Fishing in Finland

Fishing in Finland

As the country with the most water worldwide, Finland offers diverse opportunities for catching various fish species. Water covers as much as 10% of our country’s surface. It is just as easy to go fishing on the outskirts of a city as on a wilderness lake.

Among our many natural features are hundreds of thousands of lakes, the most extensive continuous lake system in Europe in the Finnish Lake District, 1,100 kilometers of shoreline along the Baltic Sea (including its archipelagos), and 647 rivers that stretch over 25,000 kilometers. Not only are Finnish waters rich with fish, but they are also clean and overflowing with breathtaking natural beauty. In contrast to other countries’ overcrowded fishing spots, Finland provides plenty of room and peace. Come here to fish in solitude, right next to Mother Nature.


Useful links about fishing in Finland

  • What do you need to know about fishing by Metsähallitus: link. Metsähallitus is a state-owned enterprise producing environmental services for diverse customers.
  • Metsähallitus guidelines for responsible fishing at Eräluvat website: link.
  • Information about the public water areas.
  • How to start fishing in Finland at the National Parks website: link.
  • Unique Finnish destinations for fishing: Visit Finland.
  • Fishing in Finland is the website we used to source texts about species. Many languages are in use and have a lot of important information.
  • Finland Travel: what do you need to know about permits?

Fishing equipment in Lappeenranta


Fish species

Regularly seen in Finland are 67 different species of fish. Adding in other infrequent guests brings the total up to 100. A little over a dozen of these are species that are highly sought for sport fishing. We bring here most of the species you can find in Finland. They all are present with names in English, Latin, and Finnish languages, so you would be able to have an exact search request by these names on the internet.

Arctic Char – Salvelinus alpinus – Nieriä

It is mainly found in the mountain lakes of northernmost Lapland and Lakes Inarijärvi and Kilpisjärvi. In addition, they can be found in small numbers in the Lake Saimaa water system.

Picture: WWF Suomi

Asp – Aspius aspius – Toutain

Previously extremely endangered, asp can now be found in a few fishing grounds in Southern Finland. Asp are predatory cyprinids. They are fierce fighters and tug on the line like salmon. Asp is pursued on rapids and torrents.

Picture: Suomen Vapaa-ajankalastajat

Baltic Herring – Clupea harengus membras – Silakka

Baltic herring is by far the most numerous species of fish found in Finland’s coastal waters. Rod tackle is used for fishing for Baltic herring in early summer and autumn when anglers pursue the fish in sounds using rigs equipped with 5 to 10 hooks designed explicitly for Baltic herring. Herring fishing with a rig is free of charge.

Picture: Hätälä Oy

Baltic vimba – Vimba vimba – Vimpa

It is found in some southern rivers and on the coast.

Picture: Suomen luonnonsuojeluliito

Bleak, Silver Bream, White Bream – Abramis bjoerkna – Pasuri

Occur in most large and medium-sized lakes in Southern and Central Finland.

Picture: Suomen luonnonsuojeluliito

Bream – Abramis brama – Lahna

Bream is one of the most common species of fish found in Finnish waters. They can be found in the lakes of Southern and Central Finland and bay waters along the sea coast. Bream accounts for a considerable proportion of fish biomass in many lush lakes.

Picture: Suomen luonnonsuojeluliito

Brook trout – Salvelinus fontinalis – Puronieriä

This is a migrant from America. They have formed naturally reproducing stocks in the headwaters of River Kemijoki, replacing natural trout stocks in the area. The species is stocked into a few river sites in Southern Finland.

Picture: Erä-lehti

Brown Trout – Salmo trutta m. lacustris – Järvitaimen

Trout is the favorite species for many anglers. This spot-flanked powerhouse is a wild fighter that jumps readily in the air as part of its play routine. You can fish for trout in rivers, lakes, and coastal areas.

Picture: Keskisuomalainen

Burbot – Lota lota – Made

Burbot is a demersal or bottom fish living in calm and cool waters. It is one of the most common species in Finland, occurring throughout the country in all types of waters.

Picture: Kalatalouden Keskusliitto

Carp – Cyprinus carpio – Karppi

This fish occurs as stocked fish in shallow bay waters and river mouths on the coast and here and there in the lush lakes of Southern Finland.

Picture: Heikki Salmela, Tampere, Suomen Vapaa-ajankalastajat 

Chub – Leuciscus cephalus – Turpa

Chub is found in some southern rivers and on the coast.

Picture: Suomen luonnonsuojeluliito

Cod – Gadus morhua – Turska

Cod occur sporadically in Finnish water areas, and very few people fish for them.

Picture: WWF Suomi

Crucian carp – Carassius carassius – Ruutana

This small-sized fish is the only species in many small muddy ponds. In the bay waters of large lakes, it can grow to weigh as much as a couple of kilos.

Picture: Sydän-Hämeen Lehti

Dace – Leuciscus leuciscus – Seipi

Occur in the pristine waters of Eastern and Northern Finland and on the coast.

Picture: Suomen luonnonsuojeluliito

Eel – Anguilla anguilla – Ankerias

Scarce stocks of eel are found in many lakes, on the coast, and in specific river systems. Plenty of eels have been restocked into a few lakes since the 1990s, and anglers fish for them using a hook and line in places.

Picture: WWF Suomi

Flounder – Platichthys flesus – Kampela

Flounder lives in the South and Southwest Coast, but few fish for flounder with rod tackle. 

