Fishing Trips on Lake Saimaa

Fishing Trips on Lake Saimaa

Sunday, December 25, 2016

Christmas 2016 and fishing stories of the winter 2017 from fishing cottage Jokiniemi on Lake Saimaa

 I did ice-fishing with my family and with my sister's Brazilian friend Luiza, at our fishing cottage Jokiniemi at 23 December 2016.

All the fisherwomen caught plenty of fish, but Luiza and the smallest girl caught the most..... So we had many happy fishing ladies here today.

We did finalize our fishing day with a picnic by campfire.

At Christmas evening we did set up fire, enjoyed traditional Finnish Christmas foods and relaxed by having sauna.

On the last day of the year 2016 I did some “ismete” ice-fishing for pikes. First I caught some roaches and perches to be used as bait. After that I hooked an “ismete” rig for catching pikes. An “ismete” rig is formed of a metal leader and two pieces of single or triple hooks. I adjusted the hooks into the mouths and sides of the dead bait fish, and set a small line weight of 20 grams on to the line, to a distance of 40 cm from the bait fish. By using removable line weights I can freely adjust the free length between the weight and the bait fish. Then I dropped my bait fish and line weight combo through the hole to the bottom and attached the line to a bite indicator. Now I was able to hear and see when the fish were moving or eating my bait fish. It is important to adjust the break of the “ismete” gear to be loose, otherwise the fish can feel friction, become suspicious and spit the bait fish out of their mouth before hooking. The basic idea in “ismete” fishing is to allow pike to swallow the bait and then strike back to get it hooked, so you need to wait for a while before you make the strike. Quite often pikes turn the bait around in their mouth first, so if you strike back for hooking too early, you will loose the fish.

I started my fishing day after midday and continued it until dark. Smaller fish were biting well after midday, but I needed to wait until dark to get my first fish. It is normal that times of dusk in the early morning and late evening are the best for “ismete” fishing. If you start fishing early in the morning, it is a good idea to set your gears down before sunrise. We have several “ismete” sets available for the use of our cottage guests, if you are interested in trying ice-fishing. You can get good advice and tips for fishing spots from our cottage owner and fishing guide Mr Jari Kayhko.

In “ismete” fishing we can select the fish we want to keep for cooking and release the rest, as we do in open water fishing also. We lift the fish from the hole by line or by inserting our fingers under the gill cover (lip lock move). We do not use a landing hook in case we want to release our catch. When the fish is landed, we put it into a water-filled vessel (a plastic sledge or box) and use pliers to remove the hooks. If we want to release the fish, we measure and weigh it before putting it back to the lake (there are specific weighting bags for this in shops).

Active ice-fishing (regular ice-fishing in which you use ice-fishing jigs and short rods which you hold in your hand) is free of any fees and licences in most of parts of Finland. There are some specific fishing areas in which you need a licence for using active ice-fishing gear also.

For “ismete” ice-fishing you need to purchase a licence by paying the fisheries management fee of the Finnish state. According to the law the rod must be at least 1 meter long (typical “ismete” rod is 1.2 meter long). In the law there are no specifications for the reel, so we are basically using bait caster reels instead of pulling the fish up by grabbing the line with our hands. With this licence you can use one “ismete” set per fisherman.

You must notice that for using tip-up ice-fishing gear you need two licences. 1) the fisheries management fee of the Finnish state and 2) the bait fish licence of the local water area owner (“iskukoukkulupa”). Every single unit of tip-up gear needs to have their own licence. It is often quite difficult to find sellers for these local water area licenses, so I prefer “ismete” fishing more.

Regards, Jari

Fishing Reports of Winter season 2017 

In last weekend of February I did some ice-fishing for perch and roach with my old friend near the Russian border. The sunny day had the perfect conditions for fishing: the temperature was -5 degrees Celsius, we had high pressure, no wind and only 20 cm of snow on ice.

My original plan was to do “ismete” fishing for pike, but instead of that we decided to do active ice-fishing for perch and zander. The start of our day was quiet, with not many fish caught before midday. From midday on we had a couple of hours of good bites from perches. The biggest perch for me was the one in the picture. It weighed 280 grams and my friend cooked it for dinner.

