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Artistic view of a Male Pteronarcys californica (Pteronarcyidae) (Giant Salmonfly) Stonefly Adult from the Gallatin River in Montana
Pteronarcys californica

The giant Salmonflies of the Western mountains are legendary for their proclivity to elicit consistent dry-fly action and ferocious strikes.

Lateral view of a Male Baetidae (Blue-Winged Olive) Mayfly Dun from Mystery Creek #308 in Washington
This dun emerged from a mature nymph on my desk. Unfortunately its wings didn't perfectly dry out.
27" brown trout, my largest ever. It was the sub-dominant fish in its pool. After this, I hooked the bigger one, but I couldn't land it.
Troutnut is a project started in 2003 by salmonid ecologist Jason "Troutnut" Neuswanger to help anglers and fly tyers unabashedly embrace the entomological side of the sport. Learn more about Troutnut or support the project for an enhanced experience here.

Willy's profile picture
Chicago, IL

Posts: 47
Willy on Jul 1, 2015July 1st, 2015, 7:57 am EDT
On Sunday I'm leaving for Japan with my wife and another couple for two weeks. We'll be traveling with a tour company, so our itinerary is pretty much set, but I'm hoping to sneak away for at least a few hours to try to catch one of Japan's native salmonids. It doesn't sound like this is going to be easy, so I'm looking for any advice I can get.

So far I've learned a few things...

1. There is almost no English language information available on the topic.

2. Tenkara isn't considered fly fishing in Japan. You won't find any Tenkara gear in a fly shop.

3. Licensing is done on a stream by stream basis.

That's about it. Our itinerary is Osaka --> Kyoto --> Ishikawaka --> Takayama --> Hakone --> Tokyo

Based on scheduling and what little information I've been able to find, it seems like my best bet might be fishing while we're in Takayama (there's a Tenkara fly named after the city). I have no idea which species live where, and I can't find much on that even.

I'm debating whether to bring a rod or to try to buy a cheap Tenkara outfit while I'm there. Given my limited packing space, I think the latter might be the best option.

I'm guessing that this probably won't work out, but I'm going to try. If any of you know anything about catching trout/char/salmon in Japan, I'd love to hear what you know.
Check out my fishing pictures on Instagram.
Wbranch's profile picture
York & Starlight PA

Posts: 2635
Wbranch on Jul 1, 2015July 1st, 2015, 11:56 am EDT
I found this neat web site with great pictures of some very pretty trout. I Googled "Trout in Japan" and got a bunch of items you could review.

Catskill fly fisher for fifty-five years.
CaseyP's profile picture
Arlington, VA/ Mercersburg, PA

Posts: 653
CaseyP on Jul 2, 2015July 2nd, 2015, 12:57 pm EDT
and don't forget your tour guide! some of them are delighted to help someone with an out-of-the-ordinary request. If you're part of a 50-person group bussing from standard sight to standard sight, never mind, but my experience of asking guides of smaller groups for something special has usually been positive.

and this is not to knock the If It's Tuesday, This Must Be Belgium style of touring! sometimes that's the best way to see and do what you want to!
"You can observe a lot by watching." Yogi Berra
Entoman's profile picture
Northern CA & ID

Posts: 2604
Entoman on Jul 2, 2015July 2nd, 2015, 10:26 pm EDT
Hey Willy,

Go to TenkaraUSA's website. The owner has done some extensive reports on the streams of Japan with some elegant video.
"It's not that I find fishing so important, it's just that I find all other endeavors of Man equally unimportant... And not nearly as much fun!" Robert Traver, Anatomy of a Fisherman
Wbranch's profile picture
York & Starlight PA

Posts: 2635
Wbranch on Jul 3, 2015July 3rd, 2015, 3:17 am EDT
Check out this really neat Japanese web site - it is in English and if you scroll down towards the bottom it lists dozens of Japanese trout streams with pictures.

Catskill fly fisher for fifty-five years.
Willy's profile picture
Chicago, IL

Posts: 47
Willy on Jul 4, 2015July 4th, 2015, 1:29 pm EDT
CaseyP - That's the first thing I'm going to do when we get to Japan. Luckily the woman in the couple that we are traveling with works for the company, so we've already been making some out of the ordinary requests for help with additional activities.

Entoman - Good stuff. I'm digging through it now.

Wbranch - This is one of the best links I've seen so far. Finding info on locations has been the hardest, and this answers some major questions I had.

Thanks everyone! Leaving tomorrow. Will report back.
Check out my fishing pictures on Instagram.
Masu's profile picture
Los Angeles, soon to be Japan

Posts: 1
Masu on Nov 10, 2015November 10th, 2015, 6:44 pm EST
Hey Willy,

Did you wind up fishing in Japan at all? I totally understand the lack of information for fly fishing in Japan. I'm actually in the process of researching this right now. There is ONE guide Mike Caennis who is an English-speaking guide (google search) that does the Nagano area. Fairly close from Tokyo.

There are actually some incredible fishermen who do overnight fishing trips, unfortunately most don't speak English, neither are there guiding services industry like the U.S. Here's an example. They go to the most remote locations, camp, and eat the Iwana they catch. along with some edible mountain vegetables.

FallfishTen's profile picture

Posts: 2
FallfishTen on Jan 3, 2016January 3rd, 2016, 2:13 am EST
I hope you had a great trip Willy. Did you end up posting a trip report?

I myself have been living in Japan for over a year and have spent many many days stalking Amago, Iwana, and Yamame in the keiryu and genryu of Japan. Much info can be found at my website and I am happy to help folks with any questions related to fishing in Japan.

Japan is a marvelous country, the landscapes are breathtaking, and the fishing is very exciting. I think that every angler should visit and spend some time in the mountains of Japan, once you do you'll never want to leave!
Aki Sakana Oni
Fallfish Tenkara
Willy's profile picture
Chicago, IL

Posts: 47
Willy on Jul 21, 2016July 21st, 2016, 2:16 pm EDT
Check out my fishing pictures on Instagram.
Troutnut's profile picture
Bellevue, WA

Posts: 2758
Troutnut on Jul 21, 2016July 21st, 2016, 4:03 pm EDT
Great write-up and pictures, Willy!
Jason Neuswanger, Ph.D.
Troutnut and salmonid ecologist
Posts: 1
CARiD on Aug 10, 2016August 10th, 2016, 4:07 am EDT
Great post! It's always interesting to find out about fishing culture in other places of the world. If you need any fishing gear, check out https://www.carid.com/fishing.html

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