Fly fishing in Mongolia is spectacular. Despite having only 3 million inhabitants and a territory similar to Alaska’s, it boasts exceptional wild rivers. Here, you can fish for lenok trouts, taimen, and pikes, including the world’s largest salmonid.

Fly Fishing Mongolia , a company that offers affordable guided fishing adventures to thoroughly explore Genghis Khan’s country, showcases this beautiful country through this article:




Mongolia is special; it’s a destination that captivates, and once anglers visit, they dream of returning. What makes it so appealing?

  • Unique Fish, the Taimen: Only in Mongolia can you fly fish for a 50-inch salmonid using dry flies. This taimen species is endangered. In Mongolia, it’s known as the “river wolf” as it sits atop the river’s food chain in this beautiful country. Fishing for it is surface-based, using mouse imitations.
  • Taimen and Trout: Many anglers visit Mongolia hoping to catch the fish of a lifetime, but end up falling in love with Asian trouts, also known as lenoks. Lenoks are found across Asia, including Russia, Mongolia, China, and Korea, with two species in Mongolia. These dark red-colored trouts with vibrant fins can reach up to 30 inches.
  • Low Fishing Pressure: Out of Mongolia’s total population, around 1.5 million live in cities, while the remaining 1.5 million are nomadic herders. Mongolia has a low population density, with about 2 people per square kilometer. To compare, this is significantly lower than places like Alaska in the U.S., which has about 1 person per square kilometer. The low fishing pressure, coupled with the country being closed to tourism until the 1990s, has kept the rivers in a pristine state.
  • Incredible Landscapes: Mongolia is renowned for its vast landscapes of steppes, mountains, deserts, and crystal-clear lakes. These natural settings offer a serene and beautiful environment for fishing, creating an unforgettable experience for anglers.
  • Culture and Tradition: Mongolian culture is ancient and unique. Anglers visiting Mongolia can immerse themselves in the nomadic way of life, participate in festivals like Naadam, featuring wrestling, archery, and horse racing competitions. They also get a chance to learn about eagle hunting, an age-old tradition, and explore the influence of Buddhism in Mongolian daily life. Local hospitality makes visitors feel welcomed and connected to Mongolian traditions during their stay.
  • Authentic Experience: Mongolia offers an authentic and uncrowded fishing experience. Here, anglers can enjoy fishing in solitude and nature in its purest form, away from the crowds and hustle and bustle of other tourist destinations around the world.


Mongolia divides its watersheds into three major drainage systems. Each of them is home to different species. Unlike other destinations, the impact of introducing exotic species has been nonexistent so far, making fly fishing even more appealing with the opportunity to catch 100% native fish. The watersheds are as follows:

  • The Central Asian Closed Basin includes Mongolian Altai lakes, the Gobi Valley, and the Hangayn Mountain Plateau, housing 15 native species; Altai Osman and Mongolian Grayling stand out as prime targets for fly fishing.
  • In the Arctic Basin, with rivers flowing towards the Arctic, you can find species like Black Grayling, Arctic Grayling from Lake Baikal, and lenok trout, among others. The main rivers are Selenge, Orkhon, Tuul, and Shiskhed.
  • The Pacific Basin, dominated by the Amur River, allows for catching Pacific pike, taimen, Amur grayling, and two lenok species.

Now you know the fish you can find in each region of the country; let’s delve into each of them in detail:

  • Taimen: Taimen is the largest salmonid in the world, known in Mongolia as the “River Wolf”. It’s a formidable predator that aggressively strikes mouse imitations on the surface. Taimen can reach impressive sizes, exceeding 2 meters in length and weighing over 60 kilograms. The best-preserved populations of this endangered species are found in Mongolia.
  • Lenok, also known as Asian trout (Brachymystax lenok), is a fish that grows larger than brown trout. Fly Fishing Mongolia highly recommends targeting this fish in Mongolia’s small streams. It’s like fishing in Montana when the first anglers arrived. Fishing for this fish with large dry flies in crystal-clear rivers is not for the faint-hearted. Simply put, it’s spectacular.
  • Mongolian Grayling: Mongolia has several species of grayling; among them, the Altai grayling stands out as the world’s largest. River fishing for them occurs in June when they migrate upstream to spawn.
  • Pike: The pike that garners the most interest among fly anglers is the Amur River pike, known for its striking appearance and aggressiveness. European pike can also be caught, mainly in the country’s central lakes.
  • Amur Trout (Brachymystax savinovi): This trout species is unique to the Amur River basin and is a type of lenok.
  • Altai Osman: This is perhaps the most curious and least known fish among Mongolia’s fly fishermen. Its scientific name is “Oreoleuciscus potanini Kessler,” and although it has some relation to carp, adult specimens have developed predatory behavior. Due to its size and the possibility of sight-fishing for it, it’s a species of great interest for fly fishing.


In Mongolia, there are two main types of fly fishing trips: float fishing and wade fishing.

Float Fishing on Rivers: Most of the expeditions available in Mongolia for American anglers focus on this method. Using boats allows access to remote areas and enables fishing along an entire river with ease. The organization of these expeditions is excellent, with nightly stays in mobile camps by the riverside. However, these trips can often come with a higher cost.

Wade Fishing: Wade fishing limits the fishing areas, especially for taimen in larger rivers. Nevertheless, it offers an exciting and rewarding experience for lenok fishing in the small, crystal-clear streams. At Fly Fishing Mongolia, we have chosen this type of expedition because we believe it offers a more authentic and active experience. It allows anglers to explore the lesser-known corners of Mongolia: the small streams where Asian trout thrive.



For fly fishing in Mongolia, we recommend bringing two different sets of gear and flies: one for targeting taimen and another for targeting Asian trout and lenok.


  • Rod: A heavy-action fly rod (9-10 weight) of at least 9 feet in length is recommended to handle large flies and cast them accurately.
  • Reel: A reel with sufficient line capacity and a good braking system to control the taimen’s explosive runs.
  • Line: We recommend two lines – a floating line for dry fly fishing and a sinking tip line for streamer fishing.

Regarding flies:

  • Mouse Imitations: These large, furry flies mimic mice and other small mammals that are natural prey for taimen. They should be sturdy and well-tied to withstand the taimen’s aggressive strikes. Additionally, they should be tied with materials that offer minimal resistance during casting.
  • Large Streamers: Large-sized streamers (4-8 inches) in bright colors like black, olive green, or orange are effective. This includes patterns like Woolly Bugger, Zonkers, and Sculpins.
  • Popper Flies: Surface poppers that imitate small mammals or birds falling into the water. These flies create a big splash on the surface when the taimen strikes.



  • Rod: A medium-action fly rod (5-6 weight) of 9 feet in length is suitable for fishing lenok in smaller streams and rivers.
  • Reel: A reel with at least 150 yards of backing capacity and a smooth yet effective braking system.
  • Line: Floating lines are commonly used for lenok fishing in clearer and shallower waters.

Regarding flies for lenok fishing:

For lenok fishing, dry flies like stoneflies and other terrestrial insects such as grasshoppers and crickets in natural sizes and colors are ideal for surface fishing. Large-sized and brightly colored nymphs like San Juan Worms or perdigones are effective in deeper waters. Additionally, small streamers ranging from 1-3 inches in brown, olive green, or black tones, like downsized Woolly Buggers, also prove effective.


The license to fly fish for taimen in Mongolia, as well as smaller fish like Asian trout and lenok, costs $450. This license is issued by the Department of Environment in each region. To obtain this license, it must be requested through a government-recognized company. This ensures that the license will be used correctly and guarantees the conservation of taimen in Mongolia.


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