I had a little bit of bad luck also. I had one very strong and promising bite in my mormyshka during our day. I was able to swim this mysterious big fish for 10 to15 seconds before it released – and of course my friend had the same destiny, dropping his fish the same way as I did. We will never know what species this big one was, but it was definitely not a pike. But of course, all things considered, we had a very pleasant day of mid-winter ice-fishing.

Waiting for open water season 2017 .....Posted February 2017.

Monday, December 5, 2016

Fishing on Lake Saimaa, October 2014 - 2016

Trolling for pike on Lake Saimaa 12 October 2014

In October we welcomed another family of four, this time from Moscow. The son and his parents used our cottage boats for fishing every morning and every evening. We fished together for three days, catching pikes and zanders. The mother of the family was the best in jigging for perches, but the father caught the biggest fish of the weekend during our trolling trip. The son also managed to catch some very nice pikes.

Softbait spinning for perches on Lake Saimaa 11 October 2014

Latvian fishermen catching pikes on Lake Saimaa - October 2015

We started October with trolling and softbait spinning for pikes on Lake Saimaa with our Latvian visitors.

Pike of 3 kg caught by softbait spinning near our fishing cottage. Picture was taken 4th October 2015.

 The day began windy but turned sunny and calm towards the evening, letting us enjoy the fall colors and quietness of the Lake Saimaa nature.

The beginning of the season of fall colours, from mid-September to the beginning of October, is excellent for catching big pikes close to our fishing cottage. The season of fall colours will last until mid-October. From the beginning of October bigger perches start forming flocks in the deeper water areas of Lake Saimaa. Bigger pikes are also moving to deeper water areas to hunt vendace, which have their spawning season from mid-October to mid-November.

You can easily find both mushrooms and berries from the wild nature of Lake Saimaa during October also.

Despite the very cold weather due north wind, our Latvian guests were able to catch 10 to 30 pikes on a daily basis. They selected some of the pikes for food and released the most. They seemed to have really enjoyed their stay at our fishing cottage, because just one week after their visit they made a new reservation for us for June 2016.

Tip from our fishing guide and company owner Mr. Jari Kayhko:

I have been fishing for over 30 years on these waters and I have learned that the period from the beginning of September to mid-October  is very good for pike fishing near our fishing cottage. This is due to the coldness of the waters in the end of September and the beginning of October which makes big pikes hungry and ready for catching. There are also plenty of smaller pikes hunting in shallow water, which makes fishing very active with lots of biting and actual catches. From the mid-October bigger pikes are also moving to deeper water areas to hunt vendace, which have their spawning season from mid-October to mid-November.

October 2016

During first week of  October 2016 we welcomed a group of six experienced fishermen from the Czech Republic. This was their first visit to Finland and they picked our fishing cottage on Lake Saimaa for their destination. They liked our cottage so much that shortly after returning home they booked a new holiday with us for the autumn of 2017! Our guests were especially pleased with our well-equipped kitchen, our sauna and pike fishing.

Fishing Holiday on Lake Saimaa  1 -  8 October 2016

The first days of their visit were spent looking for the best fishing spots and the best lures. They caught pikes and perches every day and kept fish of the nicest size for cooking. On the third they they spotted a Saimaa Ringed Seal in the bay closest to our cottage – this was a massive stroke of luck as this fresh water seal is extremely rare!

During the first days of their holiday the wind was blowing from the north, which always makes fall-time fishing challenging. After that the wind turned to blow from the south and the west, which is always better for successful fishing. The last two fishing days were the best for our Czech group: on both days they caught 10 to 20 pikes, the biggest being from 80 to 90 cm in length.

Our Czech guests were very pleased with the fishing of pikes, but felt that fishing for zander and perch was challenging in the cold waters (8 to 10 degrees Celsius). They thanked our fishing guide Jari for all the help he gave in finding the best fishing spots and the most appropriate lures for their holiday of independent fishing on Lake Saimaa.


