The Degrading Trout Fisheries of Pakistan

By Yousuf Paracha

I recently had the chance to go back up to Hunderap Lake, in Gilgit-Baltistan. It was my fourth trip to the lake over the years. Sadly, the fishing was quite mediocre at Hunderap Lake.

On the way I had no success at all, fishing at Phander Lake, where I stayed for two days to acclimatize to the thin air.

 By conditioning my body to adapt to the comparatively lower oxygen levels in these areas (I live at sea level), I aimed to prepare myself to take on the 13-kilometer trek to the Lake from Hunderap Village with ease.

I had a lot of time to kill during this period, so I even fished a vast stretch of the river between Gupis and Phander Lakes that looked like it would hold some trout. The outcome was the same.

I tried all types of spinners (Mepps, Rooster Tails, Blue fox, Panther Martins, you name it), and multiple specimens from every group of flies (dry, wet, nymphs, streamers, lures) that I could find in my fly box. I tried fishing in the early morning, afternoon, and late evening to ensure I fished in all light conditions. Still nothing.

Obviously, I was concerned for the health of this fishery. It was quite clear that the fishery was being exploited.

Overfishing was identified as the main cause, when a group of teenage boys offered to sell me a make-shift stringer of trout averaging 6-7 inches with the odd 10 incher amongst them. They had caught these at their honey holes nearby and had brought them to the PTDC Phander Lake where I was staying. On further investigation, it was clear that this was a common money-making activity to indulge in part-time.

It was at this point in my fishing trip that I realized I needed to switch gears from making an ordinary fishing video for entertainment, to delivering a more important public service message with a deeper meaning.

This Video aims to encourage the practice of Catch and Release fishing, as well as discourage the removal of undersized fish and over-fishing.

Hope you like it.

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