Remote angling for the world's largest salmonid: Hucho taimen
More than two and a half times the size of Texas, Mongolia is widely recognized as the home to the legendary Taimen – the world’s largest and most aggressive salmonid. While Mongolia’s capital city of Ulaanbaatar has experienced exceptional growth since the 1990s, the vast, rural countryside remains tranquil and largely untouched as nomadic families continue to navigate and move throughout the year for optimal grazing lands for their livestock. Over the course of a week, anglers will pass friendly local herders on the side of the river rather than other anglers competing for water.
+ Listen to this WAYPOINTS Podcast: CHARLIE CONN – Taimen Fishing and the Draw of Mongolia
The Mongolian river camps – located in the Eg Ur Watershed – are operated and run by Hovsgol Travel Company of Mongolia and Sweetwater Travel of Livingston, Montana. Yellow Dog is proud to represent this partnership, which has been operating in Mongolia since 1995. The upper camp is located on the banks of the Ur River, and the lower camp is situated further downstream on the Eg River (below the confluence of the Eg and the Ur).
Anglers stay in Gers (small, low-ceilinged round tents) that are hard-sided and incredibly warm and comfortable. Each Ger features two beds, tables and chairs, plenty of storage space for gear and clothing, and a central wood stove that keeps things very warm on cold nights. Cots are outfitted with sleeping bags, bag liners, pillows, and fresh towels are included, which means that guests do not need to bring their own sleeping bag, linens, or towels. Drinking water and water bottles are provided and placed in your Ger each morning and evening.
Early each morning, a camp staffer quietly enters each Ger to re-light the fire and warm things up. The camp is powered by a generator, which always runs in the mornings and at night. Showers and a sauna are hot and ready each afternoon after your day on the water. The showers are heated by a wood stove system, as is the river-rock sauna.
Food and Beverages
All meals are served in the main dining room building, where guests congregate each morning and evening for a great selection of hot food. Lunches each day are packed in a cooler and eaten on the water. The menu consists of both Mongolian and western meals. The food is good and usually plentiful and includes a variety of grilled sheep, beef, chicken, and other main dishes and salads.
Typical Length of Stay
The typical package is seven (7) nights / six (6) fishing days. Anglers will overnight on the front end of the trip in Ulaanbaatar, typically arriving on a Sunday. (This hotel night, as well as a night on the back end of the week, is included in the package.)
Non-Angling Activities and Options
In addition to fishing, the camps offer a variety of non-angling activities as well. Guests can experience the rural Mongolian countryside and herder communities, completely surrounded by hillsides perfect for hiking, horseback riding, and exploring. There are horses at each camp, and excursions that range from one hour to full-day adventures can easily be arranged. In addition to hiking, guests are encouraged to visit the archeological and anthropological sites near the camp. There are old Tibetan monasteries and ancient burial mounds – one of which may be the mythological final resting place of Ghengis Khan and his treasure. While this is primarily an angling-focused destination, non-anglers that appreciate a remote location and an interesting culture will also enjoy this part of Mongolia. On the front and back end of the trip, Ulaanbaatar is a great place to explore. The capital of Mongolia is a busy, bustling place, home to a third of the country’s population. UB (as it is referred to by expats and tourists) offers all types of craft markets, museums, public squares, and a number of good restaurants and hotels.
Wi-Fi is not available in the camps, which means that once you depart Ulaanbaatar, you will be offline and totally unplugged (something that is getting harder to find these days). Some U.S. cell phones may work in UB but will not work in the camp. There is very good Wi-Fi access at the hotel in UB.
How To Get There
Traveling to Mongolia is not nearly as difficult as most people think. Ulaanbaatar (ULN) is only a two-hour flight from Beijing or a three-hour flight from Seoul, Korea. There are also regular, direct flights from Moscow and Berlin. It is possible to fly from the U.S. to Ulaanbaatar fairly quickly and directly, or guests can overnight in Beijing or Seoul to explore those cities as well. Yellow Dog can easily assist with all air travel and logistics.
