Public water areas are Finnish territorial sea waters and large lakes. Large lakes are eight kilometres in length and width or larger. In addition to the sea, the following lakes are public water areas: Oulujärvi, Lappajärvi, Höytiäinen, Pyhäselkä, Orivesi, Koitere, Puruvesi, Päijänne and Inarijärvi.

Public water areas are marked on base maps and can also be viewed on Excursionmap.fi maps under the Map layers tab.

Fishing arrangements for public water areas differ from those for other state-owned waters. Fishing in public water areas is regulated under section 8 of the Fishing Act (379/2015).

The Ministry of Agriculture and Forestry and Centres for Economic Development, Transport and the Environment (ELY Centres) can issue decrees or regulations concerning, for example, the fishing arrangements and catch measurements for public water areas.

Sea fishing in public water areas

Metsähallitus decides on the right to fish and the issuing of fishing permits in public water areas, taking national fish stock management plans into consideration.

Recreational fishing

Persons 18–64 years of age are entitled to fish recreationally in public water areas at sea, provided that they have paid the fisheries management fee. No fishing permit is required. Persons under 18 years of age and 65 years of age and up are entitled to fish recreationally in public water areas at sea without paying the fisheries management fee.

There are no restrictions on the maximum number of rods that may be used when angling. However, recreational trap fishing is subject to the following restrictions specified in section 49 of the Fishing Act (379/2015) and section 5 of the Fishing Decree (1360/2015), including trap size and the maximum number of traps that may be used:

  • - A fyke net may not be longer than 1.5 metres.
  • - The maximum number of hooks on hook lines (e.g. long lines and salmon lines) is 100 per fishing party.
  • - When net fishing, a maximum of 240 metres of net may be used by each fishing or boat party.

Trap tagging requirements also apply to public water areas, even in cases where actual trap tags do not need to be fastened to traps. However, the contact information of the person setting the trap must be clearly visible on all traps.

Commercial fishing

Commercial fishers registered in Finland are entitled to practice commercial fishing in public water areas at sea. Metsähallitus may lease a salmon or trout fishing area to commercial fishers, provided that there is a commercial need to do so.

Commercial fishers are entitled to use larger numbers of traps and traps such as trawls and large fyke nets. Trap tagging requirements also apply to public water areas, even in cases where actual trap tags do not need to be fastened to traps. However, the contact information of the person setting the trap must be clearly visible on all traps.

Lake fishing in public water areas

Metsähallitus is responsible for fishing arrangements in public water areas in inland bodies of water.

Angling

Fishing in public water areas in lakes with only one rod and lure requires only payment of the fisheries management fee. However, persons under 18 years of age and 65 years of age and up are entitled to fish in public water areas in inland bodies of water without paying the fisheries management fee.

Lure fishing with multiple rods (trolling) requires a local lure fishing joint permit. Lure fishing joint permits are sold by local fishing districts. Information on fishing districts (ahven.net) >

Trap fishing

When fishing with nets or other traps in public water areas in lakes, recreational fishers must both pay the fisheries management fee and obtain a trap permit. Different public water areas in lakes have their own trap permit areas. Metsähallitus sells trap permits for public water areas in the following lakes:

  • Oulujärvi
  • Lappajärvi
  • Päijänne
  • Pyhäselkä
  • Orivesi
  • Puruvesi

Trap permits for public water areas in the above lakes may be purchased by calling the Eräluvat service number at +358 (0)20 69 2424.

Trap fishing permits for public water areas in Lakes Höytiäinen and Koitere are sold as part of the lake-specific joint permit. Permits for Lakes Höytiäinen and Koitere are sold by fishing districts.

Höytiäinen fishing district fishing rules and regulations for 2019 (in Finnish) (muikkusuomi.fi) >

Fishing permits and permit regulations for Koitere in 2019 (in Finnish) (PDF, 71 kb) >

Only local residents may purchase trap permits for public water areas in Lake Inarijärvi.

Commercial fishing

Metsähallitus issues permits for commercial fishing in public water areas in inland bodies of water. In 2019, Metsähallitus opened a call for permit applications for public water areas. The call for permit applications applies to the period 2020–2024.