GPS Coordinates: 49°39’11.76″N   100°03’47.17″E

Trip Questionnaire: Please click on the link below. This will take you an electronic questionnaire form that we ask you to complete and submit to The Fly Shop®. Please be sure to click the “Submit” button at the end of the form. The information provided will help us — and the outfitter best coordinate your trip.


This packet should help you plan and prepare for your adventure with information covering:

  • Trip Summary and Itinerary
  • International Travel, Transfers and Logistics
  • Contact Information
  • Price, Payment, Inclusions and Exclusions
  • Required Pre-Departure Guest Information
  • Insurance Requirements and Release Form
  • Packing Guidance and Checklists
  • Background Reading

To help make certain all preparations are completed well in advance, please provide the following information at your earliest convenience.  Forms and guidance can be found in this document.

  • Copy of Passport Details Page
  • Signed Risk and Liability Release Form
  • Flight Arrival and Departure Details
  • Medical Conditions and Dietary Requirements

If you have any questions, please do not hesitate to contact The Fly Shop® team.

Trip Summary & Itinerary

Fish Mongolia’s “Headwaters Expedition” is a full-on expedition and one of the world’s most unique angling experiences, combining incredible fly-fishing opportunities and a wonderful cultural odyssey into a true adventure of a lifetime. And one we’re sure you’ll want to repeat time and again!

The first part of this trip emphasizes walk and wade fishing while the last two days incorporates specialty designed inflatable drift boats. We’ve found this to be a great balance and the best approach to this unique fishery.

Upon arrival in Mongolia, an English-speaking guide and driver transfer guests to a comfortable hotel in the center of Ulaanbaatar. Early the next morning, a ninety-minute commercial flight delivers anglers to the small town of Muron. From here, you’ll drive approximately five to six hours across the Mongolian countryside to reach our base camp which is well equipped with comfortable gers for dining and accommodation. This leg of the journey will be your first chance to see the “real” Mongolia, complete with horse riding nomads living in traditional gers. You should reach the upper river camp in time for an early dinner with plenty of time to rig up.

This is a true expedition so your guide will decide your motions for the week day by day, dependent on current weather, river and fishing conditions. There are miles of excellent river accessible from each and every camp. Typically, during your first morning on the river, we load up the camels and horses to begin our upriver journey. We’ll often travel up to twelve miles (twenty kilometers) into the headwaters to reach the upper most camp. Guests have the option to either hike or ride upstream and pack-stock will carry our gear. The route is not too rugged and has a gradual elevation gain. We must make several river crossings either using the horses or with rafts.

Once we reach the upper most camp, we will begin the walk and wade portion of the fishing. We’ll spend the next few days working our way back down stream, staying in comfortable expedition camps along the way. Our equipment will be moved to the next camp each day by our experienced expedition staff so all you have to worry about is the days fishing!

Our fleet of specialty designed NRS drift boats will be awaiting our return to base camp. We fish from the comfort of these boats over the last two days of the journey covering over twenty-five miles (40 kilometers) of river. It’s a slightly different pace and approach to the fishing we’ve had on the upper river and just might give you that perfect drift or the chance to get a fly in front of those otherwise, hard to reach fish. The last two camps you stay in below base camp are fully equipped and very comfortable ger camps.

Please NOTE: Participants must be in very good physical condition to participate in this expedition.

Anglers must be able to hike, or ride horses several miles into the backcountry and should be accustomed to wilderness conditions. The level of exposure in these uppermost reaches of the river is high and weather can force trip adjustments. Guests must be able to wade-walk along a river with a rocky bottom and strong current. Anglers should be proficient with a two-handed rod (spey or switch) or have a solid double haul to adequately cover the water on the walk and wade portion of the expedition.

We keep angler and trip participant numbers low on this trip. We send two professional fly-fishing guides on the trip. There is a limit of four anglers per departure. If booking as a group, we can accommodate six anglers on a departure.

Combining a Headwaters Expedition with a Classic Canyons Trip:
As noted, it is possible to link a “Headwaters Expedition” trip with the “Classic Canyons” trip. Guests who choose this option simply stay at the final camp and meet the arriving down-river guests in the evening. The next morning, the entire “Canyons” crew starts the down-stream float. This combination of the “Headwaters” and “Canyons” trip is a great choice and very popular with our guests. Please inquire regarding pricing and availability.