Arrival and Departure Details / Times
Anglers typically arrive in Ulaanbaatar on a Sunday from either Seoul, South Korea, or Beijing, China. You will be met at the airport by a representative of Hovsgol Travel Company and transferred to a small hotel in the city for the night. On Monday morning, you will be picked up and transferred back to the airport, where you will board a Cessna Caravan for the two-hour flight to the river. After six full days of fishing, you will fly back to Ulaanbaatar the following Monday. You can then either overnight in UB once again, or fly out that same night.
A valid passport is required for all visitors to Mongolia and must be valid for at least six (6) months beyond the duration of your stay. Citizens of the United States are not required to have a visa for travel to Mongolia or Korea, but if you plan on traveling through China (and staying longer than 24 hours) you will need a multiple-entry Chinese visa. If your passport is from a country other than the U.S. you may need a Mongolian visa. Yellow Dog can assist with these travel details.
Yellow Dog provides airline reservations ad ticketing assistance through etcTravel Group, and a full-service airline logistics agent that can help book airline tickets, hotels, rental cars, and more. You can click here to request a quote or contact Yellow Dog for more information at 406-585-8667. etcTravel Group offers dedicated support services for all Yellow Dog clients. Service fees may apply when booking or researching tickets, and etcTravel will discuss this with you before sending quotes.
Taimen are an interesting fish to pursue within a pristine and protected fishery. If you love swinging and skating flies or fishing large articulated streamers, then you’ll love this experience and the overall fishery. If you enjoy hunting large, predatory fish and value quality of catch over quantity, then this is your place. Taimen fishing is not a numbers game, but when a three, four, or even five-foot river fish eats your fly, you will quickly understand the draw of fishing in Mongolia. Anglers that enjoy the solitude of swinging flies for steelhead or pursuing musky with streamers transition well to targeting taimen.
Known to Mongolians as the “river wolf”, Taimen (Hucho Hucho Taimen) are exceptionally fierce and ferocious predators. As the world’s largest surviving salmonid, they are famous for feeding on large lenok and grayling, ducks, mice, and even large prairie dogs. Among the preferred techniques for catching Taimen is skating large, waking dry flies. The takes can be violent and unexpected, and one of the hardest things about this style of fishing is leaving the fly in place while a huge fish wakes, strikes and bats the fly before fully committing and eating. Despite the scene that can play out when a large Taimen attack a skated dry, it is crucial to let the fish take down the fly before strip-striking and setting the hook.
On Mongolian rivers, the average Taimen caught are around 32 inches and roughly 10 pounds. There is always the possibility for larger fish in the 40 to 50-inch range as well, and each week usually produces a number of these trophy fish. While Taimen are the primary species, lenok, Arctic grayling, and pike are also found in the area. Lenok runs anywhere from 16 to 30 inches in length, and their top-water eats can be fantastic. Looking much like a large brown trout with a strange, smallish mouth, they are routinely found in shallow, fast water, where skated dry flies and drifted terrestrials can be very effective. Lenok make a great addition to the more challenging, time-consuming hunt for Taimen.
All fishing on the Eg and Ur Rivers is catch and release, with single, barbless hooks only. Anglers can expect a combination of wade fishing and fishing from the 18-foot aluminum jet boats. Atlantic salmon-style “drops” (where the boat is slowly maneuvered downstream using an anchor and pulley system) are very effective and allow two anglers to effectively and carefully fish productive runs at the same time. Anglers should be prepared with both a dry fly set-up on a floating line and a streamer set-up with a 300-350 grain sink tip line. Each guide is assigned a specific section or “beat” of the river, and clients will rotate through different guides and different sections over the course of the week. You can expect long days on the water, leaving camp after breakfast and returning approximately one hour before dinner. Fishing days run anywhere from eight to ten hours in length.
Boats and Equipment
Anglers fish the Ur and Eg Rivers using 18-foot aluminum jet boats. The typical situation has two anglers fishing with one guide. While flies, tippet, and leaders are included with each package, it is recommended that anglers bring all of their own fishing equipment.
