Fishing Trips on Lake Saimaa

Fishing Trips on Lake Saimaa

Saturday, October 21, 2017

Our Fishing Holiday to Finland – Israeli Fisherman group on Lake Saimaa

After fishing together in Israel for many years, we decided to plan a fishing holiday abroad, so we started searching the Internet for information regarding fishing in Finland in mid-2016. Initially, Google came up with various results, but every option we looked at had some disadvantages.

Fairly early on we contacted a Finnish fishing guide who had been highly recommended by one of the travel websites. Unfortunately, this guide turned out to be neither cooperative nor informative.

Subsequently, we sent an E-Mail message listing our questions about fishing and accommodations in Finland to some 20 addresses we had found on the Internet. The answers started coming in – but still nothing seemed convincing.

Eventually, we came across Old School Trolling ( through the Finnish fishing site. We logged on to their website and immediately realized that they were offering what we wanted.

That was how we established contact with Jari Käyhkö, the owner and operator of Old School Trolling, with whom we started communicating in January 2017 regarding a holiday in July-August of this year.

I can honestly say that since the very first E-Mail message, we BOMBARDED Jari with questions regarding every conceivable aspect of our potential fishing holiday in Finland. The man was unperturbed. He answered every single question with infinite patience and in minute detail. This on-going dialog helped build our confidence in Jari and we eventually booked our holiday with him in early February.

During the period between our booking and our actual arrival in Finland we continued to harass Jari with endless questions – which he answered magnanimously and promptly, providing us with all of the information we requested.

When we finally arrived at Jari's cabin on July 29, he was waiting for us as promised. We found the cabin fully prepared and equipped for our arrival: beds made with clean bedsheets and covers, a new washing machine/dryer, a fireplace and a sauna, clean towels, detergents, cleaning tools and a TV set. The kitchen was fully fitted with new electrical appliances (refrigerator, dishwasher, oven/stove, microwave oven, coffee machine, toaster and even a hand blender), shiny cookware, cupboards full of tableware & glassware, drawers full of cutlery, utensils and kitchen gadgets. Outside, we found a barbecue pit and a Muurikka grill plus a smoking box. We felt stupid for bringing along our own kitchen knives....

Then it was Jari's turn to brief us – first on the cabin and subsequently on the boats and the fishing gear. In person he was just as informative, thorough and patient as he had been in our E-mail correspondence. During his briefing, we felt even more stupid than before – this time for bringing along our own fishing tackle!

Apparently, Jari had prepared everything we could possibly need plus lots of extras and spares: trolling and spinning rods and reels, lure boxes with a huge selection of lures (wobblers, soft baits, spinners, spoons, etc.), landing nets and all of the necessary accessories. He had prepared two full sets of everything – one for each boat. The boats were fitted with good Mercury engines and Jari had prepared a sufficient stock of fuel for us to use. One of my most important recommendations for future clients – do not bring along anything, as Jari will provide you with everything you need.

In the three days that followed, we took three guided fishing trips with Jari. We were deeply impressed by his professionalism and thorough knowledge of the area, but even more impressed by his easygoing, friendly, generous and helpful personality. This gentleman was genuinely interested in assuring us of a good time and successful fishing, and he went out of his way to do so. Our second guided fishing trip was particularly productive and we all managed to catch fish – particularly lots of Perch.

When we were left to fish on our own, Jari called us daily to provide more tips and advice. He promptly solved any problem we encountered and generally did everything he could to ensure that we were having a good time.

Jari's cabin is located in the village of Savonranta. There is a supermarket nearby that we used on several occasions and it was just fine. There is also a local restaurant that we have not been to. We had intended to check out a local nature trail but were unable to do it because of bad weather.

We drove into the city of Savonlinna (about 45 minutes from the cabin) a few times and did some shopping for fishing tackle to take home at the local Motonet branch. We did our grocery shopping at the Savonlinna branch of the Prisma supermarket chain, and also ate at a couple of local restaurants – which were very nice. We also attended a performance by Finnish singer Ina Forsman at a local club – a wonderful experience.

In conclusion, our fishing holiday in Finland was a wonderful experience. We absolutely loved Finland and everyone we came in contact with was exceptionally friendly and helpful.
Jari Käyhkö of Old School Trolling runs a unique operation, combining an excellent cabin, suitable for 4-5 people, with a complete range of fishing gear (boats and tackle) for 4 fishermen included with the cabin. Jari also offers professionally guided fishing trips on his own boat – at least one introductory fishing trip with Jari is a must for people fishing in Finland or in Lake Saimaa for the first time. Jari's rates are more than reasonable and his service standards are excellent. We have nothing but praise for him.

We warmly recommend Jari Käyhkö and Old School Trolling to anyone considering a holiday in Finland where the emphasis is on fishing.

Rami, Ron, Or &Tomer

Mission accomplished, our visitors were able to catch all their target fishes.

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 2016

In 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 and our sauna.

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.

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.

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!!!”

Tuesday, October 4, 2016

Fishing on Lake Saimaa, 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

 Yesterday (Sept. 27)  I was able to do some fishing 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


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.

Evening sun on Lake Saimaa.

Boating & Fishing on Lake Saimaa.

Evening time 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

Release of perch ~ 800 - 1000 gramms
Paul fishing in our cottage area.

We had a Latvian fisherman group visiting our cottage 14 - 21 August 2016 ..... Great pike fishing guys......daily catches of pikes were varying from 10 to 30..... Many thanks for using selective fishing method, taking some pieces for a food and releasing the rest.

Fishing trips 20 & 21 August with Pavel and Alexey families from St. Petersburg

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 .