Posted this on a Uath site but thought you all might enjoy it also. Just got back from Mongolia and no it was not a fishing vacation. It was one of those family trips where you try to sneak off and do some fishing. I did get to fish but not as planned. My plan was to take a few days and drive north for Taimen but after spending the first few days in the country my wife would not let me go because she was afraid I would not make it back. So I changed my plans and hired a driver to take me to a river that was not as far. There is nothing better than a great fishing adventure and mine in Mongolia was just that. Here is how it all came together. The night before we left, I met with the guy (Aibek) that was going with me, and we did the shopping. Aibek spoke very little English so it was mostly point and nod. The market was a whole’nother story and I wish I could have taken a photo of the meat counter. It was just a table with a bunch of meat and sheep heads covered with flies and the produce section was almost as raw. The potatoes and carrots were covered with the dirt they were grown in. We filled the cart with all kinds of stuff so I was not too concerned about starving. The next day the driver picked us up at 5:00 am and we headed out of the city. As it started to get light I finally got to see the Mongolia I had pictured in my mind. The first animals were yaks followed by herds of goats, sheep, and horses. Every 5 miles or so there would be some gers (yurts) surrounded by more herds of goat and sheep. There were no buildings or any real signs of modern civilization. The road was paved for the first hour and a half and then turned into dirt for two more hours. During the ride my hand never left the handle. The roads both paved and dirt beat me up and reminded me of the old wild mouse at Lagoon. On the way we stopped at a ger owned by a friend of the driver. It was just like stopping at the rancher’s house to see how the fishing is, the only problem was I could not understand any of the conversation. There was some pointing that I did understand that gave me some hope. We were invited in for a quick meal. It started with milk and what they called cheese. As I was sitting there they passed me a bowl of meat that they had been taking turns eating from. I did my best to get some of it down then asked what it was. Aibek in broken English said “it’s what you call marmot” then took the knife and turned the head over. As you can see in the photos it was very primitive but pretty cool. After lunch we headed off to the river, just 30 more minutes of the ride from hell. We parked next to the river and started to get ready. Because I had not planned on fishing for trout I did not have the right gear. Aibek handed me his rod and said I could use it. I told him we would take turns but he had no idea what I was saying. He handed me the reel first. It was a CFO 123 in good shape. When he handed me the tube I thought I was in business, thinking it was a matching rod. When I opened the tube I was surprised to see a 50 year old glass rod. It was an 8 foot 7 weight with no flex if you can believe that. I strung up the line and gave it a few false casts. It seamed to be working. Aibek had only been fly fishing for a short time but was way into it. He pulled out a box of flies that I had sent him the year before and pulled out one of the two tone hoppers. He was not able to translate grasshopper into English so he went and found one to show me what he was trying to communicate. I tied it on and walked down to the river. It was hot so I decided to wet wade. As I stepped into the river I was surprised that the water was so warm. I was not expecting too much because of the prior reports of the river being fished out and with no stocking programs to replenish the fish. But I was fishing in Mongolia surrounded by all kinds of new experiences. I had fish come up to my first five casts. They were all too small to take the fly so I stopped setting the hook and just had fun watching the fly bounce off their noses. As I moved up the run I made a cast straight up stream in the heart of the riffle. The fly floated about a foot before the explosion. If was so violent I froze for a second them remembered to set the hook. When I lifted the rod the line went tight. It took me a minute to get my brain to realize I had hooked a big fish. The fish fought well with a number of short runs then just pulled hard. I worked the fish to me and landed my first Mongolian Trout. I held it a little longer than I should have but I had to take in all in. I fished the rest of the first day with six more trout over 20 inches and a few small grayling. Dinner was a pot of soup made from canned meat from Russia. It was not too bad once I got the first few bites down. I was dying for a diet coke but all they had at the market was diet pepsi. They don’t have coolers in Mongolia so everything we had to drink was warm. I took a pull on a pepsi and about lost it. Nastiest drink I have ever tasted. Had to drink warm water the rest of the trip. All in all the food was not too bad and added to the experience. In the morning I got up kind of early, watched the sun rise and got ready to fish. My two partners never moved so I went out on my own. The fishing was as good in the morning as it was the night before. I hooked and landed a number of large fish. The fly I was using finally bit the dust with no more to replace it. I had my chest pack filled with steelhead and salmon flies so I started to dig around a found a size 2 two tone foam golden stone smashed in one of the pockets. I dressed it up and on one of the first casts and hooked a nice fish. I thought they were taking it as a big hopper until I saw the goldens flying around. I did take some time to study the insects and was amazed at how they were so alike to the bugs in our rivers. My day was cut short because of a dinner date back in the city. Leaving the river was hard and left me with a strong desire to return and find the fish that they measure in meters. I have already started to make plans and this time I will leave the wife home.