Meandering through the woody landscape amidst the forests of Karnataka is the Cauvery – the most majestic and sacred river of South India. The river offers both adventure and opportunity for nature lovers. Nestled along this mighty river is the Bheemeshwari Fishing Camp, world-renowned as home to the great ‘Mahseer’ - the finest & the largest tropical sporting fish known to man. Tucked away from the milling crowds, yet close enough for you to reach, this camp offers a slice of nature that is entirely unique, one in which you can totally feel free!
In keeping with Jungle Lodges eco tourism philosophy, the Camp, overlooking the River Cauvery consists of just eight luxurious ethnic log-huts on stilts, blending beautifully with the jungle behind. On the riverbank are also nine well-furnished tented cottages (twin-bedded with attached bathrooms) for those who prefer a more closer-to-nature experience. precautions and ensure that they get all their inoculations prior to their visit to the Camp.
Though fishing has been a huge industry in India for centuries, angling or sport fishing became a serious pastime only in the mid-19th century. British anglers of the Raj came in pursuit of the Trout and Salmon but found a creature that far surpassed other fish as a fighter - the Mahseer or The Large Headed One. It spawned an entire clan of adventurers (including the legendary Jim Corbett), who would travel to far-flung areas of the country just to battle with the mighty Mahseer.
In South India, as the Cauvery River flows out of the Western Ghats to Tamil Nadu plains, it cuts deep gorges and creates vast rapids, many pools and thus holding areas for the huge Mahseer. JLR has exclusive rights to vast stretches of the Cauvery. Four different kinds of Mahseer are found in these waters – Silver, Gold, balck and Pink. However, in light of decreasing sizes and numbers of good specimens, 'Catch-and-Release' has become a necessary practice. Other fish often found are carp , catfish and many small ones useful as bait.
JLR’s Bheemeshwari Fishing Camp is a perfect base for anglers in pursuit of the Mighty one. The fishing season here is during the months of November, December, January and February. Guests are provided with a local guide or ‘gillie’ for every two visitors. Gillies help anglers with their knowledge of the waters and are experienced fishermen themselves. They also are adept at using the coracle boats (native, circular boats made out of buffalo hide) and can move guests from place to place in the waters. JLR provides the coracles to cross the river and also to help with the landing of fish.
Fishing is done during the morning, which lasts from first light until midday and then again from 4 o'clock until nightfall. Also, only a maximum of 10 rods are allowed to be in the water during a single session. Fishing techniques that are possible on these waters are Bait fishing, Fly fishing and Spinning. Bait is also provided – baked Ragi (millets) paste, freshwater crabs, chilva and sometimes figs are the main ones used.
Though we have a few tackles on hire, we request guests to get their own tackle as personal preference is a factor.
Your main rod can be an off-the-shelf uptide of about 10 foot casting 6 - 10oz (one joint). Fibreglass is tougher than carbon and is also cheaper. A heavy duty carp rod for spinning and also a lighter rod for catching live bait will complete the set.
The main criterion for reels is that they take a lot of line. You don't have to cast far, but fish make long runs and you don't want to run out! They should be of the highest quality as they have to take a lot of pressure. Multipliers such as Abu Ambassadors are very popular, 7000 and 9000 models. Large fixed spools such as Shimano Aerlex can be used as well.
40lb or 50lb monofil for your main reel and perhaps Braid for spinning. A long fight with a fish can result in line being damaged and it will need to be changed when this happens.
Sizes 5,6,7, 8 can be used for the main rod. Owner and Partridge are popular, but anything as long as it is extra strong. The same for hooks on lures. Change them for extra strong even if they are not already fitted.
Rupala 9” or 8” (black and white) or Meps no.4 & 5 Guests are also advised to bring with them a cap, sunscreen, dark glasses, shorts, good shoes to taken on the water and personal medical kit. We request all our foreign clientele to adhere to all safety precautions and ensure that they get all their inoculations prior to their visit to the Camp.
Mammals that are spotted around the Camp include leopard, elephants, wild pigs, sambar, spotted deers, the highly endangered grizzled giant squirrel, Malabar giant squirrel and jackals.
Reptiles that can be sighted are marsh crocodile, turtles (Leith’s Soft Shelled Turtle, an endemic species is found in these waters), chameleon, python, cobra, russell's viper and banded krait. However, the Mahseer fish is the main attraction of the waters of River Cauvery
Over 200 species of birds have been identified around the camp. Among the water-based birds, you can spot the grey-headed fishing eagle, spot billed duck, small pied kingfisher, black-bellied river tern, osprey, and many more. There are also a number of rare land-based birds such as the honey buzzard, tawny eagle, pied crested cuckoo, etc.
The best time to visit is just after the monsoon, between August and February, when the river is swollen and the forest and the surroundings are rich with green vegetation. This time is ideal for bird watchers too, as river terns, fishing eagles, wood peckers, king fishers, and plenty of other species flock here in large numbers. However, at other times water recedes to reveal wide sand banks where you could laze in the evenings or wade in the many lagoons created by the ebbing water. Summers (March – June) can be very warm, especially in the afternoons.
Bheemeshwari is located at a distance of 100 km from the tech city, Bangalore, down the Kanakpura - Kollegal Highway. You have to turn off at Halagur, and go down the Halagur - Muttatti road. On the way you will come across JLR’s Bheemeshwari Camp. This place is a retreat for those who want to enjoy the calm environs with a dash of adventure.