Fishing Trips on Lake Saimaa

Fishing Trips on Lake Saimaa
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Sunday, May 12, 2024

Stories of Fishing Cottage Jokiniemi vistors 2023 - 2024


Opening words by company owner Jari Käyhkö

Our company has been offering guiding services since 2010 as well as cottage accommodation and equipment for independent fishing since 2013. During the past decade fishing culture has changed a lot in our area of Lake Saimaa towards a more sustainable and protective way of fishing. It has been a new path both for me and many of our visitors.

Wild Landlocked Salmon, Brown Trout, Lake Trout and Grayling are endangered species in Lake Saimaa area. These species have been widely protected by the Finnish fishing law and protection acts since 2016. The fine for killing a protected fish species can be up to 8 000 euros. Our company organized our last trolling trip for catching landlocked salmon in 2014. All the fish we caught were released.

Jari and 4 kg landlocked salmon caught october 2010. In the year 2012 I caught my last personal Salmon fish killed. In the year 2014 I organized the very last fishing trip for catching salmonids on Lake Saimaa so far.

The most wanted game fish species in our area are Pike, Perch and Zander. We do follow daily fishing amount and fish size quotas when fishing these species. I have been proud to notice that pretty much all big pikes over 100 cm long as well as perches over 40 cm long and zanders over 75 cm long are released by our visitors. They keep the smaller fish for cooking.

So far the biggest pike released has been 118 cm long, zander released 80 cm long and pech released 43 cm long. I want to thank all these groups for sharing our company values and fishing philosophy.   



I want to thank all our visitors of the past decade who have been following our company values of sustainable fishing.

Last February I ordered a Garmin Livescope system, which was delivered in mid-March and finally assembled ready for use near Easter and the last couple of weeks of our ice fishing season. I bought all the accessories ready-made when possible, but some components I was forced to build myself, as well as putting it all together.

First trips on ice were basically for learning how to use and adjust the device. I did not make many changes to the factory settings, which made the start relatively easy. The hardest part was learning how to read the screen. I did find this device very useful in locating the fish, as its wide 25–30 meter beam makes it faster to find the fish than with a normal ice fishing sonar. Naturally we still need luck and basic knowledge of fishing to catch, but the device made winter fishing much more visual for me.



My Live sonar winter set up.

In May it was time to put it all together in my boat, which meant another intensive adjustment project and manufacturing some parts I needed. After a couple of days of hard work I was finally ready to start the open water learning process. My first mistake was to try adjust settings while my boat was moving 5-6 km per hour. I was basically trying to adjust the device to be as sensitive as possible, but reflections as well another disturbances made reading the screen very difficult. As a typical man I went to YouTube to watch some instructional videos later on. They helped a little and finally in the beginning of August I was able to get as clear a screen as possible for fishing in deep water of over 4 meters deep. From now on it was relatively easy to see the lure hitting the water surface and sinking near the bottom, as well as how the fish were reacting to the lures I and my clients were using. The device works best when there aren’t much waves, because the boat chassis rolling constantly from side to side makes it difficult to follow the lure. There are also some dead zones in which the sinking lure disappears. All in all I am very happy with this device. It has taught me more about underwater life and made fishing much more visual and effective both for me and my clients. But yes, it has also made us live some very annoying moments when the fish have been very picky and we have seen them come to check our lures only to turn away without a bite!


This 45 cm zander was located and caught by using Live sonar during Easter 2024.


May for Fishermen

Most often Lake Saimaa is open of ice by May 1st. Sometimes it can take until May 5th–7th for the ice to melt, but there have also been years when the lake was free of ice on the last week of April. In the year 2024 Saimaa was open of ice 3 rd May.

The first and second weeks of May are normally cold and challenging for catching. Bite periods are short, less than one hour. The best times for catching are mostly in the morning before 9:00 and once again in the evening after 17:00. There is 20 hours of daylight for catching this time of the year. Water temperatures vary from 3 to 8 degrees Celsius.

This is the season for catching pike and perch in shallow water less than 3 meters deep, but deep pools down to 9 meters deep can also give good size pikes. Catching zander by spinning is very difficult during this period, but occasionally you can catch them by trolling near the water surface on deep water areas of 10 to 30 meters deep, when the fish come looking for the warmest water column.

The last three weeks of May are easier for catching as the water gets warmer and makes the fish more active. Water temperature rises to 6–15 degrees Celsius. Biting periods get longer and we get much more action in pike and perch fishing. Cold north winds can still make fishing very challenging, but if we get sunny and warm weather with south to west winds, fishing will be very good. Sunny and warm weather seems to be the key for happiness in May time fishing.

Soft baits for catching perch can be very small, less than 3 inches long. Drop shot spinning works well, as do spinners and blades. For pike fishing we can recommend 12 cm or longer wobblers as well as 10–20 cm long soft baits or jerk baits. Big spoons work also. One lure that works nicely is the good old Rapala Minnow spoon.


 June 2023


 It sure was a great pike fishing week 5 - 11.6.2023 for our Czech visitors in warm & beautiful weather. Biggest pike caught was 109 cm long. Sun and warm sure did make fish active. Thank you for your very first visit in Finland, looking forward to meet you again.






 In the mid-June our old German visitors had great fishing during their 9 day fishing vacation. Very hot weather during their stay was nor best possible for catching big pikes, but perfect for great perch and zander fishing. 


In the last week of June 2023 we had a Romanian fisherman group staying in our cottage for their fourth time. They did most of their fishing during evening / night or early morning due very hot weather & bright nights. They did great in zander fishing. Their biggest zander caught was 70 cm long.

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.