It is typically Finnish to make open-hearth pot coffee using water from fishing lakes. Freshwater fish splashing in the pristine waters make for a most delicious meal, once you manage to catch some. However, you'll first need to resolve quite a tricky problem: which of these thousands of lakes should you head to for a spot of fishing?
The land of thousands of lakes
Finland is the country with the most waters in the whole world. 10 % of Finland's surface is covered by lakes and, combined, they would submerge an area the size of Belgium. In central and eastern parts of the country lies the Finnish Lake District, also known as the Lakeland, which forms the most extensive area of interconnected lakes in Europe, comprising tens of thousands of lakes.
Photo: Lentokuva Vallas
Autumn colours at their most beautiful. Lake Ullavajärvi, Ullava.
There are 309 separate lakes each covering more than 10 km² in Finland, accounting for 65 % of the country's total lake area. With their diverse range of fish species, these major lakes are the most significant lakes in terms of fishing. People generally go fishing on these lakes on boats.
Diverse fish stocks
Perch, pike, roach and zander are the most common game species in lakes. Pike and perch can be found in almost all Finnish lakes. Countless lakes offer good chances of catching a one-metre pike.
Thanks to the warm summers of recent years, lake-dwelling perch have become nicely plump. At present, perch anglers in the Lake District commonly enjoy half-a-kilo specimens.
Jigging is fun, active and eventful! Zander are pursued with jigs in bay waters, shallows and slow-flowing sounds in the beginning of the season and at the edges of mid-lake shallows and rocky areas in summer.
The best zander stocks can be found in the muddy and brownish lakes of Southern and Central Finland, although many of the more limpid lakes have quite good stocks too. In lakes, zander grow several kilos in weight.
Brown trout and landlocked salmon can be found in the widest mid-lake areas. Lake-dwelling grayling stocks are common in many small and larger lakes in Lapland and grayling can also be found in the major lakes of Eastern Finland. The most common species found in lakes include burbot and whitefish as well as various cyprinids, such as roach, bream and ide.
The most typical species in the wide open mid-lake areas of Finland's large and rugged lakes is the small-sized vendace, which is not pursued using rod tackle. Vendace fatten up predatory fish and they are also first-rate food fish.
Photo: Kimmo Pöri
Jigging from a boat is an efficient way of catching big perch. Lake Iisvesi, Suonenjoki.
Spinning on small lakes
The country's thousands of medium-sized lakes make for excellent fishing sites. The majority of all lakes are very small lakes and ponds, which means that the average size of lakes is only 18 hectares. There are 56,000 lakes of more than one hectare.
Small forest and wilderness lakes are great fishing grounds, where you can fish from the shore in peace. Basic species in small lakes include pike, perch and roach. Many small lakes are within easy reach via side-roads. Indeed, there are enough lakes here for just about every angler to have their own.
Photo: Jari Tuiskunen
Forest ponds are fascinating small-scale fishing grounds.
Lakes carved out by the Ice Age
Finland's lakes were formed into grooves carved out in the ground by ice in the aftermath of the latest Ice Age. Typical characteristics include shallow waters, labyrinthine shapes and an abundance of islands. Lake bottoms vary considerably and many lakes have shoals. The deepest spots of major lakes are in the range of 100 metres.
Some lakes have formed into crustal depressions, while there are also some with craters of meteors that crashed to earth thousands or millions of years ago lying at their bottoms. Such crater lakes include Lakes Suvasvesi, Lappajärvi, Keurusselkä, as well as Paasvesi in the Lake Saimaa area.
Photo: Lentokuva Vallas
Finland’s lakes freeze over in winter. Lake Suontee, Joutsa.
There are plenty of wetland areas in Finland and, as a result, a considerable proportion of water bodies are more or less brownish in colour. However, there are also many rugged and limpid lakes. Regardless of colour, lake waters are mostly pure. Lush and muddy lakes can be found in the vicinity of the agricultural areas of Southern Finland in particular.
Lakes are covered in ice in late November or early December. The smallest are the first to freeze over, weeks before the wide open mid-lake areas of the major lakes. In Southern Finland, the winter fishing season stretches into April, whereas the ice in Lapland will not melt until late May or early June.
The mosquitoes that keep holidaymakers company on midsummer nights will not bother anglers out on the open lake.