Fishing Trips on Lake Saimaa

Fishing Trips on Lake Saimaa
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Saturday, November 19, 2022

Stories of Fishing Cottage Jokiniemi visitors from the year 2022

In 2022 we got back to normal after two years of the covid-19 pandemic. People were allowed to travel again, so we got visitors from Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania, Germany, Switzerland, the Netherlands, Poland, Israel and Finland. Most of our customers like to fish independently, but about a third of our visitors wanted a guided fishing trip as well. These days I mostly do guided fishing trips only with groups that are staying at our cottage, because at the moment I am employed full-time elsewhere and can’t organize fishing trips on a very short notice. 


Despite of the exceptionally cold spring, Lake Saimaa was finally free of ice on May 7. The first group of the season was planned to arrive May 8, but because on May Day the ice was still so thick that I thought it would take more than a week to melt, their holiday was postponed until June.



Our actual first visitors arrived mid-May from Lithuania, when the spring pike season was on. Their fishing was successful and they are returning also next spring. Unfortunately there are no photos to share from their stay.



May was quieter than normal but June was sold out, as it is already for next year. Our first group of the month were experienced German pike enthusiasts, whose catch was impressive in both amount and size. They released all pikes they got and used perches to cook delicious meals. All in all they caught about 20 pikes over one meter long, and their biggest perches were 35 to 40 cm. They had fantastic fishing days but also quieter periods when bite was no good and the fish were small.



My first fishing guide gig of the season was a tutorial trip I did with the Germans. A tutorial fishing trip is an introductory trip on the waters near our cottage, where we go through the area and fishing methods as widely and informatively as possible. We have prepared maps for our customers, that give the approximate locations of the best fishing spots, and the customers can use the maps when they go fishing independently. A tutorial trip with an experienced guide really helps customers to get the most out of those maps. According to the positive feedback, all our tutorial trips this year were successful and customers rated them useful. I explain to my customers that the point of a tutorial trip is not to show off my superior fishing skills or to catch a boat full of fish. The purpose is to help the customers learn the Lake Saimaa area faster and better, and you know the tutorial trip has been useful when you go out fishing independently and catch bigger fish than you did with the guide. Many times it’s better if the tutorial trip is not a very good day for fishing, because then you really have to work actively with your equipment and move around a lot. Days like that teach the most.

The last two groups of the month both came from the Baltics. Mostly they caught perch, pike, ide and bream, but also some nice zanders. The first group were old customers of ours, who enjoyed fishing without too much performance anxiety, and they had no problem with our rules and recommendations regarding daily fish quotas or minimum/maximum fish sizes. Unfortunately, the second group did not obey those guidelines. The next time they come to Finland, I have asked them to find somewhere else to stay.

Some people might think our rules and recommendations are too strict. We recommend that perches that are over 40 cm and pikes over 100 cm long are released back to water so they can keep reproducing. We also obey the local minimum sizes and fishing restrictions set on zander, salmon and trout. We recommend that each fisherman should keep a maximum of 1 to 3 pikes, 1 or 2 zanders or 1 to 3 kilos perches per day. You can also keep one planted landlocked salmon or brown trout per day, when their protection period is over (a planted salmon/trout can be identified by its missing adipose fin). There are no restrictions on roach, ide or bream.

Most of our visitors, who naturally use the fish they catch for cooking and even take some home with them, have no issue with these quotas. But occasionally we get customers who think our restrictions are too limiting for their purposes or considering the price of their holiday. In future fishermen with that attitude can seek accommodation somewhere else than our fishing cottage. I am pleased that to my knowledge my customers have not committed wrongdoings towards the endangered and protected landlocked salmon and brown trout of Lake Saimaa. Killing a landlocked salmon/trout with an adipose fin can by Finnish law lead to a fine of up to EUR 9000. Also killing an adipose fin-clipped salmon/trout during their protection period is an offence that leads to a fine.


In the beginning of June we got a visit from our old customers from Estonia. They were lucky with pike, perch, ide and bream, but not so with zander. Because of the cold spring zander spawned late this year, and good amounts of zander didn’t start appearing until July. This year, the last week of July and the three first weeks of August were best season for zander.



On July 10 we welcomed a Finnish family who had visited us already once before. The height of zander season was getting closer, and the biggest zanders they caught were 60 cm. The toddlers of the family enjoyed summer with swimming non-stop in the cottage pond. The family also went on a picnic trip by boat to a nice public landing spot that is equipped with a shelter, campfire place and toilet, about 10 km from our cottage. We have cutlery, dishes, cookware and other campfire equipment for rent for our visitors, if they want to go on such boating or picnic trips on their own.



In the end of July we got another returning family: father with his two adult sons from Switzerland. They’d been our guests already twice before and they are very avid fishermen, who go on fishing and picnic trips on their own. They are already so well acquainted with the waters near our cottage that this time they asked me to take them fishing on the big open waters of Lake Saimaa. Of this year’s guided trips this is the most memorable for me, because it started out in difficult conditions but ended with the largest amount of catch of the summer season. 


As soon as we started fishing the wind and waves grew so powerful that we had to seek shelter closer to land. These sheltered spots gave us occasional pikes, zanders and perches over a two-hour period. Once the winds settled and we could get to the best spots, the fishing was pure fireworks of zander and perch from then on. First we headed to a place I knew was good for zander, scanned it from a couple of directions and started jigging. First we caught zander on a relaxed pace until they got more active, and it escalated to a point where we caught a 45 to 60 cm zander with every single cast. In total we landed 35 good size zanders, of which we kept four and released the rest. After this crazy zander mayhem we started a hunt for perch. We didn’t find what we wanted from the deeper spots, so we moved to a more shallow rocky area, and the fireworks were back on with perch this time. The biggest we caught was nearly one kilo and 40 cm. We got closer to 60 perches of 300 to 900 g, of which we released 45. Our pike count was nine, and we released them all. After six hours of crazy fishing we headed back to the cottage, with big satisfied grins on our faces.



Some people might think fishing like this is unnecessary cruelty or playing with food. I have great respect for fishermen who catch enough fish for a meal or two and then stop fishing. I also have big respect for fishermen who take into account the size of the fish and release the big predatory fish that are important for reproducing and keeping the fish stock healthy. I also have respect for those who release all the fish they catch. Unlike many Finns, I don’t label that as animal cruelty, since in other parts of Europe catch and release fishing has much longer traditions and the people who use this method can release the fish without injuring them. In Europe, there are many purely C&R fishing locations where the fish are big and all catch is released.



