The unique geography of Finland makes it one of the finest fishing destinations in the world: 10% of the country is covered by water, with 187,888 lakes and 647 rivers, and the coastline is over 1,100 km long, excluding islands and coastal indentations. Within these waters there are 67 species of fish, thriving in pristine waters, surrounded by some of the most beautiful and peaceful landscapes in Europe. In 2008, almost 300,000 foreign travellers went fishing during their vacation in Finland, making fishing the most popular summer activity amongst international visitors to the country.
At almost 1,500 km in length, from the Baltic to Northern Lapland, Finland provides anglers with a wide variety of fishing environments to choose from. Off the southern coasts, among tens of thousands of islands scattered amongst the archipelagos, there are large stocks of pike, zander, and perch, as well as whitefish, burbot, sea trout, Atlantic salmon, Baltic herring, flounder, and various cyprinids. The waters of the archipelago are brackish, and this region provides the best chances of catching pike that weigh more than 10 kg. Arranging a charter here is easy, as is hiring a local guide who can bring you to the best spots. The most popular destinations are in and around the Åland Islands.
Inland, most of Finland's best fishing is to be found in the Lake District, Europe's most extensive area of unbroken lake, which offers an endless choice for anglers. The main game species here are zander, pike, and perch, but there are also brown trout and landlocked salmon, as well as burbot and whitefish in the deeper lakes.
The pristine waters of Lapland are teeming with Arctic char, salmon, grayling, brown trout, and rainbow trout, as well as some of the largest perch in the country. Pike are seldom bothered with here, often referred to as 'bog-dog', so even small, apparently insignificant, ponds can yield very fine specimens.
Finland's waters cater for every type of angler, whether they prefer fly-fishing, spinning, jigging, trolling, or simply relaxing with a rod and line - for which no licence is required. Going fishing couldn't be easier, licences are relatively inexpensive, very flexible, and easily purchased: they can be obtained at any bank or post office, at R-Kiosks (the most extensive range of 'corner shops' in Finland), or even bought online. Licences can be bought for 7 days, a month, or even for a year. For those over 64 or under 18, no licence is required, nor is one required to fish with a rod and line, or for ice fishing.
Discovering Finland has provided further information on fishing in Finland in the following sections:
Where to fish in Finland: An introduction to the variety of different fishing waters both coastal and inland, from the Baltic Sea in the south to the rivers and lakes of Lapland;
Species of fish in Finland: There are 67 to be found in Finnish waters, in this section we identify the most sought after, where and when to find them, and how to catch them;
Fishing licenses: The different types, how much they cost, and where you can get them;
Fishing related events: An overview of the different competitions, fish fairs, and fishing and hunting trade fairs held annually in Finland.