-class guides, unique culture, and outstanding wilderness accommodation.
Upon arrival in Mongolia, an English-speaking guide and driver transfer guests to a comfortable hotel in the center of Ulaanbaatar. Early the next morning, a ninety-minute commercial flight delivers anglers to the small town of Muron. From here, you’ll drive a few hours across the Mongolian countryside. You reach the upper river camp in time to prepare for the next six days of fishing, or an afternoon of walk-wade fishing around camp. Over the next week, anglers float in NRS drift boats between unique camps strategically placed along the river. When you arrive at each evening’s camp, the professional staff has your bags waiting, beds made, fires lit, and dinner prepared. At the end of the river journey, you’ll drive back to the airstrip and board a commercial flight to UB. After a relaxing overnight at a comfortable hotel in UB, you’ll be ready for your flight home.
“Classic Canyon Adventure”- (June-July-August)
Journey through a remote access into the heart of this majestic canyon, spending the next seven days floating through some of the most scenic wilderness on the planet. These sections of river are loaded with trout and grayling, and every riffle and pool has the potential for a truly monstrous taimen. Each evening, enjoy the comforts of cozy, well-appointed ger camps along the river.
The journey from home to the upper Canyon includes overnights in the hotel in Ulaanbaatar, all domestic transportation including commercial flights and 4×4 into the river. Every step of the voyage is a journey to the land of Chinghis Khan and a glimpse of the nomadic lifestyle that has changed little over the past thousand or more years.
The amazing staff will take great care of you, from delivering steaming hot coffee to your ger each morning, to a cocktails and a delicious meal as the sun sets over the limestone cliffs surrounding each memorable camp. The days are full of incredible scenery and great fishing.
“Buryat Headwaters Expedition”- (Late August-September-October)
This wilderness float and fishing adventure explores the uppermost reaches of Mongolia’s first taimen sanctuary. It is a journey designed for those of us who don’t mind just a bit of “roughing it” to experience remote and un-touched fishing in the birthplace of Chinghis Khan.
Upon arrival in Ulaanbaatar, Mongolia, an English-speaking guide and driver transfer guests to a comfortable hotel in the vibrant capital’s center. After a relaxing evening in town, guests depart the city the following morning to head to the river. It’s a long and adventure-filled drive across the Mongolian Steppe, your first opportunity to experience the “real” Mongolia.
For the next week, you’ll fish in comfortable drift boats through a diverse landscape targeting world-class taimen, Amur trout, lenok, and Amur pike. Anglers experience a new stretch of river daily, floating between tented camps strategically placed along the river.
These trips run with small groups (maximum four guests), supported by a private camp team that transfers equipment downstream using gear boats. Guests are accommodated in large tent-tipis complete with cots and simple bedrolls. When arriving at each evening’s camp, the professional staff has your bags waiting, beds made, fires lit, and dinner prepared.
At the completion of your trip, you will return to Ulaanbaatar, the Mongolian Capital, where you will overnight in a comfortable hotel before the next day’s airport transfer and departure for home. Limited numbers, remote location, incredible fishing, world-class guides, a unique culture, and outstanding wilderness accommodation all combine to make for a remarkable adventure.
“Upper River Fly Fishing Adventure”- (Late August-September-October)
This is a classic Mongolia journey, with six days of fishing in a beautiful landscape, fascinating culture, professional staff, exceptional camps, and world-class fishing. A small group of anglers explore nearly 100 miles of pristine river, floating through the world’s first Taimen Sanctuary.
You will cast for taimen, lenok, amur trout, and even pike on a fresh stretch of river every day, staying in a well-appointed, comfortable ger camps every evening.
Upon arrival in Mongolia, an English-speaking guide and driver transfer guests to a comfortable hotel in the vibrant center of Ulaanbaatar. Early the next morning, you’ll embark on an overland adventure, arriving at the first riverside camp in time to get settled in, rig up for your week’s fishing, and possibly even make a few casts before dinner.
Over the next week, anglers float between seven unique ger camps strategically placed along the river. The “no shuttle” policy means that anglers experience a new stretch of river daily. When we arrive at the evening camp, the professional staff has your bags waiting, beds made, fires lit, and dinner prepared.