On the second week of August I took fishing a Finnish group that has used my guide services for five years in a row now. In 2020 and 2021, when the pandemic had put travelling to a halt, they joked about probably being the only ones using my guide services during those summers, and to be honest they were not far from the truth. My first trip with them was an unbelievable experience in perch fishing, which I already then thought would be impossible to repeat ever again. Each spot we chose gave us fish, at times making us land perches non-stop. I’ve been a fishing guide for 12 years and can remember only four trips like that from my career. For the last three years our trips have concentrated more on zander. My aim has been to ensure nice steady action throughout the trip, and if we then happen to encounter exceptionally frantic perch or zander activity, that’s a welcome bonus. Our trip this summer was no exception. Although the fishing spots we navigated were familiar to each of us from previous times and we took our time planning our tactics, everyone seemed to enjoy the steady action and the relaxed atmosphere. We landed about 30 zanders of which we kept 10, released all of the ten pikes we caught and kept about 20 of the about 60 perches that we got. I want to say big thanks to this experienced group, it’s always nice to head out to the lake with you.



Mid-August was beautiful and summery as we were visited by another group from the Baltics, who were worried they might not have luck in catching big pikes. Fortunately there was no reason for concern, as in addition to good size perches, zanders and ides they also caught their big pikes.

When August turned to September, we welcomed two fishermen from the Netherlands. These guys with a good sense of humour described themselves as men who are used to rowing back to land after experiencing a number of motor troubles on their fishing trips. This time no rowing was needed as the boats worked like a charm. I organized them a tutorial trip during which we did trolling and jigging. All in all, these selective fishermen got lucky with handsome perches, zanders and pikes.




The beginning of September was quite cold and I anticipated with dread how the group from Israel would cope with these arctic conditions. Luckily they turned out to be actually Ukrainians who had been living in Israel for over 30 years, so cold weather was no problem for them. This group, too, went on a tutorial trip with me to the waters near our cottage. The perch and pike we got were of nice size, but the most pleased we were with the 50 to 65 cm zanders we got with jigging. In addition to going on actual fishing trips, they picked mushrooms and also got some big ides by angling right in front of our cottage.



The last visitors of the fall arrived at our cottage from Poland in early October, on the very day that our fellow Finn Kalle Rovanperä secured his World Rally Car world championship victory. I showed them good fishing spots on the map, and thanks to the warm weather especially the first two days of their holiday were successful with both perch and pike. They had no luck in catching zanders but otherwise were happy with their first visit to Finland. For the record, their biggest perch measured 38 cm and the largest pike was over a meter long.




Saturday, May 8, 2021

Fishing on Lake Saimaa 2021 - Stories of Fishing Cottage Jokiniemi visitors!



Extremely hot summer time fishing week in July 2021


I was having a personal holiday week 12–18 July, which also happened to be one of the hottest weeks of our summer 2021. Because of this I was planning to do fishing early mornings and late evenings to avoid the hottest parts of the day, which peaked at over 30 degrees of Celsius. I got a last minute booking for a guided fishing from a Finnish–Estonian family who had rented a cottage from Savonranta for that week. They had also invited family members from Switzerland to join them.


I started preparations for their fishing event by having two training days so I could locate the fish, find the right biting times and determine the best colours for soft bait spinning. During my first training day I started fishing after noon and found a good area for zanders immediately. The fishing was good at 14, 17 and 19 o'clock that day. Catching was easy,: I only used one colour and one type of soft bait all day while using a sonar to locate areas and doing some test fishing. There was some action all the time and the biggest zander caught was appr. 65 cm long that day. I took one fish for cooking and released the rest. My first fishing day was windy, which made it possible to do fishing during even the hottest parts of the day.



The next morning I started fishing after 6 o'clock in calm conditions. I was expecting the bite to be as good as the day before, but I was wrong. There was great fishing between 6 and 7, but after that it got harder and harder to do catching as the sun got extremely hot and there was no cooling wind. This time I was forced to change soft baits all the time to be able to find the colour that worked. The biggest zander caught that morning was appr. 60 cm long. I also caught medium size pikes and perches.


My Finnish–Estonian group wanted to start their fishing event early in the morning. I woke up before 4 o’clock to to do all preparations and drive to their cottage pier before 6. My group was there exactly on time and we could start fishing 30 minutes later. First I demonstrated them a technique for soft bait spinning and while doing it, there was our first zander hooked. After landing the fish my group started to do fishing by themselves. We caught a couple of perches and pikes, but were unlucky with zanders which dropped before landing. The first 30 minutes we had good action, but after that the fish lost interest in our lures. I decided to change location by doing some trolling and giving them a short introduction in the method. We caught a couple of pikes and zanders while heading to our next hot spot which I had found earlier. When we started seeing a lot of zanders lying near the bottom we changed to soft bait spinning again and the best part of the day was ready to beginning. The trick was to change lures and colours all the time. This way we all caught good size zanders, the biggest being 65 cm long. But the sun started to scorch so hot that we decided to do some trolling for pikes and zanders before driving back to their cottage after 10 o’clock. It was a great, but also challenging half a day of fishing in great company.


After three days of fishing I decided to have a day on land and headed in to the city of Joensuu to do some shopping for fishing gears and food supplies. I used to live in Joensuu for almost 10 years, this is why I prefer visiting Joensuu instead of the beautiful summer city of Savonlinna, which is 20 km closer. Talking about distances, my home and family is located in the city of Tampere, which is 370 km from our cottage. My business trip takes appr. 5 hours to drive one direction.


Early evening that very same day I decided to invite my old client to join me for morning time zander fishing. We met before 5 o’clock at my cottage and headed out on my boat to our fishing area. We had the same kind of weather conditions and fishing as the day before. We had to keep changing the colours all the time to get the fish interested and had action all the time, but it was nothing too special. We did good catching in a sunny weather and the growing wind made it comfortable to stay under the sun. After 9 o’clock the bite got worse and we started our drive back home. There were a couple spots on our way I still wanted to test, and the very first one, a lonely hump in the middle of the lake, was a jackpot. We spotted some zanders in our sonar and stopped to try them. Crazy biting started immediately and lasted for almost an hour. We realized we had found a bunch of actively hunting zanders, with medium size over 50 cm long. The biggest zander was 65 cm long. We both kept two fish for cooking and released the rest. What great zander fishing it was all week long, in extremely hot summer weather.


How Did COVID-19 Effect My Business?

Old School Trolling has focused mainly on international visitors for over ten years, and the number of Finnish visitors has always been low. The end of 2019 and the beginning of 2020 was looking good: my company had more pre-bookings for accommodation and guided fishing trips than ever. But then came COVID-19 and changed all that. Because nearly all travelling was banned, I got a lot of cancellations or tried to reschedule booked fishing holidays. Unfortunately it was possible to travel here from the Baltic countries only during the summer and fall 2020. Basically the reduced number of clients we had were coming from Lithuania, Latvia, Estonia and Finland.


