Trout Fishing Guide Report from Japan’s Sanin Region
Field report by Shingo Matsui
October 2nd, 2018
Hello, I’m VARIVAS Field Tester, Shingo Matsui.
This field and guide report is about early summer to autumn trout fishing in the Sanin (pronounced as “Sun-Inn“) region of Tottori Prefecture, Japan.
When the Sato River spring fishing season ends in Tottori Prefecture, mountain stream fishing shifts to the forested mountain sides, close to the source of the rivers and streams. The primary fishing time on the Sato River is in the early morning or evening. My primary target is Iwana (Yamato Iwana = Salvelinus leucomaenis japonicus, similar to Trout, Char, and Kirikuchi Char in America). A char called Gogi lives in Japan’s Sanin region. Of course, it’s not everywhere, but Tottori Stream is said to be in the middle of the area where Nikko Iwana and Gogi fish have separate habitats. There are several rivers where you can catch Gogi. There is also a marsh where you can catch only Gogi.
As I usually do during extreme weather, such as on hot summer days and during typhoons and heavy rains, I guided my customers today to rivers in thickly forested areas. Upstream and in the headwater areas, this natural forest is thick with broad-leaved Beech and Japanese horse chestnut trees. Rivers flowing from this type of forest are relatively stable and unlikely to experience a significant water level fluctuation; that’s why I try to ‘check the forest’ when selecting a river.
From early to mid-summer 2018, the Iwana were in great shape, especially early June to early July. There were days when I caught countless fish within a 100 yards radius. From the end of August to September it wasn’t steady catching all day long, but I could still catch a fish quite often. The Sendai River tributary, Tenjin River tributary, and the independent rivers that flow west towards Daisen are located in the eastern part of Tottori prefecture. They are thickly forested with Beech and Japanese horse chestnut trees. The Daisen area contains the largest Beech tree forests in western Japan, along with many clean, clearwater rivers and streams.
I prefer using short length rods when fishing in Tottori’s thickly forested streams. This year I’m using a glass rod — a VARIVAS Morris Graphite Works Glass Trail. It’s a very good rod, allowing you to feel the swing-through with accurate casting ability, so much that you won’t believe it is a glass rod. In addition, the portability of it’s 6-pieces is a size that I can easily store inside my backpack when hiking through the forest and mountain trails. It’s a great rod to pack when fishing at the headwaters of a river. As a guide this year, I’ve had great success with this rod. It’s an indispensable rod for stream fishing in Tottori.
Most fly patterns are terrestrial. I often use beetle or ant patterns. Around this time of year, however, the Iwana are not very picky, thus you can catch them with your choice of fly patterns. My customers enjoy using their favorites. For the fly hook, select one with curved shank such as VARIVAS 2200 #10-14, IWI T-2000 #10-14. I tie it so that it dangles. I love it because the hook is light and hooks fish well.
The fly line I use is VARIVAS Union Color Fly Line Sensitive Presentation DT-3 Union Sand, Ayers Prospec Iwana Version DT-3. The tapered leader is a Tapered Leader Specialist Dry 9ft 4X to 5X, and the tippet is a Super Tippet Master Spec Nylon and Fluorocarbon 4X-6X. The length of the tippet varies depending on the situation.. If it’s too long, you may have trouble in a narrow stream. If the cast is difficult to determine, don’t make the tippet too long. Use a short tippet so that you can comfortably fish with a focus on rhythm. Of course, long tippets are often effective in many situations, so I deal with it depending on the situation.
In summer there aren’t many Yamame fish. But when you do encounter them, you can catch good size Yamame. If you continue to fish in a rapid stream using a large caddis pattern of about #8, you can meet foot-long Yamame trout. This year again, I was able to catch a good size Yamame with such a pattern. In that particular case, I used #4 Light Trail LT804-4. It’s possible to cast a large fly without difficulty. You can catch Yamame in a similar way at the end of autumn, too. The pattern around the season is mainly terrestrial patterns, such as stink bugs and hoppers. While fishing in late September, I caught some good Yamane, although small in size.
Looking back at this year’s season, all in all, it was a good season, even though the weather sometimes swayed me.
This year I started my fishing guide business–“STF Guide”– The Sanin Trout Fishing Guide. I learned a lot about fishing results and many things from the customers. I had such a satisfying season. And am looking forward to next year!
Contact for STF: Sanin Trout Fishing Guide:
E-mail: [email protected]
* Open only on weekends and holidays.
Translated from the original Japanese article published by Morris Company, Ltd., October 2nd, 2018. Field Report by Shingo Matsui.