Fishing, Hunting, and Beach Combing in Northern Japan
Saturday, October 25, 2008
Trout - Yamame/Iwana
Trout fishing the mountain gorges of Northern Japan is addictive. This picture is typical of the scenery all day. I usually wake at about 0200 and arrive at the stream 2 ~ 3 hours later. There are so many streams like this in the area that I can fish all season and never hit the same stream twice. The Yamame Trout are abundant. The average size caught (by me) ranges from 15 ~ 30 cm. I usually catch anywhere from 15 to 40 trout with an average take home of 6 ~ 10 keepers.
My rod (sao) is adjustable and ranges in size from 15 to about 18 feet. No reel involved. The bait is a kind of meal worm (budomushi). Pictured above, I'm attempting to sneak up on what I thought was a good spot. Unfortunately, I was skunked by this hole. A fly can also be tied to the end of the line and floated. This technique works best around dusk.
Pictured left is "Snagex" a fishing and beach coming partner of mine. He's working a pool just below a small waterfall. He ended up pulling a nice Yamame Trout from this hole.
The streams around this area are full of the Japanese Brown Bear and wild snow monkeys. I have seen several monkeys while fishing but have yet to see a bear. This area is abundant with wild mushrooms that the bear like to feed on. I keep a can of pepper spray at the ready.
Pictured here is a nice mess of Yamame Trout. Like almost all of my fishing, When I started KeryuTsuri (gorge fishing for trout), I was terrible at it. I was introduced to the sport by my mentor "Tenchou", who took me out with some keryutsuri pros. These guys caught fish all day while watching me get skunked. At the last couple hours of the day, they took me aside and taught me how to catch trout. I've been doing fairly well ever since. I have to go through this ritual a lot with the really good Japanese fishermen. I think you have to prove that your serious before they'll show you anything. Can't blame them for that.
Yamame = a trout that is native to Japan. The word Yamame is made up of two kanjicharecters meaning Mountain and Woman. These trout have very good vision and are very timid. If you miss your chance at the Yamame and let them see you, they won't bite the rest of the day.
This is a picture of the Japanese Char (Iwana). Iwana are much the same as Yamame with a slightly different taste. I have caught Char in Alaska and these are similar in appearance and taste. Yamame and Iwana live in the mountain gorge streams. If they venture out to sea, the Yamame become the Cherry Salmon and the Iwana become a fish called Amemasu. Both species become a lot larger and more difficult to catch. I have yet to try this type of fishing......but I will!
Iwana = The native Japanese Char. Iwana is made up of two kanjucharecters, Rock and Man.
Another great aspect of my fishing hobby (shumi) is that my wife is an awesome cook. She is always ready to cook up the catch for dinner. She also usually has something on standby just in case I can not be trusted to get the job done.
This is my original post to introduce Japanese Trout Fishing. I'll hopefully have plenty more trout pictures to post next season.