But there is always something good in a bad situation as well. I had to start working full-time in construction business and I am now taking care of my fishing base as a part time entrepreneur. I am doing well with the combined incomes of my regular work and my company sales. I have also been able to have personal 7-day fishing holidays during the summer season for the first time in over a decade. This arrangement is working so well I will keep it up. My clients make pre-bookings for guided fishing trips at least 3–4 weeks in advance, which gives me time to ask for a few days off from my regular work to be able to organize the fishing event. This is what my regular clients have been doing for years.


Early Season 2021 fishing!


Lake Saimaa was free of ice on the last week of April. I was able to have a long weekend from work for personal fishing in the beginning of May. I arrived at our cottage on Thursday 29 April to prepare my boat and equipment for the start of the open water season. On Friday I started our 3-day fishing adventure with my dear old mother, who also likes to fish.


Our biggest pike landed weighed 4.9 kg and was caught by my mother.

On Friday morning we did some spinning with spoons and spinners on shallow water areas, less than 2 m deep. The areas seemed to be empty of fish, because we did not get any contact. We had a little coffee break at our cottage and continued with soft bait spinning at 11 o’clock on a deeper water area, of 4 to 9 m deep. I located an area in which we had a big flock of small fish and predators chasing them. Most of these active predators were pikes without roe, but there were also perches preparing for spawning. We caught several pikes during the next 4 hours. The biggest one weighed 4.9 kg and was caught by my mother. She was very proud of her first catch of the season.


Our biggest perch landed weighed 360 grams.


After midday we had a short lunch break and I continued with trolling and soft bait spinning after 17 o'clock. I located areas that looked very promising, but the fish lying down at the bottom were too passive for any lure I offered. The air was cold, only 4 to 7 degrees Celsius, and the water was 2 to 3 degrees. The wind was blowing from north during all of our fishing days.

Saturday was more windy and colder than the semi-sunny Friday, with the air varying between 0 and 4 degrees Celsius. The previous night the temperature had dropped below freezing and in the morning we even had some snow falling from sky. We started our fishing day at 10. and caught all our fishes by soft bait spinning between 11 and 14 o’clock. We had bad luck with pikes, with us both loosing bigger pikes than the biggest we caught on Friday. We mostly got perches, with the heaviest one weighing 360 g. Perches had not spawned yet, so we decided to leave them alone and release the ones full of roe.

Sunday was the worst fishing day of all. We had only a few hits of perches and got no pikes at all. The weather was sunny and comfortable for fishing, but the long-term north wind had made the fish extremely passive. But we may have tried to fish too early, from 8 to 11 o'clock, before we had to leave the cottage. On our previous fishing days the best bite seemed to start after 11.


It was great to do some open water fishing after a long and cold winter. The pikes were of good size, even though we did not catch giants of 10 kg or more this time. Quite often it is difficult to do good catching right after the ice has melted, but we did great. Natural colours such as perch and cisco, as well as yellow, orange and purple worked well. Soft baits used were 2.5–4 inches long and hooked with 7–10 gram heads. Pretty much all the fish we found were at 6–10 m deep. This time of the year you must have the patience to locate the fish and then wait for the relatively short biting period to start.

Here you can find more early season fishing reports of our cottage visitors!



Friday, January 29, 2021

Ice Fishing Methods commonly used on Lake Saimaa area!


 Ice fishing lures for active ice fishing

Licenses needed on Lake Saimaa area: None

Please do notice that there are few special license areas such as rainbow fishing ponds, rivers and rapids in which you must have areal fishing license for catching.



Vertical ice fishing jig

Vertical ice fishing jig is the most used and effective lure for catching in Finland. Drop the lure to the bottom. Tighten the line and lift the lure 10 – 50 centimeters above the bottom.


Do a couple of quick tugs and then wait a moment for the jig to reset itself. Then vibrate the jig lightly and play the waiting game. It is usually around this time that the perch will bite. It will feel like a tug on the rod or a slackening of the line. You can also use small spoons for ice fishing.



Balanced ice fishing jigs (metal body)

Drop the lure to the bottom. Tighten the line and lift the lure 10 centimeters – 1 meter above the bottom. Do long quick tugs of the rod and then switch gears and continue with small, calm jumps.









Ice fishing with softbaits and lightened balanced jigs

You can successfully use softbaits for ice fishing. The most commonly used body size is 3 cm to 10 cm long. Smaller bodies are best for shallow water less than 3 meters deep, whereas bigger bodies from 8 to 10 cm work best in waters 4 to 10 meters deep. The weight of jig heads varies from 3 to 10 grams. There are also special ice fishing jig heads for wintertime use. You don’t need extra hooks for smaller softbait bodies, but it is a good idea to use a stinger with the big 10 to 20 cm bodies. The most commonly used body type for ice fishing with softbaits is a fork tale. The most widely used body size for a lightened balanced jig is 8 to 10 centimeters.

Ice fishing softbait

Lightened balanced jig


Different fish require different techniques for swimming your softbait. For example active perches and pikes both like fast, active and relatively wide swimming motions in shallow water.

When fishing for zander or big perch in deeper water (4 to 10 meter deep), you can successfully use these following techniques with both softbaits and lightened balanced jigs.



1. Technique for perch

Slowly lower your softbait under the ice (30 cm – 10 meters below ice cover). Do a couple of quick tugs and then wait a moment for the jig to reset itself. Then vibrate the jig lightly and simultaneously lift it slowly 30 cm. Then wait a moment keeping your jig still. After that you can allow your jig to sink freely or slowly escort your jig back down by keeping your line tight during the fall. Then wait a moment keeping your jig still and then start from the beginning. If you don’t catch a fish or see fish rising from the bottom attracted by your jig, lower your lure 2 to 3 meters below and start from the beginning. Continue this series of swimming movement until you reach the bottom. Repeat it once again 50 cm – 2 meters above the bottom. When using ice fishing sonar you can easily follow in which depth area your lure is swimming and how the fish react to it.

2.Technique for zander

Zander is a very timid fish during wintertime. All your movements must be extremely slow compared to when you’re fishing for pike or perch. Most often zanders are caught right above the bottom. Slowly lower your softbait to the bottom. If you drop your lure to the bottom too fast you will most likely just scare the zanders away. Tighten the line and lift your lure 20 to 50 cm above the bottom. Do a couple of very slow tugs (2 to 5 tugs, 40 to 50 cm high, the slower the better), keep your line tight and lower the lure back very slowly. Then do 5 to 10 small, very slow jumps by moving your hand up and down. You can also slightly vibrate your softbait. Keep the line tight all the time when swimming your jig. After jumps keep your softbait still for 2 to 3 minutes and vivrate it. Most often zander hits your softbait when it is sinking or when you are keeping it still and vibrating it. If you are using a ice fishing sonar and you see bigger fish in middle water, you can use the same technique there as well. zander is quite often little bit scary during winter time. Follow your sonar to see big fish arrive near your lure. When it does, do not make jumps or lifts to your lure. keep it still and simly vibrate it to make zander hit.


