Typography
There are many different styles of fishing on offer in Finland.

Two gulfs, the Baltic Sea, a hundred rivers and thousands of lakes ensure that Finland is a very popular destination among fishermen.

BECAUSE of its clean and pure waters, Finland is a very popular country for fishermen looking for the catch of their lives in the Baltic Sea, or in one of the thousands of lakes and hundreds of rivers throughout the country. Locals are very active fishermen too, as about 40 per cent of Finns take part in fishing trips or events at least once a year.

There are plenty of places for fishing aficionados: from Lapland to the Southern Coast, from Central Finland to the Western shores. It is quite easy to find a spot for angling, jigging or even ice-fishing, three different styles one can use, without having any particular licence, almost everywhere in the country. In fact, according to the traditional Finnish legal concept of “everyman’s rights”, everyone – local or foreigner – has the right to freely access to the land and waterways and has also the right to collect natural products like berries and mushrooms.

Every year, approximately two million Finns take part in a fishing trip or event across the country. While Finland has an abundance of fish in its waterways, compulsory fees must be paid to fish at various locations around the country:

O The fishing management fee is fishermen between the age of 18 and 64 can choose to pay €22 for one year or €7 for seven days for practicing fishing using other techniques than angling or jigging.
O The provincial lure fishing fee costs €29 for one year or €7 for seven days, which grants the right to fish within a certain province with one rod, reel and lure.

Fishing all year round

While ice-fishing is very popular in winter, jigging and angling are among the most used techniques during the rest of the year. In jigging, fishermen fish with a specific fishing lure: a jig. Versatile and good for both salt and fresh water, jigs consist of a sinker with a hook molded into it and covered by a soft body to attract the fish. Angling, on the other hand, is the more traditional and old method of “fishing with a hook”.

Every year, approximately two million Finns take part in a fishing trip or event across the country. Both children and grown-ups try to find the best perch, roach or pikes – some of the most common fish species here.

Despite “everyman’s rights”, some limitations still apply when it comes to fishing methods and locations. Those who are planning to take this recreational activity at a more serious level have to pay state fees, such as the fishing management fee (fishermen between the age of 18 and 64 can choose to pay 22 euro for one year or 7 euro for seven days) for practicing fishing using other techniques than angling or jigging, or the provincial lure fishing fee (29 euro for one year or 7 euro for seven days), which grants the right to fish within a certain province with one rod, reel and lure.

Popular fishing destinations

Helsinki is a good location for fishing. The Vantaa River (Vantaanjoki in Finnish), for instance, provides one of the best areas for anglers, as well as for picnickers, kayakers and swimmers.

Lapland, and its northern part in particular, is a very popular fishing destination too. While during the winter the region attracts Santa Claus seekers and Northern Lights hunters, in the summertime Lapland becomes a real meeting point for fishermen from all over the world. Brown trout, grayling, pike, Arctic char – species present in some wilderness areas – and whitefish populate almost all rivers and lakes in northern Finland. With several streams, lakes and natural parks, the region is a pure-watered heaven for fishing enthusiasts.

A real nature wonder and UNESCO World Heritage site, the Kvarken Archipelago has become a “must” for those interested in fishing in the western part of Finland. In addition there are Linnansaari National Park and Puruvesi, two of eastern Finland’s most visited fishing locations, and the Åland Islands, a little paradise in the middle of the sea.

Fishing in Finland is for all ages.

Fishing competitions, fairs and tours

Hundreds of fishing contests are organised in Finland throughout the year. Puruvesi Salmon Championship, a 24-hour rowing marathon held in Kesälahti, only a few kilometres from the Russian border, is among the largest. The Teno River Salmon Championship is another popular competition where fishermen compete against one another to catch the largest salmon and win the top prize.

This year, in addition to events open to fishermen of all ages, like the Åland Trolling Competition, Finland will host the 29th Spearfishing Euro-African Championships (29-30 June). Taking place in Helsinki in the end of June, it is a spectacular contest that sees participants fishing with the spearfishing method, a technique that has been used throughout the world for millenia.

A guided tour is an excellent choice for those interested in practicing fishing – perhaps for the first time – while getting to know more about Finland and the fish species that populate its sea, lakes and rivers. Numerous trips, organised in different parts of the country for both beginners and expert fishermen, help participants to discover Finland through fishing.

Text: Yannick Ilunga
photos: Kirby Wilson