Fishing The River Tuul

by Chris Devonshire-Ellis

August 1st, 2014


Mongolia is blessed with pristine rivers and lakes, and due to the relative remoteness of the country, and the fact that the Nomads don’t usually eat fish (a lack of fats needed to bulk up for the harsh winters) these pure waters are left in relative quiet. I learned to fly fish in Scotland, hours practicing with just a line and trying to precision hit a clump of thistles 25, 50, then 75 yards away before eventually upgrading to Brown Trout and the nocturnal Sea Trout.

An additional pleasure in Mongolia is the sheer absence of people, and the abundance of nature. Even if nothing is caught, it’s still a good day out in the countryside with plenty to see. Accompanied by my good friend and keen angler Oliver, we camped out for two nights by the banks of the River Tuul, about 60km north of Ulaan Baatar. The views were spectacular, with plenty of wildlife; frogs in the shallows, Arctic Poppies blooming on the gravel river banks, and a young brood of Red-Breasted Mergansers bobbing along up and down our proposed beat.


Arctic Poppy


Mongolian Frog

Mongolian Frog


Red Breasted Merganser & Chicks


That day – nothing. It was possibly a little chilly, making the fish – any fish – lethargic. The evenings meal then was prepared by our driver, who stuffed a small pressure cooker type aluminium tin with small chunks of Yak meat, carrots and potatoes with river water, and cooked it in the campfire. It was excellent.

Still searching for even the one that got away




The next day, more of the same, although Oliver landed a medium sized brown trout and a couple of Grayling, which were sweet, delicious and all to show for our efforts. I came up, empty handed. However, the sunset was superb and the Mergansers reward enough. Fishing is really all about the taking part and being close to nature. For me, that is good enough reward.