Tuesday, September 22, 2020

Fishing Guide's Fishing Holiday on Lake Saimaa, August 2020!

On the second week of August 2020 I had a very important visitor at our cottage – namely me! It is relatively rare for me to be able to have a personal fishing holiday this time of the year. The beginning of my fishing holiday was cold and rainy due to northern wind. I used the first day of my holiday for outdoors work at our cottage.


On Tuesday evening I continued with a 4-hour fishing on areas max. 6 km from our cottage. The best time for soft bait spinning was after seven in the evening. With a sonar I found an active bunch of perches 7 to 8 m deep and caught good size perches for cooking during a crazy one-hour bite period. I used 3-inch swim baits with 10 gram heads and the best colours were black and silver which imitate the appearance of our ciscos. My biggest perches were between 35 to 40 cm and the biggest weighed 780 g. This fishing spot surprised me. I have used to catch well there this time of the year, but only when there has been wind from south to west. Now it rewarded me during a cold period of north wind.


On Wednesday a friend of mine joined me for a 6-hour evening fishing event. I chose a more distant area this time, 20 km east from our cottage. The weather was chilly, but waves were relatively small. In our first spot we caught a couple of small pikes less than 60 cm long as well as small perches. We moved around this area but kept getting the same: small zanders, pikes and perches. Hump after hump the bite was pretty bad and we started feeling cold and hungry. We saw some good size fish in our sonar, but they were totally passive. After six in the evening we started our drive back home and stopped at a spot I were a day earlier. Once again the flock of perches was there and they made our evening. After 30 minutes of fishing we had enough good size fish for cooking and headed home.



Thursday was a solo fishing day for me. I chose a new area 20 to 30 km west from our cottage. I started fishing after ten in the morning and immediately found good size perches near underwater rocks. The fish were moving fast, which made catching more challenging because they did not stay near my boat for longer than 5 to 10 minutes. I used a sonar to locate fish in deep areas of underwater humps, but found nothing. Long-term north wind had made them move close to shorelines, and so I found small flocks of perches there in areas 4 to 7 m deep. The biggest perch of the day was 39 cm long. The formation of big flocks of big (over 200 g) perches, which takes place every fall, had not started yet. I looked for zanders, too. I went through familiar zander spots 6 to 9 m deep, but they were empty of fish. When I moved to deeper water areas (9 to 12 m deep), the zanders started to appear. They were very picky of the size and colour of the soft bait I used. When I got them right, it was easy to start catching. I caught zanders from 40 cm to a good 50 cm long. The minimum landing length for zander is 45 cm and the allowed daily fish quota two zanders / fisherman, so I released quite a bunch. I got the first zander action about eleven in the morning and kept going until after seven in the evening.


Most of the clients of my company come from abroad. Their priority needs are accommodation, and boats and lures for catching. Many of them fish all by themselves using their own fishing tackle, but we also get many groups that purchase our tutorial fishing trip for learning the best spots, lures and biting times for the nearby areas of our cottage. Quite often they are familiar with spinning, but trolling is a less familiar fishing method for them. On these 4 to 5-hour tutorial trips we go through the basics of fishing methods, the tackle, etc. These tutorial trips are much more challenging than pure fishing trips with a group who are already familiar with fishing on our waters. I repeat the tricks/spots/methods I use until I am certain my clients handle them. If the bite is good, it is easy for them to be convinced that what I teach is relevant. If the bite is not so good during our tutorial, they may remain sceptical. As a result they do not follow the advice and information given, and quite often get much less satisfactory fishing results than they could have.

I want to tell you a short story of a successful learning process! A couple of years ago I had a fishing family of five persons visiting our cottage. They had a two-week holiday booked for fishing. When they arrived we went through the boats and the fishing gear as well as fishing spots on the map. I had to return home to Tampere the very same day as they arrived, as I work there during the week. So they fished by themselves for the first five days and when I arrived to help them the next weekend, they were not very happy about the results. First on Saturday we had a relaxing boating and picnic trip together, including some soft bait spinning. The next day we had a tutorial for soft bait spinning and trolling. When I showed them how I fish they said to me immediately that they had been doing it differently. We kept repeating the same manoeuvrers and spots I had strong faith for. Even though the bite was not that good we did catch pikes, perches and zanders. And so their last complete week of vacation became a whole different story. They did great with all species, and they were very happy with their individual fishing results and new individual record fish that they caught on the very same area we had circulated during the tutorial. Quite often people do not understand that a tutorial fishing trip is different from a guided fishing trip. Tutorial trips are all about the learning process, not how much fish you catch.


Friday was a guidance day with my old clients from Southern Finland. We’ve had two-day fishing events together every fall since 2018. It’s always great to see this experienced fisherman group again and do fishing together, and each time with them has taught me a little bit more about fishing. For years our target fishes have been perch and zander caught by soft bait spinning only. They have good lures of their own they want to test and use, and it has worked well. They change colours, models and weights of the heads until we find the best combination for catching. Quite often during a normal fishing day there are only two or three colours and models that work perfectly. This year we used relatively small, max 3-inch soft baits for catching perch and longer 4 to 5-inch ones with heavier heads for zander. There were also big differences in the shapes and tails of bodies used for different species. Quite often it is possible to use the same model, colour and even size of soft bait for perch, zander and pike. But if the fish happen to be picky, passive or nervous they quite often require different sizes and models to be caught. Our two fishing days were different from each other in terms of weather conditions, temperature, brightness as well as by the direction of wind and the size of waves. The lure colours that had worked on Friday did not work on Saturday anymore.


On our first guidance day we had a relatively calm and sunny morning. First the wind was blowing from the north but it got stronger and turned to blow from the west. The beginning of our fishing day was a success, we caught nice perches in our very first spot although the biting period was relatively short. We went through areas that had been lucky for me one day earlier, but the perches seemed to have changed their location. The flocks we saw in our sonar were constantly moving on, which forced us to change location quite often. As the waves started growing bigger it truly was difficult to keep up with the perches. Here and there I could locate them and have good action 20 to 30 minutes at a time. We did find a couple of great spots in which there were both perches and zanders present, but fishing and staying on spot became very uncomfortable due to the waves. As we couldn’t continue fishing as planned, we decided to return to their cottage and continue fishing the next day. Luckily we had been able to catch good size perches and zanders earlier that day. The perches were in average 30 cm long, the biggest ones being almost 40 cm.