Day 1:  Arrival in Mongolia

Airport Arrival:
The airport in UB is very small and easy to navigate.   The airport code is: UBN.  There are direct flights from Beijing, Seoul, Berlin, Moscow, Hong Kong, Istanbul, and Narita.  Most guests fly via Beijing or Seoul, and our travel team has found Seoul to be the most convenient, easiest-to-navigate option.

We recommend contacting our preferred travel agent Silva Jenabian at Protravel International
Monday–Friday, 9:00 am – 5:00 pm (PST)
Email: |
Phone: (310) 271- 9566

Airport Transfer:
After clearing immigration/customs, you’ll be met by an MRO/FM driver and English-speaking guide who will transfer you to the hotel. It’s an approximately 60-minute drive from the airport to the hotel in the city center.

Your group will have full access to the support services of MRO/FM’s professional staff and international office located in downtown UB. They will be able to direct you to the capital’s interesting restaurants, monasteries, museums, performances, and shops. We highly recommend that you make full use of this complimentary service. The office staff are wonderful folks and will help you make the most of your time in Mongolia’s unique capital city.

You will be responsible for dining while in Ulaanbaatar. There are now many good restaurants in the city. The MRO/FM team will be more than happy to provide suggestions and help make arrangements.

Hotel, Ulaanbaatar, Mongolia

Days 2 – 8: Seven Nights on the River

Travel to the River:
We check out of the hotel after an early breakfast and drive about twenty minutes to the airport. You may leave extra bags at the hotel. You’ll be taking a commercial flight to the small town of Muron. The flight out from the capital takes 90 minutes. The Muron airport is tiny. MRO/FM staff will meet you there, help you with your bags, and accompany you to the first camp. The drive from the airport to the upper camp is approximately 5-6 hours in a comfortable 4×4. It’s a great opportunity to see rural Mongolia. You’ll be on the river in time for an early dinner and very good night’s sleep.

The Expedition:
In true expedition fashion your guides will determine the movements of your journey day by day. Their decision making is based on current weather, water, and fishing conditions. We typically depart our arrival “base camp” on the first morning on the river. When the time comes the camels will be loaded and we will begin our horseback journey into the headwaters. There are miles of excellent water at the doorstep of each and every camp along the way. On our upriver journey guests have the option of riding horses or walking. The horses belong to local herding families and are what we like to call “using” horses. These are not the calm stable ponies you might experience at a dude ranch in the American West. They are fun to ride but can be spirited. Our staff are very experienced and safety conscious but if you are not comfortable riding a horse, please chose the hiking option. The total distance to our upper most camp is approximately 12 miles (twenty kilometers.) The river distance is nearly twice this, giving us miles of taimen habitat to explore along the way. Once we reach the upper most camp, we part ways with the horses and camels and begin to explore the upper river. We have several inflatable rafts that we use to get our equipment and occasionally ourselves downstream. We’ll stay in a number of different spike camps during our journey back down to our arrival camp. Somedays, we will have lunch in camp and others we will have a shore lunch on the banks of the river. The first portion of this trip is a walk and wade trip. The last two days we cover over twenty-five miles (40 kilometers) of river from the comfort of a drift boat. The client to guide ratio is 2:1.

Camp Life:
You can expect to stay in two different types of camps on this trip. The upper river spike camps are equipped with tipis. Our arrival camp is a traditional Mongolia ger camp as are the last two camps on the river.

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, toilet facilities, and a dining ger or tent. Accommodation will be in either a tipi on the upper river or a ger on the lower river. 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 hot, the beer cold and the wine very palatable! Breakfast and dinner are served inside a dedicated dining ger or tent complete with tables, chairs, and wood stove.

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 must bring your own sleeping bag).

  • Please Note: On some trips the weather is quite nice and many guests never use their sleeping bags; on others, sleeping bags are a necessity as the nights can get quite cold.

Hot shower facilities are located in specially designed gers or large tents. Toilets facilities are set up in spacious tents privately situated a short walk from the camps. Both facilities are quite comfortable and private.

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.

The Water:
MRO/FM operates on what we believe to be the two best taimen rivers in the world. These rivers have incredibly healthy taimen populations and we work hard to protect these special fish. However, taimen fishing is not always easy. Come prepared for a super fun challenge. 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 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 may hear elk bugling on the upper river. Occasionally we even hear wolves in the evenings. Mink, sable, and beaver are spotted from time to time. There are fantastically large Siberian marmots cheerily whistling along the banks.

