Pahari’s Browns: India’s Assi Ganga River and its Missing Trout

On August 2, 2012, the Assi Ganga River flowed peacefully from its source, Dodital Lake, seated at the head of a valley in the Indian Himalayan foothills. Trout swirled in its eddies, sipping stoneflies from the surface, growing plump like they had been doing since British eccentric Pahari Wilson introduced them to Dodital in 1862. It is a sacred lake and valley, with its source at the Chorabari glacier. 

Within 24 hours the valley would be unrecognizable, and the trout in the river gone.

A six-hour cloudburst high in the watershed the next day led to a cataclysmic flood, ravaging the river and totally restructuring it. Boulders as large as barns tumbled down the riverbed and gutted the stream. The trout didn’t stand a chance. To make matters worse, one year later a multi-day rain event dumped a catastrophic amount of precipitation on the region and the encompassing state of Uttarakhand…

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