Saturday was our second guidance day and we decided to use most of it for catching zander. The group wanted to go exploring the very same spot that had been our last fishing spot the previous day, but unfortunately it was empty of fish this time. To find them again, we decided to move along with the wind. We located a flock of zanders about 0,5 km north from our starting point. We drove around in circles and used a sonar to pinpoint the location of the fish. After that we chose our anchor spot for spinning. We stayed fishing in this first spot for about 40 minutes, changing our anchor spot a little bit when the fish got passive or moved. Normally these kinds of short changes of spot don’t need to be more than 5 to 10 m. When the fish quit biting for good, we made longer distance changes of several hundred meters and started finding a good anchor spot for fishing again. Pretty much all the spots where we located zanders gave us at least five landings. Did this just happen automatically? Oh no. We needed to work actively to find the colours that were attractive to the fish. In the end we managed to find the colour of the day, as we noticed that there was one colour and one model only that seemed to work everywhere. This time we were able to do evening fishing and it truly was the culmination point of the day. Zanders bit very actively that evening and we had the best action in terms of landings before we needed to start our drive back home with a very happy crew. We took two zanders for each fisherman and released the rest. The sizes of our zanders varied from 35 to 55 cm long, with the average being a nice 45 cm.

Fishing weekend in Mid-August 2020

One week later, 22–23 August 2020, I was having a personal fishing weekend with my mother, who is also a keen fisher. Originally that week was booked for a group of Israeli fishermen, but due to the Covid 19 epidemic it was cancelled. In the beginning of the week the weather was warm and relatively calm in terms of wind. Unfortunately towards the weekend it turned quite windy and big waves made fishing a little bit uncomfortable. Luckily the waves were not too big during morning and evening time, so we utilized those hours for our fishing.

Best bites of the day took place from 5 in the evening until sunset. We located a great spot for catching zander less than 3 km from our cottage. We had found the correct colour for these conditions earlier that day and now we collected our reward. In no more than 40 minutes we landed over ten zanders, from 40 to 55 cm in length. Only one colour worked during this period. We kept two zanders per fisherman and released the rest. When our daily fish quota was full, we returned to our cottage for fish preparation, cooking and hot sauna. An absolutely fantastic evening on Lake Saimaa.

Quite often this time of the year you can hear fishing reports of high numbers of zanders caught. The most important question is how many of those fish were over the legal minimum landing length. Our percentage was close to 50%. It is also important to handle and release the fish correctly. Release the fish back to water immediately or lift them to a water-filled vessel by using a landing net for a later release. Take the length and weight of the fish if you have a weighing bag available, you can also take a quick picture of your catch and then release it. It is a good idea to put the fish back to the water-filled vessel between every step you handle it. It is highly recommended to release the fish in less than 3 minutes of unhooking to avoid damages and stress.

Sunday, March 22, 2020

Winter 2020 & 2021 Ice Fishing Seasons & Tips for Ice Fishing for Pike, Perch & Roach

Early morning on Lake Saimaa 4 January 2020

 In this article you can find stories of ice fishing season 2020, tips for active ice fishing of pike as well as an introduction to preparing small perches for cooking by removing the skin.

 Early winter season started in mid-November, when first ice was formed in to our cottage pond. Both cottage pond and small bay area formed ice cover safe to walk before December, but big bay area was safe to walk near New Year 2020. Early winter season until mid-January was good for catching perches and pikes in shallow water areas of less than 4 meter deep. First ice trips in November and beginning of December were the best for catching perches.

Due Corona virus quarantene I had great possibility to visit our cottage and do ice fishing by myself during mid-winter 2020. I have collected some information & short fishing reports of my experiences. First of all, it is very important to understand that period from mid-January to mid-March is very challenging for catching. I wanted to create this blog article to help our visitors to understand how to find target fish for catching near our cottage. Most likely I do describe very same mistakes but also success our visitors have gone through while visiting our cottage winter time. The most important lesson is to believe there is allways some fishes in near by areas of our cottage and to be precise enough to find them.

Early morning 11 Janury 2020.

Fishing report of week-end 15 - 16  February 2020


Ice conditions were great. There was only 20 - 25 cm thick ice cover, which makes drilling easy, but is absolutely safe for moving on ice There was only 3 - 5 cm snow on hard ice, which made walking on it easy. Temperature was varying from - 6 degrees to +2 degrees of celsius during saturday and sunday.

Saturday 15 February:

In mornig time I caught smaller perches up to 100 gr from our cottage pond in water depth area of 1 - 1.5 meter deep. Later same day I walked in to the big bay area, near big island in level of our cottage to do some deep water ice fishing, but did not catch anything. After 1 hour fishing my ice fishing sonar also decited to stop working. Luckily problem was only broken electrical cable of battery and I was capable to fix it for sunday fishing trip. In area behind the big island, in area I do call small bay area, I was able to catch small perches and roaches up to 100 gr in depth area of 4 - 5 meter deep. Time to time bite was very good.

Picture of fishing area used near our cottage on Lake Saimaa

Sunday 16 February: 

I used all morning until mid-day in big bay area. I drilled 50 - 60  holes from our cottage level up to eastern edge of big island. Distance between holes drilled was 20 - 30 meters. I searched through depth areas from 2.5 meter deep up to 9 meter deep by using sonar and be able to find nothing. I was looking for flocks of smaller fish and big perch hunting well as big fish laying down bottom by banks.....none. When you read further, you will learn why I did not find the fish this time, but they were absolutely present there.


 Big perches are still hunting in deep water area of 10 - 20 meters deep which is normal this part of year. When spawning season get closer in the end of March  - Beginning of April, they do move close to our cottage and shallow water areas. Big pikes are quite often hunting where big perches are present. To catch roach & bream you must locate pools from 6 to 10 meter deep.

Snow situation on Lake Saimaa 15 February 2020.

Wether report of January 2021
Air temperature of January 2021. Blue line indicates the coldest part of the day and red line indicate the warmest part of the day.

This diagram is very useful for understanding weather conditions of one of the coldest months of the year here in Finland. First we can learn yearly patern in temperatures. Almost every year we do have a cold period of 7 to 10 days having max temperatures between -15 degrees and -30 degrees. Quite often we do have this period in the middle of the month. In the year 2021 it started 8th Janury and ended 18th Janury. Max temperature in our cottage area was -28 degrees of celsius. 

In the beginning of Janury maximum teperature was varying from 0 degrees of celsius to -10 degrees of celsius. This period was pretty good for catching in shallow water areas. During very cold period in the middle of January fishes were inactive due cold and they were find in water depth area of over 5 meter deep. After cold period it tooked almost 5 days until fish started biting well. End of the month having air temperatures varying from +2 degrees of celsius to -2 degrees of celsius was very good by weather for catching. Good bite did last 2-3 days only. This is also normal in winter fishing. During mid-winter period of January - mid-March you can find fishes in small area because they do not move very much. They can be very passive, but you also get more time to try differrent lures for catching for same fish. When you reach a good bite day, catch can be very good in very small area as well.
Snow situation of 17th Janury 2021. There was approximately 10 -15 cm snow on hard ice. Moving on ice by foot was easy. Ice cover was 25 - 30 cm thick.

