Mr. Bae, Ms. Lee, & Mr. Lee hook up with some nice browns on belly boats.
I had the privilege to teach my friend's son how to fish. They visited me recently from Korea and of course we had to go up to our cabin in Adirondack and fish the Lake George. Seeing a kid smile with his first fish was priceless. Nice catch Woo Jae!!!
A dear friend of mine will soon launch his brand new website dedicated to trout fishing in the small streams/ creeks of Asia. Knowing him, he will do a great job and I can’t wait to see his new site. Stay tuned for some beautiful photos and writing…
Posted by gone fishing at 8/27/2009
Once in a while, you find a brand that does everything right in their field. Solid quality, great style, and offered at a fair price. Little Present is such a company definitely worth checking out ( http://lpresents.com ). I have bought their jacket & shirts and love them… they are functional, elegant, and best of all, simple. I had a tough time finding a simple jacket that doesn’t try to do the Swiss army knife thing, and now I found a good one. I am a fan of Little Presents.
According to statistics bear attack on humans are a pretty rare thing. Bear attack while fishing is probably even more rare. But you have to wonder that basically when you are in the vicinity of bears while fishing, you have something at the end of your line that the bear wants, fish. Hokkaido and other wonderful places to fish are frequently shared with bears, and while the Hokkaido black bear is smaller than the grizzly, the thought of encountering one while fishing is an experience I can do without. We fished the Shiribetsu River, but went deep into the valleys to reach a stretch that was difficult for people to access (a 3 hour walk at a medium fast pace – one way) to seek larger Iwana trout. As we geared up, our guide Kawagoe-san took a few minutes to brief us on how to use the bear spray, and what basic actions to take in the unlikely encounter with Hokkaido’s black bear. We had a laugh about it but still decided to leave the lunch & all good smelling snacks in the car. At points we were separated from each other, each focused on fishing. As we walked deeper into the valley and started to fish, the thought of bears started to slowly sink in. The team that fished this valley last year saw & photographed bears (fortunately 50+ meters away) and our guides saw bears just the prior week… so the possibility of encountering a bear wasn’t as remote as I would have liked. I listened more closely than normal, and found myself often looking into the woods, checking out any larger shadows. Fortunately, we saw no bears. It’s a strange feeling, fishing and thinking that there are creatures nearby that is much larger than you, and if it wanted could eat you for lunch. Maybe for the guys who fish in hardcore bear country like Alaska, this isn’t much of a thing to write about, but for a regular first timer like me, it was pretty nerve racking. Bears are cool, but I don't want to see one nearby with fish in my hands.
I got totally skunked at catching trout this day, ending up with only bunch of creek chubs. I consider it my humbling trip… my mouth spoke “sometimes one has to not catch fish to appreciate one’s surroundings”… but my heart said “ damn it, screw this surrounding stuff, I want to catch me some trout”. Fortunately, my friends caught trout on this day.
I spent the weekend in beautiful Hokkaido with Japan’s famous fishing guides Iwao Shimoyama (owner & head guide) & Toshinori Kawagoe from Dolly Varden Fishing (http://www.dorllyvarden.com/). Dolly Varden is the most famous fly fishing outfitter in Hokkaido, and likely in all of Japan. Dolly Varden has been guiding international clients for more than 15 years, and different from many of the other fly shops, guide range covers the entire Hokkaido island & through all seasons. Dolly Varden guides & targets a great range of fish in Hokkaido (Yamame, Iwana, Rainbow, Silver Salmon, Brown Trout, Taimen, Osyorokoma, Karafutomasu, and Dolly Varden) covering both freshwater and saltwater species. Dolly Varden is also a full service fly shop, an authorized dealer for Hardy, Orvis, Echo, Simms, Paz Design, C&F, TFO, and many other premium brands. They also have a fine selection of fine Japanese handmade bamboo rods , nets, and other tackle. Their clients come from all over the world … England, USA, Australia, South Korea, Taiwan, Japan to name a few… and there are some famous names among the client list. Both website and bog is in Japanese but English will be available end of year. (blog:http://dollyvarden.blog49.fc2.com/)
But enough talk about how famous Dolly Varden is. What made this trip so special is that fact that I feel I made friendships that will last a long time. Shimoyama-san and Kawagoe-san are genuine and sincere people. They exude a generosity & confidence that comes from years of experience and a kind heart. They are the real reason why Dolly Varden is so special, and people who visit leave with lasting memories. Their professional yet personal trip arrangements, attention to the smallest details, and ability to find big and pretty fish is second to none. I asked where the name Dolly Varden comes from and Shimoyama-san tells me that a client helped name the shop. Like the Dolly Varden, it hopes to start small in a local stream, then eventually move into larger oceans. For now, they are growing strong and each visitor leaving as a big fan (like me), it is only a matter of time before Dolly Varden Hokkaido become a global name (although they already sort of are). I guess the only problem left is getting Shimoyama-san to accept more interviews and the sort… although the fact that he doesn’t like that sort of thing is exactly why we like him. I look forward to seeing the crew again soon. If you go to Japan, stop by Hokkaido. If you fish, then try to get a reservation with Dolly Varden (need to reserve early!), it will be one of the best trips you will experience. Guaranteed.
Dolly Varden shop & Café. Kawagoe-san, thank you for the great coffee!
Shimoyama-san guiding our team through the deep valleys of Hokkaido. Yamame are pretty and Iwana are handsome. That is how it is supposed to be expressed.
Good food and some heavy drinking (of course). These were the only pictures I manages to take before I lost the camera for the night.
Excellent accommodations, hot springs, and the tastiest rice balls I have ever eaten. おいしい!
Kawagoe-san, what did you find in your fly box?
Some more photos from Dolly Varden blog.(blog: http://dollyvarden.blog49.fc2.com/)