I read your recent posts and had been waiting on my membership approval so I could answer some of your questions. I have fished the Bhakra Dam, various canals and the Sutlej river. I've had luck at landing a few Mahseer at the Dam. For bait, I basically switched between a silver spoon and a rooster tail.
Since you are new to the sport, I would recommend keeping your equipment simple. In order to select your bait you want to study the food source of the fish or like you did ask someone who has fished the area. For example the Mahseer feed on shad at the Bhakra dam, therefore I used the silver spoon because you can see the shad swimming around while getting a glimpse of their silvery side. This is just a small example. As far as the rod is concerned, try to get a medium action rod and it will suffice for your everyday fishing. I was using a 20 to 40 lb test line since I was still in the experimental stages of fishing at the dam and was carrying a couple of different rods.
Its been a few years since I have fished there but I remember going to the BBMB and paying some fees and then going to the Fishery Department office at the dam. Everyone involved was very friendly and helpful except some of the folks with the local police chowky who had to be advised to lay off because they were trying to find ways to get money out of me.
I will be going back this fall and scouting the area some more because I have heard of people catching some really big Mahseer in the area. You will be more than welcome to tag along and I will be able to share more on a person to person basis.
Hope I've been able to assist you some.