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Release | nobu Kawashima

Catch smelt and make tempura at Onuma Park, only 5 minutes walk from the station!


At Onuma Park, in winter, you can experience smelt ice fishing on the frozen lake, and eat tempura. They let visitors use fishing rods with baits, so you do not have to put baits by yourself! There are no time limits! How many fish can you catch?


Smelt ice fishing experience near the station, it’s good because you don’t have to touch baits!

The place to experience smelt ice fishing is very close to the standard photo shooting spot in Onuma Park where you can get a sight of Mt. Komagatake. It is only 5 minutes walk from JR Onuma Koen Station, so it is very easy to access even if you don’t drive a car. 
If you have enough cold protection, there is nothing you need to prepare. Pay for the fee at the reception, rent the set of equipment, and head to the frozen lake. 
ワカサギ釣りの器材一式▲Rental equipment includes a rod, a bucket to put in smelts caught, and a skimmer. The skimmer is for scooping ice because water surface freezes gradually due to the coldness. 

The fishing experience here provides rod with baits already, so you don’t have to put them yourself! They let you change rods if you run out of baits. 
It takes a lot of work for beginners to put baits on fishing line. It is a great service especially for those people who don’t like to touch baits with bare hands. I hate bugs, so it impressed me a lot! 
ワカサギ釣りのレクチャーをしているところ▲The staff taught me how to fish briefly and showed me how to do it. 

There are multiple holes already on the frozen lake and pick a hole you like to fish. You can change holes while you are fishing, too. 

ワカサギ釣りの穴の氷を木の棒で割っているところ▲When water inside the hole is frozen, staffs break the ice with a wooden stick.
When you put down the fishing line from the water surface, you can feel the weight reach the bottom of the lake. Pull a little bit and when you think the weight is at the place where barely reach the bottom, stick to the place, and move the fishing line up down and move baits. Wait for smelt to bite them. 

ワカサギ釣りのレクチャーをしているところ、手元▲He taught me how to hold the rod. When smelts bite the bait, you can feel the fishing line move with your fingers. 

I decided to try by myself. My lunch today depends on how many smelts I can catch! How did I go? 


I got lots of bites! But be careful about the thief…! 

大沼公園でのワカサギ釣り体験中▲Sit down on a plastic case in front of the hole you decided to work on and put down the fishing line. 

Put down the fishing line and waited for about 10 minutes. 
Umm, it is quite difficult. 
However, a group of students fishing next to me seemed pretty well: “Wow~! I caught one!” “I caught one again!”


As I watched the group, fish biting at every cast, I felt like I was losing, so I changed the hole. 
Not long after, I felt something from my fingers! Finally! I pulled the fishing line carefully and… 
釣ったワカサギ▲I caught one! The size was rather small, but I was extremely happy! 

I took the smelt I caught from the hook, put it in the bucket and kept it fresh. And put down the fishing line into the hole again, went back to fishing. 
As I caught few smelts and looked inside the bucket, I noticed some of my smelts were missing. I caught at least five or six smelts, but I could see only two of them inside. 

Some of the fish I caught were stolen by someone while I was working hard on fishing. 
The criminal was him! 
ワカサギを狙うカラス▲The enemies of fishers, crow! It seems not interested to people but surely aims at smelts in the buckets. 

They aim at smelts in the buckets from the sky and eat them when fishers go away from the buckets…
After that, I kept my eyes on the buckets, so crow did not steal any more of my smelts, but I could finally catch only three smelts in one hour. If crow did not steal my fish, it would be about ten smelts… The lesson for next time: be careful about the thief. 


Make tempura with caught smelts! 

Precious smelts caught by me. I asked to make tempura with them! But it was only three pieces…
ワカサギの天ぷら3尾分▲Freshly caught smelts became tempura! But it seems very little… 

Even if you could not catch enough amount, do not worry! They can make ten to fifteen pieces of tempura with an optional fee. Also, smelts caught by fishing are called “one-year-fish” and rather small, but they use “two-year-fish” which is rather big with an optional fee. In this way, it fulfills my appetite! 
ワカサギの天ぷら▲Salt and red pepper match perfectly! Both of them are prepared already, so I put a little and enjoyed tempura with toothpicks. 

When you have a chance to visit Onuma Park, how about trying tempura of smelts that was caught on your own?
Smelt fishing experience is limited in winter. You can enjoy the experience from late January to early March usually. (The period changes depending on weather and thickness of ice) You don’t have to be experienced about fishing; the activity is easy to try for everyone!
  • Catch smelt and make tempura at Onuma Park, only 5 minutes walk from the station!