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Fishing at Lake Shumarinai


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HOME > Japan’s Local Treasures > Fishing at Lake Shumarinai


An unforgettable experience immersed in nature in search of the “phantom fish”

Horokanai Town Tourist Association


With a surface area of 23.7km2 and a circumference of about 40km, Lake Shumarinai, located in northern Hokkaido, is one of the largest man-made lakes in Japan. Its numerous fjord-like arms, islands, and inlets offer countless fishing opportunities all year round, including Japanese smelt and trout fishing on ice during the winter months. Immersed in a stunning landscape of mountains and primeval forests, the lake is home to a variety of fish species and the natural habitat of the elusive Sakhalin taimen.


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A member of the salmon family, the Sakhalin taimen is the largest freshwater fish in Japan. Also known as “phantom fish” for its rarity, it inhabits only some rivers and lakes in Hokkaido and is said not to have changed in form or color for over 40 thousand years. It takes 15 years for the fish to grow up to over a meter in size, making it a prized catch for many fishermen.


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Due to its declining numbers and habitat loss, the Sakhalin taimen is classified as a Critically Endangered (CR) species on the IUCN Red List. At Lake Shumarinai, conservation activities, such as environmental surveys and maintenance of spawning beds, and establishment of recreational fishing rules, are being carried out, creating a protected, sustainable environment where the precious Sakhalin taimen can live and thrive.


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The Sakhalin taimen fishing season is spring and autumn. Boat services, guided tours, and a range of accommodation facilities make Lake Shumarinai a truly special place for anglers who wish to pursue this mysterious fish. Fishing regulations include catch-and-release, minimum size limits, and gear restrictions. Be sure to follow the rules and enjoy fishing!



How to get there


From Asahikawa Airport, it takes 2 hours by car to get to Lake Shumarinai.


Horokanai-cho, Uryu-gun,  Hokkaido





Lake Shumarinai




More Information


Hokkaido Prefecture | JNTO Official Website

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