Catch fish in Pong Dam reservior, collect prize

Catch fish in Pong Dam reservior, collect prize

A unique two-day angling contest is being organised by the state Fisheries Department, in association with the Himachal Angling Association, at the Pong Dam reservoir in the Kangra Valley between March 17 and 18.

“More than 50 anglers are expected to participate in the contest,” said, K B Ralhan on association secretary general. Each participant has to catch fish within an allotted time. “The biggest catch in terms of weight and the maximum catch will be the winners,” Ralhan added.

The association, holding angling contests since 1978, also provides accommodation and oar-propelled boats for the anglers. The Pong Dam reservoir, supports an ample population of the golden mahseer, the longest-living freshwater fish. Fishery Department Director B.D. Sharma said. The Pong Dam wetlands support more than 20 freshwater fish species. These include Indian major carps like the ‘rohu’, the ‘mrigal’ and the ‘catla’ and a few exotic carps like the common carp and the silver carp.

The association also organises an angling contest of the trout in October every year. It is another game fish, found only in the gurgling streams located in high hills.

Ralhan said the aim of the angling contests is to study the status of the fish in the water bodies. “From the catch, we can estimate the population of the fish. The construction of hydropower projects in the state has severely affected the aquatic fauna.”

The association has been demanding that the golden mahseer should be declared state fish.

The golden mahseer, the national fish of Pakistan, is native to mountain and sub-mountain regions. It migrates upstream for spawning during southwest floods. After spawning, it returns to the original feeding grounds. It is available at altitudes of up to 2,000 metres above sea level and is purely carnivorous. The Pong Dam reservoir, which occupies an area of at least 18,000 hectares and extends up to 30,000 hectares at the peak monsoon season, every year attracts a good number of anglers.

According to the Fisheries Department, any angler can catch the fish round the year, except during the fish breeding season, at the Pong reservoir.

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