16 Sep, 2010
Recreational fishing in Japan is an extremely popular past time and the nation has become internationally recognised for its fishing techniques and tackle innovations. What some may find suprising is that it also has many healthy fisheries one of which is Salmon. Hokkaido is dotted with some incredible salmon fishing locations with some of the most consistent spots found on the southern coast of the island. This is a beautiful area and a fantastic example of coastal Hokkaido that aslo offers surfing, onsens, camping and hiking. Below are some proven spots where good numbers of salmon are consistently taken every year.
The closest towns to the following spots are Hiroo or Taiki both have some what limited accommodation, super markets and gas stations. The closest major cities are either Kushiro, which is up the coast about 50km to the west or Obihiro 50km inland to the north.
Bansei- Although this is not actually the name of a river it is the name of an onsen (hot spring) close to a popular fishing spot. The onsen offers accommodation and camping facilities and is a charming spot to visit in its own right. Fishing wise there is a river mouth about 2km from the onsen and fishing near this is popular. The mouth can be accessed by 4WD or on foot. Remember in all but very few cases it is illegal to fish for salmon in the rivers of Hokkaido.
Rekifunegawa- One of the larger rivers in the area and a popular place to fish. It is a classic braided river and appears crystal clear unfortunately the law states that you can only fish from 1km from the mouth. This may seem like a long way away but at 1.5km I did see someone take the fish seen below. In the weekends expect to see a lot of keen anglers.
Toyonigawa- A great little spot to fish, a smaller river but in an area that seems more secluded than other places in the area and has a more wildernessy kind of vibe. Access is a little tricky without a 4WD and means a quick scramble down a steep bank (rope provided) or a long walk along the beach, neither of these routes will be a problem for an avid fisherman but taking the bbq may be an issue.
Meguro- This spot is located about 30 minutes south of Hiroo and is a little further away from any cities. It is a secluded Konbu (a tasty seaweed often used for stock) farming village with very little around it but the Pacific Ocean, forests, hills, deer and foxes. Here one can look from the bridge into the river and see schools of salmon preparing to spawn. Fishing in the ocean near the river is legitimate and either side of the break water surrounding the nearby fishing harbor can often be very productive especially when there is a good run of fish.
Whether you travel to fish or just fish when you travel salmon fishing in Hokkaido is always a rewarding experience. The above rivers a just a glimpse into the possible fishing destinations here and if you happen to be in the area at the right time are well worth a look. Mid August to mid October are usually the best months. Another artilce on salmon fishing in Hokkaido.