Bhutan Fishing Tour: Bhutan is one of the rich watersheds of four main rivers namely Toorsa, Raidak, Sunkosh and Manas flowing from high Himalayan glacier of the North to the Indian plains in the South.
These four river catchments practically cover the whole of Bhutan. The Royal Government of Bhutan has rehabilitated most of the rivers and lakes in the higher altitude with Brown Trout, which were imported from western Himalayas so that fresh water bodies can be kept potable for all times to come.
Bhutan is one of the least explored fishing destinations in the world. Studies have reported a total of 91 freshwater native fish species in Bhutan. However, the actual biodiversity of aquatic life in Bhutan is yet to be studied. For example in 2014 the researchers from CNR discovered a new species of torrent catfish from Khalingchhu in the eastern part of Bhutan. It is the first endemic fish species to Bhutan, found nowhere else in the world. The fish was named Parachiloglanis bhutanensis in honor of the country in which it is endemic to.
Fishing spots range from large rivers to crystal clear spring-fed streams. Altitudes range from 1200 m. to 3000m. The most common varieties are the snow trout (Schizothraichthys progastus) and the brown trout (Salmo trutta), the barbs (Garra gotyla gotyla) and the barbs (Garra gotyla gotyla).
According to the Forest and Nature Conservation Act of 1995, Golden Mahseer (Tor putitora) is an endangered species of fish worldwide. It is enlisted as a Totally Protected species. The National Centre for Riverine and Lake Fisheries has recently initiated a comprehensive scientific study of fish diversity in the country’s major water bodies.
At present it has been observed that most of the rivers and lakes between the elevations of 5,000 to 16,000 feet above the sea level are well populated with the brown trout. The Government has started culling of excess population by issuing fishing licenses as a luxurious sport based on social, cultural and scientific plans approved by the Government.
Except for the breeding season (December, January and February), fishing permit can be obtained for the tourist throughout the year on ‘CATCH AND RELEASE’ basis. But the best time of the year for fishing is March, April and May. During this time of the year fishes are generally small. September, October and November is also a great time for fishing with bigger fishes. Fishing in the lakes is possible throughout the year.
In additional to above the 8th, 15th and 30th day of the Bhutanese calendar and the 10th day of the fifth month, 4th day of the sixth month and 22nd day of the ninth month are also closed for the sales, slaughtering and fishing in Bhutan. Also being a Buddhist country on religious ground, most of the lakes and rivers are closed for fishing.
Meat ban came into effect in 2001 with the enactment of Bhutan Livestock Act, to decrease the animal slaughter during the auspicious Bhutanese months.