In the Lake MOTOSU  --Vol.25--

Waiting for That Brown Trout

Thus I caught a giant brown trout too easily in Lake Motosu in November in 1977 after so much preparation. I was quite satisfied but I could not forget my black silhouette. I want to catch that brown trout. Or at least I want to aim at and catch the one hunting small fish near the bank, just as my black silhouette. It was my selfish but greatest wish. Furthermore, only one catch did not mean I mastered how to fish Lake Motosu. I needed much more practice.

In the following week I was casting the fly in the same way. The sky was very clear and a strong wind was blowing. The waves were high in the whole lake. I started fishing from Bay Nagasaki but there was no fish near the bank this time. About 10 a.m. I moved some hundreds metres to the steep slope. There were a small inlet and a practice area for a motorboat race beyond it. A lot of small fish like sweet fish lived under the steep slope for many years. I had long thought it was a good point to aim at brown trout. But the really steep slope had discouraged me from casting until I got double handed rod.
A fish bit the fly below the steep slope and hopped up and down like it was mad.

A Collision with a Rushing-out Fish

While I was walking on the rock under the steep slope I cast large Muddler Minnow. It was put to sinking line. About half an hour later I felt a strong bite when I retrieved the line quickly. I raised the rod. Immediately a silver fish hopped up and down on the surface like it was mad. Although I did not feel the fish was heavy the reel reversed several times with rattle.

I waited for the fish to be calm and pulled it. It was a strange fish with a sharp mouth like a cherry salmon, two-pointed tail fin like a sea bream, half-transparent pale green body and silver scales. I needed some seconds to recognize it as a rare rainbow trout in those days. It was very different from the typical one.

I never aimed at it. When I cast the fly at the good-looking point it came to me. I knew most fish were caught in that way. But somehow I felt as if I had had a collision with a rushing-out fish. It is true casting a lot at random is very common in the lake although I do not know whether anglers like it or not. Anyway, there is no other way to fish a quiet lake with no sign of fish. Fortunately, I could make long casting, so I never got fed up with it. Imagine; if you cast 20m with single handed rod you will give up fishing within an hour, however enthusiastically you started. All of you will lose your interest if you see through the water bottom with no fish. But now I could cast more than 30m with double handed rod and the fly settled on the deep blue water I could not see through. So no angler knew if there were fish or not. But fish seemed to stay there. At least I had hope. I repeated casting as far as I had hope. Repeated casting usually results in catching a fish sooner or later. It is not by chance that most of record-sized brown trout were caught with double handed rod there.
Finally I pulled up the fish that became calm after losing stamina.

A Drift of Small Fish

It had been a year since I saw the black silhouette. I did not give up but went frequently to Nagasaki Bay in April 1978. I did not see that splash again but knew a lot about the lake.

From the end of March in the earliest case, dead or dying pond smelt and sweet fish drifted on the water. In the latter half of April when the birches near the bank were budding, those small fish were washed ashore together with husks of new buds. Then big brown trout came close to the bank and ate those small fish greedily, which could not run away. They ate them calmly like eating dry fly. I seldom saw brown trout running after those bait. Small fish were drifting on the water and blown away by the wind. They were usually drifting into the inner part of the bay. Actually, jumps of brown trout were quite often found at the most inner part of the bay to leeward.
Is it really a rainbow trout? The whole body looked transparent.

One day in the end of April a south wind was blowing violently on Lake Motosu. White waves were breaking in the centre like in the sea. The strong wind blew straight down from Mt. Fuji. The first glance of the lake discouraged me but I drove around the lake to check the condition. Fortunately the wind was not so strong at Nagasaki Bay and the most inner inlet. All right, I can cast the fly there!

At first I walked into Nagasaki Bay as usual. Although white waves were moving across the centre of the lake it was calm inside the bay. A whirl of wind made it difficult to swing the rod but there was no other problem. I made casting for a while but there was no sign of fish. Then I moved to the inner inlet. It lied before a dried creek called Kawajiri. It was an ordinary shallow small inlet but small fish were often around there, which had drawn my attention. I knew the reason now. Landform made the wind soft around the inlet but big waves drifted heavily into there. So husks of buds of birch and Japanese oak drifted into its most inner part. Heaps of husks were 10cm thick, over 1m wide. There were countless dead pond smelt and sweet fish among them. While I was drawing out the line, I looked around and got glimpses of small fish drifting on the water among the waves. I put Fiesta to the leader and cast it against the wind as far as possible.
Fiesta caught a lot of brown trout. They were not monsters any more.

A Regular Migration

While casting I moved along the bank and found small fish in many places as well as the most inner part of the inlet. Surely brown trout stay nearby! They never miss such a gorgeous meal. I became more and more confident and eagerly cast the fly all around there.
About an hour later there was a big splash near the opposite bank 50m away.

Here comes a fish! Suddenly I felt excited. Immediately I grabbed the line. I checked the leader and the fly and cast them again. I repeated casting and retrieving so often. The brown trout will never miss my fly! Soon it will bite my nice-drifting Fiesta. I waited for it with a pounding heart. Large ripples spread only 10m in front of me. Perfect timing! Fortunately I was just about to pick up the line for the next casting. After a short false cast I cast the fly in front carefully and started pulling the line at once. The fish looked like a fast swimmer. It must snatch the fly soon! But 10 seconds later the fly escaped from the fish to my feet. Oh, no! I extended the line and cast the fly again and again like I was mad. But nothing happened.

Several minutes later the lake was completely calm. I remembered how my black silhouette had appeared. Fish migrate regularly. My black silhouette appeared half an hour later again. How about this fish? There was no rise when I arrived here. About an hour passed since then. So it has an hour cycle? I knew that was a wild guess but somehow I had confidence.

-- To be continued --
2001/10/07  KEN SAWADA
Tranlated into English by Miyoko Ohtake