In mid-July 2022, we had fishing trip in Tottori Prefecture with Shinjiro Kinoshita, a Vanfook Field Staff member.
The plan was for two days and it was his first trip to the San-in region. However, due to the drought caused by the dry rainy season this year, the field conditions were close to the worst.
So, on the first day, we asked Mr. Matsui, from San-in Trout Fishing Guide, to guide us to the stream that was in good condition even in the drought.
However, as it turned out, it rained heavily at midnight the day before! It was the long-awaited rain that we had not had during this rainy season.
Our fears of a drought turned around, and we headed to the meeting place with high hopes and anxieties for the stream, whose conditions had been reset by the rain, and for the weather on the day of the tour.
Entered the stream while checking the conditions to avoid muddy conditions, at a spring-fed stream.
When we arrived at the site, the sky was overcast with a hint of drizzle. According to the weather forecast, there was no heavy rain, but it looked like there would be some rain left.
According to our preliminary plan, we were going to target Yamame, the landlocked salmon, in the middle part of the stream in the early morning, but unfortunately, we gave up the plan due to muddy water caused by the rain last night.
We decided to change target for Iwana (Char) and entered a tributary of the spring where the water was less muddy and the quality of the water was stable.
Hooked-up on a belly hook firmly. There was hardly any loss due to highly active.
As expected of a local guide Matsui, the stream he led us to was the right one!
At the right spots, we could always get some kind of response.
The condition of the fish was fantastic, and there were almost no loosing bites due to the fish turns back strongly.
Beautiful golden and orange “Daisen Iwana (Char)”.
Above all, the fish we caught were very beautiful. The Char we caught were of the Nikko type.
The dark orange color is spread from the belly and vermilion spot to the tip of the fins, and the whole body is colored with a beautiful golden gradation.
Matsui calls this Char as “Daisen Iwana” (Daisen Char). There is various local Char in various places, but this dark color is quite distinctive. When I think of Char in San-in region, I clearly think of “Gogi” (the Char with white spots all the way to the top of the head), but we were able to encounter a new and different kind of local Char.
After less than three hours of actual fishing, I felt satisfied that I had done enough for one day!
Wading to the headwaters of tributaries to avoid the sun in the afternoon.
In the afternoon, the rain stopped and it became hot and sunny like midsummer, we headed to the headwaters to avoid the sun.
The rain had a positive effect on the fish. From the drop-off to the rapids, even in small areas, fish were jumping at our lures.
Shinjiro Kinoshita and I fished upstream, but the beautiful fish kept getting caught, so we had to slow down our fishing speed while taking pictures…
Very busy taking pictures because we caught so many beautiful fish.
After having enough fun at the headwaters, we moved a little downstream to catch more size fish by sundown.
We fished a short section of the river from a little downstream to search for big one.
In the drop-off in front of the pool where the big ones were likely to be, small to medium-sized Char were chasing the lure and biting as if they were competing with each other.
In some places, they seemed to be stocked with 10 fish at a spot.
Although fish were frequently seen, there was no sign of large ones, and time passed by.
We carefully explored the drop-off in front of the weir, but could not see any big Char.
Deciding that the next and last point would be this weir, we went to the stretch where the big weir end.
We climbed up to the weir while catching fish, and finally, there was a drama!
A black shadow chased Shinjiro’s minnow as it passed the corner of the collapsed wall!
A brightly-colored big Char!
After a fierce bite, he landed a “Shaku Iwana” (*) with bright gold and green body color.
It was a tall, fat fish in excellent condition. We thought it would be a drama fish near the end, but…
*Shaku Iwana: the Char with the size over 30cm in length.
A big Char popped out of the sinking block at the last drop-off.
At the last weir, Shinjiro Kinoshita found a monster fish!
When we saw the fish netted in, “It’s huge!”, everyone shouted in unison when they saw the fish in the net.
A thick, beautiful fish peeked out the net!
As we were heading for the shallows to take pictures, we could see through the net that the back of the fish was thick, expecting that it was a very big one.
Dignified face and white lines that beautifully decorate the edges of the fins.
The beautiful golden body of the fish. Fine scratches that tell that it has survived the harsh environment.
Large tail fins edged in vermilion.
We had not measured the size of the fish before, but we did it so for just in case.
A firm measurement revealed a size of 38 cm!
The golden body of the fish has an orange vermilion spot, and the fins are bordered with beautiful white lines.
The large tail fins are tinged with vermilion, which contrasts beautifully with the body color.
More than its size, this beautiful fish impressed us with its strength to survive in the harsh environment where it is closed by heavy snowfalls in winter.
Shinjiro Kinoshita couldn’t help but smile when he saw this fish. We ended our fishing day with this one as our best upstream trout.
Matsui’s recommendation: Kaisen-don, assorted fresh seafood rice bowl.
After fishing, we finished with a seafood rice bowl recommended by Matsui.
It was a combination of Mosa Prawn (black small prawn) and miso soup with prawns.
This fishing trip was filled with experiences that we could never have had on our own, as only a guide with close ties to the local community could provide, such as attending to the best places to eat and explaining the local culture.
We are grateful to Mr. Matsui for providing us with the best time not only in terms of fishing results but also in total planning throughout the day.
DRIFTHOOK that worked well throughout the day.