Amago Season

The first of March marked the beginning of amago fishing season in many of the mountain streams of Japan. Amago, or “red-spotted masu trout” are a specialty of mountain streams. Though they stand out with their distinctive red spots and pretty blue and silver colors, they are a very defensive fish, and love to hide in deep areas crowded with rocks. Fisherman have to climb pretty far up the tributaries, to the hard to reach places just to be in the right area. Once they are there, they have to be careful not to be seen or heard by these clever fish, as they will swim away at first sight.In Japanese, amago are nicknamed the “queens of the freshwater streams”, but that doesn’t stop people from enjoying their delicious taste. Salting and barbecuing them on skewers is the most common way of eating them, but the locals have many other delicious ways of bringing the unique flavor of amago. Their name comes from the word “ame-go”, which some older people still call them. “Ame” means rain, and the “ame-go” name came from how there were always so many of these fish during the rainy months of May and June.
Fishing is a fantastic way to enjoy the nature of Japan. There are many mountains in eastern and southern Nara Prefecture where you can find these fish. However, instead of looking on your own, I recommend finding a local fisherman who is willing to take you, as they surely know both the good fishing spots and the best way to cook up what you catch.