Three species of trout and one species of native salmon can be found in Korea; Cherry trout, Lenok (Manchurian trout) and Rainbow trout, Chum salmon,and Sima salmon (Cherry salmon ,sea-run cherry trout). But in the case of salmon, you'd better not get your hopes up too high. Fishery authorities ban fishing when the salmon come up the river and most of the salmon are caught by fishnet for breeding. Therefore, for the time being, you can only fish for trout in Korean streams. Cherry trouts and Lenoks are native but Rainbows are stocked. In fact,lenok belongs to genus Brachmystax.It's like a Char.One more, about 30 years ago there is White spotted char(Salvelinus leucomaenius) in Korea. But now this species was gone in the streams. I have much interests in restoring this fish. In north Korea this fish still lives well.

Chum salmon (YangYang)
There are Pink salmon and Dolly varden in addition in
North Korea. Some Pink salmons even comes down to Koseong (our side) and is caught fishent at times , I heard. Hope this salmon comes his another home again in the future.

Among trouts in the streams, Cherrytrout and Lenok are native but Rainbows are stocked.

Sima salmon(YangYang)

Korea has a magnificent landscape with Great Mountains, known as the Taebaek Mountains,sweeping from north to south separating the Korean peninsula in half. Manchurian trout live on the west, while Cherry trout live on the east. Of course the east side is closest to the Pacific Ocean which helps moderate the temperature of the water. Both of these scenic areas are in Kangwon Province. I love Kangwon Province. In my opinion, Kangwon province is like a precious jewel.

Cherry trout

Cherry trout (scientific name: Oncorhynchus masou masou; Korean common name: SanCheono) live in the streams that flow into the east sea (Pacific Ocean), and are same species as sea-run Cherry trout. Scientists don't know why some remain in the stream and others go to the sea.

The interesting thing is that mostly male Cherry Trout stay in the stream and don't normally go to the ocean. Their average life span is about 3 years. In the fall, adults lay eggs together with Cherry salmon that migrate up from the sea for spawning. While most stream Cherry trout don't run over 30cm (12 inches), sea-run Cherry trout nearly all average over 50cm (12 inches). How beautiful it is to watch the small male Cherry trout discharge their semen among the big Cherry salmons.

TIPS ON CATCHING CHERRY TROUT: In the spring or early fall, Cherry trout stay in the feeding lane to eat food, so dry fly fishing is deadly. But in the hot summer or late fall, the trout become very selective. It is best to use wet flies like soft hackle or small nymphs. Generally Cherry trout attack fly hooks more aggressively than Rainbows. This fast attack on dry flies results in hook-up without any rod lifting, so I set my leader system very long (14-18ft). This long leader system has many advantages (soft drift, no need to mend, no touch of the fly line on the feeding lane, etc.), but can be a bit difficult for an inexperienced long leader fly fisherman to handle especially in windy weather. In these cases, you must make the choice: shorten the leader to a length you can handle at the expense of possibly frightening the fish with the shorter length.


Lenok (Manchurian trout)

Lenok (scientific name: Brachymystax lenok; Korean common name: Yolmoko) were landlocked in the inland of the Korean peninsula during the glacial epoch. Thirty years ago, we could have met 70cm (28 inch) Manchurian trout easily.

But now, as the woodland is on the decrease, Manchurian trout are doomed for extinction. To help avoid this travesty, the Korean people have designated the Manchurian trout as a regional natural monument to preserve. A very interesting looking fish, its body color is tan with small dark spots scattered on their backs. Because they live in the clearer and colder water (upper stream), they tend to long migrations each season. This is why lenok fishing looks hard (difficult) although they are not very selective and will strike at nearly every hook presented. Lenok fishing is possible from early spring (March) to late fall (mid-November) except during the hottest of the summer season.



Rainbow trout

Rainbow trout (scientific name:Oncorhynchus mykiss) were transplanted to Korea in 1965 and have adapted well to Korean streams especially in Kihwa Cheon (in Pyoungchang) that are famous for their size and beauty.