Top Fishing Destinations in Finland | with map

by gone71 N

Finland is definitely one place to be if you are looking for a proper fishing adventure. With 187,888 lakes, 647 major rivers and over 1000 kilometres of coastline you’ll have more than enough possibilities to pursue your fishing dreams.

You’ll literally find water everywhere in Finland, thriving of fish and usually set within a stunning natural environment. Take a look in our fishing map and get an idea of popular fishing spots and areas.

Fishing Map

Our fishing map gives you a brief overview of popular fishing sites, particular hot spots, some of the best fishing lakes and most important rivers in Finland. With the given amount of water bodies it is rather impossible to give insights on all fishing possibilities. However our map highlights some of the most important fishing destinations in Finland and can give you a brief idea of what to expect in your area of interest.

  • Red circles mark the most important fishing lakes in Finland.
  • Blue Fish mark very popular public fishing spots with a good stock (mostly brown trout & rainbow trout).
  • Violet fish mark rapids in rivers that are accessible by car. Usually you can find a link to a Google street view to get an idea of the area.
  • Red fish mark very popular fishing areas.
  • Purple rapids mark the most important fishing rivers in Finland.

Destinations

Finland can be divided into four main fishing areas:

  • Southern Finland / Archipelago
  • Lake District
  • West Coast
  • Lapland

Southern Finland & Archipelago

Fishing in Southern Finland is the place where modern urban life meets big fish. The brackish waters of the southern coastal line are excellent hunting grounds for pike, perch and zander. The real beauty of the area lies in the Southern archipelago where you can seek fresh water fish in a marine environment. There are tens of thousands of little islands just right outside of Helsinki or Turku and you can go after them whole year round. One thing is for certain – you’ll run out of time much earlier before the hot spots in the area run out of fish.

The biggest river in the area is Kymijoki, which is well known for its decent sized salmon and sea trout. It’s also the southern most Salmon River in Finland and the best fishing grounds are within the last kilometres of the river.

You even do not have to leave the urban environment at all and start your fishing adventure right away in downtown Helsinki or in the middle of the city of Turku.

Lake District

The Lake District in eastern and central Finland has its name for obvious reasons. The majority of Finnish lakes can be found within this water area. The name of the game is ‘white-fleshed predators’: If you are looking for pike, perch or zander this is definitely the right place to be. Some of the bigger lakes even host stocks of brown trout and landlocked salmon.

The defenition of a lake is standing surface area of 500 sq meters. photo © gone71.com

You can find record size fish in many of the lakes. For the bigger lakes (e.g. Seimaa, Pielinen, Oulujärvi, Kallavesi, Näsijärvi…) a boat is usually recommended to get to hotspots and deeper grounds. Even a canoe or kayak will be very helpful. However there are so many lakes in this region that you can literally stop everywhere to get one of these pikes or a perch. Even the small forest lakes are usually well stocked.

Between the lakes you can find many rapids and fast flowing water routes that are usually excellent fishing grounds for brown trout or grayling. Even rainbow trouts are often stocked in these waters.

One of the best things for fishing in this region is the easy access to fishing licenses. There is usually only one license required in order to fish in almost al Finish lakes. The annual fee is around 45 Euros. Fast flowing waters as rivers and rapids with stocked trouts usually require an additional license.

West Coast

Similar to the archipelago area the brackish waters of the West coast enable fresh water fishes to thrive. Fishing along the coast is always free and you do not need a license. Among the main species are big pike, perch and sea trout. You can also catch zander but the lake district is usually the better place for this fish.

Rivers in the area are well stocked with rainbow trouts, brown trouts and grayling. Atlantic salmon can be found in the rivers Merikarvianjoki and Kokemäenjoki. The whole region is rather flat and lakes are shallow. Pike and perch are obligatory species.

Lapland

Fishing in Lapland differs significantly from the Southern realms. This is the land where the salmonids reign. No matter if you are looking for the mighty arctic char, huge graylings or native brown trouts – Lapland got you covered. You can also find the best salmon fishing grounds in Finland up North. Pikes and perch are also very common but usually no one is particularly interested in pursuing them with all the salmonid fishes around. If you are spin fishing chances are good that you’ll end up with a pike on the other end of the line.

River Teno in Lapland is considered the best Salmon River in Europe. This specimen weighs in at 12 kg and was caught during the annual salmon trolling championship in Utsjoki. photo © gone71.com

With eternal sunlight during midsummer you can pursue your fishing dreams 24 hours a day. Lapland is a wild place and fishing spots are usually set right in the middle of the breath-taking nature. The Teno River is considered Europe’s best Salmon River and along with its Tributaries like the Utsjoki fish between 15 and 25 kg are caught every year.

However, besides king salmon the rivers of Finnish Lapland are especially well known for its huge graylings. Specimen up to 1 kg are  common and even 2 kg fish are caught every year. Beside lake Inari and Teno River and Tornio River are very popular fishing sites. The area of Kilpisjärvi is also known for decent sized catches.

If you are looking for the mighty red belied arctic char you can head to lake Kilpisjärvi and the surrounding mountain lakes in the west of Lapland. Inarijärvi is also a good place in the pursued of a charr.

