Fishing in Taichung
Taiwan is chock full of rivers and streams. The 130 or so inland waterways that stretch for over 3500 kilometers is home to a multitude of fish species. Finding the right spot is quite easy: just look for other people fishing!
The sky is the limit when it comes to equipping yourself to go fishing. Don't let this scare you as tackle and supplies are not very expensive. You can buy a simple fishing pole for less than NT$300 and a complete rod and reel for under NT$1500. Floats, hooks, weights and other necessities are affordable. If you intend to 'catch and release' please be sure to use barbless hooks. To make things even better, I don't believe that Taiwan requires fishing licenses.
Decide on the fish you will be catching and choose your bait accordingly. Tilapia are very commonly found in the rivers and because they are vegetarian, you need only to collect some of the vegetation growing in the stream where you are fishing. Simply grab a handful and wash the slime off. Then put your hook through a bit, twist a few times, re-hook it and remove the excess. Easy! You just have to vary your strategy depending on where you are and what you're after.
If you want to catch fish on the river, you need to be active; you cannot just throw your line in and wait for a bite. Passive fish usually hang around the slower, brackish water while active, feeding fish are often found in, or near swifter currents. Cast upstream and follow your line downstream. Watch for sudden changes in your float. If you are getting hung up on rock, shorten the distance between the hook and float or try switching to a smaller weight. If your line doesn't go deep enough, you may not get any bites either. Once you've got it just right, you will catch fish.
Fish feed on a daily cycle. That means that there are certain times during the day when you will be more likely to catch a fish. I've had luck with Tilapia during between 8:00am and 10:00am with another peak just after lunch. In two hours I can average around 10-15 fish. Your chances will increase if you are fishing during the spawning season which seems to be in September and October.
Taiwan has many different species of fish that are both indemic and introduced.
Tilapia were introduced to Taiwan in the mid 1900's as a way to provide post-war farmers with income. These Tilapia, over years of hybridization, became known as Taiwan Tilapia. In total, there are 5 different species of Tilapia in Taiwan. Tilapia are very hardy fish that can survive poor water quality and poorly oxygenated water. They are also fun to catch! Tilapia are farmed but can also be found in most rivers.
Suckermouth Catfish are disliked by most anglers. Perhaps it is because of their strange appearance; covered with armour-like scales and spiked appendages the Suckermouth catfish looks like a dinosaur. Sadly, when these fish are caught, the are fated to die by the side of the river. When this fish takes your bait, you are in for quite a battle. Just be careful when removing your hook!
Introduced in the mid 1970's, Largemouth Bass are raised in ponds and farms in central to southern Taiwan. Largemouth Bass are raised predominantly for commercial export. It is not certain that they have been introduced to Taiwan's rivers and streams; however they can be caught at the breeding farms for a nominal fee.
Since the last ice age, Taiwan has been home to the Formosan Landlocked Salmon. This fish has been on the endangered species list since 1989 and as such, no attempt should be made to catch one.