• Skinny trout, fat trout

    More than three weeks have passed since the unprecedented disaster of 3.11. The mental health, as well as physical health of refugees from the disaster is much concerned. Strangely, many cases are reported that people who did not directly suffer from the disaster also fell sick. Those people are mentally depressed by being exposed to grieving media reports about the tsunami disaster or nuclear crisis every day for 3 weeks. Women seem to be more susceptible than men. A woman working next to me in our office also told me she felt almost sick by seeing those news reports on TV or newspapers, though she is usually a very easygoing person. I told her to make herself enjoy by doing something like having a gourmet dinner or picnicking under cherry blossoms (which is a tradition in this country), but she said she just wasn't in such a mood to enjoy something.
    Just worrying about the disaster never makes any differences. So in these days, TV is often turned off in my house, because channels are still much occupied by programs about the tsunami aftermath or news of ongoing Fukushima nuclear crisis.
    My family and I do what we can do. We donate money. We write to friends living in Tohoku region. We spend daily life as healthy as possible.
    In the last weekend, I went fishing for the first time in this season. Kubota lodge, my regular inn in Tohoku region, as well as other hotels or inns in the region, is now providing its rooms to tsunami refugees by the request of the local prefectural government. We don' know how long this situation will last, and it may affect my summer fishing plans. So, I will go fishing in this spring as often as I can.
    Then again, I go fishing in spring as often as I can every year, after all.

    Weather forecast had told that the temperature would gradually increase and peak on Friday. From the beginning of the week, I told everybody in the office that I would take a day off on Friday. (Actually, for years I have been trying to impress people about how I'm crazy about fishing, so that it would be easier for me to take days off for fishing.)

    It was indeed sunny and warm on Friday, though there was remaining snow on the mountains of the headwater of the stream.

    I don't know the name of these flowers, but they greet me on my first day on a stream every year.

    There was already a fisherman in the stretch I planned to fish, so I went downstream to the stretch where it is completely underwater when the water level of the reservoir is high. The water was extremely low, because it had not rained for a month.

    Trees surrounding the stream are still devoid of leaves.

    There were many size #16 mayflies in the air, and amago were readily rose to my fly. They were very small however, even in the Japanese standard. They were not only very small but often very skinny. It seems they didn't have enough food during the winter.

    Furthermore, fish often fail to catch the fly. At one time, the same small amago rose to the fly twice in a single drift but failed to catch it. They certainly need more practice to catch insects on water surface.

    Although the water is very low, the stream looked OK when I come close to it.

    In the center of a large pool, a fish took my fly. But when I first looked at it, I couldnít tell what it was. Yes, this is amago, but extremely skinny. This fish was the biggestÖ. no,Ö the "longest" of the day (about 9 in.).

    This is another skinny trout, apparently not recovered from the spawning exhaustion of last year. This is very unusual, and I donít have a slightest idea about what was wrong with this river during the winter. I called it a day at around 3 o'clock. I hope the fish will recover in a few more weeks. We need rain.

    The weather was still warm on Saturday and I decided to go fishing again. Because the condition of trout was so bad in my home stream, I headed to a different river this time.

    Peach flowers become in full bloom just prior to cherry blossoms. The temperature has been lower than usual this year, and cherry blossoms still seem a week away.

    This river had been my home water until 2004, when a very strong typhoon directly hit this area and tributary creeks and the main river was buried with sand and soil. Many tributary creeks have not recovered yet. This stretch in this picture is close to the lower end of the fishable water in this river. There had also been a lot of deep pools or runs that can hold fish in this stretch you see in this picture before the typhoon. Although there are still some fishable tributaries upstream, I decided to fish this lower stretch because of the low water.

    I couldnít hook the first fish that rose to my fly, and then, came to this fairly large pool, where I saw at least 4 seemingly good fish were rising. They seemed to be rising to size #16 mayflies, which were flying over the water. I smiled in my mind, thinking that the trout were all mine. But it wasnít very easy. Trout rose to my fly twice, but failed to catch it. As I proceeded gradually upstream, the rising fish also went upstream. Iím not a very good caster, because I usually fish only small streams where a long cast isnít necessary. Finally, I hooked one, and the fish was surprisingly strong.

    No wonder. It was this very fat, beautiful amago.
    I then realized a fish began rising downstream. After a few casts without a response, I cast down and across and intentionally twitched the fly upstream a few times. The fish cannot resist the movement and I caught a small amago.
    There were still a rising fish at the head of the pool. The fish, a very good one, rose to my fly once and failed to take it, and that was all over.

    There was a small eddy with floating bubbles on the way to the next pool. After a few casts, trout took the fly with a big splash. The fish was also very strong and it took me for a few minutes to bring it into net.

    Wow! This is the biggest amago (28cm in total length) I ever caught in this stream.

    At the next pool, I added smaller fish. In the same pool, another very nice fish rose to my fly but I couldnít hook it.
    Because of the scarcity of holding waters, I had to walk a long way upstream between two holding waters.
    I saw a fish rise in one deep pool. I fished the pool very carefully but had no response. I gave up the place and started to walk upstream reeling in the line. Then, I suddenly felt a pull in my rod. Amago was on the fly. Apparently, the fish took the fly, which was dragged upstream. The water surface was very flat and I saw the fish clearly. The fish was as large as the previous good one and also very fat and strong. I played the fish for a while but lost it.

    From far away, I saw trout rising in this very good looking pool, but before I cast, a cormorant suddenly landed on the water and immediately flew away. The fish never rose again.

    Then, I caught this nice smolt. As you can see, the parr marks are almost invisible, the orange or yellow color of fins are lost, the margins of dorsal and caudal fins are very dark, and the eye is relatively large to the size of the head. However, this fish cannot go down to the sea, because of two large dams downstream.

    Amago naturally become smolt in early winter. I think this fish is returning to parr from smolt. You can see the scales have come off along the three oblique lines on the body of the fish. This is the result of the tippet coiling around the fish body, which is caused by gyrating or spiral movement of fish. Such movement is typical of amago or yamame when they are hooked.

    This is the last fish of the day. Though it's a very good fish, it looked small after playing several larger amago. In one pool, I hooked a fish that was probably more than 12 inches. I even didnít see the fish. It went straight into deeper water. I held the rod for a while but couldnít make the fish head to turn to me. Then the line went loose.
    Now, weather forecast says it will be overcast with intermittent rain on next Saturday. If it's true, fishing can be exceptional. I can't wait for the fishing on next Saturday.
    This article was originally published in forum thread: Skinny trout, fat trout started by Satoshi View original post