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Part 2: My Genryu Fishing - Keiichi Okushi


Genryu Fishing 2

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Fishing styles of Genryu

Genryu fishing includes all styles of fishing. Tenkara fishing, fly fishing, lure fishing and bait fishing, all those fishing are called “Genryu Fishing” when they are done in genryu areas. It is not a matter of method. It is the matter of the place. Still, with recent trends, it seems that kebari fishing (tenkara fishing and fly fishing) is becoming the mainstream of the genryu fishing.

Keiichi Okushi hooking a fish in a genryu stream

Along with that, I think that the fisherman's manners have become very much better than before. The trend of catch & release surely widespread, and I think that the number of people who throw away garbage in the nature and scatter the camping places is very small now. It is because the fishing became more like sport since 10 or 15 years ago. I do not want to say it too much but old Japanese fishers did catch & kill and would take 50 or 60 sometimes 100 iwana or yamame home. Some of them threw the garbage in the rivers or forests. It is the influence of education that our manners have improved. I am very thankful for this. I hope that my favorite mountain streams of Japan will be beautiful forever and always have a lot of fish swimming in there.

The fun of genryu fishing is not merely to fish for iwana. To plan a fishing trip - reading topographical maps and reports of someone’s fishing trips for weeks or months before. To prepare packages of foods and equipment into a 60 - litre backpack while imagining the flow of the desired mountain. Meeting with friends, aiming for mountains, flying along the midnight highway, spending hours to access the chosen mountain. Walking the Zenmai trail, crossing the river, climbing the steep footpath to climb over the mountains to the next valley and finally you get to stand on the desired stream.

Hiking through a Japanese Mountain Forest to Reach Genryu Streams

Every time I go to genryu, I ask myself why I come to genryu only for fishing when it causes such a painful feeling. Nevertheless, the steeper it is, the more rigorous it is - that means other people do not go there. The harder it is for me, the more satisfaction I feel when I get there. At such times, flow, forests and mountains are more beautiful than usual.

Climbing a steep cliff to reach a genryu fishing paradise

We enjoy fishing in the beautiful landscapes which change dramatically. We fish for iwana, wading gin clear water of genryu. In the evening, we go back to the camp site and surround the bonfire on the riverbank to enjoy drinks with friends who shared suffering and pleasure. There is all of them and it is genryu fishing.

Camp Fire Food after a long Hike into Genryu Area

The genryu and mountain streams of Japan are beautiful, and every single one is different from the next. In a genryu fishing trip, we spend 2 days or 3 days to walk through one genryu stream.  We fish and walk through the gin clear water in the beautiful sceneries that changes one after another. It seems as if we are traveling in one country. I think genryu fishing is a journey. Isn’t it just like our life?

Keiichi Okushi, Genryu Tenkara Fishing Addict and Owner of "Tenkara ya".