In Search of the River Wolf
More than two and a half times the size of Texas, Mongolia is a mysterious country to foreigners. To most, it is recognized as the fabled homeland of the fierce nomadic warrior Genghis Kahn. For anglers, however, it is known as the home to the legendary Taimen – the world’s largest surviving salmonid. While Mongolia’s city of Ulaanbaatar has experienced exceptional growth since the 1990s, the rural countryside is still largely untouched as in many ways exactly the same as it has been for hundreds of years.
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, and 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 that are 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 are 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 into 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 works directly with and recommends Kanna Travel. They can assist with airline tickets, hotels, transfers and all travel logistics for every destination that we offer. Contact them at 855-739-3139 or [email protected] for more details on airfare ticketing, travel services, and trip insurance.
This is an interesting fishery, and Taimen are an interesting fish to pursue. If you love swinging and skating big flies, 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. This is rarely a numbers game, but when a three, four or even five-foot river fish eats your fly and the line comes tight, you’ll quickly understand the draw of fishing in Mongolia. If you enjoy fishing and swinging flies for steelhead or musky, then you will love the Taimen fishing in Mongolia.
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 is 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 makes 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.
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.
$6300 per angler plus a $330 Mongolian fishing license.
$6500 per angler plus a $330 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 $330)
- 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.