This pike of 4 kg was caught in 14th December 2020 in water depth area of 2 meter deep by using Ismete gear and dead bait fish. In this very same area we caught pikes by using active ice fishing gears as well.


Fishing report of week-end 29 February – 1 March 2020

February has allways been very challenging period for ice fishing on Lake Saimaa. It is one of the coldest moths of the year. It is difficult to move by foot on ice due snow layer of 30 - 40 cm thick. This winter has been extra ordinary warm. It has been raining water instead of snowing. This is why it has been easy to move on ice by foot and make holes in to the ice cover of max 30 cm thick.
Bite of the fish has been varying a lot. One day can be great and next one totally horrible for catching. This is normal for mid-winter ice fishing season.

We do have ice fishing gears needed available for use of our cottage renters.

Saturday 29 February:

This time I divided my fishing adventure in to 2 separate areas, which our visitors do know as map area 1 and map area 2. Map area 2 was disappointment by results. I went through deeper water area that we do use summer time for softbait spinning & trolling with my ice fishing sonar. Like previous week-end I did not found flocks of small fish or signs of big fishes either in this area. Every hole I made seemed to be empty in water depth area from 2 meter deep to 9 meter deep.

Weather was beautiful and sunny, which made my little over 6 km long route and fishing on it great experience. Some young couple did even drive on ice by bicycle`s. There was - 6 degrees of celsius in the morning. It went down to - 1 degrees of celsius before sunset. Beautiful but challenging fishing day which made me think that fish must be located in water depth area of 10 – 20 meter deep in this area.

Sunday 1 March:

Sunday was cloudy and snowy day. Temperature was 0 degrees of celsius in morning and +1 degrees of celsius at 12.00 when I ended fishing to be able to start almost 400 km journey back home from our cottage. This time I walked only 600 - 700 meters from our cottage to the earea of small bay be able to find fishes.

Ice fishing sonar is very important device for locating the fish. Picture was taken 1 March 2020.

First 2 holes of the morning were the best. They gave me 20 – 25 fishes in time of less than 30 minutes. It was balms for wounds. Later same day I did found a flock of small fish in very same area and water depth area as I was able to do catching in the morning. Water depth of this first fishing place was only 4 – 5 meter deep. Why did I not find fish during Saturday even I was fishing the same depth areas as Sunday? Answer is water area profile and differrences between bay areas 1 and 2. during saturday I was fishing much more bigger bay area which do have deepest depth areas of 30 meter deep. Average depth of this complete area is 15 – 20 meter deep. In February we should try catch and find in this average depth area. Later in spring, after mid – March and in the beginning of April fish do move to areas I went through in Saturday.

Flock of small fish found sunday 1 March 2020.

Area I did fish in sunday has average depth of 4 – 5 meter deep and this is why I did catch most of fishes near bottom from this same depth area. I was also able to find a fish flock from deep pool having max 9 meter depth. Flock was swimming around in middle water of 4 - 5 meter deep. Area in which this flock was located was quite small, approximately 15 meters times 5 meters. This is why it is very easy to miss a fish flock when ice fishing. I did succesfully catch above the flock and inside the flock for perch and bream with ice fishing jig & mormyshka. We can also learn that 2 fishing days are not enough for finding good results in ice fishing if we do not know where fishes are exactly located, what colors they prefer and what are their biting time`s. It is highly recommended to book 5 to 7 day fishing vacation to have enough time for both getting good fishing results and relaxing.


Fishing report of week-end 6 – 8 March 2020

In the beginning of March I was able to have long fishing week-end from friday to sunday on Lake Saimaa. Weather was changing from snowy friday to warm and sunshining sunday. Wind was blowing from west and temperature was varying from – 6 degrees of celsius to + 4 degrees of celsius.

Sledge, 6 inch auger, ice fishing sonar, seat, rods & lures are all you need for happines on Lake Saimaa.

Friday 6 March 2020

Friday was a dark, windy day in which tere was several snowy periods. Walking on ice was quite easy, because there was only 4 – 5 cm of snow on it. Once again I decited to explore long distance and deep water areas of big bay in distance of max 4 km from our cottage. These places are good for catching during open water season, but I was not able to locate any bait fish flocks or active predators on it. I got a lot of good exercise during friday fishing, but once again it was a huge disappointment by results.

6 March 2020 on Lake Saimaa

Saturday 7 March 2020:

Saturday morning was cold, we had – 8 degrees of celsius at night. I started my journey in to small bay area at 10.00 morning. It had been snowing last evening and night and there was appr. 6 – 8 cm snow on ice and some water under it. Walking was little bit harder than friday, but still comfortable.

I reached my first spot in distance of 700 meters (10 - 15 minute walk) from our cottage. There was active perches in that area. I did catch 20 pieces before bite ended at 11.30. I moved to my next spot and reached big flock of small fish in my sonar. Most of these fish were rudd`s, which we Finns do not like to use as food but there was also perhes among them. I did good catching in this spot, but eating period of the fish was ending and finally they were just teasing me. A lot of fish under me but no bite. I decited to finalize my day trying to find fishes from big bay area near our cottage, but it was total waste of time. I did not see any fish in my sonar or get any bute further to sunday description and you will learn why?

Sunday 8 March 2020
Sunday 8 march 2020:

Sunday morning was sunny and warm, there was only – 1 degrees of celsius when I started fishing at 8.00 o`clock. My first spot in small bay area was the same I was catching perches yesterday, but there was no action at all. It was too early for catching, so I gave up at 9.00. I moved to that place where I had found the flock of rudd`s and caught some fishes until fishes simply quit biting at 9.30. I did understand that best biting time for fish was from 10.00 – 11.30. Because conditions were perfect for walking I decited to take risk and move back to the big lake area and try to find biting fish there once again. It was absolutely impossible that all that big bay area could be empty of fish.....and it sure was not.

I walked to the middle of bay, the deepest area of it and started drilling holes in distance of max 20 meters from each other. I used my sonar to locate any fish. I had made 8 – 10 holes before I found it. There was big flock of small fish right under me. Previous hole made was empty and next one I did for the same line was also empty. Once again fishes had collected in such a small area it was easy to miss them when moving & finding. I changed direction of holes made 90 degrees. This way I  was able to locate where flock of fish ended. Now I started fishing and also catching. Most of the fish were big roaches who were biting well. Every time I dropped my ice fishing jig down, there was a fish hooked. Some of fishes caught were perches who also had bigger size than ones caught in small bay area. Bite started after 10 am and ended close to 11.30. This flock of fish was located only 400 meters from our cottage and I had missed it several times when trying to find fishes in that very same area. Luckily I did not give up and trusted the fact there must be fish near by. It gave me a good catch of 2 kg of fish in time of less than 1.5 hours.

