18 Jun Fly Fishing Pilgrimage: Day 2: Dry Fly Game at Aga River, Fukushima
My pilgrimage for native fish and complete angling continued, I thought about challenge to go after good size Japan native masu-trout and white-spotted chars. Shaku or “over 30cm” fish is a benchmark of good angler, and I thought I was on the right track if I traveled further north to avoid competition or disturbance.
I spent the night at Michi-no-eki near the town of Kawaharu, famous for hot springs, and enjoyed small hot spring bath you can soak your feet in. Then in the morning, I stopped by Seven Eleven on the way to purchase fishing permit and attained information on fishery. I decided to fish at Quarry Junction on Aga River, tributary of Agano River. This river has wide width and dozens of sub-tributaries joining the main stream, so my guess went into having good chance to meet big fish for the river offers enough space and nutrition.
I commenced fishing around 6:00am, and the junction already had another angler going after ayu. We exchanged the talk and he mentioned that it was the first week in his area for ayu fishing season. I worried about this information, not because I’ll be fishing with more anglers, but because the junction is already filled with small baitfish who are favorite diet for big cherry trouts who may not show any interest in flies.
Cherry, Chery, Chery Trouts!
As I approached the main stream, I already saw all sorts of rise marks from dimple to splash. I aimed at the most violent splash for it may be a good sign of big fish. Then on the very first cast with #16 parachute pilot fly, I caught my first Yamame in Tohoku Region.
17 is barely legal size (16cm in this area), but beautiful trout with perfect fins. I continued to present flies whereever I see good rise marks, but all I caught was pretty much the same size until I caught 20cm one. Small, but very beautiful colorization which I haven’t seen in waters near Tokyo. It’s hard to tell on the photograph, but cherry trouts around here shows mixture of orange and pink glittering on top of its body. No wonder some states that this fish is the jewel of river. It was already worth coming over here.
Another good thing was that this point was filled with active fish and I happened to be the only angler after trouts when everyone else is crazy about Ayu. Violent rise disappeared in the afternoon, so I shifted my attention to careful small rise marks which turned out to be…
Dace Vador. Bigger and prettier than I usualy see in Tokyo waters. I don’t mind catching them in this beaufiful water. More ayu anglers appeared and the junction became over populated, so I tried couple of sub-tributaries, but they only showed smaller size compared to the main stream. When I returned to the main stream, river was packed by ayu anglers as far as eye could see! Upstream, downstream. Rod, rod, rod! I finished up and set my camp.
As I was eating my humble dinner in the camp, I thought back the day of good fishing in this region which is only the southern bit of greater part of Tohoku Region or North East Japan. Much greater fishing opportunities await, if I tranveld further north. I set my further destinations in the North. I decided to drive further.
Result and Data: Aga River, Mizunashi River (tributary), and Kadoya River (tributary)
Cherry Trout: 16-20cm 9 catches
White Spotted Char: 12cm 1 catch
Japanese Dace: 14-17cm 4 catches
Time, Light, and Weather: 6:00-12:00 and 14:00-17:30, bright, sunny
Tempareature: Air at 18-25C, water at 18-20C
Bait: Midge pupa, small may fly dun, and ants.
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