Mid-October on Lake Saimaa!

In mid-October I went trolling for pike, perch, zander and landlocked salmon on Lake Saimaa with a Russian family I knew from previous engagements. We started our fishing day after 9 am. with salmon trolling. Our expectations were high, as the weather was perfect for fall-time trolling and for spinning as well: it was calm and warm, with a slight wind blowing from the south. First we learned how to operate with 10 sets of trolling rods, talked about the best colours and swims for wobblers and spoons, and discussed weather conditions as well as other fishing issues the father of the family was interested to learn. This family owns a country house in Finland and they have been fishing with me a couple of times to learn more about fishing near their cottage.

Pike Caught 15.10.2016

We started locating flocks of smaller fish and predators hunting them, and eventually trolling took us over 10 km from our starting point. Fish of the salmon family were passive, but we were able to get several pikes while enjoying the beauty of the fall colours of the Finnish nature. The best bite was waiting for us after midday. In a period of less than two hours we were able to land and also release a lot of pikes as well as several zanders. We kept some of the catch for cooking a meal and released the rest. Our most significant landing was a zander of more than 50 cm in length, caught by son of the family. Overall, our fishing day was a success and I enjoyed the company of this nice family very much.

Zander +55 cm caught 15.10.2016

In the third week of October we welcomed a  fisherman group from Lithuanian. The temperatures were pretty similar with the previous week, and the week started dry and semisunny but ended with rain. Our visitors caught pikes, perches and zanders by spinning and trolling.

Zander +60 cm caught 22.10.2016

End of October 2016 on Lake Saimaa

In the last weekend of October we welcomed a charming young couple from France. Before their arrival I had arranged warm clothing, boots, fishing licenses and gasoline for our cottage boat for their use, so it was easy to start their fishing vacation. They successfully started their fishing vacation by spinning pikes near our fishing cottage, had a sauna and a good night sleep before our guided fishing day together.


We had a combined spinning and trolling day together near our cottage. The morning was cloudy, which made the weather feel cold, so we definitely had use for warm clothing. The beginning of our fishing day was quite difficult. Every time we stopped to do spinning, we were able to catch one or two pikes or perches, and this is why we changed fishing spots fast. After midday pikes started to bite like crazy. We were able to land and release several pikes in a period of less than two hours. We ended our fishing day before sunset and we all seemed to be happy with our fishing day. A couple months later our French couple made a new reservation for the summer of 2017 and sent us these regards: ”We are so excited to come back and see the cottage and the lake during summer time!!!”


Landlocked Salmon and Brown Trout of Lake Saimaa

The minimum landing length of Landlocked salmon and Brown trout on Lake Saimaa area is 60 cm. Due Finnish law from he year 2016, it is forbidden to kill any wild landlocked salmon or brown trout species with adipose fin on Lake Saimaa area.

Fishing rules for landlocked salmon: 

It is totally forbidden to fish any landlocked salmon during period 1 June -  31 August on Lake Saimaa area.

Fish quota is 1 landlocked salmon or brown trout / day / 1 fisherman.

 Good fishing season extends from May to beginning of June before the waters really warm up. The best season for catching both landlocked salmon and brown trout last from October to November, when the water temperature has fallen to 10 degrees and below. At that time, lanclocked salmon most often bite at the surface or max 6 meters deep from the surface.

• Landlocked salmon and Brown trout of 60 cm are weighted from 2 to 2,4 kg`s.

• Average size of Salmon caught on Lake Saimaa is from 2 to 5 kg`s. Salmon of over 6 kg are concidered big. On Lake Saimaa the max size of Salmon can be 10 - 12 kg`s.

• Average size of Brown Trout caught on Lake Saimaa is from 2 to 5 kg. Brown Trout of over 5 kg are concidered big. On Lake Saimaa the max size of Brown Trout can be 9 - 11 kg`s.

