Mahseer Fishing South India

Please check out this post contributed by the people at the River Cauvery fishing camp. For further information please just use the contact form on my web page or email me howie@flyfishingsussex.com

Rising from the Western Ghats range of Karnataka, Cauvery (also known as the Kaveri) is one of the sacred rivers in India. It is of particular importance to South India, where the river flows before merging into the Bay of Bengal. The river covers a distance of about 765 km and flows through the state of Karnataka and Tamil Nadu. On its journey to the Bay of Bengal, the river is joined by its tributaries, which include Harangi, Shimsa, Hemavathi, Honnuhole, Arkavathi, Kapila, Lakshmana Theertha, Kabini, Lokapavani, Bhavani, Noyil and Amaravathy.
Talacauvery (also Talakaveri) located about 5000 ft above sea level is the source of the Cauvery. Talacauvery is considered a famous pilgrimage site in Karnataka.  At the source of the Cauvery there is a temple where every year on Tula sankramana thousands of pilgrims gather to pay their respects to the Cauvery.
The river then flows through Mysore district where two islands Srirangapatnam and Shivanasamudram are formed.  At Sivasamudram the river drops 98 meters forming famous falls known as Gagan Chukki and Bara Chukki. After meandering through Karnataka the river then enters Tamil Nadu and forms the boundary between the Erode and Salem districts. The Cauvery is joined by the Bhavani River at Bhavani. Hogenakkal is a major landmark on the course of the Cauvery in Tamil Nadu. Trichy and Thanjavur are other important towns on the banks of the Cauvery.
The river after covering a distance of 765 km merges into the Bay of Bengal through two principal mouths.
The Cauvery is born as a mountain spring at Talacauvery and grows wider as it travels down the hills. The Mahseer Rapids camp is situated at the point where the river comes down the hills and meets the plains. Opposite the camp is lush green forest which is part of a wildlife sanctuary.
The river in front of the camp is fast flowing with numerous rock formations in the water, behind which, large mahseer lie in wait for smaller baitfish and other food to pass by with the current. The wild mango and flowering trees that line the bank are a good source of both insects, fruit and flowers on which the mahseer feed in the early hours of the morning and late in the evening. Fly patterns which imitate these insects and flowers work well on mahseer.  
Sunken trees and branches provide excellent cover for mahseer and other predators like the snakehead which lie in ambush for unsuspecting baitfish.
Both Deccan mahseer (Tor Khudree) and Humpbacked mahseer (Tor Musullah) inhabit this stretch of the river. Being wild fish they prefer to hunt for minnows (Cheela argentea) and usually herd the baitfish into a corner before feeding. It is very exciting to see the chilwa leaping out of the water in an attempt to evade the mahseer whose presence is confirmed by the large dorsal fin sticking out of the water in close pursuit of the unfortunate baitfish. A well placed cast with a lure or fly will most likely trigger a strike from the mahseer to be followed by the adrenalin rush that kicks in as the powerful fish tows angler and boat upstream or downstream. This is something that has to be experienced to be fully appreciated.

Baitfish – Cheela argentea
Lures like the Rapala floating magnum and mepps trophy spinners with the hooks swapped for thicker and stronger trebles are ideal for lure fishing.  For larger mahseer we recommend large silver spoons with super strong split rings and hooks. Plugs that imitate the local baitfish increase your chances of a hook up.
By using sonar equipment in the most productive stretches of the river, we have figured out the most likely spots for big mahseer and the visiting angler will be advised by the accompanying guide about these spots.
We strongly advise that visiting anglers bring their own equipment. However if the angler wishes to rent quality fishing tackle suitable for mahseer fishing, this can be organised at camp. Please write to us for more details on what equipment you will need to carry.

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