Initiation to the Ramganga, by Sumantha Ghosh

himalayaEmanating from Dudhatoli, some 140 km north of Corbett Tiger Reserve (CTR) in the Himalayan foothills, the Western Ramganga is also known as the Corbett Ramganga or just Ramganga. Since Ramganga is not a snow-fed river, fishing is a throughout the year attraction. Fishing is permitted on the 100 km stretch from Nagteley to Masi in the Upper Ramganga reaches from 15th of June till the 30th of September. You can enjoy the thrill of sport fishing in the exclusive beats around Vanghat from the 1st of October till the 15th of June, each season.

The upper Ramganga is a typical Himalayan river with deep pools and glorious runs. Fishing is permitted along a 24 km upstream stretch—a delight for serious anglers who rate this stretch as one of the best organized in India for sport-fishing for mahseer, goonch, Indian trout and the lesser known kalabasu.

Picture 208This part of the western Himalayas boasts a unique bio-geographical identify with a distinct icthyofaunal assemblage. There have been very few studies conducted on the ecology of freshwater fishes in this region. The most recent survey conducted by the Wildlife Institute of India in 2005, recorded 43 species belonging to six orders and nine families of fish in this river system. Each July, the monsoon transforms the river into a destructive spate. However, the now replenished nutrients ensure that the riverine system continues to flourish ad nauseam.

The fishing beats teem with clever Golden mahseer and goonch, while the old forests with elephants and great hornbills—testimony to the protection afforded to the Corbett National Park since the end of 18th century for the Lieutenant Governor’s yearly shoots.

Ramganga river Corbett 2The Ramganga upwards of the Marchula bridge shimmies past scattered villages adorned with terraced fields and small temples. This 50 km stretch right up to Jainal boasts interesting fishing opportunities with gillies willing to hike their way walks to very remote areas far from habitation, and holding a rudimentary campsite or temple premise as a base, fish in some of the best spots adjoining sites.  The Hindu reverence for life has preserved the pristine nature of these regions and the locals have welcomed our philosophy of catch-and-release sport fishing.

The Ramganga is also home to the rare and endemic fish-eating gharial and mugger and a paradise for Otters—the Common, Smooth-coated and Small-clawed otters make the most of their larder which is well-stocked with turtles!

Avian predators that thrive in this river paradise are Pallas’s, Grey headed and Lesser fishing eagles, majestic osprey, several species of cormorants, darters, herons, five species of kingfishers and several other waders.

You can have the satisfaction of scooting away for a quick 2 day fishing excursion (from Delhi and near by regions) or spend a languorous 20 days sport-fishing—and never at the same spot!

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