Eight unique fishing locations in Finland

5 minute read
Man holding a large fish in Finland.

Credits: Rapala

Why go fishing in Finland?

What sets fishing in Finland apart is its abundance of freshwater bodies, from the thousands of lakes to tranquil rivers, all brimming with various fish species. The concept of "Everyman's Rights" allows everybody the access to enjoy fishing with a rod and line. Whether you're a pro or just starting, Finland offers an unforgettable fishing experience like no other, amidst breathtaking scenery, peacefulness, and Europe's last wilderness in Lapland.

This article takes a a look at some of the best places to go fishing around the country.

1. Lake Saimaa – largest lake in Finland

Lake Saimaa is a one of the best places to go fishing in Finland. Saimaa is the country's largest lake and the 4th largest lake in all of Europe. The lake offers a diverse range of fish species, and the fishing areas are versatile. There are large open lake areas suitable for trolling, as well as nutrient-rich shores and numerous islands with different predator fish in the reed beds. In Saimaa, you might catch vendace, zander, perch, pike, ide, and grayling.

The region is a paradise for vacationers, offering a wide range of accommodation and activities. The shores of Saimaa are dotted with thousands of holiday cottages with saunas – even floating ones! – for rent. The area also has a variety of hotels, resorts, manor accommodations, and almost a dozen different spa hotels. To find out examples of Sustainable Travel Finland labelled accommodation, fishing and seal watching tour providers, restaurants, and other activities in the Saimaa area, visit our Things to Do page. For more information about fishing in Lake Saimaa, go to fishingingfinland.fi

Local tip: When fishing here, you might encounter a unique species called the Saimaa ringed seal. The seal is classified as critically endangered, but a lot of effort is being put into its protection in Finland, and the populations have been increased in recent decades thanks to persistent conservation efforts. To protect the seals, "seal-friendly" traps have been developed so that fishermen and seals can coexist in Saimaa without disturbing each other.

When fishing in Lake Saimaa, you might spot the endangered Saimaa Ringed seal swimming in the water or laying on top a rock.
Credits : Teuvo Juvonen / Vastavalo
Lake Saimaa, the largest one in Finland, covers over 4,400 square kilometres.
Credits: Julia Kivelä

2. Lake Inari – Lapland's most famous fishing lake

Lake Inari is Finland's second-largest lake right after Lake Saimaa, with a staggering surface area of over 1000 square kilometres. The Inari region, known for its strong Sámi culture, is located in Northern Lapland. Native and stocked fish species at Lake Inari are arctic char, grayling, vendace, whitefish, lake trout, burbot, pike, and perch. The most common catch in here is grayling, found around the rocky shallows and shallow bays. However, whitefish is the most prevalent species.

This region is not only known for great fishing but also unique accommodation from hotels to cabins, many camping areas, and activities from hiking and canoeing to reindeer farm visits. For more inspirations, visit out Things to Do page.

Local tip: Learn more about the indigenous Sámi culture and local nature at the recently renovated Siida Museum in Inari.

Lake Inari offers some of the most majestic lake views in Finland.
Credits: Wilderness Hotels & Safaris

3. River Teno and River Tornio – Lapland's renowned fishing rivers

River Teno, located in the very north of Finland between Norway and Finland, and River Tornio, located between Sweden and Finland, are perhaps two of the most famous fishing rivers in the country. In addition to their majestic views, these rivers are most famous for their rich salmon-fishing history which has brought many locals and visitors to these areas. 

River Tornio ("Tornionjoki" in Finnish) is a 400-kilometer-long border river between Sweden and Finland, flowing through diverse landscapes and environments. The fishing appeal of the river is based on migratory sea fish species, such as salmon (Atlantic salmon) and sea trout. However, sea trout is currently protected and all caught trout must be released back into the water (alive or dead). The minimum size for salmon is 50 cm. Other species you can find here are perch, grayling, pike, and whitefish. Companies like Kylmämaa offer fishing trips in this region. For more information about fishing in this region, go to travelpello.fi.