Lapland is also home to a good stock of wild brown trouts weighing up to several kilos. Unlike in the Southern areas of Finland these trouts occur naturally in the area. Stocked salmonid fish are usually missing their adipose fin that is clipped before they are released into the wild.

Best Fishing Rivers

Finland hosts a staggering 647 rivers and countless small streams that provide thousands of kilometres of pristine fishing. Teno River and Toreno River are well known for their Atlantic Salmon but there are a lot of other famous destinations. Even smaller streams in Lapland can give you the chance of very big trouts and grayling.

Even the smallest streams in the wilderness of Lapland can produces decent sized brown torut and grayling. photo © gone71.com

Eastern and central Finland is more characterized by their fabulous trout rapids (koski) and Rivers as the Oulankajoki or Kitkajoki are among the most famous trout fishing sites in Finland. To the west, anglers have the chance on sea trout in the rivers Lestijoki, Isojoki or Merikarvianjoki. The variety of smaller rivers in the south are often trout fishing sites (brown trout and rainbow trout). Other species include the obligatory pike as well as perch and zander and gayling.

If you seek an urban fishing adventure you can visit Aurajoki in Turku or Tammerkoski rapids in Tampere. Vantaanjoki near Helsinki features also a lot of popular spots.

  • South and Central Lapland: River Simojoki, River Lätäseno, River Ounasjoki (north of Rovaniemi)
  • Eastern Lapland: River Kairijoki, River Nuorttijoki, River Luttojoki (Salla and Savukoski)
  • Inari area: Rivers Juutuanjoki, Ivalojoki and Näätämöjoki
  • Eastern Finland: Ruunaa Rapids (Lieksa), Konnuskosket Rapids (Leppävirta), Kermankosket (Heinävesi), Kermankosket (Heinävesi), Läsäkoski (Kangasniemi)
  • Central Finland: River Oulankajoki, River Kitkajoki, River Kuusinkijoki
  • Western Finland: Lestijoki, Isojoki, Merikarvianjoki, Kokemäenjoki
  • Southern Finland: Kotalankosket Rapids (Virrat), Vihavuosi Rapids (Hauho), River Fiskarsinjoki, Aurajoki (Turku), Vantaanjoki (Helsinki), Tammerkoski rapids (Tampere), Kymijoki.

Best Fishing Lakes

One of the biggest problems you’ll encounter when looking for fishing grounds in Finland is to choose from the tens of thousands of lakes in the country. There are literally fish in all of the 187,888 lakes but of course some offer especially rich fishing grounds or big trophy fish. The lake district to the east of the country offers tens of thousands of lakes which are to a majority interconnected through water ways and rivers.

Many of the lakes have several square kilometres of surface area and if you want to fish on them a boat is highly recommended. But no worries if you do not have access to a floating vehicle, there are literally more than enough possibilities for shore fishing. A lake is btw. defined as a standing water area that is larger than 500 m2 (5400 sq ft). Around 57,000 of the Finnish lakes offer even a surface area of over 10,000 m2 (110,000 sq ft) and they make a great destination for peaceful shore fishing adventures.

Peaceful shore fishing in one of the many small lakes. photo © gone71.com

White-fleshed predators like pike and perch can usually be encountered in all Finish lakes. Zander is a bit more elusive but also quite common. The best Zander populations are in the southern parts of Finland and in the Lake District. The general rule is the further ­north you go, the less likely you’ll encounter one of these predators.

Some of the bigger lakes offer the possibility to catch some landlocked salmon, trouts and grayling. Arctic char can be found in Lake Kilpisjärvi and surrounding mountain lakes. Lake Inarijärvi is also a good spot for salmonid fishes including arctic char. A boat is mandatory however to fish successfully in the latter one.

  • Lapland Lakes: Inarijärvi, Kilpisjärvi, Mountain lakes for arctic char
  • Central Finland Lakes: Lake Oulujärvi, Lake Kitkajärvi, Lake Kiantajärvi
  • Lake District: Lake Kallavesi, Lake Nilakka, Pyhävesi, Pielavesi, Konnevesi, Keitele, Lappajärvi, Ähtärinjärvi, Ruovesi & Tarjanne, Päijänne, Roine & Mallavesi & Pälkänevesi, Puula, Kyyvesi, Näsijärvi
  • Southern Finland Lakes: Lohjanjärvi, Pyhäjärvi (Säkylä)

Check our guide for some of the best fishing lakes in Finland.
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Other things to consider

Can I fish wherever and whenever I want in Finland?

No! You are allowed to fish along the coastline in Finland from the shore and from boat without licenses or permission. That’s the good news. If you are planning to fish lakes and rivers things get a little bit more complex. You’ll need a license and depending on the fishery probably also additional permits.

Many fish have minimum sizes and protection times throughout the year. Usually around 1st of September until the End of November most of the trout fish become protected. Also there are different regulations on what kind of equipment, lures and techniques are allowed varying on the area you are fishing in. Make no mistake; it is your responsibility to find out the dates of the fishing season and any other rules that apply in a particular river system. In some parts – especially the salmon rives – there are very strict regulations so do your homework before setting out and getting yourself in trouble.

