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Game for trout! Anglers ready for Manali contest

By Vishal Gulati, IANS,

Shimla : More than 30 sport anglers from across the country will converge in the picturesque hill town of Manali next month to pit their wits against the trout, an exotic game fish found in the gurgling streams of Himachal Pradesh.

The angling competition, involving fishing with a hook and line in the Beas and its tributaries, is being organised Oct 10 by the state fisheries department in association with the Himachal Angling Association in Manali in Kullu district.

“The annual one-day angling meet will be organised near Patlikuhl (mid-way between Kullu and Manali). More than 30 anglers from across the country are likely to vie for the biggest catch,” Himachal Angling Association president K.B. Ralhan told IANS.

He said angling would be organised from Raison bridge to Klath village, some 220 km from Shimla.

The entire Kullu Valley offers one of the best spots for trout fishing in the Beas river and its tributaries – Sarveri, Parbati, Sajoin and Phojal.

“Each angler will be allowed to catch fish from 6.30 a.m. to 12 noon. The angler who will catch the biggest fish in terms of weight would be the winner. The angler with the maximum catch will also get a prize,” Ralhan said.

The Himachal Angling Association has been organising fishing tournaments – for the trout and the golden mahseer – since 1978.

In March every year, it organises the angling of the golden mahseer, another game fish, in the Pong Dam reservoir in the Kangra valley.

“Angling in the gurgling streams and in the calm waters of the reservoir is different. Both require different techniques and skills to hook the fish. Some prefer the sport in the streams, and others in the reservoirs,” Ralhan said.

Fishery Department director B.D. Sharma said the trout is a cold-water fish and is found in the upper Himalayas.

Of the 15 trout species found globally, two species – brown and rainbow – are found in Himachal Pradesh.

The Pabbar stream in upper Shimla, the Baspa stream in Kinnaur district, the Uhl stream in Mandi district, and the Beas river and its tributaries in Kullu district support a good population of the trout.

Sharma said besides this contest, any angler with permission from the fishery department is allowed to catch six trout a day with a hook and line.

However, a trout should not be less than 40 cm in size.

Ramandeep Bajwa, an avid angler from Chandigarh, said: “Of course, it is fun. It is a family event. We are reaching there with hooks and baits.”

The association will provide accommodation to the participants.

Britons first introduced the trout in the state in 1909 to promote game fishing. At that time, the fingerlings which were brought from Jammu and Kashmir were released in streams of Chamba, Kangra and Kullu districts.

Himachal Pradesh is aptly called a storehouse of aquatic biodiversity.

According to studies conducted by Panjab University in Chandigarh, the state’s water bodies are home to 85 fish species, including rohu, catla and mrigal.

The trout are not a rare species, but experts say their numbers have declined over the years due to the construction of hydroelectric projects.

(Vishal Gulati can be contacted at [email protected])