Korea Fly Shops Series # 1 Bamboo

K.R. Lee - Bamboo Rod Builder in Seoul

A few days ago, I had the opportunity to meet and spend some time with Korea’s famous bamboo fly rod maker Mr. K.R. Lee. He runs a fly shop at the eastern edge of Seoul and has been making bamboo rods in Korea over 15 years. Mr. Lee is a mild mannered gentleman, soft spoken and his genuine character is shines through even at first sitting. He told me about his first introduction to fly fishing from a TV show on the military broadcasting station AFKN (American Forces Korea Network – now called AFN) and since then he has been building fine split bamboo rods and discovering multiple species of fish in Korea and Japan. He has built many rods with Tonkin bamboo canes for years, but since a several years ago he has been developing and building rods with bamboo canes from the Jiri Mountain regions. The canes he uses does not come from bamboo fields, but he prefers canes that grow naturally from the highest peaks of the Jiri ridges. He explained to me the characteristic differences between Tonkin & Jiri canes. Mr. Lee is generous in sharing his stories and knowledge about fly fishing in Korea, and we spoke at length about where fly fishing industry in Korea was heading (and it’s issues). He showed me some beautiful bamboo rods he had custom built for various clients. I had a great time meeting Mr. Lee and appreciated him taking time to explain to me about his experiences and about bamboo rod building in Seoul. I will purchase one of his beautiful rods before I leave Korea, and look forward to fishing with Mr. Lee sometime soon. K.R.Lee fly shop website is in Korean (


  1. Thanks for up this report, The Lee rods are great!!
    Some day.... I'll order my new bamboo flyfishing rod to Mr.Lee.

    Kaz Honda

  2. I will be in Seoul next week on May 17 and 18. I am looking for information on fly fishing opportunities and how to get in touch with the bamboo rod maker K. R. Lee to perhaps visit his shop.
    I would appreciate any advice.


  3. Hi Art, I called Mr. Lee and let him know that you might be stopping by. You can call the shop at Seoul (02) 474-0084. You can see the shop map here:

    (click the button next to HOME). You can print that and show it to the driver.

    Mr. Lee is not very good with English but I'm sure you guys will manage somehow. Unfortunately, I am not in Seoul during that time.

    Hope that helps. Have a good trip.

  4. Another shop I recommend you to visit is Rainbow. Jonathan there is from California and can help you get on Korean waters (guided fishing). Phone # 02-487-2121.