The Coast and Archipelago
One of the features of our part of the Baltic is the fact that our coastal waters are very shallow. The average depth of waters is only 8 meters (24`). What does that mean for you fishermen?
Well firstly it means that we have a large reproduction areas for Baltic pike and their food and excellent habitat for Sea-run Brown trout. Shallow waters warmed by long summer days and plenty of nutrition makes for a strong food chain. Large numbers of smelt, stickleback, perch and bleak move into our area eating and reproducing and that in turn is good for our Pike, perch and Sea-run Brown trout. Combine that with very low fishing pressure due to our small population and that gives you an area with extremely good density of pike in all size classes.
Coastal flyfishing for Pike. Photo: Dan Blomkvist
Just how good is pike fishing in the archipelagos of Norrbotten?
Well this autumn two of my friends went out jerk-bait fishing after pike. In one 7-hour period they managed to boat SEVENTY pike, while the average weight for pike was about 1,5-2 kilos several pike where over five kilos, with the largest that day coming in at 8,2 kilos. Needless to say all of these fish were released back into the wild. While this might be an exceptionally good days fishing, even by our standards you will always catch fish that’s a 100% guarantee. Furthermore if you have patience or are willing to hire a local guide the chances of catching a dream Pike of over 10 kilos are pretty good.
Coastal Pike on the fly. Photo: Dan Blomkvist.
Spring and autumn are definitely the most productive times for pike fishing. Spring fishing begins when the gulf becomes ice-free approximately the second week in May and continues to about the last week in June. Directly after spawning pike are at their hungriest and some real wild fishing can be had. Autumn fishing begins in August and continues until ice forms on the gulf usually late in October. The autumn season is long and when the most spectacular fishing can be had with large catches of good condition pike. During summer pike will leave shallow coastal areas and make their way to deeper waters. Summer fishing can still be productive especially if you troll along drop-offs with a depthfinder.
The best way to catch Pike in our archipelago is with an 8`+ fishing rod in 20-60 g class with a fixed spoon reel or a jerkbait rod with a multiplier and a fifty pound braid, good wire leaders are necessities. Add to this a battery of wobblers, shads and spoons. There are of course several local favourites we can recommend to you when you get here but a general rule is that Rapala wobblers (e.g. magnum) Hilo and Abu Utö are staple products always worth having with you. In the spring, lures that work down to two metres are required. As the summer progresses and the pike feed deeper, lures are required that can be worked as deep as six metres.
Trolling is becoming a more and more popular method to fish after large pike. Our river mouth area is perfect for trolling fishing. Fish deeper during summer and
New for us is fly-fishing after pike a few of the locals are trying this method with great results. The flies they are tying might look like a punk rockers haircut on a bad day but they seem to do the trick. We are naturally expecting a huge development in fly Pike fishing in the coming years. I recommend large flies of between 5-10 cm with lots of colour. Always use a 10cm-kevlar or wire leader.
Downstream Gammalgårds rapid a classic pike hang out. Photo: G Douglas.
If you are to fish along our coast I strongly recommend you hire a boat. With a boat of your own you can have the freedom not only to fish areas that can be real hotspots e.g. Out-lying pinnacles and rock formations, but you can also land on one of literally hundreds of small islands. Some islands have summerhouses others are totally uninhabited and many have fascinating geology, interesting cultural ttractions and some wonderful scenery. Why not put up a tent and stay the night on your own private island. Several islands have toilets and barbecue pits that you can use free of charge. Please note that some of our islands are Wildlife reserves (bird or seal) with restricted access. Our tourist bureau can help you to choose suitable landing and camping spots in the archipelago. Bergön, Långören and Örarna are some of my personal fishing favourites.
Kalix river gives excellent spring fishing. Photo: Lars Erik Holberg
If you do not have a boat don’t despair there are plenty of coastal stretches accessible by road. Take a good pair of waders or gumboots with you and drive out to places such as Båtskärsnäs and begin fishing. Swedish 'Right of Access' gives all people the right to cross private land to reach a stretch of water. This means in practice that you can walk through forested areas to reach lakes rivers and coast without having to consult the owner of such land. That doesn’t mean you can go crashing through someone’s backyard though. Again our tourist bureau can help you find a suitable and accessible fishing spot.
Licence requirements and regulations for the coast:
If you fish with a rod in coastal areas in Northern Sweden then you do not require fishing licence even foreign citizens.
We have no specific regulations pertaining to pike size or number e.g. no minimum size limit and no catch bags. But remember too maintain the quality of the fishery we have today and to guarantee good fishing for future generations we all must fish responsibly. That means do not take more fish than you can eat and please release all small fish as quickly and humanely as possible.
Downstream Morjärv is a classic pike fishing area. Photo: G Douglas.
River and Lake Pike Fishing
I am sure I don’t need to remind you that river pike are great sport. A pike that has lived its life in running waters is pound for pound a much stronger fighter than a lake pike, so watch out when you get a Kalix river pike on your line. Inland fishing after Esox Lucius is naturally similar to coast fishing except for a few key points. Firstly all inland waters in Sweden are privately owned so you must have a licence to fish lakes and rivers. Secondly there are a few slight differences in season between coastal and inland waters
Pike fishing at Marieberg Kalix River.
Photo: Her proud Dad.
If you fish inland waters in Sweden then you are automatically required to buy a fishing licence. Where do I get a fishing licence? Our tourist information centre has several licences for sale or we can organise a licence for you exactly where you want to fish no hassles. Licences for some of the best fishing areas will cost you between 30 and 70 Swedish crowns a day (approx. 2-5 £ / 3-7,5 $). Don’t be fooled by low prices or areas that don’t seem to get any interest from local fishermen. Most people here do not actively fish after pike, so seemingly uninteresting waters very near our town centre actually have very good populations of large size pike. Evidence of this is that every spring several pike of over 10 kilos are caught within sight of our town centre.
Kalix waterfrount base for the Kalix pike fishing festival. Photo: P Öström.
Most larger running waters like the Kalix river are very good fishing even during high summer this is due to the fact that we have alpine melt water during summer so the water temp is nearly always inside a pikes comfort zone.
Rolfs, Innanbäcken, Stråkanäs, Bondersbyn, Morjärv och Övermorjärv are all very giving pike fishing sites. All these sites are marked on the accompanying fishing map (numbers 3,4,5,11,14).
Spring fishing is best near Kalix centre. One of my favourites is to take the ferry to Vässholmen, an island in the middle of the Kalix River and fish the east shore. Vässholmen is an old log floating camp so you get to fish in a unique environment. If you decide to fish Kalix River then our tourist bureau will be pleased to help you with your accommodation needs we have several options from camping grounds to farm stays to hotels.
Hällfors Sangis River. Photo: Glenn Douglas.
Another great location for pike fishing is the Sangis River. The Sangis River is medium sized water with a good population of pike and noble crayfish (Astacus astacus). What makes Sangis for me worth a visit is the beautiful surroundings. Both the local camping ground and the farm stay at Hällfors are great places to base your fishing trip to Sangis from.