This trip is a massive adventure, combining everything from small regional aircraft to off-road vehicles to horses and camels. Participants must be in very good physical condition to participate in this expedition!

This is a trip for guests who prefer to wade/walk. On this trip, the boats are primarily for transport. These streams are amazingly well suited for fly-fishing. The river has loads of structure. There are several small pool/drop rapids and plenty of bumpy sections with large boulders and loads of interesting features, including plenty of riffles and pools. We fish only the prime season when the water is generally very clear. However, gin clear water is not guaranteed. Wild taimen only survive in true wilderness. There are no dams and river flow may fluctuate substantially with the weather.

When the water is clear, we frequently spot cast for big fish, much like chasing tarpon on the flats. This requires very stealthy and technical fishing. Over the period of the week, we generally hook progressively more and larger fish as everyone learns the secrets of Taimen.

Besides the incredible fishing (of course) the healthy riparian habitat is good for wildlife. Birds are generally the highlight, including numerous raptors spotted along the forested river bottom. The watershed hosts many mammals, but these creatures are generally shy. There are roe deer along the banks and moose, elk and bear on the upper stretches. In the early autumn, you should hear elk bugling on the upper river. It’s very common to hear wolves in the evenings. We very occasionally see mink, sable and beaver. There are fantastically large Siberian marmots cheerily whistling along the banks.

One of the best parts of the expedition is the opportunity to interact with traditional nomads. We will be passing gers along the river and spending time with the local herders who pack our gear into the high-country. It’s a wonderful chance to glimpse one of the world’s most unique mountain cultures. Watching the nomads dressed in their traditional costumes while they gallop across the wide open spaces to their brilliant white gers sometimes feels like we’re stepping back in time. At your request, we will make an impromptu visit to private Mongolian homes.

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Reservations & Rates

The cost of the 12 night / 7 fishing days Fly Fish Mongolia Headwaters Expedition package is $6,450.00 USD per person (double occupancy).

• Combining Two Weeks for an extended Mongolian fly fishing adventure is the ultimate Mongolia fishing experience. Start with an upper river adventure. Stay on the river and join a lower river expedition. Thirteen continuous fishing days exploring nearly 200 kilometers (120 miles) of amazing water. The cost for any Mongolian two-week package is $10,975.00 per person (double occupancy)

Included in your angling package at Fly Fish Mongolia Headwaters Expedition is airport transfers, hotel in Ulaanbaatar, transportation to/from the river, fishing permits, guide services, and all meals, lodging, soft drinks, beer, wine and classic Mongolian vodka at camp.

Not included in your angling package at Fly Fish Mongolia Headwaters Expedition is international airfare, meals/drinks in UB, and gratuities. Prices are based upon double occupancy. Trips begin and end in the capital city, Ulaanbaatar.

The Fly Shop® is not in the insurance business, but we recommend Travel Guard coverage as a service with a desire to see your best interests protected. It is impossible to know when an unfortunate situation (loss of luggage, fly rods, illness in the family, or an accident) may occur. However, such things can and do happen, and this insurance can provide a means of recourse against non-refundable financial losses.

Travel Guard Insurance

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Seasons at Mongolia Headwaters Expedition

The fishing season in Mongolia legally opens on June 15th and closes November 1. The June opener coincides with the post-spawning period. This is when taimen begin feeding aggressively. Over the past few years, our 'spring' taimen season has been exceptional with the guides frequently reporting double-digit days. Taimen hit hard on the surface striking anything from stimulators to large mouse patterns.



There is normally a break from taimen fishing from late July through early August. This is the time when the risk of rain and blown out water is highest. The exception to this general rule is the headwaters. Access to the remote Taimen Sanctuary headwaters is a little more challenging, but we have found excellent fly-fishing on the upper watershed during late July and early August. If this is the only time you have and you want to arrange for a special trip, please let us know.

Autumn comes early to this part of Mongolia. Fish Mongolia's fall season starts in August and runs through September. This is when Mongolia prepares for winter. The herders are busy cutting hay, trees are golden, and the fish are feeding like crazy. This is generally considered to be Mongolia's prime fishing season. Although perfect weather and water conditions are never guaranteed, the skies are normally bright and sunny with crystal clear water conditions.

By the end of September, nights have hard frosts. You might experience a snow flurry, bright sunny "short sleeve" weather or both in the same day. Regardless, the drop in water temperature certainly seems to activate the taimen. You can see them moving towards the deeper pools. This is when the fish go through their last bout of aggressive feeding before winter. The weather might be chilly, but Mongolia's fall colors are beautiful, the ger fires are warm, and the fishing can be epic.