The Nomads:
A highlight of the expedition is the opportunity to interact with traditional nomads. It’s awfully fun seeing our expedition gear and boats getting loaded onto camels. 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 attire while they gallop across the wide-open spaces to their brilliant white gers sometimes feels like we’re stepping back in time. Below we provide a comprehensive trip planner, including a complete packing list.

Ger and tented camps.

Day 9: Return to UB from the River

Back to UB:
Your last morning at the river means rising early, eating breakfast, and preparing for the flight back to the capital city.  We’ll need to drive just over two hours across the hills to reach the commercial strip.  You’re usually in UB by early afternoon. Upon arrival, an MRO/FM driver and English-speaking guide will meet you at the airport and transfer you to the hotel.

Hotel, Ulaanbaatar, Mongolia

Day 10: Departure from Mongolia

Your MRO/FM guide will meet you at the hotel to give you a ride to the airport and make certain all goes smoothly with check-in and departure.

All times are approximate and due to the remote nature of these trips, unforeseen circumstances such as weather, flat tires etc. can force trips adjustments. Traveling through the remote corners of Mongolia is a unique adventure: so, kick back, enjoy the ride and this amazing opportunity to soak up an exotic landscape and culture!

International Travel, Transfers, and Logistics

All guests are responsible for making their own travel arrangements to/from Mongolia. Of course, if you have questions, please do not hesitate to contact us. We are happy to refer you to an experienced travel agent to assist with booking flights. All trip dates start with the day of arrival to Mongolia and end with the day of departure from Mongolia. Please plan your flights to arrive on the first day of the trip and depart on the last day. It is very common for fishing guests to arrive a day early and/or stay an extra night or two on their return. Additional hotel nights can be paid directly to the hotel or added to your MRO/FM invoice. Please avoid tight departures times. There are typically flights that leave late in the evening, just past mid-night. We do not recommend booking this flight on the day you plan to arrive back to UB from the river. This can make for complications if an unexpected delay should occur. It’s better to enjoy the entire night in UB and catch a flight the next day.

Flight Details:
When you make your international flight booking, please provide us with your arrival and departure flight details as soon as possible so we can arrange transfers.

International Flights:
Ulaanbaatar is serviced by regular flights from: Seoul (MIAT, Korean Air), Istanbul (Turkish Airways), Tokyo (MIAT, AeroMongolia), Moscow (MIAT, Aeroflot), Beijing (Air China, MIAT, Cathay Pacific) and Hong Kong (MIAT, Cathay Pacific). If you would like assistance with making travel arrangements, please contact  Silva Jenabian at Protravel  International Monday – Friday, 9:00 am-5:00 pm (PST).
Email: /
Phone: (310) 271- 9566

Passport Scan:
At the time of your booking, we will request a scanned copy of your passport. This will be used to secure necessary fishing and border permits in Mongolia. Most guests simply use their phones to take a picture of their passport’s details page and email it to Cheryl Burns at The Fly Shop® –

Please contact us if you have any questions regarding specific requirements. As of this writing, US citizens do not require a visa for entry to Mongolia. Many other nationalities must secure a visa prior to arrival. There is a simple online e-visa application process:

Most passengers transiting through large airport hubs (Incheon-Seoul, Istanbul, Narita-Tokyo, Sheremetyevo-Moscow, Frankfurt-Germany) do not need a visa unless you plan to leave the airport. If you need a visa for traveling through these countries, please be sure to secure a double entry visa prior to your trip.

Passport Validity:
Please note that Mongolia requires passports with six months validity remaining at time of entry. Be certain your passport is not set to expire within six months of your planned date of departure from Mongolia. If this is the case, you will want to secure a new passport prior to your trip.

Wireless internet and cell service is readily available in Ulaanbaatar. Once outside of Ulaanbaatar, you are generally “off the grid” with no internet and/or cell coverage. In the field, we have satellite communications for emergency use only.

Mongolia uses European standard electricity with 220 volts and 2-prong outlets. Once in the field, there are no electrical services. Please be sure to bring enough fully charged batteries for your equipment. Many guests bring simple solar panels such as “Goal Zero” for their small devices. Of course, these work great so long as the sun is shining.

