Introduction
Information
Wakasagi fishing on a frozen lake
Cautionary Points
Access
Conclusion
Nearby

When thinking of things to do in the winter, winter sports like skiing and snowboarding are a popular choice. However there are many other activities that are fun and limited to the winter months.

One in particular is wakasagi fishing.

Wakasagi is a type of Japanese smelt, and at Lake Onuma in Gunma prefecture, you can go wakasagi fishing on the frozen lake.

You can go wakasagi fishing at Lake Onuma between January and the end of March.

About Onuma Lake

Onuma Lake lies on Mount Akagi in Gunma prefecture’s city of Maebashi. It is a caldera lake, or a lake formed in the crater of a volcano.

The area is rich in nature, and the fall foliage is especially breathtaking. When the lake isn’t frozen, you can hop on a boat and row around the lake.

Wakasagi fishing on Lake Onuma

The wakasagi fishing season at Lake Onuma is quite long. In previous years, fishing season has started as early as September and lasted until late March.
Until about late November, you can fish from a boat, and after that, you can go on the frozen lake and fish out of the drilled holes.
All of the equipment needed for wakasagi fishing, such as the rods, tent and more, can be rented out at the ryokan hotels and shops by the lake.
Some famous hotels are the Aoki Ryokan and Green So.
Wakasagi Fishing is expected to take place until March 31st in 2018.

Wakasagi fishing on a frozen lake

Here are some tips on wakasagi fishing at Mount Akagi.

1. Equipment

First, you need the equipment for wakasagi fishing. You will need a fishing rod, a lure, a drill and a chair. For warmth, you can rent out mini stoves heaters and tents.


Katatsumuri Tent

This tent, called the “katatsumuri” tent, is in a snail-like shape (snail is katatsumuri カタツムリ in Japanese).

The tent is specifically made for wakasagi fishing, and the occupancy of the tents vary with the size. These tents block wind, so they are perfect for warmth.

2. Drill a hole in the lake


Drilling a hole

Once you get to where you want to fish, take your drill and place it perpendicularly from the ground. Drilling will get harder towards the end, but keep drilling until you make a little hole.
After creating the hole, get rid of all of the small bits of ice on the hole. You can use a net to get all of the bits of ice out.

3. Setting the rod

The rod used for wakasagi fishing is about 30 centimeters long, which is shorter than the average rod. Since the hook is small, it might take a while to get your bait on it at first.

One tip for the bait is to cut off about 2/3 of it after attaching it to the hook.

4. Lower the rod


Lower the rod and wait…

Once you’ve set up your rod, you can officially begin wakasagi fishing. Let the sinker get to the bottom of the lake, and from there you can wait for the wakasagi to nibble on the bait.

To lure the fish, move the rod up and down about 3 times. Repeat this until you feel the hit. If you’re not finding any luck, try fishing at a different spot.

Keep your eyes on the rod


The rod for wakasagi fishing

Wakasagi is a small fish, so it might be hard to tell when it nibbles at the bait.
Sometimes you can get one without even realizing. On the other hand, sometimes the wakasagi might have already gotten away by the time you felt anything.
Keeping your eyes on the end of the rod is crucial. If you notice any movements, pull the rod up and see if you’ve gotten anything.

Fresh wakasagi tempura!


Wakasagi tempura

You can bring your fished wakasagi to a nearby ryokan or restaurant, and have the chef cook it (for an extra charge). Wakasagi is commonly fried into a tempura form.

Cautionary points

To fish at Lake Onuma, you need to purchase a fishing ticket. You can purchase one at a nearby ryokan for ¥700.

Prepare for the cold!

Mount Akagi can get as cold as -20 degrees Celsius in the winter months. It also gets extremely windy, so make sure to wear clothes that will keep you warm.

Mini stove heater usage

If you decide to use a mini stove heater in the tents, you will be able to stay warm and comfortable.

However, using it for a long time can lead to carbon monoxide poisoning, due to the lack of oxygen in the tent. Make sure to let in some fresh air frequently.

Access

Nearest station: Akagiyama Visitor Center 赤城山ビジターセンター (Bus Stop)

From Tokyo Station

【Tokyo Sta.】Hokuriku Shinkansen / for Kanazawa
→【Takasaki Sta.】JR Ryomo Line / for Isezaki
→【Maebashi Sta.】Kanto Kotsu Local Bus / for Fujimi-onsen
→【Fujimi Onsen Bus Stop】Kanto Kotsu Local Bus / for Akagiyama Center
→【Akagiyama Visitor Center】
*Direct busses available from Maebashi Station on Saturdays, Sundays and public holidays

From Haneda Airport

【Haneda Airport Sta.】Tokyo Monorail / for Hamamatsucho
→【Hamamatsucho Sta.】JR Yamanote Line / for Ueno
→【Tokyo Sta.】Hokuriku Shinkansen / for Kanazawa
→【Takasaki Sta.】JR Ryomo Line / for Isezaki
→【Maebashi Sta.】Kanto Kotsu Local Bus / for Fujimi-onsen
→【Fujimi Onsen Bus Stop】Kanto Kotsu Local Bus / for Akagiyama Center
→【Akagiyama Visitor Center】
*Direct busses available from Maebashi Station on Saturdays, Sundays and public holidays

From Narita Airport

【Narita Airport Sta.】Keisei Narita Sky Access Line / for Keisei Ueno
→【Nippori Sta.】JR Keihin Tohoku Line / for Omiya
→【Omiya Sta.】Hokuriku Shinkansen / for Kanazawa
→【Takasaki Sta.】JR Ryomo Line / for Isezaki
→【Maebashi Sta.】Kanto Kotsu Local Bus / for Fujimi-onsen
→【Fujimi Onsen Bus Stop】Kanto Kotsu Local Bus / for Akagiyama Center
→【Akagiyama Visitor Center】
*Direct busses available from Maebashi Station on Saturdays, Sundays and public holidays

Enjoy winter at Lake Onuma!

Wakasagi fishing at Lake Onuma is a fun winter activity, even for fishing novices.

All of the equipment can be rented out, meaning you can show up barehanded. Plus, winter on Lake Onuma is beautiful, and the snowy views are phenomenal.

Fishing in the early morning hours usually leave more successful results, so either getting there early or spending a night at Lake Onuma is recommended.

Information

Address
Akagisan, Fujimi-machi, Maebashi-shi, Gunma
Phone
027-288-2211
Hours
Open all day
Closed
Open year-round
Fee
Free

Nearby Destinations

Category: Nature / scenery

Mount Akagi

Akagisan, Fujimi-machi, Maebashi-shi, Gunma
027-288-2211
Category: Shrine / temple

Akagi Shrine

4-2 Akagi-yama, Fujimi-machi, Maebashi-shi, Gunma
027-287-8202