To learn more about sustainable fishing of these species on Lake Saimaa, you can visit the website:

The Lake Saimaa Salmonidae Project

Landlocked Salmon 4 kg, caught by trolling. Landlocked Salmon and Brown Trout are both endangered species on Lake Saimaa. This is why Jari quit catching salmon and trout with the adipose fins still intact in the year 2012 both in personal fishing and on our company events. We only keep the fish that have had their adipose fins cut out (they are planted for sports fishing purposes) and release all landlocked salmon and brown trout that still have the adipose fin (as they are wild fish).  From the beginning of the year 2016 it will be officially forbidden to take any landlocked salmon or browntrout with the adipose fin by Finnish fishing law. Minimum landing size is 60 cm for both species. Picture was taken 2nd November 2010.

Tuesday, October 4, 2016

Fishing on Lake Saimaa, September 2016 - 2018

Biggest pike of season 2018 caught by our vistors from Lithuania.

September 2018

First half of September was the best for catching big ones in nearby waters of our cottage this year. After extremely hot summer air and water temperature get colder and we had great catches both for our cottage vistors and clients taking part to my guided fishig trips. I do proudly present fishing heroes of our cottage vistors of September 2018.

Great zander caught on Lake Saimaa in September 2018. This family from Moscow caught the biggest zander of the 2018.

September 2016

I come to the cottage Jokiniemi for the second time and if You really like fishing,this is the right place to be. All You have to do,is to come to the small town of Savonranta,in the heart of the lake region of Finland,just 140 km from the border.
Highly skilled fishing owner,Mr.Jari Kayhko helped me with fishing experience: at my disposal I had
-cute and lovely fishing cottage with all staff for day routine and wonderful sauna
-two boats with sonar for endless fishing activity
-all fishing gear in case one can lost something at home.

Actually,I started my experience in a small lake near the cottage.It is not so deep,but right in the morning I got one perch and two small pikes,which I released,as the most thrilling thing for me is to notice that someone is on the other end of spinning.
Through the small сhannel nearby the cottage,I went to big Saima with endless lakes and islands.Using sonar on a boat,one can see the perfect place for jigging.Numerous bays can allow me to try my best with spinning fortune.And I got a few pikes a little bigger size and wonderful colour (released as well).The depth here is good for trolling and I went to some special places,which Jari showed me beforehand.Once,close to the shore line I hooked nice ide,but the only thing I was able to do-just look how it went away from my spoon bait near the boat.Bad luck ))

The second day of my journey was highlighted with pike struggle.It happened after morning cofe,just when I reached the middle of the small lake by the boat.The weather was perfect and after the second casting,I realized several pulls.It was quite strong,I believed,that something big is under water.During fighting,my spinning bent,like a wheel and two times the reel was unwounding into opposite direction.Soon,I saw a fish.Very nice,strong pike was exhausted and slowly moving along the boat.
I can admire this picture for a long time.When I put it insidet,I realized that the spoon was very lightly hit the pike.One,two hits more and I would have to say the fish "bye-bye".Actually,I did it,when I released pike by myself.She was struggling tight and won a freedom.So,guys,she is still in a small lake and everyone has a chance for thrilling minutes.
I would like to say Jari great THANK YOU for his wise consultations and for the wonderful two days of fishing.
I do believe,when I get enough practice in fishing tricks,I will come to this cottage once again for zander searching on a big Saima area.

With Best Regards, Andrey

Softbait spinning 27 September 2016

 Yesterday (Sept. 27)  I was able to do some softbat spinning alone in our cottage bay. I did catch 12 pikes, 20 to 25 perches and one zander by softbait spinning during a 5 hour time. I also lost another zander appr. the same size as in this picture. My only and biggest zander landed had length of 59,5 cm and it weighed 1.8 kg.

The season of fall colours starts about mid-September and ends mid-October. During this period it is also possible to catch very big perches up to 1 to 1.5 kg on our area of Lake Saimaa. Small fish like ciscos are forming big flocks and they are also starting their spawning period in shallower water areas of 6 to 8 meters deep. Because of that predators like perches are hunting them in those areas, which makes fishing very effective.

