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Lapland Finnish Lake District West Coast South Finland, Archipelago

River Kemijoki - Finland’s longest river

 

Photo: Jari Tuiskunen
The River Kemihaara fishing grounds offer calm races and gentle rapids in wild surroundings.

River Kemijoki is Finland’s longest river, which reaches the sea at the City of Kemi at the bottom of the Gulf of Bothnia. Before this, it has flowed 550 kilometres by some counts, starting as small rivulets in Russian and Finnish Lapland, wandering through wilderness areas, well off the beaten track, until arriving at more and more man-made environments towards its lower reaches.

The Isohaara power plant, completed in 1949 near the mouth of the river, has been followed by 20 other power plant dams, burying several rapids under their basins. At the same time, these construction activities have also destroyed the salmon stock in the river which was once among the richest in Europe. The stock has subsequently been kept alive with intense fry-stocking operations. Nowadays, migratory fish can already pass round the Isohaara site through a fishway and it is hoped that migration will become possible through to the confluence with River Ounasjoki in the future.

Photo: Jari Tuiskunen 
Part of River Raudanjoki, the Vikaköngäs Rapids is a popular ‘plant and fish’ site to the north of Rovaniemi.
Part of River Raudanjoki, the Vikaköngäs Rapids is a popular ‘plant and fish’ site to the north of Rovaniemi.
 

The most well-known fishing site in River Kemijoki is downstream, below the Isohaara power plant. In this area, people go after sea trout and salmon by trolling plugs, in particular, but casting from the banks is also possible. The largest salmon have weighed over 20 kilos, so there’s no point heading out with lightweight tackle. The best time to snare bright migrating salmon is in June and July, whereas trout may already be caught in April.

The headwaters of River Kemijoki offer much smaller-scale fishing experiences in wilder settings. You can go fishing for brown trout and grayling in pleasant surroundings on River Kairijoki, River Kemihaara and the Vikaköngäs Rapids in River Raudanjoki, which are all managed by Metsähallitus, a state enterprise in charge of state-owned lands and waters. The species found in Rivers Kairijoki and Kemihaara also include small but feisty brook trout originating from America.

Photo: Jari Tuiskunen 
Brook trout is a common catch in the headwaters of River Kemijoki. Since this non-native species competes seriously with brown trout, it’s always a good idea to use what you catch for food.
Brook trout is a common catch in the headwaters of River Kemijoki. Since this non-native species competes seriously with brown trout, it’s always a good idea to use what you catch for food.
 

River Ounasjoki

River Ounasjoki is the most significant tributary of River Kemijoki, joining the main river at the City of Rovaniemi. The 300-kilometre river, starting from Lake Ounasjärvi in Enontekiö, is completely protected from power plant construction, which means that the approximately 100 rapids have retained their freedom, offering diverse opportunities for fishing for grayling and brown trout. However, the large size of the river – mostly more than 100 metres in width – may make fishing a challenge, especially if the water level is high. The highest likelihood for favourable conditions is from Midsummer to August.

River Meltausjoki, joining River Ounasjoki at the Village of Meltaus, is in turn a considerably smaller-scale and more manageable fishing site for, say, fly-fishing enthusiasts. Grayling and restocked catch-size trout are among the lure-biting species here too, as of course are pike, perch and various cyprinids.

Photo: Jari Tuiskunen 
Unarinkoski Rapids on River Meltausjoki.
Unarinkoski Rapids on River Meltausjoki.
 
 
 
© FishinginFinland.fi 2013–2016
 
Type:Rivers
Length:550 km
  
Game species
Brown trout
Burbot
Grayling
Ide
Perch
Pike
Rainbow trout
Roach
Salmon
Whitefish
Zander

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