Cauvery has many fishing camps. The one located in Valnoor village is possibly the one closer to the origin of the river too. At this point the river swells wider and looks a lot calmer. The expanse almost makes it into a sort of shallow still backwaters.
This is a breeding ground for many game fishes including the legendary Masheers.
So how to go about fishing ( rather angling as it is called ) in Coorg. First of all you need the licence to do it. That’s not a big issue as the Coorg Wildlife Society in collaboration with the forest department has arrangements at Valnoor for issuing permits. You can also get a permit from the Coorg Wildlife Society’s office at Madikeri town.
With only a few hundred rupees as licence fee, Valnur is possibility the ‘cheapest’ angling locations in Cauvery compared to other popular locations downstream like Bheemeshwari or the still wild Doddamkkali or Galibore, all on the banks of Cauvery in Mandya district.
The permit for angling comes with certain conditions and restrictions.
Angling at Valnur is about ”Catch-and-Release’ . That is all the fishes you catch needs to be released back into the river. That is part of the conservation efforts.
If you were lucky enough to catch one of those huge Mahseers, don’t forget to take that vanity photograph for the sake of posterity, before releasing it back into Cauvery!
There are restrictions on the number of catches (per day). Other than the protected species, you are allowed to take a couple of kgs of fishes you managed to catch. Also as part of the licence terms, you need to furnish the game details (type of fish, location,lure etc) at regular intervals (say 10 days) to the Coorg Wildlife Society.
Do not go for angling before you’ve got the mandatory permit. That will attract a hefty fine from the authorities.
In general angling is permitted round the year. The exceptions are probably the monsoon season during which the breeding takes place. This restriction too is part of the conservation plan.
The facilities available at Valnur for angling is vary basic. For those wish to stay for longer durations can rent out one of those cottages at nominal rates. You’ve to bring along everything including food, drinking water and lanterns as there is no electricity connection.
Before heading to Valnur bring along your angling equipment ( fishing rod,hooks etc) and also the bait. A popular bait used for Mahseer angling is Ragi (millet) paste rolled on to the hooks, though Mahseer is known to take dead and live fishes and frogs as bait.
And lastly, ( for the novice ) angling is a sport that needs huge amount of patience, skill and understanding in that order. Selecting the hook and fixing the right level of bait on it is an art. You’ll wait for hours before that jumbo Mahseer arrives for action. Now it’s time for you to prove your mantle as the a strong fish at the other end would try dragging the line down to the depths of Cauvery!
And for the professional anglers, in Valnoor you may not find a lot of fanfare as the case with the trio of Bheemeshwari , Doddamkkali and Galibore.
Though the river at Valnur is a lot ‘wilder’ as it is closer to its origin in the woods, the Mahseer population and size would not be as big as in the case of the three fishing camps mentioned. However Valnoor is a lot less commercialized and it is closer to Coorg, if one finds the proposition attractive. November to April is the best season.
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