Angling in Subansiri River, ArunachaL Pradesh

Angling in Arunachal Pradesh | Rivers of the East Himalaya

Throughout the planet, catching a Golden Mahseer is rated as an important accomplishment by anglers. Mahseer is very tough to catch – as it puts on a fight once it is hooked. Mahseer tests the skill of the anglers.  Angling in Arunachal Pradesh allows you to go into an untraveled territory in a very special part of the Himalayas, where tracts of unspoiled wilderness stretch for hundreds of kilometers and human presence is scarce and sustainable. You can prepare your own schedule. Besides enjoying the fun in fishing, you can take back memories that last a lifetime.

Subansiri River, Arunachal Pradesh
Covered with tropical forests, Arunachal Pradesh is a biodiversity haven.


Arunachal Pradesh is a North East Indian state. Reaching the area can be tricky. It does not have an airport or a railway line.  The nearest airport is in Tezpur in the state of Assam. Only Air India (India’s national carrier) offers flights into Tezpur.  The other good option is Dibrugarh Airport in Assam from where the more remote areas of the state are nearby. The nearest rail station is Guwahati (also in Assam) in the west and Dibrugarh in the east. While there are fewer flights into Tezpur, Guwahati and Dibrugarh are well connected with all major Indian airports.

In Arunachal Pradesh, four areas are famous for hauling a bountiful catch.  These include areas around Bhalukpong and Tipi (on the banks of Kameng River), Wakro (on the banks of Lohit River) and Pasighat (on the banks of Siang River).  These offer better bites for the hookups. As these rivers are pristine, there is more oxygen in these waters and hence the catch is always good.  Choosing the right river is important which we generally discuss with our guests.

Principal catches are the Mahseer (golden and chocolate varieties) and the Trout (brown and rainbow varieties).


Arunachal Pradesh is a Himalayan state.  It’s rugged. You are not swamped by a flood of visitors. The available accommodation is decent. Plus, the lure to camp in some of the best pristine mountain beaches besides crystal clear waters and unspoiled forests is truly a unique experience.

Angling in Arunachal Pradesh, Subansiri River
Setting up camps in virgin spots.

Reaching the right spots for angling is a process which needs good planning due to the remoteness of the region. This only the very determined undertake and the place sees fewer anglers. Hence, you can have the place for yourself.  Fortunately, for the gritty anglers, Arunachal Pradesh has five main rivers. All of them originate from the glacial foot of the Himalayas. These rivers offer abundant opportunities for both fast and still water angling. The angling spots are pristine and rarely offered as a travel destination due to their exotic nature.

Finally, the catch! Those who have fished in the rivers of Arunachal Pradesh have never returned unsatisfied.  All of them have caught Mahseer and Trout.


Reaching the place can be very time-consuming and calls for perfect scheduling. This is where the opinion of an expertise comes of help. Then, don’t just rush in! A special permits is required to tour in Arunachal Pradesh – both for foreigners and Indians. Foreigners need a Protected Area Permit (PAP) which is obtained by paying US$ 50 as a royalty to the Government of Arunachal Pradesh. PAP is normally issued for 30 days. Alternatively, even Indians are not allowed into the mysterious state without an Inner line Permit (ILP).


Anglers should dutifully release the catch. Golden Mahseer especially is an endangered species which deserves utmost respect for their marvelous body and their ability to test even the best of anglers. This mysterious fish, a queen of the Himalayan Rivers, is also considered holy in Hinduism, many legends being associated with it. If for some reason, an angler is unable to release them at the right time and if they are dead, it is very important to avoid selling the catch.

Angling in Subansiri River, ArunachaL Pradesh
Happy Anglers!

Extra info

Depending on the size of Mahseer you intend to catch, the ideal hook size you can opt for could be between 5 – 8 sizes.  For the trout, however, you may want to use hook sizes between 3 – 6 sizes.

One has to be careful as wild elephants and leopards regularly ply through the river banks of Arunachal Pradesh. During nights, bonfires are compulsory and it is advisable to stay together in a group of at least 3 or more people.

Also, as there are many tribal settlements on these river banks, besides angling, observing these fascinating indigenous lifestyles is another highlight of a trip to Arunachal Pradesh.

6 responses to “Angling in Arunachal Pradesh | Rivers of the East Himalaya”

  1. Since this 8 year old post couple things have changed. 1.Railway station is now active in Naharlagun 2. You can book helicopter service to towns that are hard/far to travel. 3. Better accommodations have developed 4. The state airport is under construction and most likely open in 2022.

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