Hokkaido is the northernmost island of the Japanese archipelago. It is the second biggest island after Honshu but hosts only about 5 million people, of which almost 2 million live in Sapporo.
That says a lot about how wild the island is.
With all this in mind, it is easy to understand that this island is wild, mountainous and full of rivers filled with wild fishes.
How to fish in Hokkaido?
Hokkaido has no fisheries and fishes are all 100% wild fishes. as a result, there is no need to purchase any permit when fishing in most rivers.
Be careful as most lakes need a fishing permit and have really strict fishing periods to allow fish breeding.
Some rivers are also banned from any type of fishing all year round.
Please contact Niseko Tenkara & Flyfishing if you are not sure of the ban and do not want to trespass, we will be happy to answer any of your questions.
Learn about those Salmonids!
There is a mix of Native and introduced fishes that inhabit the rivers and lakes of Hokkaido. All are wild and reproduce naturally at different time of the year.
The White Spotted Japanese Char
This fish is Iconic of the Hokkaido waters, Native to the island it is a beautiful Salmonid.
This species like fast moving water and is often found high up in the mountain streams.
The fight is always interesting and they love the dry flies in the heat of summer.
Size is about 35~40cm maximum, once bigger they run back to the sea, they will come back few years later growing up to 80cm, they are then named Amemasu.
Fishing for Iwana is allowed all year round.
This is one of the most popular fish In Hokkaido, often depicted in the Ainu (native aboriginese population) tales.
The iwana is a salmon only found in north east asia.
They will spend the first few years of their life in the rivers, growing up to 30cm before starting to change robe and heading back to the sea.
They will come back to the rivers few years back in spring, sizing up to 90cm long and will change names to Sakuramasu.
Important: Fishing for Sakuramasu (salmon coming back from the sea) is strictly prohibited. Please leave the adults come back freely to lay eggs and create all future generations.
The yamame are found in all type of fast water and are extremely spooky, making it a challenge for fishermans.
Dolly Varden Trout
Oshorokoma are some of the most colourful salmonids that can be caught in Hokkaido.
They are usually found in high altitude pools, lakes, or really fresh and clean streams.
They are extremely spooky and it is always a challenge to go fish for those!
They usually do not grow over 30cm in the rivers but can reach nice sizes in bigger lakes.
Chum Salmon, King Salmon
Salmon are seen in Hokkaido rivers from mid summer to autumn.
It is forbidden to Fish salmon in Hokkaido but it is always fun to fish and see them hitting your legs as you are trying to hook another speciess !
Rainbow trouts have been introduced over 30 years ago and are now breeding naturally in most rivers and lakes.
They prefer lower sections of the rivers and can reach amazing sizes (~80cm over)
Also introduced in the rivers and lakes, the brown are now considered an invasive species. They are found in lower water bodies and big rivers and can also reach great sizes.
Higuma, Hokkaido brown bear
Please be aware that when going in forests and mountains in Hokkaido, your are often stepping in bear territory.
The Hokkaido brown bear is a pretty big animal, usually only aggressive when disturbed or surprised.
It is always recommended to carry a pepper spray at the belt and a bell on your bag to let them know you are around !
We have explored countless rivers in the west part of Hokkaido, up to 3 hours drive from Niseko.
We have searched for the best patterns and techniques to be able to catch fish all year round.
We want to share our passion and knowledge with you !
Japanese Ito, also called Obirame, are the biggest river salmonids ine world, found especially in east asia.
Adults can grow up to 1.2m length in Hokkaido.
with only a few refuges left in Hokkaido, their capture is prohibited.
Ito are present in the Niseko area but only a few individuals are still alive.
Close to Niseko is the only river(stream) in east Hokkaido where Ito are know to breed naturally.
It is important to protect those fishes.
We are a small guiding business and we love what we are doing. After spending coutless hours researching the best spots and the best techniques for Hokkaido, we are finally ready to take you onboard !
Hokkaido, Abuta-gun, Kutchan-Cho
Phone: 080 - 2005 - 2614
All our tours include pick ups and returns in the Niseko area.
calls between 8am and 4pm.
If we do not pick up, please excuse us, we might be on the river.
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