Whilst eating freshwater fish raw is generally not recommended – I say this in the spirit of humbug mostly, having eaten both iwana char and carp raw previously, and many other things conventional wisdom states shouldn’t be, like the raw intestines of the ayu fish or uncooked littleneck clam – I made sushi with yamame caught at Yozawa.
It ate surprisingly well – the flesh was delicate like the sea-fish known here as hiramasa. In hindsight it is perhaps not unexpected seeing as the yamame is a salmon relative. I hope to catch more yamame again in the future and explore some more ways of cooking them.
Caught a yamame today to make it 91 species of game fish (if you include cephalopods as ‘fish’) to succumb to my rod and reel here in Japan. To catch a yamame was particularly pleasing as it is considered the ‘Queen of the River’ by natives and harder to snag than iwana. Aside from adding some more of the salmonids, and of course ayu, and maybe three or four more varieties of tanago I foresee it being quite difficult to make it to the 100 but we shall see (I have not included the 4 or 5 unidentified fish I have caught at sea). This was my first time sight-fishing with a dry fly, and it proved to be educational, infuriating and exhilarating, all at the same time. It was also the first outing for my French silk fly line, and I am not sure I can go back to synthetics after this.
This one is a keeper; I caught two more smaller yamame and a trio of non-native, but very hard-fighting, rainbows, which were all released. Thank you to Yozawa trout stream for the great day out. Aside from the fishing, it was a great learning experience, in terms of entomology – I now know the Japanese for daddy long-legs – and noting the particular and consecutive hatches and myriad appearances of different creatures. For me, it was amazing to watch the yamame squabble with each other over a large foundering caddis skipping on the surface (of course the largest one won in the end) considering conventional wisdom states that 80 – 90% of a trout’s diet is submerged food, therefore rising to winged insects is at the most, a luxury indulged in by the fish, a relish rather than a staple. I hope I can go again soon.