Dolly Varden – Japan’s Finest Fly-fishing Shop.

I spent the weekend in beautiful Hokkaido with Japan’s famous fishing guides Iwao Shimoyama (owner & head guide) & Toshinori Kawagoe from Dolly Varden Fishing ( Dolly Varden is the most famous fly fishing outfitter in Hokkaido, and likely in all of Japan. Dolly Varden has been guiding international clients for more than 15 years, and different from many of the other fly shops, guide range covers the entire Hokkaido island & through all seasons. Dolly Varden guides & targets a great range of fish in Hokkaido (Yamame, Iwana, Rainbow, Silver Salmon, Brown Trout, Taimen, Osyorokoma, Karafutomasu, and Dolly Varden) covering both freshwater and saltwater species. Dolly Varden is also a full service fly shop, an authorized dealer for Hardy, Orvis, Echo, Simms, Paz Design, C&F, TFO, and many other premium brands. They also have a fine selection of fine Japanese handmade bamboo rods , nets, and other tackle. Their clients come from all over the world … England, USA, Australia, South Korea, Taiwan, Japan to name a few… and there are some famous names among the client list. Both website and bog is in Japanese but English will be available end of year. (blog:

But enough talk about how famous Dolly Varden is. What made this trip so special is that fact that I feel I made friendships that will last a long time. Shimoyama-san and Kawagoe-san are genuine and sincere people. They exude a generosity & confidence that comes from years of experience and a kind heart. They are the real reason why Dolly Varden is so special, and people who visit leave with lasting memories. Their professional yet personal trip arrangements, attention to the smallest details, and ability to find big and pretty fish is second to none. I asked where the name Dolly Varden comes from and Shimoyama-san tells me that a client helped name the shop. Like the Dolly Varden, it hopes to start small in a local stream, then eventually move into larger oceans. For now, they are growing strong and each visitor leaving as a big fan (like me), it is only a matter of time before Dolly Varden Hokkaido become a global name (although they already sort of are). I guess the only problem left is getting Shimoyama-san to accept more interviews and the sort… although the fact that he doesn’t like that sort of thing is exactly why we like him. I look forward to seeing the crew again soon. If you go to Japan, stop by Hokkaido. If you fish, then try to get a reservation with Dolly Varden (need to reserve early!), it will be one of the best trips you will experience. Guaranteed.

Dolly Varden本当にありがとう!!

Dolly Varden shop & Café. Kawagoe-san, thank you for the great coffee!

Shimoyama-san guiding our team through the deep valleys of Hokkaido. Yamame are pretty and Iwana are handsome. That is how it is supposed to be expressed.

Good food and some heavy drinking (of course). These were the only pictures I manages to take before I lost the camera for the night.

Excellent accommodations, hot springs, and the tastiest rice balls I have ever eaten. おいしい!

Kawagoe-san, what did you find in your fly box?

Some more photos from Dolly Varden blog.(blog:

1 comment:

  1. Dolly Varden looks awsome. Thank you for introducing.