Go fishing where big zander roam!

The Pirkkala fisheries region


The Pirkkala fisheries region offers fascinating waters for enthusiasts favouring different forms of fishing. You can pursue the bite of a big fish in the extensive waters of Lake Pyhäjärvi, on the banks of foaming rapids and in the region’s numerous small lakes.

The region’s main lake, Pyhäjärvi, flows between Lempäälä and Tampere, providing diverse fishing grounds which consist of distinct sections that differ in terms of water quality and fish stocks. Its waters are typically muddy and fairly eutrophic. As a result, zander thrive and reproduce well in Lake Pyhäjärvi, which has been one of the country’s best sites for zander through the ages. Whoppers weighing several kilos are common in Lake Pyhäjärvi, while there is an abundance of basic kilo-range specimens. In recent years, the area has yielded several giant zander weighing over 10 kilos.

You can catch a zander anywhere in Lake Pyhäjärvi. Well-known zander spots include the shallow waters in the Toutonen area of Lempäälä and in Vesilahti, as well as the deeper Säijänselkä-Vakkalanselkä and Sorvanselkä mid-lake areas. Zander also bite eagerly in the Saviselkä mid-lake waters off the towns of Nokia and Pirkkala and in the fast-flowing Kaivanto sound. Indeed, torrents and sounds are generally good zander spots. You can also catch zander by casting a jig at the slopes of mid-lake shallows or by vertical jigging at mid-depth.

In late summer, anglers go trolling for zander in the deepest areas of the lake. While the lake is home to very good stocks of zander, and methods such as winter net fishing have yielded generous catches in recent years, its zander are often capricious creatures to catch with a lure. Feeding moods vary on a daily basis and often zander just sulk at the bottom, refusing to bite. Catching a giant specimen requires skill, knowledge, plenty of effort and often some luck as well. Plug colours worth trying out on Lake Pyhäjärvi include parrot, smelt and other natural colours.

Photo Jari Salonen.
Photo Jari Salonen.
Restocking of rainbow trout on Tammerkoski Rapids.

Closed areas safeguard the regeneration of zander stocks

In order to safeguard zander reproduction, Lake Pyhäjärvi has two closed areas, where all forms of fishing are prohibited, with the exception of scooping smelt. Closed seasons: Hahkalanvuolle Strait from 1st January to 15th June; Luodonsaari Island from 1st May to 15th June.

Map of combined licence area and special sites

The smallest permitted catch size for zander is 42 cm.

Brown trout and rainbow trout alongside zander off the City of Tampere

The quality of water in the northern part of Lake Pyhäjärvi differs from other areas. Nutrient-poor, slightly brownish but fairly clear waters flow into Lake Pyhäjärvi from Lake Näsijärvi through the Tammerkoski Rapids. This area hosts the deepest sections of Lake Pyhäjärvi, with over 40 metres of water. Natural fish stocks are supported by means of obligatory restocking with brown trout, rainbow trout and whitefish. The lake is also restocked with eel and pike.

At the Tampere end of Lake Pyhäjärvi, an angler spinning from the shore stands a good chance of catching a plump and lively rainbow trout or a brown trout with a clipped adipose fin on the end of the line. The small adipose fin, located on the back of the fish near the tail, is clipped from all restocked trout, in order to distinguish them from individuals born in the wild.

The smallest permitted catch size for adipose fin-clipped brown trout is 50 cm and for grayling is 35 cm.

When you catch an undersized fish, please handle it gently when removing hooks. NB! All trout with adipose fins are protected regardless of size. These must be immediately released back into the fishing waters.

Other game species

Common game species found in Lake Pyhäjärvi include pike, perch, whitefish, burbot and various cyprinids, such as bream and roach. Good-size perch bite on small jigs in shoals and torrents. In winter, it’s a good idea to go after perch with balanced and vertical jigging lures in shallows where the water is just a few metres deep. Pike stocks are lowest in the waters close to Tampere, but improve along the water route towards Lempäälä. Water flow regulation measures affect pike reproduction, and it is to be hoped that the situation will improve in the future. Lake Pyhäjärvi is also home to a scarce stock of fast-growing vendace, which can be caught using 18–25 mm nets.

Zander used to be released into Lake Pyhäjärvi as part of obligatory restocking operations, but these were discontinued at the turn of the millennium as they proved fruitless at increasing catches. Zander found in the colder and more nutrient-poor northern waters of Lake Pyhäjärvi clearly grow more slowly and are leaner than specimens in the Sorvanselkä mid-lake area. They also reach spawning size at an older age.

Signal crayfish from rocky areas with roach baits

Photo Jari Salonen.

Lake Pyhäjärvi is home to signal crayfish, which are caught with pots on rocky bottoms where the water is a few metres deep. Catches from the southern and middle parts of the lake have continuously improved in recent years. Off the shores of Tampere, however, what was once a good stock of signal crayfish plunged recently and has failed to recover. There is an ongoing investigation into the reasons for this. Eroded swimmeret disease has been found in crayfish living in the area, which may be the reason for the stock decline.

As the central lake in the River Kokemäenjoki water body, Lake Pyhäjärvi has strong currents due to the rapid turnover of its entire water mass. In winter, torrent spots only freeze over thinly, while not all areas are covered in ice strong enough to bear much weight – these include torrents and sounds as well as wide areas downstream from these. This is why it’s only worth moving about on the ice where the cover is certain to be solid enough.

