Sungai Tiang - Open!

Sungai Tiang - Open!

Paul Arden | Tuesday, 13 June 2023

As you will probably know, I’ve been training some of the local Orang Asli lads to take fly fisherman into this river and ultimately become fly fishing guides. Many of you will know this because you have helped fund the project and also kindly have sent over fishing equipment, both new and used. Thank you so much for your help; without your help this project wouldn’t have happened. The river is now open!!

I have been trying to build a website for them but there are just not enough hours in the day at the moment. No one has been into this river fly fishing this year, so if you can, I would definitely recommend getting in fast. For the first few trips I will tag along to make sure everything works smoothly and help where I can.

There are three species of fish (mainly). Tengas (copper Mahseer) that grow to a couple of kilos but are mostly 1/2lb to 1lb with a 2 pounder being an excellent fish. This is very much like trout fishing, particularly with dries and hedged bet approach, or “hopper/dropper”. But you need strong hooks and strong tippet because they are very much stronger than trout. This is what we mostly catch and fish for. Of course they are not trout; they are Mahseer, and this is not a cold water blue ribbon mountain stream, but a tropical jungle paradise river flowing through a pristine rainforest – that has never been logged and is about as wild as it’s possible to be in this world!

There are also Kelah (red Mahseer) which grow larger and in this river undoubtedly there are 5KG Kelah, that we haven’t caught yet. I have certainly seen 3-4kg Kelah upstream at the end of a trip where we had to turn around early. One more day of fishing that trip would have made a difference. Catching one of those would be something and given time I’m sure we will see more and more of these larger fish in the river.

And there are Sebarau too (Jungle Perch), that are 3-5KG and hunt pools in packs. These take streamers. And if you hook one of these big fellas you will certainly know about it! I had one on a popper when the river was in early spate.

It’s not easy. It’s real and it’s wild. Wild fish generally survive by being difficult. But you will certainly have good fishing and an amazing experience. The river gets very little footfall; so the fish are spooky. The only people who have access to this river are the indigenous hunting parties – the Orang Asli traditionally hunt with blow pipes – and occasionally go hunting for monkeys (I know I know, much better to be a vegetarian! Especially for the monkey), as well as researchers who have been given access to study wildlife, such as tigers. (Edit: no they don’t hunt the researchers, I don’t know why it reads that way. And yes there are tigers but it’s unlikely that you will get eaten by one – just make sure you crimp the barbs).

It’s one day in, one day out. To get in it’s an hour boat trip up the lake. Then it’s an hour boat trip up the river. This takes you to the Fish Sanctuary and fishing starts above this.

The daily plan of attack is to fish the morning session up to the next camp (we have five designated camp spots). A couple of lads will carry your gear so that you can just fish. At camp you will have lunch, generally the river is quiet from early to late afternoon when the sun hits the water. The evening rise fishing can be excellent and we have tried to pick camps that offer the best evening fishing. Each camp is a full 1/2 day fishing to reach and then we repeat. The further upriver you go the better the fishing. 5 days of fishing plus one day in and one day out is a great trip duration.

Coming out can sometimes be done on bamboo rafts, although we hope for rubber rafts in the future.

It’s an amazing trip and an experience like no other. This is the real deal. You certainly need an adequate fitness level. This is the tropics; it’s hot and humid. You’ll be in the jungle and it’s about 2.5 km between camps. The river is nice for swimming!

I would love to see some anglers visiting soon. This program is the first of its kind in SE Asia. It is owned by the Orang Asli community, who run it as their business, with all profits going to their village community. A small portion of the fees also goes to the State Park for conservation.

The river is strictly fly only, barbless hooks, catch and release. Very few people have access. The state park have initiated this project and the government have supported the training. If this can be successful then we can save fish elsewhere too.

You won’t see other anglers and you have each beat to yourself (or yourselves if you fish with a friend).

The cost is $400US for one person per day and $600 for two people sharing.

I hope some of you will come over in the next months. I will get their website build. That’s going to increase traffic. And it’s going to be on TV in October and that’s definitely going to increase traffic!! While I imagine over time that the fish size will increase through this protection, the fishing right now is going to be some of the best there is and you will be one of the very first fly anglers to fish this river.

Email me. Let me get you in touch with the Orang Asli and help plan your trip.

I’m sure you’ll know this as a Sexyloops regular reader, but for anyone else reading this: I make no money out of this. I help for free, for the State Park, the Orang Asli, the future of the planet and the fish of course. Fish need our help! And if this helps bring C&R fly fishing to more of Malaysia and Asia at large, then I’ll have actually done something useful in my life.

As I say, first couple of trips I’ll be up there too. Free fishing/casting coaching! Campfire fun! And if you can do a longer stint then come and join me on the lake as well. I have one guiding trip/month for Snakehead booked at the moment, for most of the rest of this year. I’m available for a maximum of two trips/month. I’m just too busy to do more this year.






I’m busy editing a Zoom interview with the great Bruce Richards. I should have this uploaded by tonight (he says!).

Have a great day!

Cheers, Paul