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Freshwater Fishing in Malaysia

malaysia fresh water fishing

Where to Fish in Malaysia

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.

Types of Freshwater Fish You Can Find

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.

Fresh water fishing at Taman Negara

A red mahseer (Kelah) caught at a river in Taman Negara (National Park).

Freshwater Fishing in Borneo

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.

Places for Freshwater Fishing

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.

Best Places for Freshwater Fishing

For a list of other fishing places and fishing guide in Malaysia, please visit the following page:

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{ 3 comments… add one }
  • tushan December 7, 2013, 10:58 pm

    I would like to go fishing in the vicinity of Kual lumpur.

  • kenny December 7, 2013, 10:59 pm

    Try this place. This is the nearest to Kuala Lumpur. Barely five minutes from Putrajaya, Astana Dugang Country Resort, where fishing is a favorite activity, offers city dwellers respite from the stress of daily life.


  • Quest December 7, 2013, 11:00 pm

    Love to go fishing, but so polluted are the rivers, or over fished, Why cant the city areas have clean drains where the fish can breath and the water not smell,
    The other rivers have laws that only one day in the year you can fish.

    I love fly fishing, But where can you go ? With out paying a fortune or having to travel miles.

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