Trip Extensions:
If you would like to extend your trip to explore more of Mongolia, please let us know. We’re happy to help you with recommendations and/or make the necessary arrangements.

Travel Support:
If you have any questions about flight schedules, travel details, visa requirements, or any other trip logistics please contact our office. We are ready to help.

Contact Numbers

The Fly Shop®
4140 Churn Creek Road
Redding, CA 96002
(800) 669-3474 | (530) 222-3555 |

Protravel International
Silva Jenabian: Monday–Friday, 9:00 am -5:00 pm (PST)
Email: |
Phone: (310) 271- 9566

Fish Mongolia – Ganna Gaava
Mobile WhatsApp: +976.9906.9762

Fish Mongolia – USA Michael Caranci
Mobile WhatsApp: +1.530.604.2160

UB Office
Our office is located in the center of Ulaanbaatar just a couple blocks from  Sukhbaatar Square.
7/3 Olympic Street Sukhbaatar District
Centrum Center #504 Ulaanbaatar 14240 Mongolia
Phone: (+976) 11.330360 | Fax: (+976) 11.321489
General Email |
Web Address |

Inclusions & Exclusions

All meals and beverages outside of Ulaanbaatar are included. Only breakfasts are included while in Ulaanbaatar. We will supply a variety of juice, soda, beer, wine, coffee/tea, and wonderful Mongolian vodka at the river. We provide potable water at camp and request that you bring a personal water bottle. Please let us know if you have any special dietary requirements. We gladly cater to vegetarians but do require advance notice.

You’ll need to bring personal items, suitable fishing clothing and fishing tackle. Sleeping bags are optional but can be a good idea. We supply all flies. Below you will find a complete packing list.

This price includes all airport transfers and transportation to/from the river.

The price includes field accommodation and two nights lodging in Ulaanbaatar, exclusive of personal items such as telephone calls, laundry, and bar. All MRO/FM guests enjoy single, non-sharing hotel rooms in UB. Accommodation at the river is based upon two anglers sharing.

License Fees:
The price covers all fishing licenses and access fees. We follow a strict catch and release policy, including the use of single, barb-less hooks.

The price covers necessary support staff, including camp staff, cook and fishing guides (2 clients/1 guide).

Taxes & Visa:
Visa fees and airport departure tax are not included. The departure tax is usually included in the international ticket price.

These are not included. Most guests choose to leave a gratuity of approximately 10% of the trip cost. Any tips are customarily given to the head guide on the last evening. The head guide is responsible for distributing gratuities to guides, drivers, cooks, and other camp staff.

Each guest is personally responsible for their individual insurance coverage. Guests must carry and provide proof that they have secured adequate and comprehensive medical (health) insurance and medical evacuation insurance. Many guests choose Global Rescue for their evacuation insurance coverage. We highly recommend travel insurance.

Mongolia is an “at your own risk” destination. You must recognize that this trip involves inherent risks and agree to take those risks. Weather and water conditions are unpredictable. The journey described within this itinerary occurs in an extremely remote area far from proper medical facilities. This trip is an adventure!

Required Pre-Departure Guest Information

IMPORTANT: Please provide the following pre-departure information as soon as possible. These details are needed for permits and other critical details.

Please email these items to Cheryl Burns our travel coordinator.

She will confirm receipt. If you have any questions, please contact her directly.  Most guests simply take a photo or scan documents with a smart phone.

We need four basic pieces of advance information to properly prepare for your trip….

  • Copy of Passport Details Page – Please provide this information as soon as possible. An image of your passport details page is necessary to secure permits.
  • Acceptance of Risk & Liability Release – Please complete, sign and forward the release form at least 60 days prior to departure. The form is included below. If you would like us to send a separate form, please let us know.
  • Flight Arrival and Departure Details – Please provide flight numbers, carrier, and arrival/departure times at your earliest convenience. This is needed to arrange for airport transfers.
  • Medical Conditions/Dietary Requirements – Please provide information regarding any relevant medical conditions and/or dietary requirements at your earliest convenience. Please be certain to bring any necessary medications along with you.

Insurance Requirements & Release Form

This is an “at your own risk” adventure. You will be exploring one of the most remote corners of Asia on this adventure.

