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Fishing is a state of mind, a way of being in nature. Levi offers extraordinary waters abundant with fish.
THE FELLS, WOLD ROSEMARY, PONDS AND LAKES swish by. Timo Koivisto steers his van along a winding road. He has packed his fishing rod and lures, chest waders and wading boots.
We are going fishing tonight.
It is easy as there are several world-class fishing spots near Levi. You can go fishing on a whim in the middle of your vacation – or after work as Timo often does. During the day he is a content producer for Levi Wellness Club. Sometimes he stays the whole night and heads straight to work from the river. This is why he built a small bunk in the back of the car.
- For me the fishing trip begins when I hit the road. The journey is moving from one space to another.
Timo’s car swirls from the main road to a smaller, bumpier road and the van is rocking as the tyres hit the holes. We arrive to a small opening spotted with yarrow flowers. You cannot see the river but you can hear the steady rumble.
Timo opens the lure box and holds up different fliesmade from colourful yarn, animal fur and feathers. He then picks one.
It’s time to descend from the bank down to the river.
RIVER MUONIONJOKI GLISTENS in the evening sun. The first signs of autumnal colours can be seen in the broadleaf trees on the opposite side of the river. The scent of water and grass fills the air. It is pure and crisp.
Timo studies the river, its movements, how currents form, where rocks underneath create a choppy surface, the way the darkness reveals the hidden depths.
It’s important to read the water, he says.
- In we go then.
In this stretch of the river the water is almost still. A current of water like this is called eddy. These are the places where the salmon swim upstream on their migration of hundreds of kilometres.
- Levi is an exceptional fishing spot: you can sleep in a tent or in a luxury cottage, or head back to the village for the night. There are enough things to keep the entire family happy even if only one of them wants to fish.
Half an hour from Levi there are lakes and rivers with salmon, grayling, trout and Arctic char.
Stream pools, parts of the river that are deeper with a slower current, produce also pike and perch.
These are what Timo is looking for as he drives to his fishing spots pretty much every night. This is what he has done since he was a child. All the men in his family liked to fish. First Timo practiced in his grandmother’s yard with a fishing rod with a nut at the end of the line. When he got a hang of the movements, it was replaced with a hook.
FOR TIMO IT’S NOT IMPORTANT whether he catches a lot of fish. More important is spending time in the nature, the fishing itself – and what fishing teaches you about the nature.
- You need to think like a fish when you are fishing, Timo says.
He examines the current, thinking about how the fish are moving, which part of the current allows the fish to easily go upstream. Or he watches the stoneflies, mayflies and other insects flying on the surface choosing then the right kind of lure.
- I am constantly reacting according to what I see around me.
You need to either lure or tease the fish. Salmon do not feed when migrating which means you need to tease it, Timo explains while attaching a fly with garish colours. Itis used to tease the salmon making it defend its territory.
And it’s salmon we are here to catch.
THE WIND CATCHES THE BUSHES on the river shore. The branches are moving. Otto Lintunen has also discovered the Muonionjoki river.
Otto has moved to Levi only a couple of weeks back and works for Levi Destination Marketing.
- I go fishing every day if I had the time. What’s great about fly fishing is that it takes you to magnificent places in the wilderness, Otto says.
Another fascinating thing about fly fishing is the endless possibilities to improve your performance, Otto says. You can learn different casting techniques, make new flies, learn to read the nature better.
Well, catching a big fish, it is quite an experience, Timo admits. He has waded in the water and participates in the conversation standing amidst the swaying hay.
- It’s an adrenaline rush that stays with you for a long time.
Though the best fish are those you cannot catch, Timo says. That’s a moment filled with emotions.
- You fight, tire out the fish, and then you are forced to give it up. I guess that fish was not meant for me.
More important than catching fish is the fact that you get peace and quiet in the midst of nature. That’s something many people have strayed away from, Timo says. The ability to just be in nature, to empty your mind. Often people just visit the nature, they don’t become part of it.
When you are fishing you are forced to slow down. To give it time.
THE SKY ACROSS THE RIVER has a pinkish hue. Otto picks up the rod and steps in the water.
- You don’t worry about things when you’re out by the river, he says wading in the current.
You get a hang of the casting soon, it gets easier, comes more naturally. The lure flies farther each time with the line drawing a loop is more flawless than the previous.
The splish-splash of the water against your trouser leg and the hum in your ears. You just might get hooked.
Timo doesn’t go fishing with the intention that he must catch a lot of fish. The most important thing is to spend time in nature.
- You don't worry about things when you're out by the river.
Otto Lintunen is originally from the south but he has lived in the north for 15 years. Fishing is one of the reasons he enjoys life in Levi.
Levi is a great fishing destination with several locations within a driving distance of an hour or two. The Levi Tourist Office will provide you further information and tips if you want to stay at a wilderness hut or go camping. Many of the places are near so you can make a day trip or even an afternoon trip.
You can buy fishing permits from Levi Tourist Office. You will also get tips on the best spots and fishing excursions. If you are not experienced in fishing you can join a guided excursion. You don’t need your own waders, wading boots or any other fishing equipment. You can rent them from Kinos Safaris.
You can go fishing in winter, too! Levi’s winter schedule offers ice fishing excursions almost every day. Ice fishing surrounded by complete silence on a frozen lake or a river is an unforgettable experience. There are trips to Munajärvi lake, Ounasjoki river and Rautusjärvi lake, to mention a few. Book your excursion levi.fi
Fish you were here
This is how we do it
Jani Ylipahkala bought his first car when he was eight years old. Now he runs Lapland Driving, a company that has three driving centres and clients such as Porsche and Audi. It has taken pluck and endurance – that certain something that can be found in Lapland.