Seven-plus days fishing an incredibly beautiful and remote Taimen Sanctuary…
The “Classic Canyon Adventure” is designed for those of us who like a bit more comfort with their expedition. We pass day after day floating down a glorious mountain stream casting to hungry grayling, large trout and massive taimen. In the evening, we stay at a string of lovely and very comfortable ger camps. This trip is a great mix of remote location, incredible fishing, world-class guides, unique culture, and outstanding wilderness accommodation.
Our outfitters have access agreements for approximately 150 miles of river, and you explore a new stream section every day without having to shuttle between camps. You will float with your guide directly from camp to fish fresh water and in the evening you arrive at the next downstream camp.
Taimen are widely dispersed top-tier predators. We’ve found it’s best to cover at least twelve kilometers (ten miles) of river each day. The pace is relaxed and you’ll have plenty of time to get out and wade interesting stretches with your guide. A hearty lunch is served streamside each day and there are plenty of drinks and snacks on the boats.
These streams are amazingly well suited for fly-fishing. The river has loads of structure. There are no significant rapids, but 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. Over the period of the week, we generally hook progressively more and larger fish as everyone learns the secrets of Taimen.
Along the river journey, and particularly on the drives to/from the river, we will certainly encounter the unique Mongolian nomads. It’s a marvelous event, getting to see and interact with these amazing people and their ancient ways. 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 have had a chance to step back in time.
Reservations & Rates
The cost of the 9 night / 6 fishing days Fly Fish Mongolia Canyon Float Trip package is $7,500.00 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 (13) continuous fishing days exploring nearly 200 kilometers (120 miles) of amazing water. The cost for any Mongolian two-week package is $13,500.00 per person (double occupancy)
Included in your angling package at Fly Fish Mongolia Canyon Float Trip 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 Canyon Float 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 Insurance Information
Seasons at Mongolia Canyon Float Trip
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.
Getting to Mongolia Canyon Float Trip
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. You'll be on the river in time for an early dinner and very good night's sleep.
The rivers are remote and difficult to access, offering pristine and secluded angling. Carved through limestone and granite, the valley is flanked by spectacular cliffs and rock pinnacles. There are very healthy taimen populations with fish over 50-inches encountered every season.
Boat travel is the only way to properly discover these rivers. We have a string of well-appointed camps set out along the core section of the rivers; guests float with professional guides for days on end between these camps, enjoying the beauty of this exotic landscape and marveling at its wonderful fish.
We use state of the art NRS manufactured drift boats to float and fish between these camps. They are quiet and stable, easily accommodating two anglers and a professional guide. They have comfortable seats and large, secure casting platforms, along with plenty of storage space for spare rods, camera gear, snack boxes, drinks and other necessities.
We start these trips in the forested mountain headwaters and end where the canyon reaches towards steppe. Guests float each day between camps. Every day you will cast over a new stretch of productive river with your professional guide. Lunch is served streamside by our great camp staff. You fish as long as you like without ever having to use a shuttle. Every evening you float into a stunning camp where the drinks are cold, the fires are warm, and the food is delicious. The next morning, you get up and do it all over again. Over the course of one week, you'll fish and explore nearly one hundred miles of remote river canyon.
Lodging at Mongolia Canyon Float Trip
We have eight comfortable Mongolian ger (yurt) camps along the Taimen Sanctuary's prime waters. The camps are one day's float apart, each one situated along a uniquely beautiful stretch of river with great fishing right out the front door. All camps have the amenities one would expect to find on a comfortable African tented safari.
Mongolian gers (yurts) are the traditional felt-covered dwellings of the
nomads, and are perfectly suited for the environment. Gers are extremely comfortable, aesthetically pleasing, and environmentally and socially appropriate for the Mongolian countryside.
The gers provide ample space to accommodate two anglers. The gers are nearly nine feet high (2.5 meters) and approximately twenty-feet (6 meters) in diameter. Our gers are outfitted with all the essentials: wood burning stove, wash-basin, small writing table, camp chairs, and sleeping cots. Woolen carpets decorate the floors. There are plenty of hooks for hanging jackets, waders and other gear at day's end.
