March 10, 2017
Every February I start getting excited, and begin eagerly making plans for the March 1st opening day of Keiryu (mountain stream) fishing season. This year I wanted to get out on opening day but due to a nasty cold my trip was pushed back about a week. The morning of my departure I got an earlier start than anticipated due to my son's 3am feeding. I hit the road well before sunrise and made it to the trail-head in record time! Along the way I passed a digital thermometer road sign that said the temperature was -4°C, and that was at the lake - the trail-head was a few hundred meters higher. It was most certainly going to be a winter Tenkara trip.
It took about an hour for me to hike to the end of the logging road where I deployed my Tenkara USA Ito rod. The water was very cold and ice was everywhere, if I stood too long in one spot my felt soled shoes would freeze to the rock! So I opted to tie on a tungsten bead head nymph that Adam Klags had given to me at the Bansho in Aizu last year - to get down deep where I knew the fish were. I have fished this river several times, the most recent was last August. Sometime since then a massive flood had ripped through the canyon and some of my favorite pools were now completely gone. The water was also lower than I had ever seen it. In a month or two when monsoon season arrives I am sure the water levels will increase and maybe the river will reclaim some of her more majestic plunge pools.
Rather than go through the whole day in words I thought I would let my photos (and the video) do the "talking" for me. I will say that this was the first trip with my Simms Slick Jacket, Zimmerbuilt Tailwaters pack, and Montbell Sawanobori shoes - so at some point this season I will be writing a more detailed gear review on them.
Fallfish Tenkara is the brainchild of Isaac Tait who now lives in New England but dreams of returning, one day, to Japan. You should follow him on Twitter.