Fly Fishing Pilgrimage: Day 4: Hirose River, Sendai

2009/6/20 Fly Fishing Pilgrimage: Day 4: Hirose River, Sendai

As I got out of my tent to get fresh air outside and just made morning coffee, I noticed something with great surprise…


Holy bear! I was sleeping like baby in the middle of bear inhabiting area without clearning up dinner mess from last night when I had 3 canned fish which stayed open on top of table. Actually, black bear is not something unfamiliar for I have encountered his relative in Catskill forest years ago on the other side of the small river where I was fishing. That’s another story another time. I was sure that bears won’t appear especially in front of fly fisherman wearing too many cluttering gadgets.

Hirose River above Whiskey Distrilley


Then I went down to the stream running in the small valley below around 6 am. Cherry trouts weren’t working until sun got little higher, then I caught my first one around 8:30 am. This fish became the largest cherry trout of the day at 18cm.


I gave up chasing after small fish before noon ending up catching 5 cherry trouts out of about 14 strikes. Aaagh… I was too naive to dream about shaku size fish… I switched my focus toward chars. Cherry trouts maybe small in this area, but chars could be big. So, I hit the road to where Hirose River was subdivided into several creeks. There was Minami Sawa (or Southern Creek) and Kita Sawa (or Norhern Creek). I picked the Kita for it was darker and seemd perfect for hide and seek big chars.

Hirose River’s Tributary Creek


As I started to fish in small creek from 12:30pm, I came across so many small cherry trouts under 10cm and probably chars in the same size. The creek was filled with fish, but it was hard not to spook these small ones waiting at the end of each pockets and pools. Shadow of 7x tippet would still scare the hell out of them. They must’ve seen many anglers.

My usual “cast then long drift” only yielded 2 fish in 2 hours. Both were smaller cherry trouts than from previous point. So, I changed my tactics from quick “cast then long drift” to slow “stalk and cast short on point”. It’s not fun to fish this way, but I really wanted to see chars. Then on the very first short cast on the edge of rock, I pulled a small white-spotted char at 16cm.


As I continued on, I missed the one in 20’s, and the rest of chars I caught were pretty much the same size as the first one. All the white-spotted chars were not of Northern origin, but Nikko char. They were obviously stocked in this river. I pretty much fulfilled my research, so I finished fishing when it was still early around 16:30pm.

Shaku size Fish? Native Habitats?

By the way, I came across a veteran bait fisherman from the area who
told me that there is no way I’ll be meeting good size cherry trouts or
chars in this water, because he already caught them all for dinner:)
Aside a joke, he told me that his fishing club has been stocking this
river with catch from down stream, and he directed me to better go to
Akita Prefecture for big cherry trouts and to Iwate Prefecture for big


Unfortunely, my time was up. Long driving ahead next morning back to Tokyo, so I set my camp in most unlikely place where bear would want to hang around. Parking.

Next time, I will be in Akita and Iwate from the start.

Result and Data: Hirose River + Kita Sawa Creek

Cherry Trout: 14-18cm 7 catches
Nikko White Spotted Char: 14-16cm 4 catches

Time, Light, and Weather: 6:00-11:30 and 12:30-16:00, shady dark, cloudy
Tempareature: Air at 16-19C, water at 14-16C
Bait: Midge pupa, small may fly dun, and ants.

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