Every MRO guest is personally responsible for securing full medical and medical evacuation insurance coverage for their entire trip.

Medical Insurance:
Please check with your medical insurance provider well before arrival to be certain you will be adequately covered.

Medical Evacuation Insurance:
We recommend Global Rescue for medical evacuation insurance. Please carefully review the attached document and the Global Rescue website for more information regarding options.
The comprehensive Global Rescue Medical Evacuation Policy includes transportation and services to a hospital of your choice anywhere in the world. To sign up, please click the following link
(800) 381-9754 | INTL. +1.617.459.4200

  • Global Rescue offers annual or 14-day coverage. Please be certain you are covered for the entire trip duration

Travel Insurance:
We strongly recommend trip insurance to protect your investment in this trip. All deposits are non- refundable and non-transferable. Global Rescue Medical Evacuation Policies may be combined with comprehensive trip insurance from IMG Travel Insurance. Trip Cancellation Insurance often needs to be obtained within 15 days of paying your first deposit.

Simply follow the link provided at

Please sign and forward a copy (PDF or JPEG) to: Cheryl Burns at

Acceptance of Risk & Liability Release

Mongolia is an “at your own risk” destination. Traveling in Mongolia involves inherent and heightened levels of risks. Accidents and injuries may happen. Trip delays and/or alterations may be necessary. This includes, but is not limited to, the heightened risk of sickness, injury, disability, or death resulting from wading in wild rivers, use of remote camps, boats, livestock, motor vehicles both on and off roads, and chartered aircraft. Your adventure will occur in an extreme, challenging, and severe weather exposed environment far from satisfactory communication, transport, or medical services. Weather and water conditions are not dependable or predictable. Both may fluctuate and result in trip adjustments. The remote setting may result in increasing the impacts of medical or other emergencies, including significantly delaying response times and access to trained professionals.

Participating in this adventure means that you recognize and agree that: (1) both known and unknown risks exist; (2) you will participate in this adventure in full acceptance of these known and unknown risks; (3) you fully accept personal responsibility for any and all resulting events, including physical sickness, injury, disability, death and/or property loss or damage; and, (4) you fully release, hold harmless, and indemnify Mongolia River Outfitters/Fish Mongolia and any owners, staff, agent, guide, or other associate or related entity from any and all responsibility or liability arising from any cause whatsoever, including, but not limited to negligence on the part of these parties and associates. Your release expressively covers, but is not limited to, any and all injuries to your person or property. In the event of a positive Covid-19 test result, you take full responsibility for any and all related costs and impacts.

Please verify that you have secured adequate and comprehensive medical (health) insurance and medical evacuation insurance for this trip:

Health Insurance:
Name of Insurance Provider                                                                                                                                              

Policy Number                                                                                                                                                                        

Medical Evacuation Insurance:
Name of Insurance Provider                                                                                                                                                  

Policy Number                                          Emergency Contact Person Name                                                                  

Telephone                  Email       


Your signature represents that you have carefully read, understand, and fully accept all terms above:

Name                                                        _______

Signature                                                   ______ Date                        ______

Packing Guidance & Checklists

Packing List:  The checklists below are comprehensive. If you bring the items on the packing lists below, you should be all set. If you have questions about any of this, please contact us. We want to help you make sure you have the right gear along.

Wash Equipment:
Please thoroughly wash and dry all equipment, including lines, waders and boots, prior to arrival. We want to make sure that nasty stuff like whirling disease and didymo don’t make it into Mongolia’s pristine waters.

There might be snow or rain any month, but it’s far more likely that the days will be sunny and warm. The evenings will generally be cool, sometimes just below freezing. Camp attire is very casual!

Metal Cleats:
Please do not bring wading boots with metal cleats or spikes, as these tear up the boats.

There is no electricity at the camps. Please bring required batteries, etc. Many guests now carry small solar chargers. These tend to work well.

Linens and blankets are provided. All of the gers have wood burning stoves. Some guests do opt to bring a light (32F/0C) sleeping bag.

Medical & Toiletries:
If you have a special medical condition, please let us know at the time of booking. Also, please make certain to pack all required medications. If you need any toiletries, bring them. We’re a long way from a drug store. Sunscreen is a must. The Mongolian sunshine on the river can be intense. Biting insects are usually not an issue but bring some bug juice in case.