Flock of roach found 8 March 2020.

This part of the year is still mid-winter. Fish are located relatevaly deep and they are not biting all the time as they do later in spring. By my experience this is turning point for spring time ice fishing and it is getting better and better for now on.

Fishing report of week-end 15 – 17 March 2020


Sunday 15 March 2020:


Weather conditions had changed since last week-end. Now I had clear ice and bright sunny day waiting for me. I walked in to deep area of big bay in which I had been able to do good catching last time and started drilling holes. 

Snow conditions 15 March 2020

Flock had moved a little bit and I had to make 10 holes to find them. Once again I noticed how easy it is to miss fishes in this area without possibility to use ice fishing sonar. Luckily we do allready have one ice fishing sonar for our cottage visitors use and I am absolutely going to purchase another for winter season 2021.

First I reaches smaller flock of perches who did bite well. I was able to catch appr. 1.5 kg of good size perches in time of less than 1.5 hours. I did also found big flock of roach in same deep water area, in distance of 20 – 30 meters from flock of perches. This time I did not use time for catching them because I wanted some tasty perches for cooking.

Monday 16 March 2020:

Weather was totally dark, windy and rainy, perfectly horrible for catching pikes in shallow water. Because I am made of sugar, I did not wear rainwear to do some active ice fishig in front of our cottage, but used Ismete gear for catching in evening time. My biggest pike caught in evening bite period of less than 2 hours before sunset weighted close to 2 kg and was caught in depth of less than 1.5 meter deep. So far bright days & right ice have`t give pikes in shallow water when we have got beautiful, sunny weather. I did cook this pike for fried pike fillets with smashed potatoes, which is one of my favourite way to prepare food of pike.

Tuesday 17 March 2020

I used my third fishing day in small bay area close to our cottage. Once again I got beautiful & sunny, but windy day for fishing. I walked appr. 700 meters from our cottage in time of little over 10 minutes and reached my first spot, 4 – 5 meter deep pool and started catching good size perches immeadiately. I made new holes and followed perch in the area of this pool until bite was over. 

My next target was deeper pool in which I had big flock of rudds and roach last time. Fish were in very same area as I left them and they did bite well. I noticed that there was hunting perches both above and under the flock. I started catching perches above and when I started getting rudds I did lay my ice fishing jig close to bottom and cotinued catching perches. When I had caught enough perches for dinner I walked in to shallow area with grass to do some ice fishing for pike. Once again sunny weather, bright ice and shallow water was a bad combination, I did not catch any. Time was also wrong for catching pikes because I had reached 12.00. Morning and evening are defianately the best for catching pikes, but also perches. Most of perch flocks as well as big perches were still in deep water of 5 to 10 meter or more. Most likely they will arrive to shallow water in time of 2-3 weeks from now and I will be there waiting for them.

Fishing report of week 26 – 30 March 2020

Due warming weather and ice getting thinner I decited to have 5 day fishing vacation with my mother in the end of March. I was curious to see if fish had moved in to shallow the water since my last ice fishing. I was also expecting to find some bigger perches over 500 gr.

Spring is coming and fish do eat well. Ice cover thickness was varuing from 15 cm to 25 cm. Average thickness was 20 cm.

Day 1, Thursday 26 March 2020:

We waked up early to be able to start fishing at 6.30 am. I did choose deep water area in distance of appr. 400 meters of our cottage on big bay area for my first spot and my mother walked in to 4 – 5 meter deep spot in small bay area, appr 700 meters from our cottage. After all both spots were good for catching. 

You can catch bigger perches starting from 150 gr when using balanced jigs or softbaits for ice fishing.

I started drilling holes in to the area I had been catching fishes one week earlier. My first 5 holes were emprty of fish so I did move little bit more shallow and found them. I caught 3.5 kg of perches in time of little over 3 hour period. Bite was good, but I was forced to use various tricks to make fish bite. I used both vertical ice fishing jigs & softbaits for catching. Traditional icefishing jig with mormyshka is the best for catching by number of fish caught, but if you are looking for bigger perches, balanced icefishing jigs and softbaits will offer that. None of perches caught by softbait weighted less than 100 gr. My biggest perches of the day weighted close to 200 gr.

Total weight of these fish in picture is 1.5 kg.

My mother caught 1.5 kg of perches from her spot. Perches caught from my spot were bigger in size, but we were not able to reach trophy size fishes. After 3 hour fishing we had total 5 kg of perches for cooking. We prepared bigger ones for fillets and removed skin of smaller ones. This method for handling small fish is fast and much more effective than scaling them. Years ago my grandmother teached it both to my mother and me. Fish handling tooked almost 1.5 hours for 2 persons to do. We fried fillets on a pan and prepared smashed potatoes with them, easy and tasty meal for 2 hungry fisherman. Smaller perches were used for finnish traditional fish food, kalakukko.

Day 2, Friday 27 March 2020:

Once again we did start fishing early, litte over 6 am. With high hopes we headed our trip in to the same area I had been catching day earlier. Beginning of fishing was very difficult, there seemed to be only few fishes in the area present. Once again I started drilling and finding. I moved both from deep to shallow and deep to mainland directions forming a grid. After 30 – 40 holes I did find a flock of perches in distance of 40 meters from Thursdays hot spot. During time of hour we did catch appr. 2 kg perches for cooking. There was also big roaches up to 25 cm long available, but we decited to release them. When bite ended, we decited to walk back to deep area and explore it. We learned that perch flocks were moving very fast from deep water area to shallower area near mainland. When I did loate a flock of fish under me, I had hardly time to drop my icefishing jig and catch one or two fishes before flock had moved forward. We decited to walk back to our cottage and continue searching next day.

In this picture you can see small flock of perches.

Midday was rainy and windy, even little bit too rainy and windy for trying to catch pikes in shallow water, so we waited for evening time to come. I had hig expectitions for evening time pike fishing in shallow water, but it was total flop. We had fishing from 2 hours before sunset until sun did go down to catch absolutely nothing. There seemed to be no pikes at all in shallow water.


We caught big roaches up to 25 cm long.
Day 3, Saturday 28 March 2020:

Saturday morning was sunny and beautiful. We walked to the spot which had been giving us perches yesterday only  to learn they had moved. My mother headed to deep water spots and I did continue drilling and finding fish with my fishfinder in to the direction of mainland and more shallow water. I needed 10 – 15 holes to find them in water depth area of 6 to 7 meter deep. Perches had formed a bigger flock in this area and bite was great again. This time we decited to select bigger species of 80 gr to 200 gr for cooking and release the rest. In time of little over 1 hour we had almost 2 kg of fish for cooking and we decited to walk longer in deep water area to explore flat bottom type area n which we have 8 to 10 meter deep water. During mid-winter period this kind of places are good for catching big perches, but not this time. Once again we were not able to find any fish figures in screen of my fishfinder. 