The Fly Fish Mongolia season wraps up by the end of September. Mongolia River Outfitters is located on a lower altitude river five hundred miles (800 kilometers) to the east. Over there, the fishing season starts later and can easily extend through mid-October. Between the two operations, we are able to provide extremely good fishing from mid-June to the end of October.

We work hard to select the best times for weather and water. However, these are truly wild and remote rivers susceptible to flow fluctuations.

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Getting to Mongolia Headwaters Expedition

Anglers traveling to Mongolia will want to fly into Ulaanbaatar (often referred to as simply, "UB"), the capital of Mongolia. The airport in UB is very small and easy to navigate. The airport code is: ULN. There are direct flights from Beijing, Seoul, Berlin, Moscow, Hong Kong, Istanbul and Narita. Most guests fly via Beijing or Seoul. After clearing immigration/customs, you'll be met by a member of Nomadic Journey's staff and transferred to your hotel. It's approximately a twenty-minute

drive from the airport to your hotel in the city center.

While in UB, a professional guide will be available to introduce you to the capital's very interesting monasteries, museums, performances, and shops. The guides are wonderful and will help make your visit to Mongolia's capital much more enjoyable.

You will check out of the hotel after an early breakfast and drive about twenty minutes to the airport. You'll be taking a commercial flight to small town of Muron. The flight out from the capital takes 90 minutes. The Muron airport is tiny. A member of the staff will meet you there, help you with your bags, and accompany you to the upper camp, about a 6 hour offroad journey. You'll be on the river in time for an early start.

The first night, we stay in our upper most ger camps. The next day is our first full day of fishing. There are miles of river accessible from this camp. After a good night's rest in the ger camp, we are up very early for our overland trek to the upper-most expedition camp.

On our trekking day, guests may ride horses or walk. The horses belong to local herding families. The rental fee serves as an incentive for conservation. Do not anticipate calm stable ponies. These are "using" horses. They are fun to ride, but not rock solid. Choosing to ride these horses is a risk. If you are not comfortable riding a horse, please choose the hiking option. The total walking distance to the upper expedition camp is approximately twelve miles (twenty kilometers). However, the total river distance is nearly twice this. The river is very windy with a phenomenal amount of structure and taimen habitat.

We are on the upper river for six nights with six full days fishing. The plan is to spend three nights at the upper expedition camp, and you will be wade-walking the miles of amazing water around this camp. After this, we work our way down-river for three days, staying two nights in spike camps and the last evening back in the upper ger camp.

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Lodging at Mongolia Headwaters Expedition

Much like an African tented safari, the camps are rustic but very comfortable. Each campsite along the river is uniquely peaceful, designed to reflect Mongolian traditions and integrate with the country's natural surroundings. They are completed with cook tent, hot showers, and toilet facilities. Hot shower facilities are located in specially designed large tents as are the toilets. Both facilities are quite comfortable and private. There are no generators or stereos, only the sounds of the trees and the

river, the lights of candles and stoves, and the sparkling night stars.

The cooks are veterans. The food is fresh, diverse and very well suited to Western tastes. The coffee is usually hot, the beer cold and the wine very palatable! Breakfast and dinner are served either inside a dedicated dining ger (yurt) or in very remote camps a central wall tent complete with tables, chairs, and wood stove.

On the Headwaters Expedition, guests will stay in two types of accommodation: gers and tents (tipis). With their wooden lattice frames, wood burning stoves and insulating felt walls, sleeping in a cozy Mongolian ger is a great experience. It's much like having a spacious streamside hotel room. The gers have wood stoves. On cool mornings, one of the camp staff will enter at your request and light the stove before sunrise… a great way to start the day! The tents (tipis) are also very comfortable. The tipis are over ten feet tall and nearly eighteen feet wide.

Both the gers and the tipis accommodate two guests and are outfitted with simple table and chairs, wool carpets, two cots with pads, and extra blankets. (You provide the sleeping bag).

Mongolian culture venerates hospitality and the camp staff is no exception. They are wonderful, hard-working, fun, and highly attentive folks. You'll have a great time getting to know them and they will make your visit remarkable.

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Fishing at Mongolia Headwaters Expedition

This is a trip for guests who prefer to wade/walk. On this trip, the boats are primarily for transport. These streams are amazingly well suited for fly-fishing. The river has loads of structure. There are several small pool/drop rapids and plenty of bumpy sections with large boulders and loads of interesting features, including plenty of riffles and pools. We fish only the prime season when the water is generally very clear. However, gin clear water is not guaranteed. Wild taimen only survive in true

wilderness. There are no dams and river flow may fluctuate substantially with the weather.

