There are several varieties of sport fish in the river, including endemic Amur pike, grayling and asp. We fish primarily for the taimen, lenok and Amur trout.
Trout and Lenok: Many guests have described the trout fishing as possibly the best in the world. Although that's a difficult claim to substantiate, anglers should expect days deep into the double digits with 30 fish commonly boated in a single good day. Lenok (Brachymystax lenok) are found throughout Mongolia. They have bright red sides and a down-turned mouth. Amur trout (Brachymystax savinovi) are found only in a few Mongolian streams. This is a thick-bodied, golden fish with deep black spots and a very belligerent attitude. Amur trout are colored similarly to a brown trout and built like a cutthroat. The average size for both lenok and Amur trout is 18 - 22 inches with some reaching 25 inches or more. They are usually very willing to take a fly, making the enthusiastic trout and lenok a nice balance to the obstinate taimen.
Taimen: Casting for taimen is highly addictive. Taimen are strong, ferocious, top-feeding predators. A taimen's strike is thrilling and un-matched by any other freshwater species. They are beautiful, ancient creatures. During most seasons, we catch and release several hundred taimen. We've had numerous anglers catch and release more than ten taimen in a day. The productive river holds a wide range of ages, from fingerlings spawned last spring to decades old adults. On a normal week, most taimen released will measure in the thirty inch range and several will come in over forty inches (1m). The river's largest and most elusive taimen are in the fifty to sixty inch bracket (1.5 m). These enormous fish are widely distributed, commonly seen and occasionally landed. Guests encounter many large fish during their stay and can typically expect several excellent taimen shots a day. These are all great numbers, but don't be fooled. Taimen fishing can be very challenging. Taimen may not require Herculean casting skills, but often demand steel-heading patience. Come prepared for a wonderful angling challenge, celebrate every fish caught and you'll have the trip of a lifetime.
The Water: This is a stream designed for fly-fishing. The fishery is exceptionally healthy, with great water quality, species diversity and riparian habitat. It is very common for us to spot fish for taimen, trout and lenok. The river flows through dramatic, sparsely populated and highly varied landscapes. The lower river is more rugged, isolated and holds more water than the upper sections. The upper and lower sections fish equally well with perhaps slightly better trout fishing on the upper and marginally better taimen fishing on the lower. The scenery is striking on both sections.
The Boats: MRO is Mongolia's only drift-boat operation. All anglers fish from ClackaCrafts. We have Clacka LP's and Headhunter Skiffs. The Clackas have lots of space for two anglers, comfortable seats, solid casting braces, spare fly-rod holders and plenty of dry storage for your gear. Manufactured in the US, Clackacrafts are graceful fishing platforms. These drift boats allow us to fish the river quietly, efficiently and comfortably. It's quite an experience, standing tall in a drift boat and casting for a feeding taimen. For back-up, we have a quiver of Aire rafts outfitted with full-house casting frames.
Catch and Release/Fly Fishing Only: The river is the first in Mongolia legally designated catch and release/fly fishing only for all international anglers. We insist that all clients practice catch and release fly-fishing using single, barb-less hooks. It takes a Taimen approximately seven years to reach sexual maturity. A trophy Taimen may be over twenty-five years old. Taimen are smart, top-tier predators. Even in the healthiest of rivers, their population densities are not high. Respecting these amazing animals is paramount