Fishing regulations Finland

In order to go legally fishing in Finland you need to acquire a state regulated fishing license that can be bought in R-Kioski shops throughout the country. It’s fairly cheap, easy to come by and the huge upside is that you are allowed to fish in almost all of the Finnish lakes which gives you especially access to pike, perch and zander. If you want to fish streams and rivers for grayling, trout or even salmon, you will need a special permit for each permit area in addition that can usually be purchased locally at tourist and nature centres, fishing stores and online at www.eraluvat.fi/en. Fish like pike and perch can be fished throughout the whole year and have also no minimum size so these are fish we recommend to pursue in the beginning of your Scandinavian fishing career.

7 popular fish species to catch in Finland

Arctic Char (fin.: rautu/nieriä; dt.: Saibling)

The mighty arctic char is one of the most beautiful fish and well known for the red bellies the male specimen get when getting mature. It also happens to be one of the most delicious species swimming around but can be hard to catch. They live mostly in cold alpine and arctic waters and healthy populations can be found in the mountain regions of Swedish and Finnish Lapland e.g. the area of Kilpisjärvi and especially in the Northern mountain lakes of Finnmark.

Grayling (Thymallus thymallus) (fin.: harjus; dt.: Äsche)

This freshwater fish belongs to the salmon family. Its body is covered with silver-greyish scales topped with a prominent dorsal fin. The grayling prefers cold, clean, running riverine waters and they are found throughout the northern parts of Scandinavia. Some of the best fishing grounds for grayling can be found in Finnish and Swedish Lapland. It can be a great fish to start your fly fishing career. 

Perch (Perca fluviatilis) (fin.: ahven; dt.: Barsch)

This predatory fish is one of the most common fish that can be found throughout Scandinavia with exception of the northern most parts of Scandinavia. They inhabit rivers, lakes and even the brackish waters of the Baltic and Bothnian Sea, especially the Finnish archipelagos. This fish can get very old and even seemingly small specimen can be several years of age. It tastes delicious and is a very popular game fish.

Pike (Esox lucius) (fin.: hauki; dt.: Hecht)

The greed of this fish knows little limits. It is a torpedo shaped predator from head to tail, equipped with hundreds of razor sharp, backward-pointing teeth. The best fishing grounds for pikes in whole Europe can be found in the lake land of Finland. Some consider this fish as delicious others despise it but because they are so willingly in taking lures they are a great game. Keep your fingers away from their teeth though if you want to keep them in one piece! There is a Finnish saying: If you can’t catch a pike in Finland you should take a serious look in the mirror.  

Pikeperch or Zander (Sander lucioperca) (swe.: gös; fin.: kuha)

Zander belong to the family of perch but grow considerably bigger. They are very tasty but also more demanding to catch. They are mainly hunted by trolling or jigging from a boat in the deeper waters of lakes but can also be cought from shore in certain places. Very well known for its vast Zander population for example is the Tampere region but usually you can find them in he whole lake land district and also in the brakish water of the coastal areas. They are most active in twilight when they come close to the surface to hunt. During the day you have to find them in the deeper areas of lakes and also bigger rivers. If you are starting with your fishing experiences this fish may give you a hard time.

Salmon (Salmo salar) (fin.: lohi)

This is undoubtedly the king among all fish in Scandinavia and you may consider working your way up little by little until you try to tackle this one specific species. Not only are there the most rules and regulations (often involving serious money for a license), you also might need some more advanced techniques and equipment if you want to play with the big boys. The latter quite literally in fact since you’ll find yourself mostly accompanied or even competing with a vast amount of fellow fishermen and –women professionally equipped down to the bone which can be an intimidating experience in itself. So it can make sense to work your way up from the bottom and gain some experience points with other species. Atlantic salmon can grow up to more than a meter and unlike its Pacific counterpart it can survive spawning and return to the sea several times. If you feel ready for this particular fish you will find some of the best salmon rivers are the Tana river (Tanajoki, Tanaelv), Laks river (Lakselv) or the Alta river (Altaelv).

If you want to skip complicated licensing and disinfection you can consider one of the Finnish tributaries of the Tana river, the Utsjoki which is well known for good salmon and grayling catches. You can acquire licenses in the local supermarket on the spot and even ask for some recommendations. A popular spot is about 15 km South of the little border town Utsjoki where the main road crosses the river. Unlike in many other places where it is fly fishing only, you are allowed for lure fishing (using, spinner, spoons, wobbler etc…).

One place to catch salmon for free is actually the town center of Stockholm at Strömgatan in the old town where you can legally try your luck.

Trout (Salmo trutta) (fin.: taimen; dt.: Forelle)

Trouts are very popular and tasteful fish in Scandinavia and the name refers here more specifically to brown trout. There are also other species of trout as rainbow trout (not native and always stocked) and sea trout (trouts that migrate to the open sea). Trouts are mainly found in fresh riverine waters and thrive especially well in the northern parts of Scandinavia. They are mainly caught by lure- or fly-fishing and definitely worth a try since they will give you a decent meal.

Ready for a challange. Check our article about 10 popular fishes in the Northern countries:

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