In this picture you can see big flock of perches.

Day 4, Sunday 29 March 2020:

Sunday morning was both sunny and windy. Wind had turned to north, but it did not seem to have effect on bite. We started our fishing event from my yesterday spot and did well. Fishes did bite well for an hour and half. In this point we decited to walk exploring familiar spots in small bay area. In our first spot where my mother had been catching couple of day ago was nothing. We moved longer in to the deep pool I had been catching rudds and found some small flocks of fish. Bite was pretty bad and we decited to move forward to direction of shallow end of the bay. We did find small flock of biting perches in water depth area of 6 to 7 meter deep, but none in more shallow areas. 

Monday morning 6.30 am. There was a lonely swan walking on ice when we started our final fishing morning.

Day 5, Monday 30 March 2020:

Monday morning was sunny but cold. We had -7 degrees of celsius in morning 6.30 am. We walked in to same spot I had discovered 2 days earlier and used only 2 holes in distance of 1.5 meter of eac other. Bite was wild when we used vertical ice fishing jig with mormyshka, but softbaits or balanced jigs did not work. I caught only 2 fish when using them. We did fishing from 6.30 to 10.30 am. Result was 2 kg of fillet size perches and appr. 6 kg of released smaller fishes. A lot of action and great morning to end our fishing 5 day fishing holiday. Biggest perch of the morning weighted appr 200 gr, we did not reach trophy fishes but had great time and a lot of action.

In this picture you can see 2 kg of fillet size perches.

Fishing report of Easter 10 – 12 March 2020!

During Easter week we had cold nights of - 10 degrees. That did extend our ice fishing season until 12th of April. We had got some new snow on ice as well and my swan friends were waiting for me on ice.

I had couple enjoyable warm & fish rich days in big bay area. Once again morning bite was the best and fish had located same area as they were one week earlier. I did visit in shallow water area of small lake, but big ones were not arrived that area yet. 

Swans on ice of Lake Saimaa, April 2020.

  As usul, Lake Saimaa was free of ice before 1st of May. From 13th April until 1st of May I did not do any fishing due fragile ice. My next event was softbait spinning 1st May 2020. I discovered small bay area and caught perches from 300 gr up to 500 gr as well as some nice pikes. 

Perch 500 gr

Pike 3 kg caught 1st of May 2020.


Tips for winter time pike fishing on Lake Saimaa!

Eary winter starting from end of November until mid-January and late spring starting from mid-March to mid-April is the season for catching pikes in shallow water of less than 4 meter deep. Active pikes can be found near shorelines & grass in depth area of appr. 1 meter deep to 4 meter deep. Pikes are either hiding among grass, by underwater stones or trees waiting for bait fish to hit or hunting actively in shallow area. Bottom type such we do have in front of our cottage, gradually lowering and relatively shallow, is the best for catching pikes.

If there is no even layer of snow on ice, pikes seem to favor dark, snowy or rainy days for eating. Both sunrise and sunset are good periods for catching pikes. If we have thicker layer of snow from 5 to 30 cm thick, pikes seeem to prefer sunny days better. Thickness of ice and temperature of water do have big effect on bite. When first ice form, water is not yet evenly cold in shallow water areas, which do attract fish. As the winter progresses both ice get thicker and water evenly cold, having temeperature fro 0 degrees of celsius to 1 degrees of celsius. During this period of so called mid-winter from mid-January until mid-March warmest water layers of 3 to 4 degrees are found from pools or deep water areas having 6 to 15 meter depth. Bait fish flocks are most often found from the same water depth areea in which the warmest, 4 degree of celsius water layer is formed, as well as big predators. We can easily understand that small fishes do escape predators if present. When whe locate bait fish flock, there must be bigger predators present in 100 meter radius of the flock waiting for time to eat. Pikes do prefer cover to lay for smaller fishes. Inactive pikes are most often found from underwater hill slopes, deeper rocks or humps and also shorelines located close to deeper pools, which do give them cover of grass and stones. If inactive pikes are laying on the bottom, they are reatively difficult to notice by using sonar. If they are laying little bit above bottom, you can notice them for sure when using sonar.

In this picture above you can find an example for finding winter time pikes. You can start near grass, following natural form of shoreline. Make first holes in water depth area of 0.5 meter deep to 2 meter deep in distance of max 5 – 10 meters of each other. Next rows can also be located 5 – 10 meter from each other. If shallow water fishing in depth areas of max 4 – 5 meter deep do not give you results, you can use your local area knowledge of bottom shapes as well as maps or sonar`s plotter to locate underwater structures that might be interresting for pikes, such as hill slopes, under water humps or pools. If you choose to try catching pool, it is good to remember that pikes are not very often located in deepest part of it. They do quite often lay for fishes in lowering slopes appr. 2 – 5 meters higher than the deepest part of pool. This way they can follow or more specific sense activity of smaller fishes present. Actively swimming and hunting pikes you can find anywhere.

When finding pikes during mid-winter period I do first locate flock of bait fish and finding out if there are predators hunting among this flock by using my ice fishing sonar. If not, my next step is radially discovering bottom around this flock and trying to find location of pikes for active or ismete ice fishing. It is hard work to locate inactive pikes if you are fishing alone, but if you can co-operate with 2 – 3 other fisherman you will most likely reach better results. Knowledge of underwater structure do help and it is important to remember that sometimes only 2 meters move from empty hole can be the game changer as well as 5 meter move shows you empty bottom.

Best ice fishing spoons for catching pikes

Most common lure type for catching pike both summer & winter time is wide body spoon of 6 to 10 cm long. Most often best spoons as well as jigs for ice fishing of pike do siply have metal color of silver, copper or gold with red nose. Very often they do have colored treble hook, hairy treble hook or treble hook with worm jig replacing normal treble hook of lure. Many winter time ice fisherman do also use lightened, so called trolling spoons for pike fishing due their slow sinking speed.

You can use traditional Finnish pike fishing poons such as Kuusamo Professor and Rasanen (Rasanen do sink little bit faster than professor), Jak Original, Bete Utö or Jämtland, Blue Fox Inkoo and Swedish Abu Carcia Atom for catching.

The most common color combinations are silver / copper, silver / gold, silver / blue, silver / red, yellow / black, yellow / red, parrot (green, yellow, red), red / black, orange / white, orange / black, perch model (gold / green / black), cisco model (silver / black) and of course white / red.

Introduction to preparing small perches for cooking!


Jari preparing small perches for cooking in the warm storage space of our fishing cottage.


Step 1
 Remove the back fins.

As you can see, all skin from the back of the fish is removed with the fins.

Step 2
Remove the belly fins. Do not cut the belly open!


Step 3
 Make cuts to both sides of the neck of the fish. Do not cut off the head!


Step 4.

Remove the skin of the fish.