Recreational fishing is popular in Finland

Nearly 1.5 million Finns go fishing every year. Fishing offers different experiences in every season for people of all ages.

European perch is the most common catch

In Finland, the general fishing rights are extensive and include hook and line fishing, ice fishing and fishing with a simple herring rig without payment. Those that pay the fisheries management fee, as well as people under 18 or over 64 years of age, are entitled to fish with a lure, net or trap. Fishing with a net, other stationary traps or multiple rods generally additionally requires permission from the owner of the water area.

Fishing is regulated by the Finnish Fishing Act. The purpose of the law is to ensure that the fish stock is used and managed in an ecologically, economically and socially sustainable way, based on the best current knowledge, in order to ensure the sustainable and varied return on fishery resources, the natural life cycle of fish stocks as well as the protection and diversity of fisheries and other aquatic nature.

Some water areas may have constraints on fishing times. More information (in Finnish and Swedish only) is available at Additionally, restrictions such as minimum sizes and closed seasons offer necessary protection for endangered fish species and ensure the natural reproduction of fish. For several fish species such as pike, salmon and sea trout, individuals that fall under the minimum catch size must be immediately released back to water. 

In Finland, recreational fishermen tend to prefer inland waters and only one in five fishing enthusiasts fish in the sea. Various types of fishing gear are available; rods with reels and traps being the most popular for sea fishing.

The catch of the day is typically European perch, wherever you fish, but all provinces have their own regionally important fish species. 

The northern pike is a common catch in the Gulf of Finland and the Archipelago Sea. The common bream is mostly caught in the Archipelago Sea, the Bothnian Sea and the Kvarken. The common whitefish is important for the Bothnian Sea, the Kvarken and the Bothnian Bay.

The Bothnian Sea and the Kvarken account for nearly half of the total yearly recreational fish catch from the sea. 

 A boat by the shore, a hand net ready at the back.
Fishing is a popular activity at the summer cottage.

Fishing creates wellbeing

Fishing allows you to forget the hustle and bustle of modern life and relax in a pleasant environment. Fishing is a great way to spend time with friends and family, but many amateur fishers also prefer solitude.

Observing and learning about the behaviour of fish and the excitement of reeling in a catch will hook you as well. Fishing is, in fact, an integral part of the Finnish summer cottage culture.

A freshly caught fish is also a delicious addition of local food to the dinner table. Recreational fishing is significant in Finland and, in terms of coastal fish species, the annual recreational catch is many times higher than that of commercial fishing.

Recreational fishing also creates business opportunities via tourism and the manufacture and sale of boats and fishing gear. One fifth of all Finnish recreational fishing companies operate in marine areas.

 A man angling from the shore.
Recreational fishermen typically use nets and rods with a reel.

Pike is the provincial fish of Åland

The northern pike is not only the provincial fish of the Åland Isles, but also the most important fish for local recreational and sport fishing. Åland also offers a variety of other fish, such as European perch, sea trout, zander, common whitefish, Atlantic salmon and Baltic herring.

The catch of the day depends on the season. For example, the European perch and the northern pike are the easiest to reel in during autumn, while the common whitefish and sea trout are best caught during springtime. The sea trout is also more lively during sprintime. Winter on the other hand is the time to go ice fishing for the zander and the European perch, or even the northern pike.

 A Northern pike in front of some reeds.
Northern pikes can be found lurking amongst aquatic plants.

Laws regulate recreational fishing in Åland 

Åland has its own separate fishing laws that differ from Mainland Finland and Sweden. The main difference is that fishing is not free. As a rule of thumb, all fishing requires a permit from the owner of the fishing ground. There is no common fishing license in Åland that would cover the entire region. There are 56 separate fishing licence areas and 16 fishing areas owned by the province.

Recreational and sport fishing with a rod is permitted in specific areas, with a valid licence. The licence allows fishing in the specified area with a fishing rod, a spinning rod or a lure used in ice fishing.

The fishing grounds of Åland are protected areas, each having their own designated fishing periods. Sport fishing from the shore is not permitted between 15.4.–15.6. to prevent disturbing the nesting seabirds. 

The minimum landing sizes for fish caught in Åland are 60 cm for Atlantic salmons, 50 cm for sea trouts, 55 cm for Northern pikes, 37 cm for zanders, 42 cm for common breams and 35 cm for common whitefish. If the catch doesn’t reach the minimum size, you are obligated to release it.