All international anglers must obtain permits to legally fish in Mongolia. The most important (and expensive) of these is the taimen permit. The total permit package is approximately US$500. Individuals cannot purchase taimen permits directly. All such permits are allocated to a handful of government-endorsed outfitters. International anglers are required to book with an endorsed outfitter. The outfitter then secures the taimen permit on behalf of the angler.
Only government-endorsed companies are allocated permits. These companies must be Mongolian-owned and have an established record of successful tourism management and taimen conservation.
Allocations are based on the conservation status of each river’s fishery. The allocations are designed to protect both the fishery and the quality of the fishing experience.
At present, only four taimen river systems can be fished legally. A specified tourism company is responsible for fishing on each river system. Two of these rivers are designated as taimen sanctuaries, with additional restrictions and special rules developed through long-term conservation management agreements. Mongolia River Outfitters and Fish Mongolia are the designated outfitters in the taimen sanctuaries.
Unfortunately, many companies and individuals continue to advertise illegal fishing trips to Mongolia. This includes both national and international companies and individuals. Many companies advertising what appear to be legitimate taimen fishing trips are skirting the law. If a company advertises a low-cost trip, you can almost be certain you will be fishing illegally.
A foreign angler caught without proper permits faces fines, immediate confiscation of all fishing equipment, and expulsion. In this situation, the angler is exposed to the risk, not the company. This creates an incentive for unethical behavior.
Both of our taimen sanctuaries have active, community-based enforcement. Local residents know that we are the only company legally allowed to guide international anglers within the sanctuaries. Our Mongolian guides and staff work year-round with these communities. Community members know our guides and managers by name. This type of community-based enforcement is very effective. Local residents understand and appreciate the value of our conservation partnerships. They will not hesitate to protect their fish and their river. They will contact the authorities.
It is easy to determine if you have the right permit. Simply ask your operator. The permits are issued by the national government and bear the logo of the Ministry of Environment. The permits are very large and "official". Each permit states the company, the angler's name, the valid fishing dates, and the river basin.
For many years, taimen fishing in Mongolia was poorly regulated. As the number of foreign anglers increased dramatically, multiple operators “shared” river systems. Most tourism companies invested very little effort in conserving these shared resources. Conflicts arose. Local residents were unhappy. Government law enforcement was difficult and expensive. The quality of the fishing experience began to deteriorate.
To reverse these trends, the national government adopted - with our assistance - a revised permitting system. This system encourages taimen conservation and improves the level of service for international angling guests. Long-term conservation agreements reduce the risk for anglers, tourism companies, local communities, the government, and the resource. Individual Mongolian tourism companies are now responsible for working in partnership with local residents. These companies must guarantee a high quality of service that builds Mongolia’s good reputation. They must conserve the river, protect the fish, and ensure that international anglers follow the rules.
By strictly limiting access by international anglers, Mongolia is protecting your angling experience and ensuring that the business of fly-fishing contributes to the conservation of this amazing species.
Please do your part and support only ethical operators.