Nets & Life Jackets:
We have nets. There are life jackets on the boats.

There are no “official” laundry services on the river, but staff can do some limited hand washing and line drying for you in an emergency. There are expedited services for hire at the hotel.

You will want three bags for this trip:

  • One bag to leave at the hotel in Ulaanbaatar with your “city” gear
  • One large 100% waterproof bag for all of your “river” camp gear
  • One small 100% waterproof “day” pack to carry what you want for a day’s fishing

Your large waterproof bag should be capable of holding your camp gear including sleeping bag, spare shoes and other clothing. We suggest NRS Expedition Dry Duffel, Simms Duffel, Fishpond, or similar.

Your small waterproof day pack should be large enough to hold your personal daily fishing gear such as jacket, gloves, hat, camera, spare reels, water bottle, etc.

We recommend leaving a bag at the hotel with items you won’t need on the river, including clean clothes for the flight home.

100% Waterproof:
Please be sure your camp bags are 100% waterproof. And by that we mean submersible. On the river, your luggage will be transported primarily by boat. This means it will be exposed to the elements. Beware of non-waterproof zippers!

Weight Restrictions:
Please try to keep your luggage to a reasonable size. If you bring everything on the “personal gear” and “fishing gear” lists, you should be all set. The flights generally allow you to transport only 20 kg’s (45 lbs) worth of gear without extra charge. If you follow the list guidance and leave “city gear” in the UB hotel, you should easily meet this requirement.

Taimen Tackle:
You will need to bring at least one taimen rod, reel and line set-up. However, please feel free to bring as many rods, etc. as you would like. There’s plenty of room for extra rods on the boats. And the guides will carry your spare rod if wade/walking. You will want to have a rod that you can cast fairly large flies all day long comfortably. Guests typically fish taimen with anything between 7w – 10w. If you bring only one rod/reel, we suggest an 8 or 9 weight, single handed 9-foot rod with a floating line.

We HIGHLY RECOMMEND that you bring two taimen rods/reels. This allows you to load one rod with a floating line and a second with a sinking line. This part of the river can be great for two handed rods. They don’t always work well out of the boats, but are fun to have for fishing around camp, doing a bit of wade-walking, etc. If you’re an enthusiast, bringing a two-handed switch or spey rod along is very worthwhile.

Taimen Lines:
Most of the time we are able to fish floating lines for taimen. Any floating fly line designed for use in cold, freshwater will work. However, since we do sometimes fish larger flies it is a good idea to have a fly line specifically designed for casting larger flies. Examples of good floating lines with aggressive forward tapers that will help with fishing larger flies include Scientific Anglers Titan Taper, or Airflo Cold Saltwater (aka Striper). For other lines using a standard weight forward taper you may want to consider over-lining your rod (for example, a 9-weight line for an 8 weight rod).

It’s also a good idea to have a sink-tip line on a second reel or spool. Examples of good sinking lines include Airflo Depthfinder big game 300 grain, Airflo Streamer Max or Streamer Max Short 280-380grain; and Scientific Anglers Sonar Sink 25 Cold 300-350 grain.

Trout Tackle:
You’ll only need one rod/reel with floating line for trout. Most of your trout casts will be relatively short shots from the boat towards the bank. Most guests prefer to use a standard 9-foot 4, 5, or 6 weight, single handed rod.

Again, there’s plenty of room for rods. So, if you want to have more than one trout rod along, please do so.

Leaders & Tippet:
We generally have lots of tippet and leader on hand. However, we always appreciate it if you bring your own. Here are our suggestions.

Taimen Leaders:
For taimen leaders, we tend to just use straight shots of a quality 20, 30, or 40 lb fluorocarbon. However, 7 – 9 foot tapered leaders of 20 – 30 lb test generally work well.

Taimen Tippet:
We suggest that you bring tippet spools in the 20 – 30 lb range and one in the 30 – 40 lb range. If you intend to use straight tippet as leader – which we recommend – then just bring a couple extra spools in each category. Trout Tippet and Leader For trout, just think about casting stimulators and terrestrials to big rainbows or browns in very clear water. So, 9-foot leaders with in 2X (5 – 10lb test). For tippet, a couple of spools of 6-8 lb. (3X) and 12-12 lb. (4X).