River Teno ("Tenojoki" in Finnish) is a shared 250-kilometer-long border river between Finland and Norway. The surroundings of River Teno are one-of-a-kind and untouched by human intervention. Teno is a typical salmon river. In terms of smolt and catch production, it has been the largest in Western Europe. Since 2021, however, due to the weak state of the populations, salmon has been completely protected. Other species you can fish in River Teno are grayling, whitefish, sea trout, pike, and humpback salmon. For more information about fishing at Teno, go to fishingingfinland.fi.

A summer sunset pictured at Aavasaksa near River Tornio.
Credits : Matti Björninen
The best ways to go fishing at River Teno are casting, fly fishing, and rowing trolling.
Credits: Flatlight Films, Miikka Niemi

4. Kuusamo – popular outdoor destination with versatile fishing opportunities

The Kuusamo region is one of the most popular outdoor destinations in Finland year-round. Here you can find not only one but three national parks: Hossa, Oulanka and Riisitunturi. From a fishing perspective, Kuusamo offers diverse fishing waters and the opportunity to experience a variety of fishing spots and methods all at once. Here, you can fish in rivers, rapids and lakes. Native and stocked fish species in this region include lake trout, grayling, whitefish, pike, and perch.

If you want to try other activities in addition to fishing, go mountain biking, canoeing, or try a Finnish sauna. There are also many great restaurants to experience in the Ruka-Kuusamo region. For more information about things to do and places to stay in this region, go to our Things to Do page. There are also many Sustainable Travel Finland labelled activities available. Accommodation options in Kuusamo range from hotels and cabins to unique accommodation, like glass huts.

Local tip: For a truly unique sauna experience, try the Seven Star Smoke Sauna at Isokenkäisten Klubi. The one-of-a-kind sauna is heated for hours by the local sauna master ensuring the smoothest and most relaxing sauna experience for all visitors. Don't forget to try the traditional sauna whisk made of birch!

Credits : Marko Rautaparta
Credits: Ruka-Kuusamo

5. Åland islands – go fishing in the world's largest archipelago

The Åland islands are a unique Swedish-speaking autonomous region belonging to Finland located in the Baltic Sea. Åland can be easily reached from Finland and Sweden. If you choose a cruise ship as your means of transportation, stunning archipelago landscapes are guaranteed on your journey to the destination!

Åland's waters are home to many different fish species. Its geographical location makes fishing diverse; you can find both shallows and deeper spots along the shores of the islands. One of the unique fishing experiences in the area is the Åland pike – a freshwater fish that surprisingly thrives in saltwater here due to the low salinity of the Baltic Sea around the islands. Pikes here are generally larger compared to their freshwater counterparts and Åland is sometimes referred to as the pike paradise. The area is home to many other fish species as well, including salmon, sea trout, perch, and whitefish. Åland offers plenty of experienced fishing guides with suitable boats and equipment, making it a great choice for novice anglers as well.

There are plenty of other things to do and places to see in Åland in addition to fishing. Here's our article about unique accommodation in the islands. For inspirations about charming restaurants and cafés, read this article.

Local tip: Åland is a compact place that can be easily explored by car or even by bicycle. Here, you can visit a medieval castle, explore the ruins of an old Russian fortress, savour locally produced food and drinks, and explore the region's capital, Mariehamn, with its charming streets, museums, and boutique shops. For more information about the Åland islands, go to visitaland.com.

In addition to multiple species of fish, the waters in Åland hide other secrets as well: the world's oldest bottles of champagne pre-dating the French Revolution were found in Åland in 2010.

6. Kuusaankoski – easily accessible rapids in the middle of Finland

Kuusaankoski in Central Finland near Laukaa is renowned for its rapids and fishing opportunities, as well as the surrounding services. Here you'll find indigenous species such as pike, perch, lake trout, ide, bream, and zander to fish. You'll also find stocked species like lake trout, whitefish, and grayling.

Where to stay in the region? Try Varjola located right by the rapids with high-quality lodging, restaurant services, and a weekly activity program in the summer. The location is also suitable for people with reduced mobility featuring, for example, accessible fishing piers. Less than a 10-minute drive away is the Peurunka Spa Hotel, offering more activities. The regional capital, Jyväskylä, is a half-hour drive away.

