A few days before Christmas my friend Cameron and I headed to Kannongawa, a small river about 75km (45 miles) from Tokyo. It was a cold day, temps were in the low 20's but it was our first real fishing trip and we were psyched. There are several fishing farms in this area but the one on Kannongawa has a more natural feel to it. Sure there are about 15 pools dug by a tractor and dammed with large rocks but above the man-made pools is a long section of natural river with some very deep natural pools.
I wasn't having much luck with surface flies in the deeper pools so I switched to a beaded bright pink midge. It was a good choice. For hours the fish were going nuts chasing my midge as it bounced along the bottom of the pools in the swift current. I even managed to bring about 1/2 a dozen to hand! While the man made pools were crowded all day long, in the natural section of the river I only saw two other anglers.
The prices are 4100 yen for an all day pass sunrise to sunset - in December sunset was 1630. For a half-day it is 3300 yen, which is from noon till sunset. There is plenty of parking and I am sure this place gets crazy on a holiday weekend but for our mid-week trip there were only about 20-30 anglers. Of course about 18-28 of them fished in the man-made pools all day...
Written by Isaac Tait who now lives in San Diego but dreams of returning, one day, to Japan. You should follow him on Twitter