When I told my friend Hiromiki that I was heading to the Kanno river in the Izu peninsula, he said there'd be more fishermen than fish, which is pretty telling-so etting rained out wasn't that big a deal. Honestly I'm not really all that interested in yamame, amago and iwana although when people ask me about fishing in Japan that's what they usually want to know about. If you fish anywhere except in the far North of Honshu and Hokkaido your choices are low quality stocked fish with ratty fins (you'll rarely see the tails in the photos) or going to some little blueline creek, hiking and battling through brush for the potential to catch a 4" fish. Even the stockies average about 8" and you have to put up with other anglers all over. Having grown up in rural Scotland where I could just walk up the burn and catch nice wild fish all day, It's not really for me. There are plenty of other, more interesting species to fish for in Japan.
The Maruta is one of them, I think it's unique to Japan and is a beautiful looking fish that will eat flies readily. They turn up in the rivers right around cherry blossom time. A beautiful, hard fighting fish that you can catch in beautiful surroundings! We got a lot of rain over Sunday night and into Monday, Hawaiian Dave hit the Tama river on Tuesday but it seemed the fish had already pushed through. I decided to let the river clear so I was carping with Hiromiki on Tuesday, which was a challenge because he's so unused to fishing a single handed rod and his casting wasn't where it needed to be, although he did eventually manage a nice fish about 4lb. Yesterday I went to the Tama, which despite running right through Tokyo is one of the best maruta fisheries in the country. Having intel from Dave helped and I was able to find plenty of maruta, pretty quickly. Several pods of fish were working their way up river at the stretch I chose to fish, and they were quite happy to eat perdigons and squirmies all day. Being fresh in the system they were strong and fought very well and were really in their full spawning colours-probably because they'd been stacked up in the estuary waiting for water- they normally colour up more gradually after entering the river and it's not unusual to get a few that are still a bit silvery from the sea.
They really are a lovely fish and great fun to catch, I'd definitely suggest adding them to a spring trip to Japan rather than setting your sights on yamame, amago or iwana!