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Sunday, March 3, 2002

Where to go to get hooked

So now you're kitted out with all your brand-new fly-fishing gear. But don't get too excited just yet. Before taking the plunge for the first time at some idyllic lakeside spot, or by a glittering river you're told is teeming with prime specimens, take time to visit a kanri-tsuriba (a pond or stretch of river designated for fishing) to practice casting -- fly fishing's fundamental skill.

Here are some recommended kanri-tsuriba, at many of which you will be able to take casting lessons given by experts keen to help you enjoy their sport.

Uratanzawa Keiryu Tsuriba: This area extends along a 1.5-km stretch of the Kannogawa River in the town of Tsukui in Kanagawa Prefecture, with various sections of the banks allocated for fly- and lure-fishing. Open: 6 a.m.-sunset. Admission: 4,000 yen (full day); 3,200 yen (afternoon). Call (042) 787-2657. Access: About 90 minutes by car from the Sagamiko exit on the Chuo Expressway, or from the Atsugi exit on the Tomei Expressway.

Holiday Lodge Shishidome: This is one of Japan's largest fly- and lure-fishing areas, with a hotel, campgrounds and picnic areas. Lots of fish -- but also lots of anglers. Open: 6 a.m.-5 p.m. Admission: 4,100 yen. For fish-and-stay packages, call (0554) 43-0082. Access: About 20 minutes by car from the Tsuru exit on the Chuo Expressway. For more information, visit: www.bremen.or.jp/shishidome

Higashimako Fishing Area: This huge fishing pond in Shizuoka Prefecture is located right by the Gotenba exit on the Tomei Expressway. Around the pond there is little space for casting, so there is a T-shaped pier for fly-fishers. Open: 5 a.m.-8 p.m. Admission: 4,500 yen (full day; 5 a.m.-5 p.m.), 4,000 yen (afternoon; noon-8 p.m.). Call (0550) 82-2161. For more information, visit: www2.dainana.co.jp/higashiyamako/

YGL Yadoriki: This may be one of the closest and most natural areas for fly-fishers living in the Tokyo area. Its 1-km run is part of the Nakatsu River in the town of Matsuda, Kanagawa Prefecture. Open: 6 a.m.-sunset. Admission: 2,700 yen. Call (0465) 89-2305. Access: About 30 minutes by car from the Oi-Matsuda exit on the Tomei Expressway. For more information, visit: homepage1.nifty.com/ygl/index.html

Regina Forest: This resort in Fukushima Prefecture has a large artificial lake stocked with various species of trout. Visitors can also play tennis, canoe and go mountain-biking. There is a hotel, cottages and campgrounds. Prices for fishing range from 1,500 yen for 2 hours to 4,500 yen for a day. Call (0248) 85-2525. Access: About 30 minutes by car from the Shirakawa exit on the Tohoku Expressway. For more information, visit: www.regina-f.co.jp/

Flick Fishing Field: This small stream in the Tanzawa mountains in Kanagawa Prefecture is usually not crowded, though because of the beauty of its largely unspoiled natural setting, reservations are nonetheless recommended. Admission: 4,000 yen (full day; 9 a.m.-5 p.m.), 3,000 yen (afternoon). Access: About 40 minutes from the Hadano-Nakai exit on the Tomei Expressway. Call (0463) 74-1952.

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