"They come upstream to spawn, too," said the colonel. "Exactly like the mahseer." His lieutenant pointed to a steep sandbar that rose between the boulders and cliffs. There were scuffled tracks and a huge serpentine scar in the smooth river-sculptured sand.
"That was a crocodile?" I asked.
The lieutenant nodded. "It probably laid its eggs there this morning."
Farther on, river bitterns fished among the rocks. Parakeets and flocks of myna birds chattered in the trees, and hundreds of quarreling monkeys busied themselves in the vines of a sunny ravine.
"What are mahseer like?" I asked.
Colonel Rana smiled. "There are several kinds," he said. "These Karnali fish are mostly goldens, but we catch the odd black mahseer—and they're the real tiger fish."
The river warden nodded. "But with these currents they're all strong in the Karnali."
"How do you fish them?" I asked.
"Mahseer will eat almost anything," said the river warden. "Baitfish, insects, mussels, seeds, berries, birds, worms, bread—they'll take anything that moves."
"Minnows and shellfish mostly," added the colonel.