After a week of exploring the Mongolian outback, anglers return to the capital city for a relaxing evening prior to the next day’s departure from Mongolia.
This river is amazingly well suited for fly-fishing. The river is wide and gentle. There are no rapids, but the flow is steady with loads of interesting features, including plenty of riffles and pools. Besides a variety of fish species, the healthy riparian habitat is great for wildlife viewing. There are roe deer along the banks and massive Whooper Swans and flocks of waterfowl on the river. It’s common to hear wolves and bugling elk in the evenings and just about every year someone spots one of these shy animals crossing the river. Birds are generally the highlight, including numerous raptors, swans and Baikal teal spotted along the forested river bottom.
“Lower River Fly Fishing Adventure”- (September-October)
Clients spend seven days floating through a very beautiful and remote stretch of the world’s first Taimen Sanctuary. These trips are designed for those who don’t mind just a bit of “roughing it” in order to discover a glorious river full of taimen, lenok, amur trout, and even pike. A small group of anglers will explore nearly 100 miles of pristine river. The entire angling experience – remote location, incredible fishing, world-class guides, unique culture, and outstanding wilderness accommodation – makes this trip feel like an absolute privilege.
Upon arrival in Mongolia, an English-speaking guide and driver transfer guests to a comfortable hotel in the vibrant center of Ulaanbaatar, the capital of Mongolia. Early the next morning, depart on an adventure-filled drive across the classic Mongolian-steppe, arriving at the first riverside camp in time for a delicious dinner.
Over the next week, anglers float in Clackacraft Drift Boats between unique camps strategically placed along the river. There are no “roads” in this remote section of the river, much of which flows threw a National Park, so all of the camp equipment and your gear will be floated downriver by staff. By the time you reach each camp at the end of a long fishing day, everything will be set up and ready for you.
The Lower River is remote, making vehicle access nearly impossible along much of the stretch. On Lower River trips, guests are accommodated in wilderness camps outfitted with large, comfortable Tent Tipi manufactured tipis, spacious enough to stand up and store all your gear. Tent Tipis are set up for two anglers per tipi on comfortable cots. All of the camps have simple shower and toilet facilities located in specially designed tents.
The pace is relaxed and depending on river conditions you’ll have plenty of time to get out and wade interesting stretches with your guide. The fishing is consistently good through all sections of the river.
TAIMEN FLOAT TRIPS
The rivers are remote and difficult to access, offering pristine and secluded angling. There are very healthy taimen populations with fish over 50-inches encountered every season on both rivers.
Boat travel is the only way to properly discover these rivers. We have a string of well-appointed camps set out along the core section of the rivers; guests float with professional guides for days on end between camps, enjoying the beauty of this exotic landscape and marveling at its wonderful fish.
The outfitters uses state-of-the-art NRS manufactured inflatable drift boats on their western operation. Their other locations utilizes deluxe Clackacraft fiberglass drift boats on the eastern river. The boats are all quiet and stable, easily accommodating two anglers and a professional guide.
They have comfortable seats and large, secure casting platforms, with plenty of storage space for spare rods, camera gear, snacks, drinks and other necessities.
Every day you will cast over a new stretch of productive river. Lunch is served streamside by their great camp staff. You fish as long as you like without ever having to use a shuttle. Every evening you float into a stunning camp where the drinks are cold, the fires are warm, and the food is delicious. The next morning, you get up and do it all over again.
They have comfortable Mongolian ger (yurt) camps along much of the Taimen Sanctuarys’ waters. These traditional felt covered dwellings are perfect for these trips: comfortable, aesthetically pleasing, and environmentally and socially appropriate for the wilderness of the Mongolian countryside. The camps are one day’s float apart, each one situated along a uniquely beautiful stretch of river with great fishing right out the front door. All camps have the amenities one would expect to find on a comfortable African tented safari.
The gers provide ample space to accommodate two anglers. The gers are nearly nine feet high and about twenty-feet in diameter, outfitted with all the essentials: wood burning stove, wash-basin, small writing table, camp chairs, and sleeping cots. Woolen carpets decorate the floors. There are plenty of hooks for hanging jackets, waders and other gear at day’s end.