For summertime fishing, generally the best weeks are the last week of July and the first week of August. Normally those weeks are either very warm or hot, which means that if there are rainy days, they are also warm. During the last 3 to 4 years and summers those weeks have been the best in terms of the number of caught fishes. This period has also been very good for catching zanders near our cottage. Zander prefers warm or hot weather, which make catching easy.

With Best Regards, Jari


 Tip from our fishing guide and company owner Mr. Jari Kayhko:

 The weather is still warm in late August and early September, making it great for picking berries and mushrooms near our cottage as well as fishing for perch and pike. The beginning of the season of fall colours, from mid-September to the beginning of October, is excellent for catching big pikes close to our fishing cottage. The season of fall colours will last until mid-October. From the beginning of October bigger perches start forming flocks in the deeper water areas of Lake Saimaa. Bigger pikes are also moving to deeper water areas to hunt vendace, which have their spawning season from mid-October to mid-November.

Saturday, August 27, 2016

Fishing on Lake Saimaa, August 2016

Picnic by campfire with Catherine & Paul, August 2016

In second week of August 2016 we welcomed a couple from Britain. They used our boats to catch pikes and perches in near by waters of our fishing cottage. We also had a very relaxing boating and C&R fishing trips together.

Fried Cisco ~ "Muikku" is a tradiotional finnish dish.

Boating & Fishing on Lake Saimaa.

Morning time fishing with Paul
There are very many providers of fishing trips around Europe and Scandinavia, which makes it tricky to know which one to choose when searching the internet.  But on finding Jari at Old School Trolling, I knew we had found the perfect place for our first fishing trip to Finland.  Having grown up around the waters of Lake Saimaa, much of it spent trolling upon them, Jari has the same attitude to fishing, and to life, that we have.  That it’s not just about the numbers, or the sizes, or the varieties, of the fish that you can catch (which are plenty, of course), or about watching the clock and moving on from one fish to the other without much thought to the last ; it’s about living, pure and simple, within the world, and taking the time to appreciate everything about it, and how to protect it for the future; about meeting new people, from different places and hearing their stories, enjoying fresh food over an open fire together, watching sunsets and casting out into the deep indigo midnight.  Jari was a thoughtful, attentive and generous host and we were pleased to have met him.  He knew the waters around his cottage well and his only thought was to help us to catch fish.  He was adaptable according to the weather conditions, which were not always kind to us, and his passion for fishing and the outdoors, and to the lakelands around his cottage, was evident, meaning that our trip was not part of a soulless, commercial venture, but more of a personal, tailor-made trip with a friend.  The cottage is great; comfortable, well looked-after, with every convenience you need, in a perfect setting and, of course, with a beautiful sauna (one of the nicest we stayed in during our trip).  We really hope we can return soon, and will definitely keep in touch with Jari. 
                                                                                        Catherine  & Paul

Paul fishing in ner by our cottage.

In third week of August 2016 we welcomed a Latvian fisherman group visiting our cottage. Our visitors had great pike fishing, number of fishes caught was varying from 10 to 30 pcs. Many thanks for using selective fishing method, taking some pieces for a food and releasing the rest.

In mid-August I went trolling and spinning for pike, perch, zander and landlocked salmon on Lake Saimaa with two Russian families I knew from previous engagements. We started our first fishing day after 16 pm. with softbait spinning and picnic by campfire. Our expectations were high, as the weather was perfect for spinning: it was calm and warm, with a slight wind blowing from the south.
 Our Russian visitors caught nice zanders and perches during their fishing day on Lake Saimaa.

Zander +50 cm caught by softbait spinning 20.8.2016
We started our second fishing day after 9 am. with softbait spinning. Perches were passive, but we were able to get several pikes while enjoying the beauty of  the Finnish nature. The best bite was waiting for us after midday. In a period of less than two hours we were able to land and also release a lot of pikes as well as several zanders by trolling.

Every time you see something yellow peeking out from the moss on the forest floor, it is worth taking a closer look and making a mental note of the exact spot, as chantarelles tend to grow in groups and in the same place from one year to the next. And better still, chanterelles never accommodate maggots, unlike many of the other delicious types of mushroom. Chantarelles grow in southern and central Finland, and are used to make sauces and soups.

