Freshwater fishing in Malaysia is both thrilling and exciting as not only there are plenty of freshwater fishes to catch, but also sometimes you need to hike up or trek into the thick rainforest to reach the destination. The fast flowing rivers in Malaysia offer good fishing upstream but usually with smaller fish. You can catch bigger fish at areas deep inside the rainforest, usually accessible via four-wheel drive and some bushes clearing as well as trekking. Good spots include upper Sungai Endau in Johor and the higher reaches of rivers that flow into Kenyir in Terengganu and Temenggor in Perak.
Here, you get the kelah (Malaysia Mahseer), a good fighter with which locals usually practice catch-and-release, and tengas which also make fun fishing. Bigger size kelah are found in the middle river, as are kaloi (giant gouramey), belida (giant featherback) and the powerful toman (giant snakehead), the so-called shark of Malaysian freshwater fish. Besides artificial lures, live and dead bait are used for toman while fruits such as oil palm and rubber seeds are used as kelah bait.
A red mahseer (Kelah) caught at a river in Taman Negara (National Park).
As mentioned before, aside from the Peninsular Malaysia, the rivers in Sarawak and Sabah are excellent fishing grounds, particularly near the Kalimantan border, but the distance are great, and they are difficult to get to. Most of the time you need to either walk or ride by boat to reach the destination.
Apart from rivers, lakes and reservoirs are places where you can fish for big freshwater fishes. Since Malaysia has few natural ponds, anglers prefer dammed lakes such as Kenyir and Temenggor. Since these lakes are hand-made, their eco-systems are still not fully developed yet, which means the fishes might be not fully grown up. But there are still plenty of fresh water fishes to catch and it’s also fun just to enjoy the greenery of the surrounding area.
The best freshwater fishing places are where the rivers flow into the lakes bringing toman and seberau. The natural lakes of Cini and Bera in Pahang are shallow but good for fishing toman.
Mangroves are also an ideal place for fishing in Malaysia. Not only there are fishes, mostly cat fish, there are also freshwater crabs and prawn to catch. The mangroves are a very different eco-system compared to the river and lakes. But mangroves are difficult to access and you probably need a local tour guide who knows how to get there.
Some other places where you can fish are listed here:
For a list of other fishing places and fishing guide in Malaysia, please visit the following page: