Finned aliens of Kashmir

Photos by Jim Klug

When you fly over India the yellow land far below seems dusty and dry. It looks like a desert planet in a Star Wars scene and a landscape one would associate with drought and certainly not fishing. But it is the exception to the rule that gets us talking, like the fact that there could really be aliens. Not the multi-limbed, Homosapiens-lookalike animations we see on the big screen, but tiny legless organisms, such as bacteria, living in outer space. These rumours are comparable to those of trout fishing in India. On a recent adventure trip to Kashmir, the trout rumours became a reality to me. Here is the proof.

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Sunrise awakes us to the noise of the Indian rat race

 

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We head out on a brief shopping spree for curios before we see off the city

 

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The noise of tuk-tuk hooters are left behind and we enter the mountains on a drive that takes several hours, but the local people on the road ensure that there’s never a dull moment

 

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They are colourful and friendly and people of all ages are hard at work

 

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Well, almost all of them…

 

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We reach the point of four legged transport and the vehicles are left behind

 

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When we arrive in camp, we are greeted with a bong, a local ritual of friendship and hospitality

 

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The herbaceous leaves that are dried and smoked have a familiar shape

 

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Tips and details of the fishing are shared by our guide in the intimate way Indian people are accustomed to

 

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Fish are spotted from the first bridge crossing

 

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Our inherent experience with trout in Montana brings the first brown to the net

 

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The turquoise snow melt masks the depth of the water we fish in, forcing us to make frequent tippet adjustments

 

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Direct sunlight improves our site as the day goes on

 

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A fat rainbow is a pleasant surprise

 

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Camaraderie and fishing tales are shared between the walls of an ancient temple

 

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A Hindu priest finds our strange form of fishing peculiar

 

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As we move upriver, the trout water comes more and more to our taste

 

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The final day comes to an end and the last conversations happen between new friends

 

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Back in the city it is tuck-in time before the long flight home

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