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 Puula - the diverse jewel of South Savo


Photo: Mika Pihlaja
Thanks to the strong vendace stock, landlocked salmon grow fast. An 8.3-kilo whopper struck in the Mainiemenselkä mid-lake area.

Majestic cliff shores, wide meandering mid-lake waters and the fragmented island area are a feast for the eyes. Big bright-flanked landlocked salmon and mid-lake pike swim about amidst the dense schools of vendace in the Soisalonselkä area. The shores resound with the cries of black-throated divers and from the shelter of the forest peeps out a stack named Alttarikivi after its shape, as it resembles an altar stone. You've arrived at the limpid Lake Puula.

Lake Puula, also known as Puulavesi, is located between Kangasniemi, Hirvensalmi and Mikkeli in South Savo. The most important game species for sports anglers here include pike, perch, brown trout and landlocked salmon. In addition, there are some zander.

Lake Puula is known as being a good water area for brown trout and landlocked salmon, which means that it is popular among trollers. The largest landlocked salmon caught in Finland during the 21st century, weighing 12.4 kg, was trapped on Lake Puula. Brown trout weighing several kilos are part of the lake's typical range of game species.

A lake of big salmonoids

Salmonoids grow big quickly, thanks to the dense vendace stocks. Great sites for trolling landlocked salmon and brown trout include the Säkkisalo area in the Simpiänselkä mid-lake waters and the Mainiemenselkä mid-lake area. The best salmon seasons are early summer and the period from September to October.

Photo: Lentokuva Vallas 
A varied and extensive island area spreads out in the middle of Lake Puula.
A varied and extensive island area spreads out in the middle of Lake Puula.

The extensive island area and bay waters offer many pike spots worth trying. You can catch pike and zander in the Vuojaselkä area downstream from the Läsäkoski Rapids, where Lake Kyyvesi discharges its darker water. Water is also darker in the Puulansalmi area to the west of Mainiemi Point and, in addition to zander, big pike also swim there in the middle layers. As a pike fishing site, the rugged Lake Puula is a real challenge.

Anglers can go after perch at 4 metres on mid-lake shoals, when the water warms up to 17 degrees in the summer. Lake Puula's nature provides genuine therapy when you go ice-fishing for perch on spring ice in late March.

Small whitefish can be tricked with flies in shore areas. Bream can be caught in the lake's bay waters with a hook and line.

Photo: Ali Lattunen 
Porttisalmi Sound, starting at Iso Paatsalo Island, joins the Simpiänselkä and Karttuunselkä mid-lake areas.
Porttisalmi Sound, starting at Iso Paatsalo Island, joins the Simpiänselkä and Karttuunselkä mid-lake areas.

Peaceful nature amidst the island maze

Lake Puula landscapes still show traces of the Ice Age that ended 10,000 years ago, which can be seen in rugged cliff shores, quickly turning to block fields and further on to sheltered sandy beaches. You can find peace and quiet amidst the sceneries of this varied major lake and in the heart of the mid-lake island areas – and perhaps the catch of a lifetime too.

The crystal clear water creates a splendid setting for fishing, trips on the water and nature experiences. You can make out the form of a salmon rising from the clear water several metres below the surface.

Should you get fed up with the profusion of natural beauty, there is the Midsummer Dance organised at Pirkon Kioski on Väisälänsaari Island and the Ahti Karjalainen Career Museum, 'Tupa', celebrating the life's work of this influential Finnish politician, in Hirvensalmi.

Part of the Lake Puula island area falls within the National Shoreline Protection Programme. The largest islands are Väisälänsaari, Saari-Kuitunen and Puukonsaari. The large islands on Lake Puula are inhabited all year round.

Photo: Ali Lattunen 
October nights are cool and trees glow in autumn colours.
October nights are cool and trees glow in autumn colours.
© 2013–2024
Area:331 km²
Length:43 km
Shoreline:1 777 km
Mean depth:9 m
Maximum depth:69 m
Number of islands:1 659
Game species
Brown trout
Landlocked salmon


Rock and Lake


1. Super-fast growth of salmon.

2. Finland's finest stacks, about a hundred in total. A stack is a mushroom-shaped pillar of rock ground by water, where the rock type is porphyritic granodiorite. The most famous of these is the Alttarikivi or 'Altar Stone' on Alttarisaari ('Altar Island') in the Soisalonselkä mid-lake area.

3. The majestic rocky bights on Koverosaari and Karhusaari islands.

4. Plenty of landing sites on different parts of the lake.

5. The rolling block field on Iso Paatsalo Island, plus Korppivuori Hill with an imposing view over the wide open mid-lake area.

Additional information