On the most remote sections of river, more mobile tent camps are established, including a combination of traditional ger camps and more rustic camps outfitted with large, comfortable Tent Tipi manufactured tipis complete with cots. Tent Tipis are set up for two anglers per tipi on comfortable cots.
Each camp has simple toilet and shower facilities. The toilets are clean, efficient, and private. The shower is placed in an insulated wall tent complete with a wood stove. The shower is private and warm, with plenty of space for changing. The stove is a nice touch, with hot water making the shower feel like a steamy sauna.
The cooks are veterans and the food is fresh and diverse a mixture of meats and vegetables, fresh breads, and an assortment of traditional Mongolian dishes and classic Western fare. Breakfast and dinner are served either inside a dedicated dining ger (yurt) or in very remote camps a central wall tent complete with tables, chairs, and wood stove.
Every morning starts with coffee/tea service in your ger or tipi, along with a fresh-made fire in the stove to really start your day in comfort. Hot shore lunches are served daily along the river. Sun-downers and hors-de-oeuvres around the fire cap every evening. All the beverages, sodas, beer, wine, and Mongolian vodka are included in the trip packages.
Mongolian culture venerates hospitality and the camp staff is no exception. They are wonderful, hard- working, fun, and highly attentive folks. You’ll have a great time getting to know them and they will make your visit remarkable.
Taimen are perhaps the world’s most incredible fly fishing experience. Every taimen you encounter – whether you miss it or land it – is sure to create a lasting memory.
Taimen are a pre-historic mega-fish, and the largest member of the salmonid family. Taimen will migrate great distances each year to access spawning, feeding, and winter habitats. Mongolian taimen do not run out to the ocean or even large lakes, preferring to spend their entire life cycle in the rivers where they were spawned.
In Mongolia, taimen can live for nearly fifty years and reach over sixty inches in length. Although they often catch several giant taimen every season, most Mongolian taimen caught on the fly are generally between 25 – 40 inches.
Taimen are giant predators, renowned for a ferocious appetite and explosive strike. Their main diet is “small” fish and they do take well-presented streamers. However, taimen often feed on the surface, searching out small mammals and even ducklings. This means taimen aggressively take skated or gurgling surface flies, too. Taimen will absolutely explode on the fly, sometimes coming completely out of the water on the strike.
If they miss the first strike, that big, angry fish will usually come back around and absolutely hammer your fly multiple times!
“This was my third trip to Mongolia: the scenery was spectacular, with fall colors showing in the larch forests lining the rocky hills along the way; and the fishing was the best ever. In a word, it was exceptional. Our group caught countless lenok, numerous grayling, and 23 taimen up to 55 inches in length. The biggest taimen were caught in white water rapids where the water temperature was cooler and oxygen levels higher than the surrounding water; and the gurgler was again by far and away the winning fly pattern. Five to six-inch long streamers imitating lenok also produced well, but gurglers caught everything from big taimen to average-sized (20 to 24-inch) lenok and even feisty grayling.” Tom G.
These taimen will often go airborne. Like a big tarpon, they will tail walk along the river’s surface. In skinny water, they will rocket across the river for greater depths. The four-foot long predator on the end of your line will charge around the pool, bore deep and shake its head violently like a very, very big brown trout.
Mongolia can be an excellent trout-fishing destination, too. While taimen are often the big draw, the same pristine and productive water that holds monster taimen also produces hard-fighting lenok and grayling, and at times rare and elusive amur trout and pike as well.
Lenok are an ancient and beautiful Siberian trout. They have golden bodies, bright red bands and black spots. Throughout the fishing season, these native trout feed aggressively on the surface. They wait along banks to slurp the abundant grasshopper, mayfly and stonefly hatches. A large Siberian trout will happily destroy a mouse pattern skated across a shallow run or behind a rock. They will smash bead-heads dropped beneath riffles. Fly-fishing for these native trout can be a great diversion from casting big flies for big taimen.
Grayling are a main food source for taimen. In fact, taimen will often come from nowhere and attack the grayling on the end of your line. While wading, we often watch dozens of grayling casually sipping small hatches within a few feet of us. These fish are wonderful fun on a light rod, and amazingly they will even nail small mouse patterns!
