Fishing from a kayak can be fun even for a casual angler. I was a fellow kayaker when a brown trout got caught by trolling on lake Haukivesi.
Trying to get the fish out of water is not the easiest part, especially if you have an average kayak, not one designed for fishing. The front hatch was used to transfer the fish to the shore because we were close to it.
When you are not angling but paddling, you should fasten your equipment well to your kayak. Under one strap on the deck is not enough while one is busy doing something else like trying to reach chanterelles from the shore without having to leave your boat.
Another angle to fishing is trying to catch fish with your camera. While I was close to the shore, I noticed this curious perch swimming under my kayak. I put my camera on a monopod and into the water and tried to catch him swimming. How elegant moves.
To go kayaking with a dog one needs a well behaving dog, an experienced paddler, a stable kayak and good training food for a dog! My friend’s dog Venni tried kayaking for the first time in July. Though he is an experienced canoe dog, the first encounter with the kayak’s back hatch was done with a help of salami.
Though he is a calm dog and can swim pretty well, a calm and warm day was selected for his first trip and he wore a life jacket with a handle at the back. The trip close to the shore lasted only about 10 minutes in case he did not like the idea of kayaking at all. But no worry, this miniature schnauzer was relaxed in a minute.
It is to be seen if he is to join longer kayaking trips later.
Arrived again in lake Haukivesi area, a part of lake Saimaa near Linnansaari national park. Though it has been quite wet and cold in the area, the first kayaking day of my stay was very nice and sunny.
The water level is exceptionally high this summer. Here are some pictures that show the situation the same time last year compared today.
Checked willow grass in the bay nearby to see if pikes were at home. None spotted.
In early July I went to the kayaking trip to lake Saimaa. Saimaa is a large lake area in eastern Finland with a lot of connected lakes.
The weather was a mixture of strong winds, sunshine, rain but not particularly warm. We started and ended our trip from the harbor of Anttola village. Paddled through lake Luonteri to waters near Puumala village, to the south near waters of larger Saimaa and then back north the other way to lake Luonteri.
The route went through partly quite sheltered waters and partly across wide, open waters. Saw a couple of canoes also, but a kayak is really a more suitable boat to those waters. There are quite many boat harbors on islands and even some places to add your drinking water supplies.
Such a nice kayaking trip with occasional gourmet cooking. Certainly a place to explore more.
In July I spend a couple of weeks in the lake area near Linnansaari national park. I have paddled there before and seen some of its islands. This year I stayed at the cottage on the shore of lake Haukivesi which Linnansaari national park is part of. I made day trips to the national park area with a kayak and a canoe.
Linnansaari is home of the endangered Saimaa Ringed Seal (Phoca hispida saimensis). I’ve once seen one lying on the shore of an island in Linnansaari national park when kayaking a few years ago but this time I did not see any though looked intensively.
To go kayaking in Linnansaari national park your have to be a fair experienced kayaker because the transfer route to the closest islands of the park is at the shortest a kilometer away and to Linnansaari island over 5 kilometers (from Oravi village). The weather and wind conditions can turn quite hard pretty quickly so be prepared with latest weather forecasts. There are long open waters where wind can form quite big waves. On good windless weather it nice for even a less experienced paddler.
If interested in other national parks in Finland for paddling see my other blog post– it is a short introduction of the best parks to paddle.
I made a short trip to lake Kuolimo in July. Lake Kuolimo is in the south-eastern part of Finland, in the lake area and connected to lake Saimaa, Finland’s biggest lake. On the shore of lake Kuolimo is Savitaipale village which is a good place to start paddling and exploring the lake. There a list of destinations and camp sites on the pages of southern Carelia.
One interesting place just a short distance away from Savitaipale is Suomensalo island, which has fine long sandy beach and looked like a great terrain for camping. Known among paddlers Suomensalo in early July was empty, no boats or paddlers at all. I did just a day trip to the island with a canoe but hope someday to go back and go kayaking around lake Kuolimo for a few days.
A friend of mine asked what national park would be good for paddling. Good question, what would be the best and most suitable national park of Finland for paddling. When choosing one you should ask some questions from yourself first.
Are you going to paddle with a kayak or canoe?
How far from your home can you travel?
Are you familiar with streams and whitewater paddling at all?
How long a trip are you planning? How many kilometres a day are planning and are used to paddle?
Do you want to paddle a circle route, starting from and ending to same place?
Do you have your own kayaks/canoes or do you need to rent them?
Do you want to combine paddling and hiking?
Do you want to make day trips or are you going to go camping?
When are you planning to go?
Knowing answers to these I was ready to suggest some places I have visited myself. In fact there are a lot of places I would recommend. These are not listed in any particular order. Just two of them includes streams of some short, others are all on lake areas, big and small.
1. Päijänne national park
Suggested boat: Kayak
Location: In central Finland, 120 km from Jyväskylä, 160 from Helsinki
Experience needed: Moderate/good, have to be able to cope with strong headwind and big waves on open waters
Suggested stay: 3-5 days
Circle route: Can be done, one starting point Padasjoki village
Rental services: In Padasjoki
Paddling and hiking: 8 km long hiking trail on Kelvenne island (16 km back and forth)
Day trips: Can be done but it takes time to reach the park and the area is quite big
Best time to visit: June or August, July is the busiest time though probably the warmest
Location: In Eastern Finland, 190 km from Jyväskylä, 370 km from Helsinki
Experience needed: Moderate/good experience, have to be able to cope with strong headwind and big waves on open waters. I would not recommend it to inexperienced paddlers unless you really know the weather and wind forecasts.
Suggested stay: 4-7 days
Circle route: Can be done from Oravi or Rantasalmi
Rental services: Available at Oravi or Rantasalmi (Porosalmi)
Paddling and hiking: not really, a 7 km nature trail in Linnansaari island
Day trips: If only want to visit Linnansaari island
In southern Finland there is also Repovesi national park of which I have no paddling experience but seems to have nice and interesting waters. In parks Liesjärvi and Leivonmäki you can go for a couple days of paddling trip. In Isojärvi national park you can also paddle on 20 km long lake Isojärvi which has two camping sites on its shore.
If you are an experienced sea kayaker you can of course visit Finland’s national parks by the sea; Archipelago np (see seakayakingetc’s blog post on that), Botnia Bay np, Ekenäs Archipelago np and Gulf of Finland np.
These are the best national parks to paddle. Totally my own ranking. Combination of proven peace, good camping sites and protected nature is something that attracts me to visit these parks again and again.