Fishing in Toyamago

It’s been quite a while since my last post, but I’ve been alive!
This past weekend I went to Toyamago, a town full of nature in the heart of Nagano prefecture, in order to fish in the beautiful rivers.

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I arrived in Toyamago on a rainy afternoon. For lunch I went into Hoshinoya, a local restaurant that serves delicious wild animal meat such as deer, bear, and boar. The photos are taken in the basement taxidermy collection of the owner. Pretty cute right?

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By the time I reached the inn for my trip – Shimabata Inn- the rain had stopped. As the river I was going to go fishing in, is right in front of the inn, I check up and down the stream, and located several spots to fish. I gave my rod a try, but no luck this afternoon.

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The next morning I woke up at around 5AM, and headed upstream. The area was still dark, so I carefully chose my steps up the road, watching out for puddles and wild snakes (yes there are many).

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Near a bridge, I found a wide open area full of rocks that I can set up my fishing activity.

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This is the fishing permit that I carried with me all around. You can buy them at local inns and restaurants.

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I used salmon roe as bait, and after about an hour I caught my first fish. I deployed the techniques I learned from my fishing instructor back in June in Aomori. Don’t let your shadows show in the river – the fish know you’re there. Try to keep the bait slightly above the riverbed so it looks natural. When you feel a tug, don’t pull too hard just yet – be patient and wait for it to really bite into the hook.

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The first catch was an Iwana. Because it was relatively small I unhooked it and released it back into the river. After three more hits of similar sized Iwana, I got a relatively bigger one. I decided to take this one home.

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In total I caught six of them, and I brought home the one that was big enough.
The “mom” of the inn very kindly fried the Iwana for me. It was delicious!

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What I really enjoy about fishing is the initial vibration when the fish bites into the bait. They’re careful creatures, so they bite little by little. It’s a game between you and the fish, and pure it is more than pure strength.

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