Wednesday, April 30, 2008


April 27 I went to Toyamagawa River in the Southern Japan Alps for my final fly fishing trip in Japan (for a while anyway). My assignment in Japan has come to and end so my wife and I will be returning to the US on May 1st.
It was about a 4 hour drive from Kakegawa to Toyamagawa in Nagano Prefecture. Below is a view from an overlook on the way.
I went with 4 other friends from Slow Life. I spent the day fishing with "Funkey Monkey" Okie-san (below). He caught a nice 19 cm amago using the traditional Japanese fly fishing style, Tenkara.
Satoh-san also tried his hand at Tenkara. He is using a bamboo Tenkara rod given to him by the chief editor of "Fly Fisher" magazine, Oguchi-san.

I only caught one fish for the day, a pretty decent 23 cm amago.

Tuesday, April 15, 2008


After leaving Ashinoko on Sunday morning we went to Oshino River, about a one hour drive. We stopped by the "River's Edge" fly fishing shop and talked to the local pro, Watanabe-san and his wife. He told us the best place to fish on the Oshino River.

We went to Section 8 (Kindaichi) of Oshino River. If you click on the link below, it will take you to an interactive map of Section 8. Click the camera icon to view photographs along the river. If you select the 2nd camera from the right, that is where I was fishing.

Kawano-sensei was fishing just upstream from me. He caught a nice brown trout, but I did not get a picture, sorry. Standing behind Dr. Kawano is Take-san. He served as my guide for the entire afternoon. He was very patient and helpful. He "loaned" me several flies which I promptly lost in the trees.
Take-san gave me a personalized keychain (pictured below). It has a beautiful engraving of a Japanese Yamame trout on one side and my name on the other.
(below: 20 cm brown trout I caught using a #16 CDC mayfly)

(below: 29 cm brown trout I caught using a CDC mayfly)

(below is a nice 35 cm rainbow. I caught it on a #16 mayfly and 7X tippet)
Daisuke-san and Ru-chan having some quality father-son time as mommy and Take-san look on.

Mr. Sakai-san caught two rainbows at Oshino (22 cm and 30 cm).

After fishing we returned to the River's Edge fly shop for dinner, they have a small cafe there. I had a delicious roastbeef sandwich.

Monday, April 14, 2008


Saturday: Mr. Sakai-san and I met some of our fishing friends at Lake Ashinoko for some Rainbow fishing. Lake Ashinoko is located in the crater of the extinct Hakone volcano. It is 725 meters above sea level, very clean and pristine. It reminded me a lot of Lake Jocassee in South Carolina.
(below: stock photo of Lake Ashinoko with Mt. Fuji in the distance)

We rented a motor boat for the day. It was only 9,000 yen (about $90) for the day, including a tank of gas. This was the first time I have ever fly fished from a boat. It was really nice not worrying about my back-cast getting hung in the trees.

(Here is Niida-san taking us to a good spot on the other side of the lake.)

We fished using Olive Marabou Damselfly's on #12 hook. Niida-san caught the first two (or 3?)rainbows. Then Sakai-san caught 2 rainbows. Average fish size was about 30 cm.
(below: Sakai-san landing a 31 cm rainbow)

Sunday morning while we were packing up we ran into Taka Sugisaka-san in the parking lot. Sugisaka-san is a very famous fly fisherman in Japan and around the world. I had just purchased the May issue of Flyfisher magazine which has a 4 page article written by Sugisaka-san. He was gracious enough to sign the article and let me have my picture taken with him.

(the autographed article)

Next stop is Oshino Spring Creek...

Tuesday, April 8, 2008

Ketagawa Weekend

My fishing friends and I spent Saturday and Sunday fishing the Ketagawa River, a branch of the Tenryu River North of Hamamatsu. The weather was perfect! Saturday I fished with Dr. Kawano, my good friend and fishing sensei (teacher). I had a few rises but no fish-on.
A very large Amago rose to Dr. Kawano's fly at the area pictured below, but he did not take it. We both tried many casts in this area but he would not rise again.The next day on Sunday, Mr. Sakai-san joined Dr. Kawano and I. Mr. Sakai caught the first fish, a very nice 20cm Amago. He took the fish in a deep clear pool. This is a difficult situation, because the Amago can easily see you approaching and head for cover. This area is heavily fished which makes the fish even more difficult to catch.
As we continued up river we came to the bend where the large Amago rose to Dr. Kawano's fly on the previous day. We watched the water for a few minutes and immediately saw the fish rising to natural flies. Dr. Kawano made several casts but had no luck. We decided to stop here and eat our lunch as we continued to watch the fish rising. Dr. Kawano said the water had undermined a large rock at the back of the bend and that the trout was hiding under the rock.
After lunch, Dr. Kawano told me to give it a try. I was a little reluctant at first because I new I only had a 7X tippet (2.3 lb test) on my leader. I decide to tie on a #12 black parachute mayfly with peacock herl body (a gift from Shimizu-san last weekend). I crawled to within casting distance and made about 6 casts to where the Amago had been rising. I was about to give up but decided to make a couple more tries. Finally, he took the fly and made a mad dash downstream. I was in a panic, because I did not want to break him off. Luckily there were no rocks downstream for him to dive under in which case I surely would have lost him. The first photo below shows me landing the Amago, what a relief!

He measured 25.5 cm. This is by far the largest Amago trout I have caught in Japan.
I appreciate the patience and coaching from all my friends from the Lifestyle Design College.

Tuesday, April 1, 2008

Sasamagawa Revenge

Last weekend I spent two whole days fishing the Sasamagawa River.

Saturday (3-29-08):
Clear skies and light wind. I did a little better than the previous weekend. I caught two Amago trout. They were both small, one was 15 cm and the other 16 cm.Of course Mr. Sakai-san caught the largest fish, a nice 22 cm Amago (below)
Sunday (3-30-08):
AM overcast skies turning to rain around noon. Unfortunately Mr. Sakai-san was not able to join us this day. But I did have the pleasure of fishing with Oguchi Shuhei-sama, founder and chief editor for Tsuribito-sha, the parent company for Fly Fisher Magazine. Mr. Oguchi-sama is 85 years young and it was quite an honor to meet him.
We had a large group Sunday. We had a nice lunch on the river bank complete with hot coffee. (left to right) Kiwi Yoko, Doko Ji, Oguchi-san, Shimizu-san, Satoh and Karematsu.
Mr. Shimizu-san caught a 15 cm Amago. He is a tenkara fisherman, the traditional Japanese form of fly fishing. It uses only a long rod with the line attached to the tip (no reel). The flies resemble mayflies emerging from the water (emergers). Mr. Shimizu-san would whip the fly down into the water about 1-2 inches deep, let it drift down stream, then pull it straight back out imitating the action of an emerger. Very interesting to watch. (below- Mr Shimizu tenkara fishing).
After a long cold rainy day of fishing we all went to a small onsen (hot springs) in the mountains nearby named Kurami Ochiaiso. We had a nice soak and a dinner party afterward. (below- I am wearing an antique Tenkara fishing hat (sugegasa) donated by Shimizu-san and Oguchi-san to the Lifestyle Design College.)

By the way, the folks at DK Littleton Outfitters in Greenville South Carolina posted one of our photos from Kanogawa on their website. (follow link below)