Local tip: In the Laukaa area, there's plenty to see, especially natural attractions. How about visiting the breathtaking Hyyppäänvuori hill, seeing the largest rock paintings in Fennoscandia along water routes used 7000 years ago, or experiencing the majestic and impressive 800-meter-long gorge formed during the Ice Age?

For more information about the Laukaa region, go to visitlaukaa.fi.

Varjola is a unique accommodation option in the Kuusaankoski region.
Credits : Julia Kivelä
Kuusaankoski rapids are among the best trout rapids in central Finland.
Credits: Julia Kivelä

7. Kotka-Hamina region – where three waters meet

If you are interested in trying fishing in a lake, river, and sea setting, look no further than the Kotka-Hamina region on Finland's southern coast just over an hour's drive from Helsinki. Here you'll find River Kymi ("Kymijoki" in Finnish) – one of the longest rivers in Finland – as well as many small freshwater lakes, and the Baltic Sea coast all in one place. Because of the versatility of the waters in this area, there's plenty of fish species to be caught.

From the sea area you can find pike, perch, zander, salmon, whitefish, and herring, as well as stocked species like sea trout, rainbow trout, grayling, and vimba bream. From the Kymijoki River you can find e.g. sea salmon. The average weight of salmon caught from the river has been around six kilos in recent years. In addition to sea salmon, the Kymijoki River is home to migratory fish such as trout, lamprey, vimba bream, and whitefish.

There are plenty of places to stay and things to do in this historical region. You'll find everything from well-maintained camping sites and cottages to hotels and extraordinary accommodation here. To read more, go to visitkotkahamina.fi.

Local tip: To gain a broader perspective on maritime life and its significance to this region, visit the impressive Maritime Centre Vellamo in Kotka. The centre includes the Maritime Museum of Finland, Kymenlaakso Museum, and the Coast Guard Museum.

8. Musta Mäntyjärvi – rent a whole lake

At Musta Mäntyjärvi (translated as "Black Pinelake") in Northern Karelia travellers are offered a unique opportunity to rent an entire lake for their own use. Here you can catch large pikes, pike-perch, and perch. The lake is situated in the picturesque Finnish Karelia, where you can experience the enchantment of Finnish nature, peace and calm, and a little bit of the true essence of Eastern Finland.

At Musta Mäntyjärvi you can spend the night in a tent or a separate hut. The hut offers cooking facilities, and there's an outdoor table that can accommodate larger groups. While fishing on the lake, you can also try activities like kayaking or canoeing. Additionally, you can visit the Patvinsuo National Park, which is a 10-minute drive away. The nearest major city, Joensuu, is just over an hour's drive away. During your trip, be sure to also make a stop at Koli National Park, known for its breathtaking landscapes that are considered a national treasure in Finland.

Credits: Julia Kivelä

Important things to know about fishing in Finland

Before you go fishing in Finland, there are certain guidelines and rules that are good to know. Here's a quick guide to fishing in Finland:

  • Please always be a responsible fisher. Every fisher is obligated to ensure the respectful treatment of the fish they catch. Finnish law prohibits causing wildlife unnecessary suffering. For more ethical fishing guidelines, visit eraluvat.fi.
  • Fishing with a simple rod and line is free and allowed for everyone under Everyman's Rights.
  • For other type of fishing, like angling, you will need a permit. For state-owned areas, you can buy fishing permits online at eraluvat.fi.
  • In addition to a fishing permit, you also need to pay the national Fisheries Management Fee. The fee is required if you are 18-64 years of age and will be fishing with lures or traps or crayfishing. You can read more about the permit, prices, and how and where to pay for it at eraluvat.fi.
  • The autonomous province of Åland has a Fishing Act of its own. There is no common fishing license for the whole Island. Instead, there are fishing license for the different areas of the islands. Go to visitaland.com for more information.

For more in-depth information about fishing in Finland, we recommend visiting fishinginfinland.fi.

Sustainable fishing trip providers in Finland

Salmon Trolling

Guided Fishing Trips in Oravi, Lake Saimaa

4 hours

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