Sweetwater

Overview

Group Size: Max of 6 anglers
Trip Duration: 9 nights/6 days fishing
Cost: USD$5900 pps + USD$330 fishing license fee pp
Peak Season: Late Aug Early Oct

In 1995, at the suggestion of friends leading the Mongolian Biodiversity Project, Jeff Vermillion organized a fall expedition to explore the rivers of Mongolia for trophy Taimen. The results far surpassed his expectations. During the 1995 exploratory, Jeff and Mongolian outfitter, Hovsgol Travel Company, fished several rivers in Mongolia which held large Taimen populations. Unlike the Taimen Rivers in Siberia and other parts of Mongolia, these rivers produced Taimen in the 50 inch plus range on a dry fly.
Since that time, Sweetwater Travel has built two lodges in the Eg Ur watershed and have spearheaded the first international Taimen conservation project. With the help of the World Bank, they have succeeded in protecting the Taimen in this critical watershed. In fact, in 2010, they landed the biggest Taimen they have ever landed, a new world record. In 2011 and 2012 they did not break the world record again, but ended up landing extremely good numbers of big fish during both seasons. The camps are located on nice stretches of river in the remote outback of Mongolia. They are strategically positioned to enable fishermen to access over 90 combined miles of river by jet boats. These are isolated wilderness facilities with very limited access to the outside world, which enhances the fishery and the adventure experience. Guests have provided glowing reports about the standard of service and level of comfort at the camp. Each camp is equipped with a dining lodge, bathhouse and shower facility.

Mongolian Gers
Fishermen will stay in traditional Mongolian gers which are felt tents wrapped around a collapsible wooden frame. They are 9 feet high and 18 feet in diameter, much larger than standard wall tents, and are equipped with framed full-length single beds, ample room for storing gear, and an area to sit down and relax by a wood stove. Each ger accommodates two fishermen.

Cuisine
Food is prepared by an experienced Mongolian kitchen staff, and generally clients have been quite pleased with the food. Daily meals include a wide range of traditional Mongolian and American dishes. After a soup course, grilled sheep, beef, chicken and fish prepared in a variety of fashions may accompany side dishes of steamed carrots, beets, cabbage, potatoes and other vegetables. Mixed salads are served nightly. All food is prepared with properly filtered water, so there is no need to pack bottled water.

The fishing

The rivers in the region to be fished are a fly fishermans dream. They are clear and easy to wade. The banks are easy walking and range in size from 40 to 120 feet wide. It is hard to imagine that a fish as large as the Taimen can live in these waters. In fact the largest Taimen yet, a 60 inch fish, was taken on a mouse pattern in a particularly narrow stretch of river. Water conditions in Mongolia are generally quite stable; however, if the headwaters of our rivers do receive a heavy rain, off-color water conditions are possible. In the past, the camp and guides have found that fishing is still possible in off color conditions and that the rivers generally clear quickly. Taimen fishing in Mongolia is a lot like fly fishing for oversized Atlantic Salmon or Steelhead on a dry fly. It is similar because you are fishing for Taimen in the current and, consequently, need to keep your fly riding high in the water. By riffle hitching a mouse, large muddler or streamer, fishermen can keep their fly twitching through the surface film. Taimen have a true weakness for flies presented in this fashion. For fly fishermen, though, getting your fly to ride properly is the least of your problems. Keep in mind that some of these fish are 4 5 feet long. Now imagine a fish that large visibly chasing down your fly. In some cases Taimen will come completely out of the water and hit your fly on their way back into the water. Other times Taimen will simply follow it slowly with their tail out of the water some four feet behind the fly and attempt to gulp it in slowly like a Montana cutthroat.

The guides
The guides at both camps consist of highly experienced guides, who are professionals and well respected in the fly fishing world. They are very personable and will do everything possible to make your fishing vacation in Mongolia a memorable one.

The Boats
Fishermen will fish from 18 ft. aluminum semi – v Lowe boats powered by 55 hp Mariner jet units with two fishermen to a boat. Atlantic salmon-style drops are possible for fishermen that enjoy a break from wading. Each boat is equipped with tools, an emergency kit, and a cooler for food and drinks during the day.

