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Kolovesi – For Those Who Enjoy Rowing

The Kolovesi lake area beginning immediately below the Pilppa rapids, the last rapids on the Heinävesi water route, is, largely due to the national park and the habitat of the ringed seal, one of the internationally best known sites for nature travel in the lake district of Finland.

Kolovesi is a concept which brings to mind powerful images of tranquillity, beauty, clear waters and an abundance of fish. No noise from motor boats or water jets; a genuine wilderness in the middle of Saimaa free of the clamour of tourist attractions. If such qualities are what you expect of your fishing site, Kolovesi is your choice.

As using a motor is forbidden in most parts of Kolovesi the area is a haven in the centre of southern Finland for those who enjoy fishing and rowing combined. The fjord-like scenery, rugged shores and narrow and deep waterways make catching salmonoid easier than in open waters. The advantages of Kolovesi also include an environment sheltered from the wind, which makes fishing possible in any kind of weather.

The stock of fish is good in Kolovesi. As the lake is downstream of all the rapids of the Heinävesi water route it serves as a feeding area for the salmonoid thriving in the region. The most sought after catch are, of course, brown trout and Saimaa salmon, but a real rarity, the Saimaa char, also dwells in the depths. Due to the fact that the Saimaa char is an extremely endangered species, a special protectorate has been established in the Metsähallitus (Natural Heritage Services) governed waters of Kolovesi, where fishing is forbidden. In the event that you catch the praised fish, we hope that you set it free as soon as you have taken a photo. The restriction on the use of a motorboat has, since its enforcement in 1994, significantly lessened fishing with nets in Kolovesi, a fact that may be observed in the greater number of bites and the larger average size of the fish caught. Local pikes and perches, substantial in size, are appreciated catch even among experienced fishermen. In addition to this, Kolovesi is excellently suited as the destination of an angling trip. Large breams are to be caught in shallower bays.

From the lure fishers point of view the most inconvenient factor concerning Kolovesi is that no common licence covering the entire waters is available. Therefore, one must be well aware of the restrictions and the borders of each fishing district. In addition to the protectorate of the Saimaa char a Metsähallitus governed water area surrounds Vaajasalo, where, excluding the Saimaa char protectorate, only angling with rod and hook and lure-fishing with the provincial fishing licence, using one rod, is permitted. The waters within the limits of the municipalities of Enonkoski, Heinävesi and Savonranta are governed by several separate fishing districts, which is why lure-fishing using several rods entails the obtaining of several permits. If you feel limited by the restrictions of the provincial licence it is best to realise the fishing trip with the assistance of a local fishing travel company with knowledge of the fishing areas.

The best places for setting a boat on the lake in and near the national park of Kolovesi are in Käkötaipale, located at the southern tip of the lake, and Kirkkoranta, located on the easternmost banks of the park. The best place for those using a motorboat is at the Pilppa locks, a couple of kilometres upstream of the northern tip of the park. From Pilppa it is easy to make a trip to the currents of Koukunpolvi, where, in addition to trout, pike-perch of substantial size has been caught. Licences are not sold for the Pilppa rapids, as they are solely reserved for the use of the members of the fishing district.

Further information and licence sales:

Heinävesi fishing districts:
Heinävesi tourist information office, +358 (0)17 5781 273 and the places mentioned on the web pages of the local authority at

Enonkoski fishing districts:
Neste Enonkoski (petrol station), +358 (0)15 479 272

Savonranta/Pirttimäki fishing district:
Kolovesi Retkeily Co., +358 (0)40 558 9163