Small lakes yield perch, pike, whitefish, rainbow trout, carp…

The Pirkkala fisheries region boasts a wide range of small and medium-sized lakes, which are great destinations for splendid fishing trips. On smaller lakes, you can easily make a catch by casting with a rod and reel or angling with a hook and line from the shores and using ice-fishing tackle in the winter. Fishing from the shores also works on medium-sized lakes, but there you can expand your search for hot spots using a boat or a canoe.

Pike, perch and cyprinids are typical game species in all small lakes. Lakes close to Tampere – including Ahvenisjärvi, Kaukajärvi, Peltolammi, Tesomajärvi, Tohloppi and Vaakkolammi – are also restocked with rainbow trout. Whitefish can be pursued in the limpid Lakes Hervantajärvi, Särkijärvi and Kaukajärvi, among others. The last of the basins mentioned above used to be known for its large, kilo-range perch as recently as the 1970’s. Whitefish are found to a varying extent in many small waters throughout the fishing area and can be pursued with flies or small spinners, while mormyshka jigs work in the winter. Nice stocks of zander can also be found in Lake Suonojärvi in Vesilahti.

Pahalampi Pond.

You can go after carp and tench on Pahalampi Pond, which is a special site located in the Nekala district of Tampere. You will need to purchase a separate fishing licence for the site; licence for a period of one year price €20 + registration fee (in 2024) and one day €10 + reg. fee. Similar to other sites, Pahalampi Pond has its own special rules, which you should check out before you start fishing.

A good option is to go on a nature trip to forest lakes with rod and reel tackle, a lure box and a packed lunch. Along the St. Birgit’s hiking trail in Lempäälä, for example, you can find several small lakes where you can try your luck while enjoying the peace and quiet of nature. The area has signposts and lean-tos where you can take a break. There are also interesting small lakes around Nokia, Pirkkala and Vesilahti. You can use the map to explore suitable destinations and routes for your fishing trip.

The urban Tammerkoski Rapids and the verdant Kuokkalankoski and Herralankoski Rapids

Rapids sites offer great playgrounds for fly-fishing and spinning enthusiasts in pursuit of salmonoids. The game species on the Tammerkoski Rapids, flowing through Tampere city centre, are rainbow trout and brown trout. These are caught using flies, spoons, plugs and local ‘spinfluga’ rigs, i.e. flies equipped with heavy weights. In late autumn, whitefish rise into the Kehräsaari fly-fishing area, where small flies yield catches. A more occasional game species on the Tammerkoski Rapids is landlocked salmon, some of which descend from Lake Näsijärvi downstream into the rapids now and then; however, a more likely visitor to slip downstream is the brown trout, with the largest specimens weighing several kilos.

The upper stream of Herralankoski Rapids.

The Kuokkalankoski and Herralankoski Rapids area in Lempäälä is among the most popular fishing sites in the Tampere Region. The range of game species in this rapids site include rainbow trout, asp, zander, grayling, brown trout, pike and, less commonly, eel. The largest asps weigh over 6 kilos. When such a whopper bites, the brake on your reel starts buzzing while your rod bends in earnest! See www.kuokkalankosket.net.

Big asps, salmonoids and zander are also among the catches available in the Haihunkoski Rapids in Viiala.

NB! Angling with a hook and line and ice-fishing are completely prohibited in rapids sites. Permitted fishing methods are listed in the site’s own rules.

Get your fishing licences and go fishing

State fisheries management fee

Those aged between 18 and 69, except anglers who have turned 65 by 31 December 2023, need to pay the state fisheries management fee for any form of fishing other than angling with one rod, hook and line and ice-fishing (free of charge, no licence required). The fee entitles use of one rod and reel without a permit from the owner of the water area throughout the country, with the exception of rapids and torrent sites in waters with migratory fish (such as the Tammerkoski Rapids and the Kuokkalankoski and Herralankoski Rapids) and special sites, such as Pahalampi. You can pay the state fisheries management fee online at eraluvat.fi or at several Permit sales points.

Water area owner’s permit and Lake Pyhäjärvi combined licence

For any other types of fishing and crayfishing, you will also need to get a permit from the owner of the water area or some other fishing rights holder. Fishing licences for the Tammerkoski, Kuokkalankoski and Herralankoski Rapids and Pahalammi Pond and a wide range of licences of local fishery associations and partnerships, as well as the City of Tampere licences for net and trap fishing, crayfishing, etc. are available from the web store at Kalapassi.fi. The map on the Pirkkala fisheries region website at https://pirkkalankalatalousalue.fi/kalatalousalueen-kartta/ indicates water areas managed by fishery associations and partnerships, as well as other licence areas with details of licence vendors.

There is an extensive combined licence area available for rod fishing zander and other fish in Lake Pyhäjärvi, covering the Pirkkala fisheries region, which is shown on the adjacent map in dark blue and pink. The licence does not include any rod quotas, except for the pink area, with max. 3 rods (lines) per boat. You can purchase a combined licence for a period of one year (in 2024 price €50 + registration fee), for a period of one year for 3 rods (€30 + reg. fee), one week (€18 + reg. fee), or three days (€10 + reg. fee) from the web store at kalapassi.fi or from physical sales points (incl. Nippon Verkko (in Tampere) and Kalakaapu (in Nokia) tackle stores).

Photo Jari Salonen.

Follow the rules, fish wisely and enjoy fishing

You must comply with any instructions provided for fishing. The fishing region is supervised and any infringements will be addressed. It is also wise to keep moderation in mind when fishing, especially if fish are eager to bite and catches are good. When your fishing licences are in order and your attitude is right, Ahti, the water god of ancient Finns, will also be happy.

The Pirkkala fisheries region wishes all anglers rewarding fishing trips!