Amur Trout are an incredibly exotic species of trout, found only in a few drainages in the world, including Mongolia River Outfitter’s eastern operation. These fish are always beautiful and typically large, usually attacking the same big flies we fish for taimen. They are usually a favorite of the guides because they are so rare.
As a bonus, the unique Amur Pike is also found in the eastern rivers. These toothy, aggressive predators attack big streamers in deep pools and around sloughs off the main channel, and put a serious bend in an 8 or 9 weight rod.
The fishing season in Mongolia legally opens on June 15th and closes November 1. The outfitters season on the western river runs June through August while their eastern operation runs from late August through October.
The June opener coincides with the post-spawning period which tends to end in May. By June, wildflowers blanket the stream shores and the taimen begin feeding aggressively. Taimen hit hard on the surface striking anything from attractors to large mouse patterns. Watching a taimen charge a fly in gin clear water is quite an experience.
Autumn comes early on the western river. By the end of August, the weather can be starting to get chilly, especially at night. This time of year is generally not about numbers of fish, but quality.
For some reason, the really big fish often show up as they go through their last bout of aggressive feeding before winter. The ger fires are warm and the fishing can be epic.
The eastern operation is at lower elevations, and has a different season. There the fishing season just gets started in late August and extends through October. Flows can be a bit high early in the season, and temperatures can start to get chilly towards the end of the season, but dry fly and streamer fishing for taimen (and trout) is almost always great. The river’s indigenous pike also feed actively on streamers throughout the season.
Known as “Blue Sky Country”, Mongolia enjoys a dry climate with typically beautiful autumn weather. The sun can be intense…along with the fall colors. Warm, sunny temperatures usually extend through September with cool evenings and warm days. Clients often wet-wade. By October, things are getting chilly. There are plenty of warm, wood burning stoves in the camps. And with winter looming the corresponding decrease in water temperature often triggers a burst of feeding activity by roving packs of hungry taimen.
Trout fishing on both rivers is usually great throughout the season, with trout fishing conditions tending to peak from the middle to late portions of each river’s season.
The outfitters crew and guides work very hard to select the best times for weather and water conditions. That’s why they operate on two different rivers, 800 km apart, throughout the five-month fishing season. However, these are truly wild and remote rivers susceptible to flow fluctuations. Precipitation can come at any season on these wild rivers and weather has become increasingly difficult to predict.
Although perfect weather and water conditions are never guaranteed, the skies are normally bright and sunny with clear water conditions. Any month of the year, you might experience a snow flurry and bright sunny “short sleeve” weather all in the same day. Of course, rain can happen anytime. While midsummer is historically when the risk of rain and high water is highest, these months also tend to show us the largest fish of the year.
Taimen are a long-lived, top-tier predator. They are the largest of all salmonids. An individual taimen’s home range often exceeds one-hundred kilometers. A taimen requires seven years to reach sexual maturity and up to forty years to reach 1.25 meters. They exist in relatively low abundance even in healthy river systems. Their survival depends upon extensive, pristine cold river systems with a healthy prey base. Only a handful of wild river systems spread across Mongolia and Russian maintain healthy taimen populations.
Habitat degradation and overharvest of taimen and/or prey species are the primary threats. Taimen are very sensitive to human disturbance. Unsustainable timber harvest, mining, over- grazing, pollution, dams, irrigation, and hatcheries quickly deplete taimen fisheries.
The few people who live within the world’s last remaining taimen watersheds generally rely upon natural resource use and have relatively low income levels. Safeguarding these taimen strongholds often requires assisting local communities to recognize the social and economic value of taimen conservation. Luckily, taimen are a highly desired sport fish. Properly managed and professionally implemented “high value – low impact” catch and release sport fishing represents a unique opportunity to generate value and ensure taimen conservation.
These rivers are the benchmark by which all other taimen streams are measured. Diligent stewardship helps keep the taimen and trout fishing this good. This outfitter has worked in partnership with local communities to conserve these rivers since the 1990’s with the support of the World Wildlife Fund.
