Guide for travelling anglers in the Land of a Thousand Lakes 
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Lapland Finnish Lake District West Coast South Finland, Archipelago

Lake Kitkajärvi - Europe’s largest spring


Photo: Kuusamon kalastusmatkailuhanke
First prize for angler on Lake Kitka!

Crystal clear waters are home to wild lake salmon and trout

The crystal clear Lake Kitkajärvi is known as the largest spring in Europe. The landscape of this wild, naturally clean and ruggedly handsome lake is characterized by deep trenches, long sandy beaches, sand ridges and heaps of rocks, and pebble-bottomed shallow waters. Surrounded by majestic fells and seasonal colours, the scene is set for a great day of trolling.

Depth chart (zoom in to view depths).

From Kuusamo to the White Sea

Finland’s only power-plant-free and unregulated large lake is divided into two parts, the lower Ala-Kitka and the higher Yli-Kitka. The lake covers an area of almost 290 square kilometres in Kuusamo and Posio. After the last Ice Age, the waters of Lake Kitkajärvi flowed west, but today the lake drains east into the legendary fishing river Kitkajoki. From there the waters flow downstream to River Oulankajoki and across the border to Lake Paanajärvi in Russia, finally ending up in the White Sea.

Photo: Kuusamon kalastusmatkailuhanke 
Fish is hooked on Lake Kitkajärvi.
Fish is hooked on Lake Kitkajärvi.

The uniqueness of Lake Kitkajärvi is highlighted by its elevation: the lake is located 240 metres above sea level. Due to its great mass, Lake Kitkajärvi freezes over in winter, and the ice cover stays on longer than in smaller highland lakes.

A marked boat route leads directly over the open lake, making it easy and safe to move around the area. However, as always when travelling on open waters, a chartplotter and lake atlas are helpful aids.

Wild trout and sage vendace

At Lake Kitkajärvi, the main catch for trollers is lake trout of 60 cm minimum size. According to anglers’ reports, there are “enough” fish in the lake that match this description. The largest lake trout caught by trolling have been known to weigh more than five kilos.

The lake is also famous for its small vendace, ”the Sage of Kitka.” The story tells that this wise vendace will not cross the border, although there is a direct route downstream to Russia. Lake Kitkajärvi is also known to be generous for fishermen who are after whitefish, grayling, pike and perch.

Fishing season lasts the whole summer, but fish are most keen to take to lures in the cool autumnal waters. The season usually peaks in September-October, just as winter is arriving.

The Lake Kitkajärvi joint fishing licence area covers 25 000 hectares of the best possible fishing waters. For a reasonable fee, you can fish in varying scenery and at many types of fishing venues. Information on fishing permits is available at

Photo: Kuusamon kalastusmatkailuhanke 
Angling on a summer day.
Angling on a summer day.

Early start brings best catch

If you are trolling for trout at Lake Kitkajärvi, it is best to set out early in the morning. Dawn is traditionally a good time to go for catch. However, the game is not lost for a later bird either – in this lake there is plenty of trout and other catch to go around.

Experienced trollers use shoals of vendace for finding trout. A large shoal discovered swimming near a deep trench makes a great start for the day. At Lake Kitkajärvi, the deepest trenches reach 40 metres below the surface. As the hours of daylight become scarce and mornings grow colder, the shoals move near islands and underwater shallows, downwind. Where the biggest shoals swim, there the most rods turn downwards, sooner or later. The finest trout often take to lures on the outskirts of the deepest trenches. If you’re lucky, you might catch a handsome specimen near the surface.

The Kitka trout takes well to basic lures and spoons. The colours that have proved to be most tempting to them echo the scenery: purple, green and various shades of blue are certain choices, as well as bright silver or brass spoons. The use of a bait holder brings you almost guaranteed catch with both live and rubber baits. The most popular bait holder colours are purple, red-stripe and blue-grey. In cloudy weather the best choice is glow, and when the sun is shining, gold and silver are known to bring good catch. Still, reports of catch by unconventional lures are constantly made from Lake Kitkajärvi.

You will find the best local lures and tips, as well as the juiciest fishing stories, from Kuusamon Uistin Lure Factory Shop.

Photo: Kuusamon kalastusmatkailuhanke 
© 2013–2024
Area:286 km²
Length:50 km
Shoreline:847 km
Mean depth:6 m
Maximum depth:41 m
Game species
Brown trout

Fishing guides & trips

Lapland Fishing Ltd


Lomarengas, Kuusamo Office


1. Lake Kitkajärvi – Europe’s largest spring.

2. Large selection of guided fishing trips with professional fishing guides.

3. Kuusamon Uistin Lure Factory, lures and fishing tips straight from Factory Shop.

4. Large joint lake fishing permit areas for rod fishermen.

5. Still existing original populations: “Sage of Kitka” vendace and brown trout.

6. The vendace “Sage of Lake Kitkajärvi” is granted an EU protected designation of origin (PDO).

Additional information