Picture: Suomen Vapaa-ajankalastajat 

Grayling – Thymallus thymallus – Harjus

The best grayling waters are located in Northern Finland, where they can be found in almost all flowing waters, large rivers, small brooks, and lakes.

Picture: seura.fi

Ide – Leuciscus idus – Säyne

It occurs in Finland throughout the sea and in all major inland waters except the northernmost parts of Lapland. Ide thrive in flowing waters and good fishing spots include rivers, brooks and fast-flowing sounds. In lakes and coastal waters, big ide can be found close to shores and shallows in open lakes and sea areas, often at less than a metre.

Picture: Lapland Wild Fish – Lapin Villikala

Lake Trout, Lake Char – Salvelinus namaycush – Harmaanieriä

Stocked lake trout, also known as lake char, can be found in Lake Inarijärvi. The species is a native of the Great Lakes of Northern America. A typical game fish weighs between half a kilo and two kilos.

Picture: Oliver Barket, iNaturalist

Landlocked Salmon – Salmo salar sebago – Järvilohi

Landlocked salmon is the freshwater salmon that has remained in Lake Saimaa due to the Ice Age. The natural stock of landlocked salmon was destroyed due to power plant construction, and reserves are now maintained with the strategy of restocking.

Picture: Matti Janhunen

Perch – Perca fluviatilis – Ahven

Perch is the most common game species in Finland. Perch are found throughout the country, except the northernmost part. Whether fishing out on the sea, on small ponds, or in wide-open mid-lake areas, you can catch a nice whopper of a perch on the end of your line.

Picture: Saimaan ympäristö- ja tiedekasvatuksen tuki ry

Pike – Esox lucius – Hauki

Pike can be found throughout the country and in almost all waters, and it is the second most common game fish after perch. The Baltic Sea coast and the entire lake area offer great pike fishing. It is possible to fish for pike throughout the open-water season and winter.

Picture: WWF Suomi

Rainbow Trout – Oncorhynchus mykiss – Kirjolohi

Rainbow trout is the most common game fish on many rapids sites, small lakes, and angling ponds. The species does not reproduce naturally in Finnish waters.

Picture: Suomen Vapaa-ajankalastajat

Roach – Rutilus rutilus – Särki

Roach is the most numerous fish species in Finland’s lush waters, forming strong stocks in rugged lakes. Anglers setting out for a fishing trip in Northern Lapland may, however, be in for bitter disappointment when they realise that roach are nowhere to be found. But do not worry: you can catch a real whopper roach in Southern Lapland.

Picture: Juha Ojaharju

Ruffe – Gymnocephalus cernuus – Kiiski

A common by-catch when ice-fishing throughout the country, except Northern Lapland. There is no evidence of any ice-fishing angler using ruffe for food. However, Finnish canned food manufacturers deliver delicacies prepared from this fish to the best lunch or dinner receptions hosted by the President of Finland.

Picture: Suomen Vapaa-ajankalastajat

Rudd – Scardinius erythrophthalmus – Sorva

The red-finned rudd is one of the most beautiful species of fish. Rudd can be found in coastal waters and shallow bay waters of large lakes in Southern and Central Finland.

Picture: Juha Ojaharju

Salmon – Salmo salar – Lohi

River Teno produces more Atlantic salmon catches than any other salmon river worldwide. River Tornionjoki is Europe’s largest entirely natural salmon river, where the average size of salmon is 6 to 8 kilos. Wild, naturally reproducing salmon are found in Northern Finland in Rivers Teno and Näätämöjoki flowing into the Arctic Ocean and in Rivers Tornionjoki and Simojoki flowing into the Gulf of Bothnia in the Baltic Sea.

Picture: Jan-Peter Pohjola

Sea Trout – Salmo trutta – Meritaimen

Sea trout migrate into River Merikarvianjoki starting from April in the spring and again from August. The average size of a game fish is two kilos, while the largest ones weigh five kilos. Other sites for fishing sea trout are Rivers Isojoki, Kokemäenjoki, and Lestijoki.

Picture: Aleksi Klytseroff

Smelt – Osmerus eperlanus – Kuore

Another dominant species in large lakes and another key source of nutrition for predatory fish. Smelt are also found in large numbers in coastal waters and are sometimes eager to bite jigging lures.

Picture: Lapland Wild Fish – Lapin Villikala

Tench – Tinca tinca – Suutari

It lives in lush and shallow bay waters on the coast and several lush lakes in Southern and Central Finland. The warm summers of the early 21st century have been favourable to reproduction and growth of tench. In places, stocks are strong, and plenty of individuals weigh a couple of kilos.

Picture: ifiske.ax

Vendance – Coregonus albula – Muikku

The small-sized vendace thrives in the mid-lake areas of large lakes, is the most significant game species for professional fishermen in inland waters, and provides important food for predatory fish. Nobody has as yet discovered how to get vendace to bite a lure.

Picture: Hätälä Oy

Whitefish – Coregonus lavaretus – Siika

Whitefish is a common game species that can be found throughout the country. These salmonoids are found in rivers, large and small lakes, and the Baltic Sea coast.

Picture: Petter Nissén

Zander – Sander lucioperca – Kuha

You can fish for zander on lakes, sea, and flowing waters. The brass-flanked zander does not match pike as a fighter, but it’s all the more impressive on the end of your line. Finland’s best zander stocks are in the Lake District of Southern and Central Finland, on the Gulf of Finland and the Archipelago Sea.

Picture: Saimaan ympäristö- ja tiedekasvatuksen tuki ry