Each camp has simple toilet and shower facilities. The toilets are clean, efficient, and private. The shower is placed in an insulated wall tent complete with a wood stove. The shower is private and warm, with plenty of space for changing. The stove is a very nice touch, with hot water making the shower feel a bit like a steamy sauna.
The meals are professional, substantial, and very well suited for western tastes: fresh vegetables and fruits, big breakfasts, hot lunches, and multi-course dinners. Every morning starts with coffee/tea service in your ger. Sun-downers and hors-de-oeuvres around the fire cap every evening. One of the nicest surprises for many guests is the fine selection of complimentary wines.
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.
Fishing at Mongolia Canyon Float Trip
The fishing is a combination of drift boat and wade-walk fishing, and it is a great river for both single and double-handed rods. The single-handed rods are used from the drift boats. The double-handed rods are generally fished from shore, but some guests use switch rods to great effect from the boat as well. Most guests bring a five-weight single hand for the trout and a nine-weight single hand for the taimen. Both of these rods will have a dry line. The double-handed rods for taimen can be a bit lighter,
ranging from 7w to 9w. Generally these are 13-foot spey or 11-foot switch rods. It's a wonderful thing to fire a Skagit line out across a camp pool at sunset and skate a big mouse pattern to a giant 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.
We offer a great Fly Selection option for all of our Mongolia destinations. These selections are NOT generic, pre-packaged fly selections. Every specialty fly selection from The Fly Shop is personally selected by one of our travel experts that have fished these destinations not just once but a bunch of times.
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.
What Makes This Destination Special and Unique?
• Taimen are the largest salmonid on earth, aggressive predators that attack streamers or topwater patterns with reckless abandon. These fish average 24-40 inches, and fish over 50 inches are landed every season. The main diet of a taimen is composed of baitfish, but they’re top tier predators in their ecosystem, opportunistic feeders that will attack anything that might fit in their gaping jaws. Streamers work well, and so do rodents and big poppers on the surface. Taimen will absolutely explode on the fly, sometimes coming completely out of the water on the strike. And they’ll keep coming back, over and over until they capture their kill, so if you miss the first strike you’ll typically get more opportunities to hook the fish of a lifetime.
• Mongolia features more than just trophy taimen fishing; these rivers are also home to a wonderful variety of other fly-rod savvy fish. The trout and grayling fishing is often overlooked but can be outstanding in its own right, and in some places rare and powerful pike can also explode on a well-presented fly. Casting light tackle and dry flies provides a great diversion from the heavier rods and lines required for the taimen, while toothy and colorful pike are powerful and acrobatic predators that put a serious bend on any rod.
• The rivers we fish in Mongolia represent some of the most remote angling opportunities in the world. Mongolia is the least densely populated country in the world. There are fences, very few roads, and what people you encounter once you leave the city will likely be upon horseback. The rivers are further protected by the Mongolian government as Taimen Sanctuaries, restricted to Catch and Release, Fly Fishing Only for a very limited number of International anglers. This ensures vibrant populations of trophy sized fish.
• Guests on our Mongolia float trips enjoy amazingly comfortable accommodations in the riverside ger camps. The gers provide ample space to accommodate two anglers, outfitted with all the essentials: wood burning stove, wash-basin, small writing table, camp chairs, and sleeping cots. Each camp has simple toilet and shower facilities. The toilets are clean, efficient, and private. The shower is placed in an insulated wall tent complete with a wood stove. The shower is private and warm, with plenty of space for changing. The stove is a nice touch, with hot water making the shower feel like a steamy sauna. These traditional dwellings are cozy, aesthetically pleasing, and environmentally and socially appropriate for the wilderness of the Mongolian countryside, each one situated along a uniquely beautiful stretch of river with great fishing right out the front door.
• The Mongolian people are truly wonderful. While the fishing is so often what draws people to this unique world, it is usually the sheer beauty of the landscapes and smiling faces of those met along the way that keeps them coming back. Indeed, these adventures are beyond any mere fishing trip; Mongolia is a cultural odyssey to a land forgotten by time. It is truly an unforgettable, epic voyage to a mysterious foreign country.