Trekking to the headwaters of Rioni in Racha.
the Caucasian trout.

Text and photo
Eistein Guldseth, 2007
    Last sign of civilization. Afterwards no road, only track.  
THE RIVER RIONI runs from the mountains in Upper Racha to the Black Sea, and is probably not the best trout river in Georgia. It is grey of mud, and very fast running. But it definitely has the most spectacular scenery! And for me that counts as much as the size and amount of fish. The brown trout is a medium sized fish, growing to 20 kg or more in some localities although in many smaller rivers a mature weight of 1

kg (2lb) or less is common. My personal record of brown trout is 3.1 kilo, caught in a mountain area in the middle of Norway. I am an experienced trout angler, and looked forward to check out the Georgian rivers. It is a difference from fishing on low altitude lakes and rivers in Norway to the high altitude streams in Caucasus. The water is much colder, and less rich on nutrition. We fished at an altitude around 2300 meters.

A different approach to fishing.
Our guide, a native Georgian had a little different relationship to fishing than me. I am used to angling but the guide preferred net, the traditional way of fishing. An art form he mastered perfectly. To fish with net in a fast running river is demanding, and I was fascinated by the skills our guide demonstrated. I think the Georgians have another approach to fishing. It's primarily about food, and not so much sports.

Rioni not for fly fishers.
Fly-fishing is not possible in Rioni due to the muddy water, but worms do the trick. The fish is extremely difficult to catch, and we only got a few. As you can see of the picture to the right, the color of the trout is not the usual yellow-brown, but rather light grey. That indicates that the bottom of the river is stoney, and the water grey. Experienced trekkers recommends Tusheti and Kacheti for trout fishing rather than Upper Racha.

An aesthetic pleasure.
Altogether fishing in the Rioni was a bit disappointing, except for the magnificent scenery. To fish in such surroundings is a share aesthetic pleasure, and gives you a lot more than just the experience of having a wiggling brown trout on the hook.

Where Rioni starts. Border of Russia.

Rioni is fast and transports huge amounts of gravel

Fishing with net.

Very light colored and small trout.asdfsdfasdfasd