When the water is clear, we frequently spot cast for big fish, much like chasing tarpon on the flats. This requires very stealthy and technical fishing. Over the period of the week, we generally hook progressively more and larger fish as everyone learns the secrets of Taimen.

Taimen are giant predators, renowned for a ferocious appetite and explosive strike. Their main diet is "small" fish and they do take well-presented streamers. However, taimen often feed on the surface, searching out small mammals and even ducklings. This means taimen aggressively take skated or gurgling surface flies, too. Taimen will absolutely explode on the fly, sometimes coming completely out of the water on the strike. On witnessing this impressive smash and grab many anglers pull too soon and miss the hook up. The trick is to keep stripping until you feel the weight of the fish, then set the hook. If you miss the first strike, slam that fly right back on the water. That big, angry fish will usually come back around and absolutely hammer your fly.

These taimen will often go airborne. Like a big tarpon, they will tail walk along the river's surface. In skinny water, they will rocket across the river for greater depths. The four-foot long predator on the end of your line will charge around the pool, bore deep and shake its head violently like a very, very big brown trout.

Mongolia is a world-class trout-fishing destination, too. Fly-fishing for giant taimen is the big draw. However, the same pristine and productive water that holds monster taimen also produces phenomenal numbers of lenok and grayling.

Lenok are an ancient and beautiful Siberian trout. They have golden bodies, bright red bands and black spots. Throughout the fishing season, these native trout feed aggressively on the surface. They wait along banks and beneath willows to slurp the abundant grasshopper, mayfly and stonefly hatches. A large Siberian trout will happily destroy a mouse pattern skated across a shallow run or behind a rock. They will smash bead-heads dropped beneath riffles. Fly-fishing for these native trout is as good or better than any trout fishery in the American West.

These rivers hold astounding numbers of grayling. Grayling are a main food source for taimen. In fact, taimen will often come from nowhere and attack the grayling on the end of your line. While wading, we often watch dozens of grayling casually sipping small hatches within a few feet of us. These fish are wonderful fun on a light rod, and amazingly they will even nail small mouse patterns!

Reel, Rod and Line:
The "classic" set-up is a single-handed 8 or 9w rod for Taimen and a second 4, 5, or 6w rod for trout. (Taimen can be over fifty inches and forty pounds. Many trout will be around twenty inches and right around three pounds.) Many guests also bring spare rods. A 7w is a nice addition for throwing smaller dry flies. Make sure your reel has a functional drag and is fully loaded with backing. Large arbor reels are useful.

We've found the best lines for taimen to be the Rio Outbound Short for a floating line, and bringing along a 200-250 grain sink tip is also a good idea.

This is a great river for spey and switch rods. Seven – nine weight is a good choice. Most guests have a tough time fishing the spey rods from the boat, so best to have a single hand for fishing from the boat and use the spey for working particular runs.

For trout and grayling, folks typically fish with a weight forward floating line for both wet and dry flies.

Bring a good supply of leader material. Nine foot or longer leaders suitable for salmon or big steelhead work fine for Taimen. Normal trout leaders are great for the lenok. Bring clippers, hemostats and tippet. The guides all have large landing nets.

There are usually extras of just about everything in camp. However, we recommend that you bring a back-up rod, reel and line just in case. Of course, one client broke his 9 weight, picked up his 5 weight, and straight away landed a monster Taimen.

The guides will supply the taimen flies. They have their own patterns and tying equipment on hand. The flies are user friendly and not obnoxiously large. Just like any trout or salmon, you don't need a giant fly to catch a giant fish. If you have patterns that you would like to try, please bring them. Taimen fishing is an evolving pursuit and we're always amazed by what works. For the trout, an assortment of general patterns works just fine.

Bring a fishing vest/chest pack with a drying patch, waist or chest high breathable waders, and comfortable wading shoes. (Please, no spikes on the boots. The spikes tear the boats). A waterproof jacket, good hat, and polarized sunglasses (on a keeper) are must haves.

Please bring a small waterproof bag that fits your personal "day's fishing" stuff, e.g., camera, spare coat, etc. We have life jackets and coolers on the boats.

You will want to pack as if going to float a river in Montana the first week in October. There might be snow or rain, but it's far more likely that the days will be sunny and warm (60 – 70 degrees F). As unbelievable as it may sound, be prepared for both snow and wet wading even during the early and late season. Evenings are generally cool, sometimes just below freezing.

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Making Reservations to Mongolia Headwaters Expedition

To make a reservation, please give us a call at 800-669-3474 during business hours any day of the week, or email us at travel@theflyshop.com anytime. We can give you the answers you need, detailed explanations to questions you might have, or check on availability and confirm your reservation in minutes.