The Fish
Taimen, Lenok, Arctic grayling, and Amur Pike are all present in the region to be fished. The camp requires that all fishermen fish with barbless hooks. Fishing is fly fishing catch and release only.
Taimen (Hucho Taimen) are an especially ferocious fish that can attain weights of well over 100 pounds. In Russia, there are reports of Taimen up to 200 pounds. On the rivers to be fished in Mongolia, the average Taimen is around 32 inches and roughly 10 pounds. However, almost every week, fishermen will have chances on fish over 50 inches. Catch and release is required on all Taimen. Taimen are an aggressive fish that will eat anything they can fit in their mouth. During the 1996 exploratory, one of the guides demonstrated how Mongolians fish for Taimen with prairie dogs. After shooting a prairie dog and rigging the bait, the guide cast out his prairie dog and reeled it back as fast as possible. The result was incredible. A 45 inch Taimen came out of the water and slammed the bait. Fortunately for fly fishermen, a simple mouse pattern will suffice in bringing these huge fish to the surface. Streamer patterns on either a sink tip or floating line also work well. In the past, fishermen have resorted to wets after refusals on mice, poppers, etc. Lenok (Brachymstax lenok) are the Mongolian equivalent of a trout. In appearance they look like a rainbow trout with the mouth of a tarpon. These fish rely on the prolific caddis and mayfly hatches, and terrestrials such as grasshoppers and crickets. Lenok average 18-20 inches long and are very entertaining on lighter fly rods. Larger Lenok will dine on mice patterns and streamers. As one fisherman, later dubbed as Lord Lenok, put it: Why on earth would you cast gerbil flies for a fish like Taimen that are so huge and difficult to bring in when you can sight cast normal dries to 20 28 inch Lenok? Arctic Grayling (Thymallus arcticus) are, to put it simply, scared. The rivers are full of grayling of all sizes. During hatches, two things become apparent; one, the rivers of Mongolia are full of 12 18 inch grayling; two, Taimen consider grayling an arctic delicacy. Still, like the Lenok, they provide good sport and action on dries. Amur pike are present in Mongolian rivers and lakes. In fact they are reported to reach well into the 30 pound range. From our experience, though, we have not had great success on this species.

Details

Cost: USD$5900 pps + USD$330 fishing license fee pp

Single supplement accommodation: USD$600

Max Pax: 6

Inclusions:

  • 6 days fully guides fishing (2 anglers per boat and guide)
  • Lodging based on double occupancy
  • 2 nights hotel accommodation at Hovsgol Hotel (1 night pre and 1 night post trip)
  • 7 nights in camp (length and location dependant on trip option)
  • All meals whilst in camp
  • Guided fishing (two anglers per boat & days dependant on trip option)
  • Beer and wine in campExclusions:
  • Round-trip airfare from your home to Ulaanbataar, Mongolia
  • Liquor & meals in Ulaanbaatar
  • Mandatory medical evacuation insurance (Global Rescue USD$119)
  • Guides and camp staff gratuities (Recommended USD$500 USD$800 per guest)
  • Visas if required
  • Travel Insurance (recommended)
  • Tackle & Flies

Getting there:
Guests are required to fly into Ulaanbataar, Mongolia. You will be met at the airport by a representative of Hovsgol Travel Company. Overnight in Ulaanbaatar. You will be staying at the Hovsgol Hotel. The hotel is located near downtown and has a Brazilian barbecue restaurant on the main floor. Dinner is on your own. Please remember the package price includes airport transfers in Mongolia and hotel lodging the night before departure to camp and the night after returning from camp. Breakfast is provided at the hotel, but dinner and incidental expenses in Ulaanbaatar are the responsibility of individual clients.

Target Species: Taimen, Lenok, Arctic Grayling

Fishing Season: Late August – early October

Weather: 
Mongolia is a dry place with great daily and seasonal temperature ranges. During August, September and early October, the weather in the region to be fished is typically quite good. Sunny days and cold nights are the norm; however, fishermen should come prepared for potential fall weather. In the spring, you can expect similar weather with cool nights and warm days.

Boats: 18 ft. aluminum semi – v Lowe boats powered by 55 hp Mariner jet units

Pre trip

Time Difference: GMT +8

Flight Times:
Travelling to Mongolia is not nearly as difficult as it would seem. Ulaanbaatar is just a two-hour flight from Beijing or a three hour from Seoul by commercial airline. If you are flying from Europe, there are regular flights from Moscow and Berlin.

