Fishing in Finland

Finland and fishing go hand in hand: from catching freshwater fish in the sea to ice fishing, the country offers outstanding experiences and should be on every angler’s bucket list.
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About Finland

Finland lies in the north of Europe, and has a long and broken Baltic Sea coast, as well as incalculable rivers and lakes. In the northwest of the country you find pristine tundra rivers and lakes. In the south-eastern lakeland region, it seems, there are more lakes than firm ground - and lakeside cottages for renting than permanent residences. Just don’t forget to pack mosquito repellent if you’re going there in the summer! Anglers between 18 and 65 years of age, who fish with spinning, fly-fishing, or trolling gear must purchase a license. All other age groups and types of fishing, including ice fishing, jigging, the Baltic method of catching herring with a line of vertically moving hooks, and angling with one rod that has no reel or lures, do not require a permit. Some areas, however, are closed to all recreational fishing, and minimum keep sizes established for certain species.

Fishing Types

Finland’s cold winters dictate that all rivers and lakes are covered with ice for a good half of the year, and even parts of the Baltic Sea are frozen over. Lots of tourists arrive in Finland in the winter, to enjoy the ice and snow, and perhaps to visit Lapland, often believed to be the homeland of Santa Claus, and if you happen to be among them, be sure to vary your trip with a little ice fishing. At any time of the year, a backcountry fishing trip to remote, scarcely populated rivers and lakes of Finland are a fantastic experience, and the country offers fishing trips for all definitions of “backcountry”: from a summer cottage standing isolatedly on the shore of a lake to a long journey to a place where only the reindeer-herding Saami pass once in a while. Inshore and offshore fishing trips can be arranged with captains in the more urban and better populated coastal areas.

Targeted Fish Species

Finland’s fish population consists naturally of the cold-loving species. The royalty of the Finnish rivers and lakes are the brown and rainbow trout, Atlantic salmon, both migratory and landlocked, Arctic grayling and Arctic char. But the most common and popular fish with anglers in Finland is the perch, with pike and zander close behind. These species are caught not only in the rivers and lakes, but also in the Baltic Sea. Its waters are far less salty than the Atlantic ocean, and many naturally freshwater species thrive there. The Baltic Sea perch is believed to be the biggest of all. By contrast, some saltwater species such as seabass are absent from Finnish waters; however, you can catch flounder, cod, and Baltic herring.

Fishing Techniques

Ice fishing, characteristic of Finland, offers a limited choice of fishing techniques: they all come down bottom fishing, jigging, and occasionally handlining. Apart from characteristic fishing rods, ice fishing requires a host of other gear, such as augers, tents, snowmobiles and extra warm clothes. All this, however, can be provided by the fishing guide or lodge, and is in most instances included in the price. Fly-fishing is the proper way to take salmon and trout in the summer - when asked about spinning for these species, most guides go “well, you can, but…” - but only as long as we’re talking about river and lake fishing. When fishing for sea trout and salmon in the Baltic Sea from a boat, spinning and trolling are perfectly appropriate, and, of course, used also to catch perch, zander and pike. Most fishing in Finland is light tackle, as the size of local fish, even in the Baltic sea, can seldom justify the use of heavy tackle.