Lake Pyhäjärvi in Pyhäjärvi - lake in the middle of Finland
Photo: Jari Tuiskunen
Half-kilo perch are common ice-fishing catches on Lake Pyhäjärvi, as long as you can locate a school on the hunt.
Located more or less in the middle of Finland, close to Main Road 4 within the eponymous municipality, Lake Pyhäjärvi is the 38th largest lake in Finland, covering 122 square kilometres. Its shape is pleasantly meandering, even broken up by islands, but there are also wide open mid-lake areas. The water is mostly clear and pure. Surplus waters empty into the Gulf of Bothnia via River Pyhäjoki, which starts from the northern end of the lake.
The lake is relatively even in terms of depth variations, without any steep banks. By way of example, the depth of the expansive Isoselkä area mostly varies between five and ten metres. However, the Isoselkä-Munasaarenselkä area is home to a northwest-southeast lying deep, where the maximum depth of the lake measures 27 metres.
Depth chart (zoom in to view depths).
Lake Pyhäjärvi is locally known as a splendid fishing site, where catches are pursued by trolling, in particular, and by ice-fishing in winter. Currently, the most popular target species among trollers is zander, as its stocks have become considerably more robust over the last few decades. It is quite common to catch specimens exceeding the smallest permitted size of 45 cm, while a whopper weighing a few kilos is not uncommon either.
The best spots to catch zander are in the middle and southern parts of the lake; the areas around Munasaari and Selkäsaari Islands are popular trolling grounds. On the same waves, your lure may also be struck by a brown trout, although this is definitely more likely when the waters are cool.
Photo: Ismo Kolari
Signs show the way to open water area of Lake Pyhäjärvi from the quay of Niemenlahti Bay of Pyhäsalmi.
Cracks in the ice, perch hotspots in mid-winter
Lake Pyhäjärvi is particularly well-known for its good-size perch caught ice-fishing. Somewhat surprisingly, the best time to head to the ice here is mid-winter, unlike on many other lakes. This phenomenon can be explained by cracks in the ice, which let streaks of light enter the realm of perch just as the snow and ice cover is thickest. The cracks attract vendace, which in turn are chased by perch. In contrast, lighting is much more even in the spring and autumn and the schools of fish are more scattered. The best ice-fishing spots can be found in mid-lake waters, where the most common ice-fishing depth is from 6 to 10 metres.
Lake Pyhäjärvi also has an excellent stock of pike. The shallow northern parts of the lake are the easiest places to find these boneheads, but they may bend your rod elsewhere too. Ten-kilo specimens are by no means impossible here for trollers swimming big plugs. There are good boat launch ramps in different parts of the lake.
Photo: Jari Tuiskunen
People tend to go ice-fishing far from the shores of Lake Pyhäjärvi and the wind may make you uncomfortable.