In the first week of October, WorldCast Anglers hosted its annual trip to the Onon River in Northeastern region of Mongolia in pursuit of the legendary Taimen. This year’s group of anglers arrived from across the world including Hong Kong, Beijing, Colorado and Southern California. Apart from one trip host, CG Sipe (WorldCast Anglers’ Outfitting Manager), this was everyone’s first time to Mongolia and first Taimen fishing trip.
Following a beautiful charter flight from the capital city of Ulaanbaatar to the remote river town of Binder, the group arrived on the banks of the Onon only to realize that the river was high, very high. In fact, the Onon was receding from a 100 year flood caused by some very significant spring and summer rainfall. The WorldCast trip is always slotted for the fifth of the six weeks that Mongolia River Outfitters does each summer and fall on the Onon. Looking at the state of the river, one could only imagine how it must have appeared and fished during the season’ first week. Thankfully, the clarity was improving daily and subsequently the fishing was as well.
Six full days of fishing and 67 river miles later, everyone on the trip caught at least one Taimen including a couple fish over the 40 inch mark. One of the best parts of the Onon River as a fishery is the diversity of species. Apart from the prized Taimen, many other unique species native to central Asia including the Amur Trout (up to 24 inches), the Lenok Trout and even the Amur Pike were caught over the course of the trip. In spite of unfavorable river conditions, the fishing success of the trip is a true testament to the guiding capabilities of the staff at Mongolia River Outfitters.
Beyond the fishing, Mongolia River Outfitters and Nomadic Journeys worked tirelessly to provide an amazingly comfortable and enjoyable remote camping experience. The fire warmed, cozy ger (Mongolian yert) camps in a new, spectacular settings each night awaited the group after long days of casting 9wts and giant streamers. A hot camp shower followed by a glass of wine and full of plate of local Mongolian inspired comfort food amongst wonderful company was the ultimate finish to each spectacular day on the Mongolian Steppe.
The cherry on the top for the entire group was the cultural and historical education that accompanied the trip. Not only is the upper Onon River the birthplace of the infamous Chinggis Khan and the origin of the Mongolian Empire, the camp leader Honda often told historic Mongolian tales and explained the significance of many Mongolian traditions and norms. For instance, Honda would bathe in the frigid river (high 40’s Fahrenheit) every day because it is considered healthy in Mongolian lore to swim in the cold water and weather as winter approaches. Special anecdotes about the local history and customs were among many of the illuminating and unique aspects of the trip that make it much more than simply a fishing adventure.
Once again, another group of WCA hosted anglers left Mongolia with the gratification of catching the remarkable and predatory Taimen amongst many other species along with the satisfaction of seeing, feeling and tasting part of a fascinating and unique civilization.