Amu Darya Trout

The Amu Darya trout is a mysterious sub-species of brown trout hidden in the mountainous headwaters of Amu Darya River.
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About Amu Darya Trout

The Amu Darya trout (Salmo trutta oxianus) remains a shadowy figure in the ichthyological world, due to its apparent rarity, very limited and markedly diminished distribution and the remoteness, ruggedness and inhospitable nature of its present range. Most Western biologists know it only from a single, antiquated illustration. The Amu Darya river, from which this species of trout got its name, has become symbolic of environmental disaster, with excessive damming and water drain for agricultural and industrial purposes. The Amu Darya trout, however, inhabits the upper reaches of the river in the mountains of Tajikistan and Afghanistan, relatively unaffected by development. Distinguishing features and behaviors setting it apart from other brown trout are not clearly defined, except for its geographic isolation. The depicted specimen, adorned with a pattern of spots typical of mountain stream trout, suggests a fish adapted to life in swift, clear waters, though its full size and life history remain enigmatic. If once present in the lower reaches of the river, this trout might have attained substantial sizes, a possibility now marred by ecological changes. The Amu Darya trout probably feeds on the usual assortment of invertebrates and small fish in the streams and probably undergoes an annual upstream spawning run.

How to Catch?

Angling for the Amu Darya trout is akin to venturing into uncharted waters, given the species' rarity and obscurity. Unless you can obtain specific local knowledge from an experienced guide, it is best to simply treat it as any other headwater stream brown trout. Light to medium fly fishing tackle is probably best, with spinning gear as a potential alternative in larger river segments. However, pursuing this trout requires more than just gear; it demands a spirit of adventure and careful planning. The most sensible way to go about fishing for Amy Darya trout is to book a trip with one of the operators who can organise a fishing trip for you. If you do succeed, take as many photos and measurements as you can, and you will be adding greatly to our knowledge of a very interesting but almost unknown fish.