Joel Wright

‘If Gandhi and the Buddha were crossed to become a young white boy, he’d look like Joel’ – Sumantha Ghosh. Wildlife enthusiast Joel took time out from wandering around India to work with Mahseer Conservancy for 1 month in March 2010. He conducted a pioneering research study looking at the decline of the Golden Mahseer on the Ramganga River in Almora. Braving the sand mining mafia, boys with explosives and illness he collected alarming data showing that the Golden Mahseer populations are being decimated. Indiscriminate fishing methods such as dynamiting, poisoning and electrocution...
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Sports for Conservation, by Mahseer Conservancy

  A sporting event under the banner of “Sports for Conservation” is being organized by Society for Mahseer Conservancy from the 22nd to 26th January, 2010 in the lovely Baluli village, on the banks of the lifeline of Corbett Tiger Reserve (CTR)–the river Ramganga. Sport is a very effective tool in the cause of wildlife conservation, particularly for the youth since it promises thrilling action while sermons and speeches take a backseat! The first day of the event is dedicated to the girls, with games like kho-kho, kabbadi and rope pulling testing their mettle. A cricket tournament...
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Initiation to the Ramganga, by Sumantha Ghosh

Emanating 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...
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Chilwa (Chela argentea), by Sumantha Ghosh

Chilwa is the most common fish of the Ramganga. They run usually about six inches in length, the biggest specimens growing up to a feet in length. It has a long more or less compressed body with a small head and upturned mouth. A bright silvery fish, covered with minute silver scales which come off very easily when handled. It usually keeps to the surface of the water. When freshly caught in running water, its coloring is most beautiful. The brilliant silver of its scales contrasts with the pale greenish sheen of its back, giving a fleeting radiance. Chilwa has a habit of continually throwing itself...
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Indian trout (Barilius bola), by Sumantha Ghosh

Belonging 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...
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Kalabanse (Labeo calbasu),by Sumantha Ghosh

Known as Patthar chatta in Kumaon and Kali machli in Garhwalare, Kalabanse is a greeny-grey fish with the pink tinged scales. It is also characterized with pink eyes and grows to almost 3 feet in length and tipping the scales at 25 lbs in the Ramganga. A true bottom feeder the Kalabanse, its mouth protrudes downwards when open and has a distinct fringe on the upper lip. It has a partiality for mossy, slippery rocks and sunken trees in the river and can be seen playing about in such places, sucking and rubbing its sides against the rock or trees, as the case may be. Kalabanse is a game fish and...
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Goonch (Bagarius bagarius), the giant catfish, by Sumantha Ghosh

Widespread throughout Asia, India is known for the largest species of goonch. Owing to their voracity, their formidable teeth and general appearance, they are also referred to as the fresh water shark and grows to a length of almost six feet. Its body is usually dirty grey with large irregular black or dark brown markings. Its fins usually have a dark band across them and sprout from a dark base. They are scaleless fish and have fleshy feelers attached to their mouth. Goonch is a predaceous fish and lies in wait for its food in the swiftest water of the rapids, where it maintains position by adhering...
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Golden Mahseer (Tor putitora), Monarch of Himalayan waters, by Sumantha Ghosh

The undisputed lord of Himalayan rivers is the handsome golden-scaled highlander. Undeniably, the mahseer is one of the fiercest fighting freshwater game fish that exists. Pound for pound it had unparalleled strength and endurance. Mahseer does have a transitory likeness to the carp and the barbell of the English waters, but as they say, the similarity soon ends in the turbid waters of the Himalayan foothills. The mahseer shows more sport for its size then a salmon and therefore considered the best sportfish in the world….this is what snobs (??) of the Raj era had to say. Mahseer have overjoyed...
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Fishing for Tiger, by Philip Game

If you don’t spot a tiger in India’s Corbett Tiger Reserve, at least the fish are biting. “Tiger is giving us dodge”, declares wildlife guide Hem Bahuguna, calling a halt near some tell-tale pug marks (pawprints) and scrapings. As the engine cools, then stills, we hear only the birds, the soft breeze and the distant chattering of monkeys. From time to time, another jeep materialises, stopping to exchange a few words. Otherwise, here in India, most crowded of nations, there is perfect peace. Corbett is India’s first, perhaps finest, Tiger Reserve and is buffered by surrounding tracts of...
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Dr James Romesh Mehta, by Sumantha Ghosh

General Practitioner from Shorpshire UK, this avid angler, dedicated son and husband and dreamer is truly an unsung hero. James first trip to Uttarakhand was in the monsoons of 2001 and organized a fishing trip into the upstream sections of the Ramganga. It was here that he really reeled in my first Mahseer and proudly let is go. This was a turning point in my life. Eventually when I wanted to develop a community based wilderness fishing loge on the Ramganga James stood by me and helped in every way possible. Not only did we manage to development a unique wilderness lodge but managed to conserve...
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