TRIP SUMMARY DESCRIPTIONS:
June – August
Headwaters Expedition: 9 nights/6 days on the river
Camel/horse caravan upstream to remote upper river. Wade/walk downstream for several days between tipi camps. Finish with 2 days floating and staying at ger basecamps. Rafts carry gear. Commercial flight and 4×4 to/from river.
Lower Canyon Adventure: 9 nights/6 days on the river
Drift boats travel downstream through a stunning wilderness canyon. Stay in a string of comfortable streamside ger camps. Rafts carry gear. Commercial flight and 4×4 to/from the river.
Classic Canyon Adventure: 10 nights/7 days on the river
The original adventure. Start at the uppermost entrance to this majestic canyon, floating and fishing from inflatable drift boats. Comfortable ger camps. Commercial flight and 4×4 to/from the river.
Combination Trip: 13+ days on the river
Link a Headwaters Expedition with a Lower Canyons. A mix of wade/walk and drift boat adventure.
Late August – October
Buryat Headwaters Expedition: 6 days on the river
Small groups explore the uppermost headwaters of the Taimen Sanctuary. Drift between streamside tent-tipi camps. Adventure-filled drive across the Steppe to/from the river.
Upper River Adventure: 6 days on the river
Drift boats travel down river between seven comfortable streamside ger camps. As with all trips, new water daily and no shuttles. Overland adventure drive to/from the river.
Lower River Expedition: 7 days on the river
Drift boats float the remote lower stretch. Overnight in a string of deluxe streamside tent-tipi camps. Rafts and camp staff carry gear. Adventure-filled drive across the Steppe to/from the river.
Combination Trips: 13, 14 or 21 days on the river
Link a Buryat Headwaters, Upper River, and/or Lower River journey… the ultimate experience.
PRICING & DETAILS
Single Trip US$ 7,500 per person
Short Combination Trip (Buryat+Upper or Upper+Lower) US$ 13,500 per person
Long Combination Trip (21 days on the river) US$ 18,500 per person
Headwaters Expeditions 4 anglers per departure
Lower Canyons Adventure 4, or 6 anglers per departure
Classic Canyons Adventure 6 anglers per departure
Buryat Headwaters 4 anglers per departure
Upper and Lower Trips 6 anglers per departure
Rivers: dramatic western river with higher elevation and rugged canyons. Majestic eastern river with lower elevation and rolling mountains. Both offer outstanding taimen and trout fishing. Both at north 48th parallel with warm summers and cool autumns.
Species: Taimen, Mongolian trout (lenok), and grayling, Amur pike.
Travel: Ulaanbaatar is serviced by regular flights from: Seoul, Istanbul, Tokyo, Moscow, Beijing, and Hong Kong. Some nationalities require a Mongolian travel visa, easily obtained through a simple on-line application. USA citizens do not require a visa.
Transfers: Trips begin and end with international arrival/departure from Mongolia’s capital city, Ulaanbaatar (“UB”). Driver and guide greet you at the airport and manage all transfers.
Accommodation: Guests enjoy single, non-sharing hotel rooms in UB. River accommodation based upon two anglers sharing a spacious ger or tipi (depending upon trip). All camps have simple toilet and hot shower facilities. Excellent meals. Professional chefs. Dozens of seasonal camps protecting nearly one-thousand kilometers of wild and productive river.
Guides: Mongolian and international guides. Two anglers fish with one guide. Guides rotate daily so guests fish with variety of individual experts. We fish new water daily with no shuttles.
Inclusions: Two nights’ hotel in UB (arrival/departure), airport transfers, transportation to/from the river, permits, guide services, and all meals, lodging, soft drinks, beer, wine, and Mongolian vodka at camp. Excludes UB meals and drinks, gratuities, visa fees and international airfare.
Equipment: Outfitters/Guides supply all flies. Anglers bring personal items, suitable fishing clothing and tackle. You will receive a detailed packing list. Best taimen rods: single handed 8 – 9 weight. Best trout rods: single handed 4 – 6 weight. Taimen: dry-fly and streamer. Trout: primarily dry.
FISH-NATION – WE ARE YOUR FISHING ADVENTURE SPECIALISTS!
PHONE: 307-637-5495 email: [email protected]