Mahseer, Golden (Tor putitora)

Mahseer (local name)

Dorsal spines (total): 4 – 4; Dorsal soft rays (total): 8 – 8; Anal spines: 2; Anal soft rays: 5

Grows up-to  Max. published weight: 119 lbs.
Where to Catch Fast flowing mountain rivers, Rapids
When to Catch Sept – Nov


Inhabit streams, riverine pools and lakes. Found in rapid streams with rocky bottom. Omnivorous, feeding on fish, zooplankton, dipteran larvae and plant matter. Juveniles subsist on plankton while fingerlings feed mainly on algae. Ascend streams to breed over gravel and stones and returns to perennial ponds after breeding. The most common Himalayan mahseer and a very attractive sport fish.Himalayan mahseer are found mainly in untouched rivers with limited human contact, although specimens weighing up to 100 lbs can be seen where the fish enjoys protected status in the vicinity of Himalayan temples in Rishikesh (india).  During the monsoon season from July onwards, golden mahseer make their way upstream through roaring rapids as they climb almost 2000 to breed in spawning rivers, before dropping back to the deeper holding pools of the main Rivers when the monsoon ends in late summer, early autumn. Post spawning season, the rivers are teeming with life and September to November is an ideal time to target these huge predators before the onset of winter. From December to February the fish lie in deeper warmer waters and do not often show on the surface, but as the temperatures warm up towards the end of February activity increases according to the weather, with larger fish appearing if conditions are warm enough for snow fed waters to reach the main river between March and May, with the very hot months of June and July often proving to be good taking time.


The premier sport fish to be found in Pakistan is the Himalayan Golden Mahseer (Tor Putitora). It is widely distributed throughout the Punjab and NWFP provinces, with other varieties of mahseer found in Sindh and Balochistan.The mahseer also happens to be a dwindling species in Pakistan and illegal fishing methods such as netting, electrocution and even bombing with dynamite are rampant in many remote areas. This is because the mahseer is a very popular table fish and now a days specimens over 30 cm and 5 kg in weight are rarely caught in recent times.

Angling Methods

Mahseer is mostly caught in rivers using heavy spinning and fly tackle and live bait, but lures such as spinners and spoons are also popular. It is an extremely hard fighting fish, so heavy tackle is advised, the largest fish tend to attack lures fished deep with specialist spinning tackle, smaller specimens inhabiting fast flowing rapids falling victim to a flashy streamer flies. Techniques include rafting downstream through grade 3 – 5 rapids, and also fishing from both banks of the river on foot, taking care not to spook this shy and reclusive predator.Baitfishing, in a manner similar to carp fishing, for mahseer is also an effective method and the most common approach to catching mahseer in lakes, but another method which is gaining popularity, especially in Tarbela Dam and Rawal Dam is trolling with spoons or plugs.

Fight Characteristics

There he stood, the Mahseer off the Poonch, beside whom the Tarpon is a Herring and he who catches him can say he is a fisherman. by Rudyard KiplingMahseer fight like tigers when hooked, often using the rocks, rapids and strong currents of fast flowing mountain rivers to their advantage. Broken rods and straightened hooks are a regular feature of mahseer fishing, so please carry plenty of spare equipment on these trips. Mahseer in the Himalayan Rivers run up to 70lbs, and are considered to be amongst the top five fighting fish in the world

Leave a Reply