Rates and Terms
Remember that Yellow Dog’s services are completely free! When you book a trip with Yellow Dog, you never pay more than when you book directly with the lodge or outfitter. Trips of any length of stay can be arranged, so please call Yellow Dog for details and custom package pricing.
$6,950 per angler plus a $450 Mongolian fishing license.
- Meet-and-greet reception and transfers upon arrival into Ulaanbaatar (ULN)
- Seven (7) nights accommodations in camp
- Two (2) nights of hotel lodging in Ulaanbaatar on front and back end of trip
- Three meals per day while in camp
- Six full days of guided river fishing
- Flies, leader, and tippet
- Beer, wine, and sodas in camp
- Mongolian fishing license (pre-paid amount of $450)
- All in-country air and land transfers
- Breakfast at hotel in Ulaanbaatar
What’s Not Included:
- International flights to Ulaanbaatar (ULN)
- Meals, drinks, taxis, tours, and any additional expenses while in Ulaanbaatar
- Fishing tackle, waders, rods, reels, and other fishing equipment
- Gratuities for guides and staff
- Global Rescue insurance and trip insurance (mandatory)
Trip Deposit Information
A 50% deposit (per angler) of the total package cost for each trip is due to Yellow Dog Flyfishing Adventures (YDFA) within 10 days of booking to secure the reservation. This is extra important for all Mongolia trips, as dates and spots are very much in demand! Also, all deposits and payments must be paid by check. Guides and dates cannot be held or reserved without a deposit. Yellow Dog reserves the right to charge a handling fee of $100.00 per person for date changes after the initial reservation has been made. Full payment is due 90 days prior to departure.
MONGOLIA CANCELLATION/REFUND POLICY
For all Yellow Dog Flyfishing Adventures, L.L.C. (YDFA) Mongolia fishing packages, both deposits and final payments received are non-refundable, regardless of the reason. Because of the operator’s no refund and no credit policy, we highly recommend the purchase of trip cancellation insurance. In no event will the operator’s be responsible for any cancellation of services or operations due to inclement weather, any event of force majeure, airline delays, missed travel connections, or any other reason beyond the control of the lodge. If your flights are late and connections are missed, operators are not responsible for alternative travel arrangements including flights, hotels, meals and any other expenses incurred. If a cancelled package is resold by either the outfitter or by Yellow Dog Flyfishing Adventures, then a full refund will be sent minus a $100.00 per person cancellation fee charged by Yellow Dog Flyfishing. Receipt of deposit and/or final payment is acknowledgment that registrant has read and accepts the deposit, cancellation, refund and responsibility clauses for these packages.
Payment Terms For All Yellow Dog Trip Bookings
In order to lock in your trip reservation, we ask that you please remit payment within 10 days of receipt of invoice. For your convenience, Yellow Dog accepts on-line payments via a direct and secure ACH platform – a quick and easy way to complete your trip reservation. Note that all Yellow Dog invoices include a live link that takes you directly to the Yellow Dog ACH platform for fast and easy payment. For open and existing invoices with a remaining balance, payment reminders also include this easy link to the ACH page.
Other customary forms of payment that are accepted are checks or wire transfers. If you would like to pay in a different way or have any questions about alternate payment methods, please contact Yellow Dog at (888) 777-5060 or (406) 585-8667. We are available Monday through Friday, 9:00 AM to 5:00 PM.
Beginning September 1st, 2020, Yellow Dog will apply a 3% convenience fee for all credit card transactions.
Yellow Dog Flyfishing Adventures Standard Forms For Payment
- ACH online payments (for US banking institutions only).
- Traditional checks (sent via mail)
- Electronic wire payments (client is responsible for any wiring fees)
*Please contact us if you prefer or require a different payment option. Convenience fees may apply for other payment methods.
**Please be aware that the ACH platform is only available for US financial institutions and bank accounts. International payments can be made via wire or with a credit card.