First hand account of First Ever Trout Angling in KIRCHI STREAM
In Dudu Basantgarh area of District Udhampur
Angling is a passion no other outdoor activity equals the thrill, joy, adventure and satisfaction involved in Rod fishing particularly when it comes to Trout or Mahaseer fishing in India. I have been an active Angler with a deep involvement in Trout fishing in Kashmir over the past few years, having undertaken the fishing activity in almost all the trout beats of Kashmir and experienced the satisfaction of adventure of the sport fishing in world famous crystal clear Trout waters of Kashmir. My passion and involvement in the Angling grew to the extent that I started nurturing a desire to have such activities extended to the higher reaches of Jammu province where we could experience the thrills of the Game or sport fishing.
Due to my frequent interactions with various officers of J&K state Department of Fisheries, particularly Mr. T.Angchook, Director Fisheries I had an idea that some of the streams in Jammu province are being stocked with Rainbow Trout to develop sport fishing in the hills of Jammu province, but Director of Fisheries was reluctant to allow angling in the streams on the pretext that it will take time for the Trouts to establish and he never wanted to give a premature publicity to the efforts being made by the department in this regard.
At the start of this year’s season ultimately Mr. T.Angchook, Director Fisheries Government of Jammu & Kashmir invited me in his chamber at Jammu and disclosed that Trout fishing shall be allowed from this year at Bani(District Kathua), Kirchi(District Udhampur), Budhal(District Rajouri) including some specified streams of Ramban, Kishtwar and Doda Districts respectively. My joys knew no bounds and my angling instincts overpowered my reserved attitude and I immediately asked for permission to undertake fishing in anyone of the above. Taking note of my enthusiasm and impatience, the Director Fisheries introduced me to Mr. R.K.Dogra Joint Director Fisheries Jammu with the directions to allow me to undertake test fishing in one of the above mentioned areas. Later I was allowed by the Joint Director Fisheries Jammu to undertake Test fishing at KIRCHI STREAM in Dudu Basantgarh area of District Udhampur on 9.5.2011 and was accompanied by the departmental staff of district Udhampur for the first ever Trout fishing by Rod in the Kirchi stream.
I started my journey from Jammu on 8.5.2011 at 3.30 pm. and reached Chenani around 5.30 p.m., the journey being on National Highway was quiet comfortable, from Chenani I had to travel towards Sudhmahadev the place where lodging facilities were available both in Government Guest House, JKTDC Bunglow as well as in some private lodges. The journey from Chenani to Sudhmahadev is metalled road and is in a good condition. Reached Sudhmahadev(Chenani to Sudhmahadev is 25km journey) at 6.45 p.m and stayed there for night and next morning (9.5.2011) at about 5 am started journey towards Kirchi. The road from Sudhmahadev upto Latti(38kms) was in good shape whereas the road from Latti to Kirchi 26kms was rough bumpy and gave good experience of hilly terrain to me.
On reaching Kirchi I found the place very beautiful with scenic spots and with good forest cover having Deodar trees around and in no way inferior to any other hill station in the state. The beauty was so astonishing that I felt that how I could miss such a beautiful spot so far since I had been to Sudhmahadev and Mantalai a number of times but was never aware of fact that a paradise could exist beyond the usual stop over at Mantalai.
The Kirchi stream is fast flowing with crystal clear cold waters having both deep as well as shallow pools with a number of water falls here and there having white bubbling waters my instant reaction to the officials accompanying me was “How could you hide this place!” so far. Yes, it was definitely an Angler’s paradise. I started fishing at 8.30 am(slightly belated) from Thirdu bridge initially upstream and later down stream since I found that the Kirchi stream on that day was having excess water because of rains during previous days. At each cast of the rod I could notice movement of fish following the bait (Different types of fly) but the trout was shy to take my fly. After some casts and changing different types of fly patterns the trout finally took my muddler/march brown combo and i caught Rainbow Trouts weighing from 3-4pounds. I really enjoyed the fishing activity till 3p.m and kept two Rainbow Trouts as a trophy or souvenir releasing others. I could experience number of bites giving full thrill and exotic experience which an angler desires.
I would request the authorities particularly the Department of Fisheries, Department of Tourism, JKTDC, PWD and other related departments to provide arrangement for lodging facilities at Village Kirchi so that the Anglers/Tourists can have the exotic experience of magnificent scenic place and fun of Trout fishing in the area.
To sum up I congratulated the local staff of Fisheries Department as well as the local fishermen who assisted me as a “Shikari” and guide. I would not hesitate to praise the Department of Fisheries who has made a magnificent effort in introducing the Rainbow Trout in this area which is expected to go a long way in boosting the tourism potential of the area by inviting the anglers for Trout fishing in Jakhed Dudu area of district Udhampur which has already been established as Trout stream and has been opened to the anglers from this year onward.