Switched to a doublehand rod in the afternoon.

The river being no more than 20meters wide, there's no need for a doublehand. But the little extra reach that a DH givesminimized the necessity of wading, while enabling the fly to drift nicely in the main current, avoiding the shoulders where spawned out fish are resting.
Day3. Finally a day to tangle up with the famed Aki-zake, H'kaido's Chum salmon. Indeed we spent a day in August but then the river had only the Pinks. To do justice to the blue ribbon salmon fishery, we must try this bigger and more powerful fish.

First we observed the river condition from the Chu-rui bridge, a familiar sight posted on the fishery's official web. Sure enough, fair number of salmon wagging tails right there.
From Kushiro to the town of Shibetsu, where the salmon fishery Chu-rui river runs, is a pleasant drive of 2 hours. The weather being so nice, we decided to stretch our leg to Shiretoko, about an hour further north east.

The view on the pass was grand, only the chilly air telling us now the summer is over.
Male salmon's muscular body is a pleasure to the eyes. Would have been even nicer if they were fresher, but in our shorter rivers most salmon prepare themselves for spawning before they come enter the river. Anyhow, let's admire the beauty as they are.
After a quick stop at the river keeper's hut, off we went to scout the lower stretch. The water has risen by some inches due to the rain on the previous days - looks promising.

Here we go! The first fish of the day was a plump female of some 25inches. There were great number of fish providing enough actions to keep us both busy. What surprised me was the odd presence of spawned-out old fish, despite it's still weeks early for the normal peak spawning season in late Oct.
Later the day even the semi-permanent fog on the Shiretoko dissipated, allowing us to admire the unobstructed view of Mt. Rausu-dake, symbol of Shiretoko.
Hopped on a cruise boat, to enjoy the rugged coastline from the sea.

If lucky you can spot whales, orcas, deers, and even grizzlies bears in the course of the leisurely 3 hours.
Hamanasu, or Japanese rose, in full bloom in August, were now bearing ripe fruits.
Barely 2 months after the visit in summer, we came back to Hokkaido in October. This time it is a trip of just nine days, so we flew and rented a car making the logistics simpler.

On Day 1 we walked about in the downtown Kushiro, a commercial hub of the region whose main industries are fishing and, recently, nature tourism. We spent a night at Kushiro Royal Inn right next to the train station. Nothing royal, but yes, the breakfast buffet with oven-fresh bread was a royal treat!!
Having fished in summer and in autumn, we've grown very fond of this river Chu-rui.

It's a small river that would be called a creek by Alaskan standard. You won't get the sense of challenge that you face fishing mighty big waters. On the other hand, fish are numerous and easy to reach. In the glass clear water you can not only spot but observe your quarry, making the whole experience intimate. But above all, the grand setting, with the distant view of Shiretoko mountains in the backdrop, makes your days here so very memorable.

We thank all the people, esp. those of the Sibetsu fishery union for the toils in opening up the river for sport fishing in 1995, as a precursor of now gradually spreading salmon rivers in Japan.

to H'kaido in autumn - 2
Again we got convinced that fly pattern didn't matter with Pacific salmon. We simply carried over the method taught by my Alaskan friend - a pinch of yarn wound on Gamakatsu hooks using Kasilof knot - and they proved just as popular.

By far more important thing is to sink the fly to the bottom and let it drift at a right speed.
Of course the majority of the fish were still fresh, and there even were pink salmon in quite good condition.

To see pre-spawning pinks in such late season is rather unusual too.
Fishy Trips
'06 H'kaido in Autumn - 1
Paid a visit to the little stream where we fished for Oshorokoma in summer.

Now the river is in a full autumn attire (place the pointer on the pic to see the difference), with good number of Pinks fighting for spawning bed.
Climbed up to the lookout in the outskirts of Utoro, at the base of the peninsula.

Some 10minutes' steep climb takes us to the top of a hill (in fact, a single big rock), where the big expanse of Pacific can be enjoyed in mysterious Shiretoko blue.