Fishing salmon by boat in Tornio / Torne River in Lapland

People have moved through the great waterways of the north for a long time, and the mouths of big rivers often became the first trading venues and villages, and later cities. Riverboats have moved for centuries, almost as long as there has been traffic along the shores. Riverboats were used for trading, as postal boats, as trawlers and net-fishing boats and for other purposes. Over time, rod fishing also became popular, especially with British fishermen coming to Finland, and the Tornio river bore its share of rod fishermen in the late 1800s. Boat fishing on the Tornio river and many other salmon streams in northern Finland is the most traditional way of salmon fishing with a rod. Over the past century, juniper rods and Boca reels have been replaced with carbon fiber rods and trolling reels, but the basic principles of fishing for salmon have long gone unchanged. In the old days, we pushed the boats upstream to set the rods where requested. These days, however, we go upstream with a motor.

Once the starting point is reached, we switch off the engine and take it out of the water. Then we set the lures to the water. There is no rod restriction on the Tornio river, and in accordance with the fisherman’s experience and preference, 3 to 7 rods are placed. The guide serves as a rower and fisherman, setting lures or flies to swim. The boat is rowed a bow upstream so that the rods face downstream, and the fish see the lures or flies long before they can see the boat. In familiar places, the boat will zigzag downstream, and in particularly good places, such as a pit or near large rocks, the rower can spin lures more than once. When the area has been fished, the lures are lifted up, and the guide drives to a new spot, or the group has a coffee break to admire the landscape if the salmon are not biting.

The rower should know the rules for fishing and the principles for movement on the water. On the Tornio river, the catch quota is 1 salmon per fisherman per day. The minimum salmon size is 50 cm. If the fish is released, fishing may continue on the same day. When you move via boat, avoid other rowboats and fishing boats, and join fishing sites quietly. When on the water, always be courteous and practice common sense.

When a rower’s skills carry a lure to the right place and catches the eye of a grand fish, there is the moment that every fisherman is waiting for. The reel begins clacking, the rod dives, the rower begins rowing faster, and a silvery salmon is on the line. However, you shouldn’t be too hasty in your big moment. First, the fisherman pulls in the empty lines, while the rower keeps the fish line tight, and only when all the other rods are up, is it time to begin reeling in your catch. The brake should not be kept so tight that the salmon cannot go wild nor can it unhook its mouth. After an enjoyable struggle, the rower brings the salmon into the net and the celebration can begin. With our guides, it is an unforgettable experience and a wonderful hobby that you can immediately begin practicing!

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