Chantarelle (Cantharellus cibarius)

In the end of August 2016 we welcomed a Russian fisherman group from Israel. They have been catching pikes, perches, breams, rudds and roaches by spinning, angling and trolling.....They have also been picking a lot of mushrooms and berries from the nearby areas of our cottage during their fishing holiday 23 August  -  2 September .

Cep (Boletus edulis) and pine cep (Boletus pinophilus).

In Finland, the use of mushrooms, ceps in particular, spread from across the eastern border. They are not nearly as highly valued in western as in eastern Finland. Finnish mushroom dishes are very Russian in style. Often salted and eaten as a salad, mushrooms are also used to make creamy soups, sauces and casseroles.

Learn more about Finnish wild mushrooms & berries

August 2015

The weather in August varied from beautiful sunny days to cloudy and rainy. First we had a family staying at our cottage for two weeks and they did independent fishing on the waters near our cottage, catching good size pikes, perches and zanders. During their stay they really got into jigging, using the boats of our cottage a lot. We also had guided fishing trips on beautiful and warm summer days, catching lots of pikes, perches of over half a kilo and evening-active zanders.

Softbait spinning for zander on Lake Saimaa August 2015

During one guided fishing day we stopped without hurry for a nice break on land. We took our time relaxing, cooking coffee and food on an open fire. The lady of the family took the opportunity to pick mushrooms and blueberries.

 Tip from our fishing guide and company owner Mr. Jari Kayhko:

 In Finland July and August are the best months for fishing on Lake Saimaa due to warm waters and often very warm or even hot weathers. There are plenty of fish about and you can fish around the clock if you wish, thanks to our light summer nights. Big perches normally move to the shallow waters in mid-July and they can be caught there in the daytime during a period of a couple of weeks. If you do late evening / early morning or night time fishing near our cottage, you will be able to catch zanders and pikes from the shallow waters as well. The best season for night-time fishing on Lake Saimaa continues from Midsummer until the end of August.

Sunday, July 3, 2016

Fisihing on Lake Saimaa, June 2016

Fisrst Week of June:

 The first week of June was exceptionally hot and summery this year, and it brought us a group of five fishermen from Latvia.

 They had fantastic weather conditions to fish for pikes and perches by spinning and trolling on Lake Saimaa, as well as to go fly-fishing for brown trout on the rapids in Heinävesi.

Pikes were particularly eager to bite in the evening time, making it easy for our guests to cook delicious pike dishes at our cottage.

 All aboard. Riga-Tallinn-Helsinki, plus 5 hours drive to The Fishing Cottage Jokiniemi. Everything is clear - thanks Jari for detailed instructions. Our group had an opportunity to fish local Lake Saimaa and also went for fly-fishing trout in near-by area streams. Each evening we had a gourmet fishing meals accompanied with a splash of wine (vodka, whisky, etc.). Accommodation environment positively surprised us- there was much MORE than we expected from "country cabin". Using 2 boats was smart idea- we split into 2 groups and had twice more opportunities to learn waters. It paid back. Each day there were 10-12 good size pikes cached and same amount released. Two nice pikes were lost because one broke our landing net and another broke brided cord ( we estimated size of pikes in 8-10kg each). During evening gatherings Jari was giving us valuable advice, in exchange - we share own observations and established plan for next day challenge. Even weather conditions were difficult (too hot) we managed get fish each day, enjoy calm nature and comfort of accommodation.

Ervīns, on a behalf of Northproject team (Latvia)

In February 2017 this group made a new reservation for our fishing cottage for the summer 2017.

Second Week of June:

The first week of June was very cold and rainy this year. It brought us another group of fishermen from Latvia.

Third week of June:

In June 2016 we welcomed a family of four from St. Petersburg. The father, mother and their 2 daughters used our boats to catch pikes and perches in near by waters of our fishing cottage on Lake Saimaa.

Family did mainly trolling for pikes and bubble and hook angling for perches, breams and roaches. Biggest perch was caught by daughter of the family and it weighted over 500 grams.