Five unlikely countries where trout can be caught
Tropical Africa might be the last place which comes to mind for trout fishing.
But in the highland forests of Mount Kenya both Brown and Rainbow trout exist, they were introduced by the British in the early 1900’s.
Even today, a steady stream of anglers still head to the Kenyan highlands to try there luck to catch trout living close to the equator. Trout are present in both mountain streams and alpine lakes, where stocks are kept high with new stockings every few years from helicopters.
Where else in the world can you fish alongside Monkeys, Elephants and Rhinos.
When many people think of Morocco they think of the dry Atlas mountains and the bustling cities of Rabat and Fez. Squeezed between the Atlantic to the west and the Sahara to the west, Morocco will seem like one of the last places to hold trout.
But, this could not be the furthest from the truth. In the cool streams and alpine lakes of the High Atlas Mountains Morroco is home to four species (or maybe sub-species) of native trout. During the colonial period the French also stocked some of the mountain lakes via helicopters, so populations of Rainbow and brown trout also exist.
Trout are also native to neighbouring Algeria. The Moroccan trout streams are not in the best of health. They see a lot of fishing pressure and can suffer from low flows during drought.
Well, technically no longer a country, but thought it was interesting so included it. The Tibetan plateau is the source of several of the worlds major rivers. These rivers run cold, fuelled by glacier run-off from the towering Himalayas .
With an average elevation of 4,500m (14700ft), the trout which inhabit the streams of the plateau might just be the highest living trout in the world.
Trout were never widespread in the Plateua, with only a single known population of Brown trout near the Indian border. Although, the Chinese government has started a sizeable Rainbow trout farming operation in Tibet, with escapes finding the cold, flowing water quite suitable. If you ever eat Salmon in china, chances are it would be Tibetan farmed rainbow trout.
Due to cultural reasons Tibet is not a trout fishing destination. To the locals, fish are seen as sacred, guardians of the waterways. To Tibetan culture capturing fish is seen as offensive, similar to how Hindus find killing cows is offensive. If you do want to catch trout in the Himalayas the Indian side of the border offers more supportive fishing opportunities plus the chance to target the hard fighting Golden Mahseer’s.
Wherever the British colonised they brought trout, and Pakistan is no exception.
In less turbulent times, there was a thriving trout fishing scene in northern Pakistan, with the districts of Kaghan, Swat, Baltistan and Ghize being the heart of the industry. Back then it was a popular retreat for visiting international anglers.
A friend of mine visited a few years back, and the industry is in tatters. The trout are still there, but the international anglers are gone, the few lodges and guides remaining struggle to survive on limited business from domestic anglers.
The trout fishery, like in many developing countries is under a lot of pressure from overfishing.
It might be many years away, but hopefully one day this region will be stable enough for the travelling anglers to return. I will finish with one final note, neighbouring Afghanistan also has trout in some of its mountainous valleys.
With a sub-tropical climate Taiwan might seem a bit too warm for trout, but it also happens to be very mountainous, with several peaks over 11000 feet. It is in the mountain lakes and streams that the trout find refuge.
What is even more remarkable, is that the Island is home to an endemic species of trout. The landlocked Tachia or Taiwan trout. It is a sub-species of the more widespread cherry trout which can be caught in Japan or Korea.
Unfortunately, the Tachia trout is critically endangered. Over fishing, pollution and the introduction of rainbow trout have devastated its number.
While the Tachia trout might be off limit to anglers, Tawian does have a strong trout fishing culture. With introduced Brown and Rainbow trout naturalised in many of the mountain streams.
Tropical Brazil, the home of the mighty Amazon river and over 230 species of fish including the ravenous Piranha and the hard fighting Peacock bass.
The thing is, Brazil is a massive country and the mountainous highlands Serra da Bocaina had cool, oxygen rich streams but were lacking in fish. So in the 1940’s it was decided that the streams needed trout. So the Brazilian Food Administratio placed fertilized Rainbow Trout eggs from Denmark in the headwaters of the Serra da Bocaina range. These trout thrived and there is now a self sustaining population of rainbow trout.
In the years since, trout have been introduced to many other rivers in the southern regions of Brazil.