Ice Fishing in Estonia

Source: Mariann Liimal

Ice Fishing in Estonia

Fishing offers both a fun pastime and an opportunity to enjoy the nature of Estonia. Here you'll find different events and fishing villages where you can cast your rod. You can easily combine a bit of fishing with a family holiday as well. Enjoy some boating or spend the night on a tourist farm. If you choose, guided fishing trips offer knowledgeable guides and unforgettable experiences.

Ice Fishing on the North Coast of Estonia

Photo by ToomasTuul.

The Fish of Estonia

Fish are an integral part of Estonian culture and cuisine. In fact, the average Estonian eats 10 kg of fish per year. As a result, almost every Estonian offers at least one fish dish with fishing being a popular sport as well as a source of sustenance.

The Estonian landscape is full of rivers, lakes, and a lot of coastlines. This means that fishing enthusiasts have their choice of freshwater and saltwater. If you're interested in fishing the rivers of Estonia, the main fish to be caught are trout, pike, perch, bream, tusk, roach, carp, and pikeperch. There are lakes for visitors from every region of Estonia, where you can both catch and eat fresh trout or carp. In smaller lakes, you can find tench as well.

For those who prefer saltwater fishing, the coastal waters are full of species like Baltic herring, salmon, and sea trout.


Fishing Events and Villages

Fishing by the Sea

Photo by Stina Kase

For the fishing aficionados out there, you'll find plenty of events and competitions to test your lures with all around Estonia. In February you can find the pop-up ice fishing village known as Kalaküla on the ice over Lake Peipus. The event is known throughout Estonia for its regular events, inspired by the long-standing practice of fishermen gathering on the lake for weeks in the winter, catching fish in both dark and white, and eating together.

In addition, you can enjoy events related to coastal fishing, such as Räime West in May in Pärnu County and the Wind Fish Festival at the end of May in Hiiumaa, at Orjaku harbor.

Estonians have been fishing for ages, so naturally, there are quite a few fishing villages around the country. On Estonia's northern coast, you can visit the Altja Fishing Village. If you're in Pärnu, then you can try a bit of ice-fishing along the Sauga River.

And for those who want to even more about fishing and its history in Estonia, stop by the island of Muhu and check out the Koguva Fishing Museum.


Ice Fishing at the Famous Lake Peipus

One of the most popular spots to go fishing in Estonia is Lake Peipus in the southeast of the country. As the largest lake in Estonia and the fifth largest in Europe, the area around the lake has a culture all its own. This includes the Old Believers and the famous Onion Route where onions are farmed by traditional methods. Of course, these onions are very often cooked with fish caught in the lake to make something tasty.

If you're in the Peipus area you can also enjoy a karakat safari. Karakats are unique vehicles that are built by local Peipsi fishermen on large aircraft tires that make it safe to navigate the lake in winter.

Karakats on the Ice

Karakats provide a unique way of seeing the ice

Photo by Ahto Sooaru

The Practicalities

In order to protect the nature and wildlife of Estonia, there are a few rules that visitors should be mindful of. Without a fish permit, you are allowed to fish in Estonia with a simple longline. At the same time, depending on the season and the place, there may be restrictions on fishing times, locations, and species that should be taken into account. If you're using other fishing gear, you'll need to get a fishing permit. You can do this easily at the Pilet website.

Fishing by the Sea

Photo by Sven Zacek

Ice fishing natural means going out onto the ice, and that means knowing when the ice is thick enough. During the wintertime, it's essential to follow all safety instructions to make sure to only go where the ice is thick enough to support someone's weight.

Last updated : 10.01.2022

In category: Activities & Adventure, Nature & Wildlife