Indian trout (Barilius bola), by Sumantha Ghosh

tourBelonging to the baril family, there are 14 varieties resident in India. Most of these take a fly with great interest. Despite being sporting fish, barils don’t grow to more than ten inches, except one variety—Barilius bola or the Indian trout, which tilts the scales at 5 lbs. The Indian trout can be found in any of the streams of Northen India and Assam. It prefers slow moving water above a rapid with fairly large boulders, to the actual rapid itself.

It is silvery in color and has two or more rows of bluish blotches along the sides. Its caudal fin is orange stained with grey and black, while all other fins are orange. It is a highly predatory fish and frequents the runs in search of food. A voracious feeder, it will take live and dead bait, worm, spoon and a fly, and possibly other things which you might not be able to think of. When hooked, it gets infuriated and often leaps out of water in an attempt to get free.

Domunda the confluence of Ramganga and Mandal is perhaps the best spot to hook the Indian trout in this area and on several occasions we have caught half a dozen in a morning session with fly spoon or fly. Indian Trout is also found in the adjoining Kosi river.

The Indian trout is a tasty morsel and so are the other barils. The best on the plate is the one which has blue spots in place of red and lacks the adipose dorsal fin. It has large irregular brown or black markings and cross bands and yellow flesh that makes a good meal. The Indian Trout is good Bait for mahseer—the small ones are particularly loved by the mahseer, so they make an excellent live or dead bait.

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