  • JHB to Ulaanbaatar, Mongolia (+/- 17 hours)
  • UK to Ulaanbaatar, Mongolia (+/- 9 hours)
  • Washington to Ulaanbaatar, Mongolia (+/-16 hours)

Passport/Visa/Inoculation Requirements:
A valid passport with at least six months validity is required for travel to China and Mongolia.. American citizens do not require a visa for Mongolia unless you are travelling through China (and staying longer than 24 hours), a visa is still required – specifically, a multiple-entry transit visa is required for China. If your passport is from a different nationality, you will need a visa to enter Mongolia. Visa regulations change all the time, so please check to insure that you do not need visas for your travel to and from Mongolia! No inoculations are currently needed!

Medical & Health Requirements:
Mandatory emergency medical evacuation insurance & standard medical insurance highly recommended as well.

Currency:
The national currency of Mongolia is the Tugrik. While the currency has stabilized to a certain degree, we urge clients to change only what is immediately necessary. Keep in mind that tourist shops in Ulaanbaatar eagerly accept U.S. dollars as well as credit cards. Some clients have encountered difficulty cashing travellers checks in U.B., and we do not recommend relying upon them for your monetary needs during your trip.

Language:
The official language of Mongolia is Khalkh Mongol. Secondary languages include Russian and English. Language, however, will not be a concern during your stay. When you are in Ulaanbaatar, you will be escorted by an English-speaking guide. All fishing guides speak English.

Satellite Phone & Communications: Please contact us for info/suggestions

Tackle & Gear:
An 8wt, 9wt or 10 wt for Taimen and a 4wt or 5wt outfit for Lenok. Wading boots and waders are essential due to the nature of the fishing. A comprehensive tackle and gear list along with an order form (should you wish to purchase your tackle through us) is issued after your booking has been confirmed.

Photos

Terms

Booking Procedures

  • All reservation made more than 12 months in advance requires an initial deposit of 20% of the total amount due to be received within 14 days of invoicing.
  • Twelve (12) months prior to departure 50% of the total amount is due.
  • All reservation made less than 12 months in advance requires an initial deposit of 50% of the total amount due to be received within 14 days of invoicing.
  • Three (3) months prior to departure 100% of the total amount is due.
  • If a booking is made less than 90 days prior to departure full payment is due immediately. Cancellation
  • If a cancellation is made 12 months or more prior to departure the 50% of the deposit will be forfeited.
  • Cancellations made 12 to 6 months prior to departure, 50% of charter rate shall be forfeited.
  • Cancellations made 6 months or less prior to departure, full individual charter rate shall be forfeited.
  • Reservation for which payment are not received as on time as per the terms are subject to cancellation by FCA 7 days after notification.
  • In case of cancellation by FlyCastaway money received will be paid back in full excluding bank charges.Rates are subject to change without prior notice

Conditions
All Cancellations must be made in writing. Deposit will only be refunded if a replacement can be found. Reservation for which payment are not received as on time as per the terms are subject to cancellation by FCA 7 days after notification. *Once a deposit is received, all revisions are subject to a 100 handling fee. *All prices are subject to availability of bookings, change by service providers, and are quoted at low season fares. *Rates are subject to change. *The ship/lodge reserves the right to cancel a sailing/trip due to bad weather conditions.
At time of quote flight charges, island fees and government taxes are correct but are subject to change without prior notice. Increases in any of these facets are out of the control of FlyCastaway and will be transferred to the client. Service providers used such as airlines and charter boat operators are independent business concerns and are in no way affiliated to FlyCastaway (FCA). Although all reasonable efforts will be made to ensure the smooth running of the tour, FCA cannot be held responsible in any way for bad or non-performance of service providers. While all possible efforts will be made to ensure the success of this tour, FCA cannot be held responsible in any way for cancellation in total or in part or non-performance in any way, due to bad weather or any other detrimental natural phenomenon/disaster, political unrest or war.
All guests must have a comprehensive medical emergency evacuation insurance policy, as well as travel insurance policy to cover them for the duration of the trip. It is the right of the live-aboard service provider to cancel any booking without refund, if the client is not adequately insured. In this case, adequate insurance means: an insurance that covers emergency medical evacuation from the scene of the illness or accident, to the nearest best hospital and then back to your hometown. Cancellation and curtailment insurance cover is also recommended. Furthermore all guests will be required to sign and return the Reservation and Indemnity Form prior to the trip.