MRO/FM provides all flies. You do not have to bring any flies or tying materials. Most of the taimen flies we use are not available commercially. If you want to do some pre-trip tying, we would be more than happy to supply you with a couple of our “go to” patterns. They are fun and relatively easy to tie. Each year we learn plenty of new things about fishing this river including revelations from strange creatures that lurk in every angler’s bug box. So, if you have an idea you’d like to try, we encourage you to bring it. PLEASE: Single, barbless hooks only. Be sure all your barbs are fully pinched down before arrival.

Taimen favor big splashy dry flies that imitate rodents or fleeing baitfish. They like big streamers that imitate small fish. Think ten-inch grayling skipping across water surface fleeing for its life. Tube flies work great. Single hooks only and please avoid saltwater hooks that are slow to rust if the fish breaks the line. The trout and grayling are more straightforward. Our go to top water trout fly is a black foam hopper-cricket.

Assortment of flies to bring for a week in Mongolia

Name Size Quantity
Parachute Adams #10-12 6
Para Royal Coachman or Wulff #10-12 6
Yellow Sallies #10-12 4
Purple Haze #12 6
Red & Yellow Humpies #12 6
Chubby Chernobyl (black, tan, gold) #6-8 8
Hoppers (foam, Dave, Chernobyl) #6-8 8
Fat Albert (black, tan, yellow) #6-8 8
Trout Wet
Egg Sucking Leech (black/orange) #2 6
Stone Fly (black, gold) #6 6
Bitch Creek/Wooly Bugger #6 6
Copper Johns (red, copper) #10 6
Prince Nymphs #8 6
Taimen Flies
Pole Dancer (white, black) #1/0-3/0 6
Bad Attitude Baitfish (tan, black) #4/0 6
Cyclops (assorted colors) #2/0-4/0 4
PSP Divers (assorted colors) #2/0-4/0 4
Major Bunker #2/0-4/0 4
Blane Chocklett’s Tbone (assorted colors) #3/0 4
White PSP Bubble-Head #2/0-4/0 4
Lefty’s Deceiver (white/chartreuse) #2/0 4
Titanic Slider (assorted colors) #2/0 6
Gurglers (tan, black) #2/0 6

Good Reads on Mongolia

  • Wolf Totem by Jiang Rong – a true story, autobiographical, written by a Chinese communist student sent to Mongolia in the 1960s to live with nomads.   It is incredibly insightful in nomad herder culture, but also in the symbiotic nature of ecosystems in general. A must read.
  • Genghis Khan and the Making of the Modern World by Jack Weatherford – An in depth history of Genghis Khan and the rise of the Mongolian empire in and the long-term impacts to the world.
  • Genghis Khan and the Quest for God by Jack Weatherford – a sequel by the same author, with a specific focus on religion and how Genghis Khan’s approach to religious freedom was instrumental in Thomas Jefferson’s inclusion for freedom of religion in the framing of the US Constitution.
  • Eagle Dreams: Searching for Legends in Wild Mongolia by Stephen J. Bodio – this is another fun and interesting read, focused on the Eagle Hunters in western Mongolia, before they were “famous”.
  • In Search of Genghis Khan: An Exhilarating Journey on Horseback Across the Steppes of Mongolia by Tim Severin – A great read, and it parallels MRO/FM founder Mark Johnstad’s own personal journey crossing Mongolia on horseback in the 1990s, which inspired him to start what has become Mongolia River Outfitters to protect these two Mongolia rivers and the taimen.

