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

Lapland Finnish Lake District West Coast South Finland, Archipelago

Finnish Lake District - Europe’s largest lake area


Photo: Kimmo Pöri
Trolling for whitefish on Lake Airakselanjärvi, Karttula. Map of the Finnish Lake District. Lake Suur-Saimaa ('Saimaa Major'), Savitaipale. In autumn Jupiter shines over the fishing waters of Finnish Lake District. Lake Rautavesi, Sastamala. Lake Pihlajavesi, Saimaa. Sometimes pike are eager to bite near the weeds at the moment of the sunset in late summer.
Trolling for whitefish on Lake Airakselanjärvi, Karttula.

The main bulk of Finland's water area is located in the Finnish Lake District. With its thousands of pristine and glistening waters, this most extensive area of unbroken lake in Europe represents the most beautiful area in Finland to many people. For anglers, it offers an endless choice of fishing grounds.

The Finnish Lake District is an angler's El Dorado. There is enough space, peace and quiet for any number of new anglers. The main game species in most waters of the district are pike, perch, zander and various cyprinids. Brown trout and landlocked salmon can be found in the wide open areas of major lakes, while burbot and whitefish are significant game species in many large and even some smaller waters.


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.

Pike are everywhere, zander and perch stocks have increased

Virtually all the district's lakes are potential sites for fishing big pike. It is therefore completely impossible to consider just some pike sites better than the rest.

The zander stocks of the Finnish Lake District have recovered over the last 20 years and there are now hundreds of large and medium-sized lakes suitable for fishing this species. Great zander waters include Lakes Pyhäjärvi and Kyrösjärvi and other major lakes in the Tampere area, Lake Kallavesi, Lake Vesijärvi in Lahti, Lake Höytiäinen and certain parts of Lake Saimaa, such as Pyhäselkä and Haukivesi, and Lake Kyyvesi in Mikkeli.

Stocks of big perch have strengthened with the warm summers of the early 21st century and there are good chances of catching more than half-kilo stripers in many of the district's lakes.

Photo: Kimmo Pöri 
The ice-fishing season lasts almost six months.
The ice-fishing season lasts almost six months.

There are more than 30 lakes of over 100 square kilometres in the Finnish Lake District. Lake Saimaa, the largest lake in Finland, covers a large area of its eastern part. Other major lakes include Päijänne, Pielinen, Oulujärvi, Puula, Keitele, Kallavesi, Höytiäinen and Näsijärvi. Hundreds of medium-sized lakes and thousands of small forest lakes are excellent fishing sites where you can often fish in complete peace. Finland's largest island, Soisalo, is located to the south of the City of Kuopio, between Lakes Kallavesi, Suvasvesi and Haukivesi.

Photo: Jari Tuiskunen 
Lake basins merge as foaming rapids in the Finnish Lake District.
Lake basins merge as foaming rapids in the Finnish Lake District.

Well-stocked rapids routes

The lakes of the Finnish Lake District form extensive water routes. Water bodies join each other through narrow passages that force waters to squeeze through into downstream lakes in foaming rapids. Fast-flowing rapids are great spots for spinning and fly-fishing brown trout, rainbow trout and grayling. The rapids routes north of the City of Jyväskylä in Central Finland and the Ruunaa Rapids of River Lieksanjoki, east of Lake Pielinen, are among the most renowned stream fishing sites in the country. Excellent rapids sites can be found in different parts of this extensive area.

Photo: Lentokuva Vallas 
Lake Konnevesi.
Lake Konnevesi.

Island after island

A key characteristic of the aquatic nature of the Finnish Lake District is the fragmentation of the blue lakes, manifesting in thousands of islands, points, bays and narrow passages. This fragmentation translates into an endless variety of fascinating fishing grounds.

Typical scenic features in the Finnish Lake District include pine forests, steep cliffs rising from the water, sandy ridge landscapes and constant subtle differences in ground levels. The open-water season lasts from early May to late November or early December. The largest lakes will not freeze over until December or January.

The district's largest cities – Tampere, Lahti, Jyväskylä, Kuopio, Joensuu, Mikkeli, Savonlinna and Lappeenranta – were established on the shores of major lakes, with good connections offered by the water routes. This means that you can go fishing right at the edge of the city.

Photo: MEK/kuvapankki 
The Finnish dream.
The Finnish dream.

Extensive offering of cottages

Many anglers and nature enthusiasts visiting the Finnish Lake District choose accommodation in a lakeside rental cottage. This means that it's easy to take a boat out for a fishing trip whenever you feel like it. In summer, the population in the Finnish Lake District increases considerably and life becomes more active as many Finns head to their own second homes, commonly referred to as 'summer cottages'.

Although there are many lakes with all too many cottages built along the shores, the extensive waters of the Finnish Lake District also cover plenty of peaceful areas, where the only 'distractions' are the cry of a black-throated diver and the flapping of swan wings. The district's national parks, the diverse landscape complexes preserved under the National Shoreline Protection Programme and the Natura 2000 areas are among the finest destinations for anyone who enjoys aquatic nature and fishing.

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1. Cheap flights

2. Car hire

3. A rental cottage

4. A rental boat + your own fishing tackle

5. Fishing in your own peace in the midst of the most splendid lake scenery in Europe

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