Other Good ones…

  • Dateline Mongolia: An American Journalist in Nomads Land by Michael Kohn (A great guy and a good read.)
  • Dragon Hunter: Roy Chapman Andrews and the Central Asiatic Expeditions by Charles Gallenkamp. (This is a very interesting book about a very adventurous life.)
  • Fly-Fishing the 41st: From Connecticut to Mongolia and Home Again: A Fisherman’s Odyssey by James Prosek (Yep. He was in Mongolia.)
  • In the Empire of Genghis Khan by Stanley Stewart
  • In Secret Mongolia by Henning Haslund. (Classic)
  • Journey to Outer Mongolia, William O. Douglas. National Geographic, p. 311, March, 1962. (Wonderful, historical perspective. One of the few articles that came out in the “West” during this period.)
  • Lonely Planet Mongolia by Michael Kohn (We like this because we get a flattering compliment!)
  • Lost Country: Mongolia Revealed by Jasper Becker
  • Lost in Mongolia: Rafting the World’s Last Unchallenged River by Colin Angus
  • Men and Gods in Mongolia by Henning Haslund. (Classic)
  • Modern Mongolia: From Khans to Commissars to Capitalists by Morris Rossabi
  • Modern Mongolia: Reclaiming Genghis Khan by Paula L. W. Sabloff
  • Mongolia’s Wild Heritage — Biological Diversity, Protected Areas, and Conservation in the land of Genghis Khan by Chris Finch et al. (Mark likes this one because his photos on the cover. Really.)
  • The Bloody White Baron: The Extraordinary Story of the Russian Nobleman Who Became the Last Khan of Mongolia, James Palmer. 2009. (Great story about a grim and bizarre period.)
  • The Khan Dynasty Series by Conn Iggulden (this is a series of historical fiction books based on the    Khans, starting with Genghis Khan as a young boy. Very bloody, very entertaining!)
  • Time Catches Up with Mongolia, Thomas B. Allen. National Geographic, p. 242, February 1985. (Another good historical perspective from the late communist period.)
  • Time Traveler: In Search of Dinosaurs and Other Fossils from Montana to Mongolia by Michael Novacek (Mark N. and Mike N. are following in Chapman’s foot-prints and going further.)
  • To the Back of Beyond: An Illustrated Companion to Central Asia and Mongolia by Fitzroy Maclean. (Classic.)
  • Wild East: Travels in the New Mongolia by Jill Lawless
  • Women of Mongolia by Martha Avery

Our Recommended & Mandatory Items List

Packing and Gear Checklist

Mandatory Items

▢ Passport (with 6 months validity)

▢  (2) Fleece jacket and/or wool sweaters (suggest 1 heavy & 1 mid-weight)

▢  (1) Light synthetic or down fill jacket

▢  (1) Fleece or wool vest

▢  (2) Casual long-pants (suggest quick-dry or similar for wet wading)

▢  (1) Casual short-pants (suggest quick-dry for swimming)

▢  (3) Long-sleeve fishing shirts

▢  (6) Underwear

▢  (5) Socks (wool/smart wool or similar)

▢  (2) Poly-pro wicking sock liners

▢  (2) Long underwear pant (mid-weight poly-pro/smart wool/capilene or similar)

▢  (3) Long underwear shirt (1 heavy & 2 mid-weight)

▢  (1) Warm hat (fleece or wool)

▢  (1) Warm gloves and/or mittens (suggest waterproof neoprene)

▢  (1) Camp shoes (waterproof or water resistant)

▢  (1) Camp sandals (suggest Chacos/Crocs or similar)

▢  (1) Headlamp or flashlight

▢  (1) Water bottle (have potable water at camps)

▢  Required medications

▢  Toiletry kit (ecologically appropriate soap/shampoo)

▢  Sunscreen

▢  Insect repellent (lotion variety)

▢  (1) 100% waterproof "dry bag" for gear

▢  (1) 100% waterproof day bag for personal gear (cameras/jacket/fly gear/etc.)

▢  (1) Bag to be left at hotel in UB (travel clothes)

▢  (1) Waders & wading belt

▢  (1) Non-felt wading boots (cleaned prior to arrival)

▢  (1) Waterproof/breathable jacket with hood

▢  (2) Polarized sunglasses

▢  (2) Taimen rods/reels/lines

▢  (1) Trout rod/reel/line

▢  (1) Sleeping bag (rated 32F/0C in waterproof sack)

Recomended Items

▢ (1) Sun gloves

▢  (1) Bandanna/light scarf/muff

▢  Camera

▢  Reading book

▢  Notebook or journal

▢  Waterproof sports tape or stripping fingers

▢  Sinking tippet (10ft or T-8/T-11/T-14)

▢  Sinking line on spare reel/spool for Taimen

▢  Spare rods/reels/lines

▢  Clippers

▢  Small pliers for crimping barbs

▢  Floatant and/or Dry Shake

▢  Fly box with capacity for large flies

▢  Wader patch kit

▢  (10) Taimen leaders

▢  Taimen tippet (spools of 20-25lb & 30-40lb)

▢  (10) Trout leaders

▢  Trout tippet

▢  Taimen flies

▢  Trout flies